Key Races & Bets for Saturday, November 2


Marathon Stakes Race 10 at Churchill Downs- Post Time 6:43 PM Eastern Time


Honorable Duty has NEVER raced past a mile and one-eighth in 20 starts so this 12 furlongs could be an issue BUT both his breeding AND trainer’s record are in his favor. Sire Distorted Humor has a couple of marathon distance winners from seven starters in the last five years and trainer Walsh won the 2016 Marathon (on Breeders’ Cup weekend) with Scuba, saddled the 2nd place finisher in the race in 2014 and the 3rd place horse in 2013 so apparently knows whether his horses have a shot in this kind of race. Honorable Duty is just shy of having earned $1 million in his career and was 2nd in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster over the track in June so there are no questions of class or liking the track, particularly as he has won 4 of his other 9 races here. North American leading jockey Jose Ortiz rides for the first time and that’s a big plus as well.



Rocketry won the mile and five-eighths distance last time out on 9/30 at Belmont, Rosario up for the 1st time and riding back, so he has to be considered a strong contender, while Big Dollar Bill is the only horse in the field to have ever run this 1 3/4 mile trip and particularly to have won at it as he did so in August in the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga with Landeros aboard as today. Big Dollar Bill enters the race off a win at 1 1/16 miles last month and his Birdstone win was also earned off a win at the 1 1/16 mile distance so all signs are “GO” for a top effort once again.  


Win Bets: Honorable Duty to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more. Also Consider Rocketry for a win bet as well, at odds of 5 to 2 or more. If Big Dollar Bill happens to go to post at 4 to 1 or more, I’d make a win bet there as well, for a smaller amount than either Honorable Duty or Rocketry.


When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free “Dutching” tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.


Exactas: Honorable Duty, Rocketry and Big Dollar Bill over Honorable Duty, Rocketry, Big Dollar Bill, War Story and Dabster.


Play the reverse of that exacta as well, so we win twice if any two of the top three finish first AND second. That bet is Honorable Duty, Rocketry, Big Dollar Bill, War Story and Dabster over Honorable Duty, Rocketry and Big Dollar Bill.


Lure Stakes – Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post Time 6:52 PM Eastern Time, 3:52 Pacific


Alert Bay is an absolute standout and a likely low odds overlay. He has won 9 of 19 career starts on turf, four of those at Santa Anita including the Grade 1 Mathis Brothers Mile in 2014. He’s five for eight at the trip and a true miler and he’s ONLY eligible for this restricted stakes because he has started twice this year and his win when last seen on September 3 came in a stakes race with the winner’s share being $30K. This race is only open to horses who have not won a stakes worth $55K or more in 2018 and he’s the ONLY stakes winner in 2018 in the field. Top northern California jockey Hernandez comes into ride and has a 4-1-1 record on Alert Bay this year and last. Shipping down from Golden Gate where trainer Wright is based, the veteran gelding has put in a steady series of works and lays over this field on class and on speed, as his stakes win on turf last time out earned a 120 Equibase figure, the same he earned last spring (2017) when winning the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile easily. Last year’s winner of this race, He Will (who races here) earned a 116 figure in victory but has run poorly since so will not be a threat to Alert Bay.


Secretary At War, Kencumin and Le Ken all have run well enough in the past to get second or third so in addition to hopefully being able to bet Alert Bay to win even at low odds we can play exactas and trifectas using these three.


Bets: Alert Bay to win at even money or higher, a true low odds overlay Key Bet.


Exactas: Box Alert Bay and Secretary At War. Box Alert Bay and Kencumin. Box Alert Bay and Le Ken.


Trifectas: Alert Bay over Secretary At War, Kencumin and Le Ken over ALL.

You can get my detailed Breeders’ Cup Classic analysis free at this link to Equibase and you can get my full card detailed analysis for both days of Breeders’ Cup in the selections section on Equibase web site as well. 

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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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