Key Races & Bets for Saturday September 9th, 2023

Franklin-Simpson Stakes – Race 8 at Kentucky Downs – Post Time 4:40 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:

Playlist was entered (as an also-eligible) in last week’s Music City Stakes, for fillies only, and shows up here against males as a horse having won three races in a row. The last two were versus three year olds and up and this race is restricted to just three year olds so although it appears she’s stepping up in class I think it’s a lateral move. John Velazquez rode her to a win at Saratoga last time out in July and rides back. The filly has a great tactical style so should be sitting in about third or fourth early in this big field and that will help avoid traffic problems others coming from further back may have. The 102 Equibase Speed Figure earned one before last on 6/15 is the second best of the last two figures of any horse in the field, the best belonging to morning line favorite Mo Stash, who opens at 4 to 1 compared to 10 to 1 for Playlist. The 96 figure Playlist earned winning last time out is better than the poor figure 79 Mo Stash earned when sixth and last in the Secretariat Stakes, a real clunker, but Mo Stash is not a standout by any means even if he returns to top form as he finished second and fourth in stakes prior to that and even when winning the Transylvania Stakes in April earned a 99 figure. Wesley Ward has had great success running females against males on turf in stakes races over the years and has found a great spot for similar success with Playlist in this race. There’s one more amazing stat I found as I was concerned the filly is going off Lasix and that is Ward has a 7 for 17 record the past three years in turf sprints with horses going off Lasix. That means she should hold her form.

Sweet Cherry Pie won the My Frenchman Stakes in July at Monmouth, on dirt but scheduled for turf. He improved to a career-best 99 figure with that effort and although he’s never run on turf, he was meant to that day as he’s got impeccable grass breeding. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rarely if ever rides for trainer Arnold so he (and his agent) choosing this colt is a big sign on how well we can expect him to run.

Mo Stash has been first or second in five of nine although as pointed out above has thrown in two poor efforts among his last five. He won a turf sprint in his career debut so cutting back off the mile last out should suit him and if he returns to the form shown in the three of his last four starts prior to his most recent he could easily be part of the exacta.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Playlist and Sweet Cherry Pie can and should be bet to win at odds of 3 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

Box Playlist, Sweet Cherry Pie, Mo Stash

Double and Pick 3:
Race 8: Playlist, Sweet Cherry Pie, Mo Stash
Race 9: Querobin Dourada, Henrietta Topham, Sparkle Blue
Race 10: One Timer, Front Run the Fed, Dream Shake, Cogburn, Dr. Zempf

Get up to $150 signup bonus and cashback rewards when you bet with AmWager.

Ladies Turf Stakes – Race 9 at Kentucky Downs – Post Time 5:16 PM Eastern

Henrietta Topham finished fourth in the 2022 Ladies Turf, at odds of 12 to 1. She missed third by a nose. She had won the prep at Ellis Park one month earlier and was riding a three race win streak. Two later she ran big to miss in the Fall Harvest Stakes by three-quarters of a length. After taking five months off and a poor comeback, Henrietta Topham won two in a row including the similar Grade 3 Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill, with a career best 108 figure and with Graham in the saddle as today. She was bumped back to ninth of 10 in the stakes on 7/8 and rallied for third, then in this year’s prep for today’s race at Ellis Park on August 6, she was 12th with a quarter mile to run and was shuffled and blocked for most of the stretch. Just the same, she was very WILLING and given a shot and a clear path in the late stages today she can post the upset.

New Year’s Eve won that prep race last month at Ellis Park and that’s why she’s the 5 to 2 starting favorite. She’s four for 11 but interestingly enough before that win last month the filly lost, and was not a threat to win, in seven straight races. She was fourth in the Dueling Grounds Oaks over this course last September but her best race may not beat the best race Henrietta Topham can put forth. However, her last race with a 101 figure would beat most of the rest of these if repeated so although not as good a win bet as the top pick she’s a must to use on exacta and any other wagers we make in this race.

Querobin Dourada is another horse which could go to post at double digit odds, in spite of a four for 17 record, plus three runner-up finishes, and $386K banked. She won a year ago on this course at seven furlongs, which is similar to today’s mile as it is a one turn race, and she did so decidedly by four lengths in a field of 12 with a 102 figure (which matches up with New Year’s Day’s last race). She has won twice since, most recently in June, and in the prep at Ellis Park last month Querobin Dourada ended up fourth, just two necks from second. As such, it would be a mistake to ignore her chances to be part of the exacta at the very least.

Sparkle Blue won a non-graded stakes in mid-July when last seen with a decent 96 figure, but I’m more interested in how she ran in the Grade 3 Valley View Stakes last October, when winning easily with a 106 figure. She lost three in a row between those two but in one of them was coming back from a five month layoff. In short, her best is good enough here and she’s 20 to 1 so adds more longshot and profit potential to the race.

