Key Races & Bets for Saturday, February 22

Turf Dash Stakes – Race 6 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 3:15 PM Eastern

Of the three morning line favorites – Extragavant Kid (5/2), Justaholic (3/1) and Faction Cat (7/2), Justaholic has a slight edge, followed by Extragavant Kid. I’ll take a stand against Faction Cat because I’m not sure he’s running nor am I sure trainer Baxter has much intent. The reason is intuitive, noting Baxter has Pay Any Price in the race and Morales is named to ride but even at the time final entries came out there was no jockey named on Faction Cat. As to Pay Any Price, he’s likely to zip out fast from the rail and is a need-the-lead type who won his only start on the Tampa turf, but that was in 2017 and he folded badly last in a similar stakes in January after leading early so I’m not interested here.

Justaholic comes back fresh from a five month layoff, with his best race ever before the rest winning the similar Rainbow Heir Stakes by almost five lengths with a 116 Equibase figure. Ferrer gets along famously with Justaholic as they have three wins and one second since Clark took over training the horse last June. The works for the comeback are strong and Justaholic has proven capable of rallying from as far back as third or fourth so should be in a great spot in the last eighth of a mile to go by the pacesetters and win.

Extragavant Kid rarely runs a bad race, evidenced by five wins and three seconds from his last nine races. He’s won on turf, on dirt and on all-weather and gets a top local jockey in Gallardo. Last June when winning the Mighty Beau Stakes at this five furlong trip, Extragavant Kid earned a 115 figure so if he runs his best and if Justaholic runs his best we could be in for a great matchup in the stretch.

Mai Ty One On is the value play for exotics at the least, and I wouldn’t hesitate making a win bet if his 10/1 morning line odds hold up. Coming back from nearly five months off last month, Mai Ty One On rallied from fifth and missed by a neck to Pay Any Price in a highly rated allowance race in which he got a 109 figure. Likely to run even better second off the layoff, Mai Ty One On could be closing strongly in the last eighth of a mile to get into the picture.



Win: Justaholic at odds of 9 to 5 or more, a low odds overlay.

“If” Extragavant Kid is 2 to 1 or higher at post time, he can be bet to win as well.

As previously mentioned, Mai Ty One On might be worth a couple of dollars as a win bet at about 5 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. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Box Mai Ty One On
, Extragavant Kid and Justaholic.

Optionally, play a small ($1 or so) exacta keying Mai Ty One On (if his odds are 5 to 1 or more) in both first and second, as follows: Mai Ty One On over ALL and also (the opposite) ALL over Mai Ty One On.


World of Trouble Sprint Stakes – Race 9 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 4:04 PM Eastern

Yorkton is the only one of the four horses (which have almost all the probability to win between them) that is likely to offer value as a win bet. He opens at 8 to 1 in spite of having earned more than a half-million dollars and being a multiple grade 3 stakes winner sprinting. The likely reason his odds will stay high is he’s done all his winning on all-weather and turf, BUT his recent works since coming down to Florida after the Woodbine season ended indicate he should have no issue running as well on the surface. Since January sixth, Yorkton has put in two half-mile works over the slower than average Palm Meadows surface in 47 and change and a five furlong work in under one minute. He has pretty much done his best running on the lead from start to finish but is faster early than Goldenlion, who is just inside of him, with none of the others need-the-lead types. That should allow Yorkton to clear the field shortly after the start and play “come catch me,” hopefully successfully.

Lasting Legacy (7/5 morning line favorite), Epic Dreamer (4/1) and Admiral Lynch (7/2) are the other three contenders and should be used on exacta, trifecta, pick 3 and pick 4 tickets. I’ll have a pick 3 recommendation below but am not playing the pick 4. Of those three, Lasting Legacy has as much probability to win at Yorkton based on the 115 Equibase figure earned when second in his most recent race in the similar Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes, to the red hot Diamond Oops. Lasting Legacy won the non-graded stakes of the same name (yes, I know it’s confusing) at Monmouth prior to that and fires fresh so coming back from a two month layoff is just fine.



Win: Yorkton to win at odds of 7/2 or more.
Instead of a win bet on Lasting Legacy, we will play some additional exacta and trifecta tickets below.

