Key Horse Races & Expert Handicapper Bets - July 24, 2021

Race 9 at Saratoga – Post Time 5:39 PM Eastern

Glass CeilingFiring CarolAmendment NineteenCaramel Swirl and Flash Magic are the contenders.

Glass Ceiling has three career wins and seven of the other eight have just one. She actually won at this first allowance level in May of last year in Florida and since coming to New York after that has a record of 0-4-4 in 13 starts so it’s not as if she’s been running badly. The key is her now being in the Baker barn, which claimed her one before last. Out of that race on 7/11 at Belmont Glass Ceiling ran second to a runaway winner no horse was going to beat but was clearly second. Lezcano rides back and the 98 Equibase Figure is the BEST last race figure in the field so just repeating it gives her a big shot to win in this field, and she opens at 12/1.

Flash Magic impressively won by five lengths last out, in June, after eight months off, fits the conditions perfectly and gets Santana back to go along with second off the layoff improvement. Firing Carol opens at 30/1 and that’s ridiculous. She should be a decent price but 30/1 is ridiculous because she won a sprint at Belmont, legitimately, at 19/1 last month and its obvious why as she added blinkers for the first time. The 94 figure is within range of horses in form and at much lower odds here so getting her into the exacta or trifecta could be very profitable. Caramel Swirl opens as the 5/2 favorite and I’m not sure why as she’s got no more, or less, chance to win than any of the other contenders. She broke her maiden in April in career start number five then was overmatched in the Eight Belles Stakes on Derby week. She’s been working well for her first start in two months but her best effort yielded a 95 figure. Amendment Nineteen broke her maiden at the end of May in her second career start and Jose Ortiz rides back. She earned an 87 figure but this will be her third career start so should could leap forward nicely.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets:

Glass Ceiling and Firing Carol at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.


Box Glass CeilingFiring CarolAmendment NineteenCaramel Swirl and Flash Magic.


Race 9: Glass CeilingFiring CarolAmendment NineteenCaramel Swirl and Flash Magic.

Race 10: CaravelRobin Sparkles and Flower Point

Note: I have no objection to cutting this bet down and avoiding the favorite to favorite doubles which are Caramel Swirl in race 9 with Caravel and Robin Sparkles in race 10. That makes the bet less expensive and helps maximize profit

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Caress Stakes – Race 10 at Saratoga – Post Time 6:13 PM Eastern

CaravelRobin Sparkles and Flower Point are the three contenders BUT only the latter can be bet to win as the other two are likely to go to post at very low odds.

On one hand, Robin Sparkles, who has won five of six on turf, all sprints, including a stakes, may have these over a barrel and that’s why she opens at 6 to 5. She earned all five wins leading from start to finish and draws the two post with a last race 108 Equibase figure towering over the rest. However, the way she runs is as important as how fast she runs and in this case, Jakarta has the possibility to take away her edge and cost her the win. Jakarta is a bit off form, not having won in six races going back to December BUT in last year’s Caress Jakarta led from the start and was just beaten a half-length on the wire. Saez rode her last year and rides today and it is VERY likely he will be very aggressive from the start. Last month in the classified allowance race won by Robin SparklesJakarta stumbled at the start and had no shot of getting to the lead but if she breaks cleanly today, with Saez knowing going for the lead is her only hope of winning, a pace battle between these two could be forthcoming.

In that case, Caravel and the much better odds Flower Point are playable. Caravel has won two stakes races in a row, both turf sprints, and gets Ortiz, while Flower Point got Rosario for the first time last month at 7 furlongs on turf and closed like she was shot out of a cannon, going from eighth (13 lengths back) to draw off while six wide on the turn. She doesn’t have a lot of horses to pass here and if she gets a 44 second half-mile to close into like she did last month, she can upset the field. Hopefully one of the higher odds horses won the ninth race and there are some juicy double payoffs awaiting if she does.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: Flower Point to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

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Eddie Read Stakes – Race 8 at Del Mar – Post Time 8:30 PM Eastern / 5:30 PM Pacific

UnitedSay the WordCount AgainSmooth Like Strait and Restrainedvengence are the win contenders, but like the previous race, the latter is likely be the KEY bet in this race.