White Frost opens as the 9 to 5 favorite BUT does not like to win, as evidenced by a 3-6-1 record in 11 races. She’s only been worse than third one time in nine turf races, but she’s finished second in three in a row, the last two by a couple of lengths with no real excuse. Personally, I’m ONLY using her on exacta tickets with the high odds horses.

Regal Realm is another of the favorites, opening at 3 to 1. She finished third at 10/1 in the De La Rose Stakes last month where White Frost was a well-beaten second and she’s no standout here but like White Frost can be used on exacta tickets with the higher odds horses. The same goes for Haughty, who is winless in three races this year and with her last win coming 13 months ago.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Henrietta Topham should be considered for a win bet at odds of 7 to 2 or more
Querobin Dourada and Sparkle Blue can be bet to win at odds of 6 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.

Exactas: The way to maximize profit is to avoid playing tickets combining the two favorites (New Year’s Day and White Frost) on exacta tickets so we should play the following:

Querobin Dourada, Henrietta Topham, Sparkle Blue over ALL (which includes White Frost, Regal Realm and Haughty)
ALL over Querobin Dourada, Henrietta Topham, Sparkle Blue

Race 9: Querobin Dourada, Henrietta Topham, Sparkle Blue
Race 10: One Timer, Front Run the Fed, Dream Shake, Cogburn, Dr. Zempf

Get up to $150 signup bonus and cashback rewards when you bet with AmWager.

Turf Sprint Stakes – Race10 at Kentucky Downs – Post Time 5:54 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:

Dream Shake won a grade 2 stakes like this one when last seen on July 23 yet opens at 8 to 1, possibly because the race is discounted having been run in Canada. That’s fine with me because that race, the Connaught Cup Stakes, is a legitimate Grade 2 stakes race run anywhere. He stalked the pace in second then held off a very stubborn War Bomber, who returned to win the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes last month. The Connaught Cup Stakes was Dream Shake’s third start, and first on turf, since coming back from 13 months off and moving to the barn of trainer Mike Stidham, and we can expect even better from Dream Shake here as he cuts back slightly from seven furlongs to six and one-half furlongs, and off back-to-back very strong 105 Equibase Speed Figure efforts.

One Timer won this race last year, opening up right after the start and never giving any of his 11 rivals a chance. He was off for nine months after that and returned to win, then shipped to Canada and finished third in the Highlander Stakes at six furlongs. In his most recent start One Timer won the prep for this race at Ellis Park, this time stalking in second then drawing off late, earning a career-best 111 Equibase figure. Although one of his recent wins (June 1) came from the rail, normally a horse with a lot of early speed could have an issue if he doesn’t break fast because other horses can take his path, but this horse has no such issue and is a legitimate candidate to win this stakes for the second year in a row.

Front Run the Fed finished second, beaten a neck, in this race in 2020 off a win in his previous start. In 2021 he had finished sixth previous to the Turf Sprint, was sent to post at 48 to 1 and ran like it when seventh. Last year he won the Van Clief Stakes in July then instead of going into this race next he ran in the tougher Fourstardave Handicap, finishing fifth, and that is what might have led to only a fourth place finish in this race last year. This year he won the Van Clief Stakes in July and has not run since, and that is a reason to believe he may have a shot here based on how he ran in 2020 off a win.

Cogburn and Dr. Zempf round out the contenders, with slightly less probability than the three previously mentioned horses. Cogburn won the Troy Stakes last month at Saratoga, his third stakes win in a row. However, all three were at five and one-half furlongs or less and this six and one-half furlong trip is new to him. Dr. Zempf was not disgraced when fourth in the Grade 1 Jaipur in June when last seen, as the winner was Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Caravel, and the runner-up was Casa Creed, who next won the Fourstardave. Dr. Zempf won a Group 2 stakes in Ireland last year, the equivalent of this grade 2 stakes, and he earned a very strong 110 figure, as well as a 107 figure in his U.S. debut this past March. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides for Chad Brown and as the horse has the credentials to be in this race and opens at 6 to 1 he might warrant a look at the outcome.

Note that if both Noble Reflection and Nobals Run, there will be a sizzling early pace battle as neither will yield to the other, which sets up the stalkers and closers above.


Handicapper Picks

Win: Dream Shake and One Timer can be considered for win bets at 3 to 1 or higher.
Front Run the Fed can be considered for a win bet at 5 to 1 or more.
I would not hesitate to be two, or even all three of these contenders to win if the odds are right.

Exactas: Box One Timer, Front Run the Fed, Dream Shake
Box One Timer, Front Run the Fed, Dream Shake, Cogburn, Dr. Zempf

Share This Story!

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.

Related Posts