Key Races & Bets for Saturday September 16th, 2023

Summer Stakes – Race 6 at Woodbine – Post Time 3:57 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:
On what should be a fantastic day at Woodbine, this is the first of four stakes races, three on turf, the first three of which, all on this week’s blog (and podcast) provide a lot of profit opportunity. This is for two year olds, open to males and females, and the winner gets an automatic entry to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November. We must first note trainer Mark Casse has entered FIVE of the 11, and trainer Kevin Attard three, with two of each trainer’s entries fillies facing males, who are ALL also entered in race 8, the Natalma Stakes, for fillies only. Casse did this last month in the Soaring Free and Catch a Glimpse Stakes, leaving Golden Canary (entered here) and Dancing Duchess (only entered in the Natalma today) in the Soaring Free to face males, resulting in a one-two finish. Casse may do the same thing here, EXCEPT it must be noted he also has the likely favorite in My Boy Prince, who will very likely be sent to the front on the stretch out from seven furlongs to a mile, as he wears blinkers, and as he led from start to finish last month in the Simcoe Stakes. Therefore I assume Golden Canary (who has the same style) will scratch here to run in the Natalma, as might Attard’s Bolt Enoree, who is also a need the lead type.

In any event, even though My Boy Prince earned a HUGE 108 Equibase figure winning the Simcoe, this is a whole new ballgame, as it is longer, and as the win was earned on the main track and the colt has never run on turf. That makes him a bit vulnerable as the favorite, so I’m opting for Carson’s Run instead, who ships up from New York for strong trainer Clement off a runner-up effort, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga 17 days ago. Clement won the Summer Stakes a few years back with a Saratoga shipper and was second in this race in 2021 with the same. Carson’s Run won in his debut on July 29 around two turns on turf, no easy task, showing the maturity of a horse which had run previously in rallying from fifth to get up by a neck, then ran even better when rallying from fifth to second in the With Anticipation. He’s moving the right way, has already run well without Lasix (which can’t be said for many of these) and should get a great trip behind whoever leads early.

Airosa gets a long look if she stays in this race instead of opting for the Natalma. She tried turf for the first time in her second start, in July, winning effortlessly, then backed that up winning the Catch a Glimpse Stakes four weeks ago, after having to wait for room to run then shooting through and drawing off. John Velazquez comes up from New York to ride, likely seeking a Breeders’ Cup mount, and this filly is also on an improving pattern and would be no surprise if winning.

King of the Track is interesting to use on exacta and trifecta tickets, as is My Boy Prince, who I’m taking a stand against as a win contender. King of the Track stalked in second early last month in his debut, like My Boy Prince on the main track, and drew off late as much the best. Unlike My Boy Prince, King of the Track is bred to run as well or better on grass as his dam produced a mile turf winner, so he might offer value opening at 8 to 1 underneath Carson’s Run and Airosa (if she runs) on exacta tickets.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Carson’s Run and Airosa can and should be bet to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

As we may be considering win bets on more than one horse, this is a great race to take advantage of the mathematical edge provided by a “Dutching” tool, which prorates wagers for the best value. There’s a free dutching tool at, where you can set the amount you want to bet in total and the math is done for you to help achieve the best edge. This is just one of many tools, and perks, for bettors at

Carson’s Run and Airosa over Carson’s Run, Airosa, My Boy Prince and King of the Track
If Airosa scratches, include King of the Track in the win position instead.

Double and Pick 3:
Race 6: Carson’s Run, Airosa (include King of the Track if Airosa scratches)
Race 7: Secret Reserve, Outlaw Kid, My Buddy B
Race 8: Dazzling Star, Brocknardini, She Feels Pretty, Dea Matrona

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Vigil Stakes – Race 7 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:32 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:
I’m hoping the race goes exactly as drawn (no scratches) or at the least that both Rockcrest and Patches O’Houlihan both run. With the exception of one race, which was on turf and not the main track as this race is, these two have both earned every single one of their last 10 wins leading from the start. In this field, Rockcrest, having drawn the rail, will go as fast as possible right out of the gate to get that lead he needs to succeed, but since Patches O’Houlihan has the same style, and as both have been known to run as fast as 44 seconds for the opening half-mile, they will get tired in the late stages and set the race up for a trio of horses, two which appear to be completely overlooked by the betting public.

My Buddy B is the first of those, opening at 20/1 and shipping in from Kentucky by way of Mountaineer, where he won on August 6. His Kentucky based trainer, Paulo Lobo, wins more than 25% of his races on all-weather and so the fact this colt, who is already 1 for 1 on the surface, ships up and into this race, is a big sign. He should be third behind Rockcrest and Patches O’Houlihan in the early stages, similar to how he ran last October when winning by a couple of lengths, and he’s making his third start after coming back from seven months off, so he still has a lot of room to improve, especially as a four year old. BEST of all, the 107 Equibase Figure he earned winning a classified allowance race last month, is higher than the 103 Patches O’Houlihan earned winning the similar Bold Venture Stakes last month, as good as the 106 and 109 figures Rockcrest earned winning in April and June over the track before a poorer effort on grass. The outside post even helps the chances of My Buddy B, as he can drift off and take a catbird seat position behind the likely dueling leaders before moving past them. He’s already proven he loves to win, going four for eight last year and two for two so far in 2023.

