Key Horse Races & Expert Handicapper Bets - July 3, 2021

Kent Stakes – Race 7 at Delaware Park – Post Time 4:15 PM Eastern
Among the three win contenders, who between them have about 90% of the probability to win this race combined, Gershwin is likely to offer the best return for the risk, opening at 8/1. Never worse than third in five races, Gershwin has yet to run on grass because in all three races where he was entered for a turf race, all three were run on dirt. I don’t necessarily think trainer Stidham was praying for rain each time as the colt’s breeding screams turf as much as it does dirt. In his most recent race, the Grade 3 Penn Mile (scheduled for grass) Gershwin won fairly easily by a couple of lengths while never challenged in the last eighth of a mile. The career best 94 Equibase figure is the second best last figure in the field and the pattern suggests even better here so with the rail and Bravo riding he has every right to win his second grade 3 stakes race in a row. Better still, if the race comes off the grass he’s the one to beat as well. Yes This Time earned a field high last race figure of 98 winning the English Channel Stakes at Gulfstream Park for his fourth straight win and first in a stakes. He earned a 98 figure before that winning at the same NW1X allowance level as Gershwin did before his Penn Mile win so these two look essentially evenly matched. The difference is Yes This Time opens at 7 to 2 and went to post at 9 to 5 in his most recent race. Like the King opens as the favorite and for good reason, as he won the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at this nine furlong trip in March. He had the points and so took a shot in the Kentucky Derby, checking in a non-threatening 12th. Back on turf he ran a poor fifth at the end of May in the non-graded Audubon Stakes but he’s won on turf as well as all-weather and his best efforts, with 95 figures, could have him in the thick of things at the end although he’s absolutely a poor win bet anywhere near his 8/5 starting odds.
Handicapper Picks
Win bet: Gershwin at odds of 2/1 or higher. IF Yes This Time is 2/1 or higher near post time he can be bet as well. 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. With two of the three win contenders likely to go to post at low odds a trifecta offers better value than an exacta, and we can throw a few decent odds horses into the mix as well Trifecta: (three plays) Box GershwinYes This Time and Like the King GershwinYes This Time and Like the King over GershwinYes This Time and Like the King over GershwinYes This TimeLike the KingShackled LoveEamonnWootton Asset and Doubleoseven GershwinYes This TimeLike the King over GershwinYes This TimeLike the KingShackled LoveEamonnWootton Asset and Doubleoseven over GershwinYes This Time and Like the King Doubles: (There’s little value in the double using favorite Like the King in this race with favorite Crazy Beautiful in race 8 so we should skip those combinations and play more on the higher paying combinations) Race 7: GershwinYes This Time Race 8: Juror Number FourCrazy Beautiful Race 7: GershwinYes This Time and Like the King Race 8: Juror Number Four

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Delaware Oaks – Race 8 at Delaware Park – Post Time 4:45 PM Eastern

Juror Number Four opens at 6/1 while the other win contender, Crazy Beautiful opens at 6 to 5 so the only possible win bet would be on the former. Juror Number Four finished fourth of eight on the Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes in May, rallying too late after a rough start. That has turned out to be a KEY race as the runner-up won as did the sixth finisher, who returned to win the 100K Stormy Blues Stakes recently. Although she’s never raced two turns, as a daughter of Into Mischief she should have no issues and her trainer is Brittany Russell, a rising start on the Maryland/Delaware circuit. Brittany’s husband Sheldon rides and these two have won a very strong 34% of the time over the last 18 months from 141 starts. The pattern of a layoff followed by two sprints into a route is historically very strong and the last race 86 Equibase figure, when improved upon, is good enough to beat all of the rest except perhaps favorite Crazy Beautiful. But then again, at 6 to 1 it’s worth a chance to find out if Juror Number Four can post the upset especially since trainer Russell has won with seven of her last 17 starters going sprint to route.

Crazy Beautiful just shipped into California from trainer Ken McPeek’s Kentucky base to win the Grade 2 Summertime Oaks and so this drop to grade 3 is why she is likely to be the prohibitive favorite. She only beat three other horses but she did it with style and a 100 figure. That was two races after winning the Gulfstream Park Oaks. In between came a poor 10th place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. Smith rode her to the win in California and accompanies her to Delaware so everything is a GO and she may be tough to deny. That’s why we’re hoping Gershwin or Yes This Time wins race 7 for decent doubles and of course the exacta with Juror Number Four at 6 to 1 would be okay if the logical favorite wins.

Handicapper Picks

Win betJuror Number Four at odds of 2/1 or higher.

