Key Horse Races & Expert Handicapper Bets – October 16, 2021

Race 5 at Belmont – Post Time 2:43 PM 

Happy Hill Lil goes for her third straight win and although the first of the two came in a maiden claiming race and the most recent came in a non-winners of two races lifetime claiming race she fits perfectly here. Both wins came in turf sprints and the 85 and 81 Equibase Figures are BETTER than the figures earned by horses which have finished in the money recently at this first allowance level for NY Breds. She rallied from 10th in the first of the two and from third last out so Cancel (who was up for both wins and rides back) can have her wherever necessary in the early stages to win her third in a row and as she opens at 6 to 1 that provides a lot of value.

Kreesa La Wrote was beaten just two lengths on the wire although fifth of 10 last month at the level and broke her maiden two before that, Castellano up then as now. The win earned an 84 figure and appears representative of what she’s capable of so opening at 10/1 she must be considered for our wagers. Highway Queen missed by inches in a three horse photo under very similar conditions last month, was third before that and won three back. Rosario takes over and she rounds out a strong trio of win contenders.

For second in the exacta we’ll throw in Get the Candy and Uncle’s Gem, both with early speed that might result in being vulnerable to being passed late but hanging on for second.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: Happy Hill Lil at 3 to 1 or more.



Happy Hill Lil, Kreesa La Wrote and Highway Queen over Happy Hill Lil, Kreesa La WroteHighway Queen, Get the Candy and Uncle’s Gem



Race 5: Happy Hill Lil, Kreesa La Wrote, Highway Queen

Race 6: Third Draft, Jordan’s Leo, Runaway Rumour

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Sands Point Stakes – Race 6 at Belmont – Post Time 3:15 PM Eastern

Jordan’s Leo just finished second in the Pebbles Stakes, an ungraded stakes but one for three year olds only like this and with only a $50K lower purse. That was her second ever try on turf and her first was just before that when winning clearly in a field of nine. Her 100 Equibase Figure is only one point shy of the 101 figure 2/1 morning line favorite Higher Truth earned when second in the Jockey Club Oaks yet Jordan’s Leo opens at 6 to 1 for the combination of Luis Saez and Todd Pletcher. In short, she’s the one to beat in my opinion.

Runaway Rumour was just one length behind Jordan’s Leo when third in the Pebbles last month and was second in the similar grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes prior to that yet is another with odds to be taken advantage of as she opens at ridiculously high 8 to 1. She won the first three starts of her career from May through the end of June, all on turf, including the Wild Applause Stakes here at Belmont and Lezcano rides her very well.

Third Draft is the bomb we can hope hits the board for the exacta or trifecta, opening at 30/1 because her last race was awful as she finished ninth in the Pebbles. My opinion is there’s no reason to base her probability to win on that one race because before that she was in the money in six straight including when second in the Riskaverse Stakes at Saratoga at 6 to 1. Castellano gets on for McGaughey, who saddled an 11/1 winner at Keeneland on Thursday.

Two of the starting favorites – Fluffy Socks (7 to 2) and Higher Truth (2 to 1) – can hit the board but aren’t as high a probability to win as their odds suggest. Higher Truth won her second and third career starts this spring and although third, second and second since that doesn’t mean she is a standout here. Fluffy Socks finished second two back in the Grade 3 Lake George which isn’t even as good as Runaway Rumor’s runner-up effort in the Lake Placid and she was third in the Del Mar Oaks in California last out and my response is that doesn’t make her a standout. Three to one second betting choice Harajuku was two lengths behind Higher Truth in the Oaks and never closed so I don’t think she’s going to beat that one and since I think there others more likely to win as compared to Higher Truth, Harajuku isn’t a contender.

Handicapper Picks

Win betsJordan’s Leo AND Runaway Rumour should be bet to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

I’d probably make a very small ($2 to $5) win bet on Third Draft at 10 to 1 or more 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.

ExactaJordan’s Leo and Runaway Rumour over Jordan’s LeoRunaway RumourThird DraftHigher Truth and Fluffy Socks.

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Race 5 at Santa Anita – Post Time 6:06 PM Eastern

Rose’s Crystal just beat California bred first allowance types at Del Mar and she did so very well when rallying from seventh then pulling away late. Considering she had been off for seven months prior to that and that jockey Juan Hernandez rides her again, as well as rode her to her maiden win in January on the Santa Anita turf, gets her top billing. She should improve nicely second off the layoff and has a much higher probability to win than is suggested by her 8 to 1 starting odds.

Unicorn gets the ground saving rail and although she returns from a year off could be interesting here. She won in January of 2020 on the course to break her maiden then returned off a two month layoff last September and finished fourth at this allowance level. In her final start of 2020, Unicorn led from start to finish at this nine furlong turf trip over the track and considering there is really only one other horse who may want the lead (Mercy Mercy) and Unicorn has a post position advantage she could get some easy early fractions and get brave like she did one year ago. It must also be noted that although she won under identical conditions one year ago she is still eligible for the same allowance condition because she’s entered for the $50,000 claiming price today.

Ultimate Hy and Fearless Girl finished third and second, respectively, at a mile and at this allowance level last month. Ultimate Hy had stalked in third then moved to within a head of the lead in the stretch but was then outfinished a bit Fearless Girl, who had been fifth entering the stretch. Both fillies can improve but in my mind may be just a cut below (slightly less probable) than the top two contenders.

Handicapper Picks

Win betsRose’s Crystal and Unicorn to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

This is another race where a Dutching tool, like the one which is free at Amwager, really helps. We are likely to have two horses go to post at higher than the minimum odds but not at the same odds so the tool really helps us gain an edge mathematically when wagering on more than one horse to win.


Rose’s Crystal over UnicornFearless Girl and Ultimate Hy

UnicornFearless Girl and Ultimate Hy over Rose’s Crystal

Trifecta: Box Rose’s CrystalUnicornFearless Girl and Ultimate Hy

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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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