Outlaw Kid opens at much lower odds, 5 to 2, but is a strong contender. Shipping up from New York for George Weaver last month, he won on grass with Kimura up for the first time, rallying from fourth in the early stages. He won at six furlongs on turf in June after six months off, and his sire Violence has sired all-weather sprint stakes winners so the transition in surfaces is no concern. He earned a 103 figure last month after 101 previously and could improve to a career-best effort today.

Secret Reserve finished fourth of nine in the Bold Venture behind Patches O’Houlihan last month, when that one was allowed to coast along on an easy early lead, which I don’t think will be duplicated today. Secret Reserve won the 2022 Bold Venture, rallying from fifth to win by a half-length, under Flores, who got back on last month after six races in a row with other jockeys, and who rides again today. He will be farther back than My Buddy B and could be moving along with Outlaw Kid nicely in the late stages, and as a horse with a five for 15 overall record and $300,000 banked, he’s hard to ignore at 15 to 1 starting odds.

I’ll toss in Last American Exit as a longshot for second on exacta tickets as he rallied for second in two straight races over the course including behind Patches O’Houlihan in the Bold Venture. He opens at 15 to 1 and could help provide for a very profitable exacta.

Handicapper Picks

Win: My Buddy B AND Secret Reserve should be considered for a win bets at odds of 4 to 1 or more

This is another fantastic race to take advantage of the Dutching Tool at Amwager because there will be value in betting two or all three of the horses above.

My Buddy B and Secret Reserve over ALL
Box Outlaw Kid, My Buddy B and Secret Reserve
Outlaw Kid over Last American Exit

$0.20 Trifectas:
My Buddy B, Secret Reserve and Outlaw Kid over Secret Reserve, Outlaw Kid, Last American Exit and My Buddy B
Over ALL

My Buddy B, Secret Reserve and Outlaw Kid over ALL over Secret Reserve, Outlaw Kid, Last American Exit and My Buddy B

Race 7: Secret Reserve, Outlaw Kid, My Buddy B
Race 8: Dazzling Star, Brocknardini, She Feels Pretty, Dea Matrona

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Natalma Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post Time 5:07 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:
As mentioned in the analysis of race 6, the Summer Stakes, there are four horses also entered in that race which are entered here. Nevertheless, Dazzling Star could be a standout no matter who does, or does not, run in this race. The filly ships in from Europe for trainer Appleby, who won this race in 2021 and who won the Summer Stakes in both 2021 and 2022. Even Appleby’s “B” string wins when he runs at Woodbine, as noted by his phenomenal record of seven wins from his last eight starters (going back to 2018) on the Woodbine turf. Dazzling Star is to be ridden by William Buick, the top rider for the barn, who is also riding prohibitive favorite Master of The Seas in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (race 9). This filly’s debut on all-weather in June in England was irrelevant as she’s bred for turf, which she showed winning easily in her first grass try three weeks later. Then in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes during Royal Ascot, she finished fourth of 10 and even that effort, with a 93 Equibase Speed Figure, is likely to be improved upon to add to the trainer’s amazing success here.

Brocknardini opens at 12 to 1 and is worth a few bucks to win in case the top choice doesn’t fire. She was very impressive in her debut showing a quick turn of foot, going from fifth on the turn to be in front by four entering the stretch, in her one and only race, which as a two-turn race on turf at Saratoga. She was scratched out of the P.G. Johnson Stakes for this and that’s a nice sign as well and like Dazzling Star she earned her win without Lasix, which many of those running locally have been racing on but will have to race without today.

Dea Matrona is the other European shipper in the field, for the strong Chad Brown barn. She finished first of 13 at seven furlongs on turf in career start #2, in June, and she’s been working consistently for Brown in New York Since. Brown won the 2018 Summer Stakes with Fog of War and knows how to get a horse ready for this level of competition so this filly could show us her talent again today.

She Feels Pretty is very likely to be ignored by many bettors and go to post near her 20/1 starting odds so is another perhaps worth a small wagers so we’re not kicking ourselves later. She debuted on July 16 in a turf sprint in Kentucky and showed a lot of talent when rallying from 10th of 11 to get up by a neck. She’s in the care of a very sharp trainer in DeVaux and she gets John Velazquez to ride, with breeding to suggest she’s going to run even better at this longer trip and with a race under her belt, a race from which both the runner-up and fourth place finishers improved from to win their next starts.

Airosa, who I talked about in my analysis of the Summer Stakes, rounds out the top contenders in the field but I think she’s better off staying in the other race. Still, she might be part of the exacta here if she runs.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Dazzling Star can be bet to win at odds of 8 to 5 or more.
Smaller win bets can easily be considered on Brocknardini, She Feels Pretty and Dea Matrona (all who open at higher than 10 to 1) at odds of 5 to 1 or more.

Using a dutching tool, like the one at Amwager, makes wagering on multiple horses easy, and in this case I will be betting Dazzling Star to win then using that tool to bet two or all three of the others, for smaller amounts.

Dazzling Star over Airosa, Brocknardini, She Feels Pretty and Dea Matrona

Likely for the minimum $1 or $2 I will play an exacta box of Brocknardini, She Feels Pretty and Dea Matrona

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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