Restrainedvengence, who opens at 10/1, is every bit as talented as the other four, who open at lower odds. He’s earned over three-quarters of a million in his career and he’s not over the hill as he just won the Grade 3 American Stakes at Santa Anita last month, then was flattered when the runner-up came right back to win. He’s been first or second in three of six turf races at Del Mar, including the opening day Oceanside Stakes in 2018, and Baze rides him very well. Best of all whereas there is no true need-the-lead type here and there are up to four horses who like to run first or second early, Restrainedvengence can close from farther back if need be and when needed can run the last quarter mile in under 23 seconds which is good enough to win.

Count Again (5/1 morning line) is the other horse which may offer value for a win bet. He’s four-for-eleven in his career and won the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap last fall on the Del Mar turf. He’s a deeper closer than Restrainedvengence but he drops in class after a fine fourth of nine finish in the Grade 1 Turf Classic on Derby day, just behind Smooth Like Strait, and on his best day Count Again can win a race like this.

UnitedSay the Word and Smooth Like Strait don’t need me to make cases for them, with more than $3 million banked between them, almost all of it on turf. Still, none is a standout and to some extent they’ve all taken turns beating one-another so on any given day they can run well enough to win, but there’s no real determining when that is. As such, it’s best to key on the two higher odds horses for the exotics.

Handicapper Picks

Win betsRestrainedvengence and Count Again at 5 to 2 or higher.

This is another race where a DUTCHING tool does us a lot of good and helps us to make a profit. A Dutching tool, like the one which is free to use at, saves us doing the math to determine the right wagering amounts.


Race 8: UnitedSay the WordCount AgainSmooth Like Strait and Restrainedvengence

Race 9: Push To Start

Race 8: Count AgainRestrainedvengence

Race 9: Push To StartClem LabineJazz Hands

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Race 9 at Del Mar – Post Time 9 PM Eastern / 6 PM Pacific

Push to StartClem Labine and Jazz Hands are the contenders.

Push to Start is absolutely the speed of the speed and with apprentice Pyfer aboard for the first time could get an easy lead, relax, and get very brave to win for the third time in his seventh dirt race. We can ignore his last two stars, both on turf, but right before that he wired the field with ease after getting an easy lead and could easily do the same thing here. ALL eight races were in the east and all against OPEN (not restricted) company but he ships into California and into the Carla Gaines barn to face California Breds ONLY for the first time which is a HUGE class change. Gaines gave him a spin around the track last week and he worked five furlongs in 100 flat which was the THIRD best of 104 workouts at the distance on the day so I’d say he has all his speed and will be tough to catch, and to beat.

Clem Labine has six career wins and nine runner-up finishes in 23 races but is still eligible for this Cal-Bred condition so ships down from Northern California off a runner-up effort versus open allowance company so is taking the same hidden drop in class as Push To Start. The team of trainer Tamayo and jockey Frey got a 12/1 winner last week and this gelding has a fine record on conventional dirt (3-4-1 in 11 races) suggesting he will be part of the exacta at the least in this race.

Jazz Hands won his debut in June, 2020, on dirt then was overmatched in a stakes. Rested seven months he came back up north on all-weather and finished second, first and first (on turf) before a third place finish in a tough OPEN allowance sprint on grass last month. Proven on dirt and a perfect fit at the level based on his effort one before last in Cal-Bred allowance company, he rounds out a trio of win contenders.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: With preference for the more probable Push To Start, I would be any two of the three contenders (whichever are the highest odds) at 2 to 1 or more, using a dutching tool like the one at Amwager to help proportion the bets for the best mathematical edge.


Box Push to StartClem Labine and Jazz Hands

Push to StartClem Labine and Jazz Hands over Push to StartClem LabineJazz HandsRMC Hook’emJoe Don Looney and First Prez

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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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