Exacta: Box Juror Number Four and Crazy Beautiful

TrifectaJuror Number Four and Crazy Beautiful over Juror Number Four and Crazy Beautiful over Orbs Baby GirlMidnight ObsessionHybrid Eclipse and Leader of the Band

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Smile Sprint Invitational – Race 10 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:03 PM Eastern
Miles Ahead and Diamond Oops were separated by a head on the wire in a 60K Handicap over the track at this six furlong trip last month. Miles Ahead was sent to post as the even money favorite that day, even though he had never won a stakes, while multiple graded stakes winner Diamond Oops went to post at 2 to 1 odds. Both horses relaxed in third or fourth early and rallied late, with Miles Ahead taking the lead with a sixteenth of a mile to go then battling nose and nose to the wire before coming up a head short. As such, there is absolutely NO REASON Miles Ahead should open at 4 to 1 here compared to 5 to 2 for Diamond Oops, particularly as Miles Ahead gets the better, outside post, and a jockey change to RED HOT Gonzalez. Last year when Diamond Oops won the Grade 2 Phoenix Stakes he earned career-best 111 figure, which Miles Ahead matched (112 figure) one before last over the track before both earned 107 figures last time out. Double Crown deserves a look as the last of three which can win. Never off the board in seven races, the gelding won the Roar and Carry Back Stakes over the track last May and July then finished third in this race last September when it was moved out of its regular spot. Next came a fine runner-up effort in the Chick Lang Stakes. Following nearly eight months off Double Crown returned for his four year old campaign and won on May 23 as if he had never been away. The 101 figure not only was a career best but is very likely to be improved upon second off the layoff which puts him squarely in the range of the 107 figures Miles Ahead and Diamond Oops earned so if they do not take a step forward and Double Crown does, he can win. Handicapper Picks Win betsMiles Ahead at 9 to 5 or more. Double Crown at 3 to 1 or more. 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. Exacta: Box Miles Ahead and Diamond Oops Box Miles Ahead and Double Crown Miles Ahead over Frosted Grace (who loves to finish second) and Chance It (who has finished first and second in seven of eight races)

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Prairie Meadows late pick 4 including the Iowa Sprint Stakes – Starts in Race 7 with the Iowa Distaff – Post Time 6:37 Central, 7:37 Eastern

Race 7: HimikoJosie

Race 8: Special ReserveGreeley and BenMr. JagermeisterMojo ManEmpire of GoldHidden Ruler

Race 9: Frank’s Rockette

Race 10: Heritage ParkDrill’s Li’l Man

At the $1 level the cost of this ticket is $24

Note: In three of these four races there is no value on strong win contenders but in race 8 there are reasons to definitely make win and exacta bets.

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Iowa Sprint Stakes – Race 8 at Prairie Meadows – Post Time 7:07 Central, 8:07 Eastern

Greeley and Ben would be a gift at anywhere near his 10/1 starting odds considering he’s won 11 of 21 including FIVE sprints in a row since Broberg claimed him in March. Gonzalez has been up for his last three, all at Prairie Meadows, and he doesn’t need the lead to win as it appears Quick Tempo and perhaps others do. Two of the wins over the track yielded 106 Equibase Figures which, except for the 114 Special Reserve earned in his most recent race, stack up with the best in here in similar stakes races. Considering the horse was the odds-on favorite in his last three starts, the last a classified allowance race over the track, and opens at 10/1 here, he’s definitely a KEY BET on the day.

Empire of Gold and Special Reserve open at 3/1 and 9/5 odds, respectively, and although win contenders are not likely good win bets as they both can win but are not standouts. Empire of Gold sports a career record of 5-4-5 in 16 dirt races including runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Phoenix Stakes last fall at Keeneland so he must be respected, although it must also be noted his last two efforts when seventh and third are of some concern although he has bounced back to win off third place efforts twice in the past year. Special Reserve, similar to Greeley and Ben, was claimed earlier this year at Oaklawn. Maker took him in February out of a winning race and he’s won three straight including two grade 3 stakes. He has won from as far back as fourth in the early stages and the rail could be problematic if Mollies Rocket (just outside) and Quick Tempo go for the lead and the rail but with 106, 102 and 114 figures in his last three races he must be used on exacta and multiple race bets at the least.

Hidden Ruler lost by a neck to Greeley and Ben last time out over the track and although he loves to finish second (10 times compared to two wins) he could run well again. Mr. Jagermeister cuts back to a sprint after an irrelevant route and on occasion has run well enough to win, such as when victorious in the Phoenix Gold Cup last February (2020). Mojo Man has eight career wins in 24 races and over $400K in the bank including a stakes quality win in an allowance field three races back. As such, all three should be used on the pick 4 ticket started in race 7 and on some exacta tickets.

Handicapper Picks

Win betGreeley and Ben at odds of 5/2 or higher.


Special ReserveGreeley and Ben and Empire of Gold over Greeley and BenEmpire of GoldSpecial ReserveMr. JagermeisterMojo Man and Hidden Ruler

Also, because Hidden Ruler opens at 20/1 I think exactas are warranted, consisting of Hidden Ruler over Greeley and BenEmpire of GoldSpecial ReserveMr. Jagermeister and Mojo Man and the opposite, which is Greeley and BenEmpire of GoldSpecial ReserveMr. JagermeisterMojo Man over Hidden Ruler.

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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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