Exacta: Yorkton and Lasting Legacy over Yorkton, Lasting Legacy, Epic Dreamer and Admiral Lynch.
Lasting Legacy over Yorkton, Epic Dreamer and Admiral Lynch.

Trifecta: Yorkton and Lasting Legacy over Yorkton, Lasting Legacy, Epic Dreamer and Admiral Lynch over Yorkton, Lasting Legacy, Epic Dreamer and Admiral Lynch.
Lasting Legacy over Yorkton, Epic Dreamer and Admiral Lynch over Yorkton, Epic Dreamer and Admiral Lynch.

Pick 3:
Race 9: Yorkton, Lasting Legacy, Epic Dreamer and Admiral Lynch
Race 10: Award Winner, Timmy M, Penalty, Kroy, Ry’s the Guy, Bourbon War and Largent
Race 11: Sound Machine, Yesterdayoncemore, Frank’s Rockette
At the $0.50 minimum, this ticket has a cost of $42. Many of the horses in the 10th race are longshots so if we’re lucky the wager could pay many times the investment, also if Yorkton wins in race 9.

In addition, since Largent in race 10 will be a pretty short price, I will be playing an additional pick 3 consisting of:
Race 9: Yorkton, Lasting Legacy, Epic Dreamer and Admiral Lynch
Race 10: Largent
Race 11: Sound Machine, Yesterdayoncemore, Frank’s Rockette
This ticket has a cost of $6 at the $0.50 level.


Race 10 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 4:34 PM Eastern

This second level allowance/optional claiming race could go either of two ways. The first is Largent, who opens at 2 to 1 and who will likely to post as the overwhelming favorite, will win as easily as he did on January 19 when victorious in a nine horse field on the course by six lengths. The other is that any number of horses, six to be exact, with solid races at or near this level in their recent past, most who open at 10/1 or more, will post the upset.

Largent sticks out with a 109 Equibase figure off the win last month which followed eight months off. He won his debut 51 weeks ago in a turf route at Gulfstream Park, no easy task, missed by a neck in May, then was off for a while before the strong win. Being rested one month, he’s not likely to regress but the move from the NW1X allowance condition to NW2X, particularly in a field like this one, could put the brakes on the horse moving into stakes competition in the near future. We should definitely use him as we are doing on pick 3 tickets, and on exacta and trifecta tickets, but I have no problem with a few other horses at decent or better odds, for win bets.

First among those is Kroy, who has won SIX races from 19 starts including four of 13 on grass, four of 11 on this course alone. He’s in for the optional 62,500 claiming price which is of no concern and Irad Ortiz, Jr. takes the call, a big sign for the leading jockey to be on. Kroy nearly posted the upset in the Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes in the fall of 2017 and has had some stops and starts, as well as some trainer changes since then. He’s been off since June but Gargan, who has him now, is exceptional with horses coming back from the layoffs and the strong half-mile drill on 2/10 on the turf signals this gelding has a big shot, particularly as he could be in front from the opening bell on the course with the temp rail out 108 feet, benefiting front runners.

Another pair of horses to note at a price is Ry’s the Guy and Penalty both excellent fits at this NW2X allowance level. Ry’s the Guy tried turf for the first time last June and took to the grass like a duck takes to water to win easily with a career-best 104 figure. Two races later he nearly won the mile and five-sixteenths Dueling Grounds Derby (worth $600K) at 10/1. Landeros has ridden him in all eight races for his father-in-law Ian Wilkes and if this colt is ready he’s as likely to win as any (except maybe Largent “IF” he repeats his last effort). Penalty hasn’t been seen since August and we can ignore the race which led to the layoff. His second race back, on the other hand, is the race that makes him a contender as he won at a mile at Saratoga at the one lower NW1X level off nearly three months on the bench. Mott is very good with comebackers and whereas the horse was 3 to 1 at the one lower level he’s 10/1 here.

The other horses we’re using on the pick 3 started in race 9, which we can also include on exacta tickets, are Award Winner, Timmy M, and Bourbon War. I wouldn’t argue with anyone who wanted to be any of those to win at 8 to 1 odds or more.



Win Bets: Kroy at 2 to 1 or higher.
Ry’s the Guy and Penalty can be bet at 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. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Largent over Award Winner, Timmy M, Bourbon War, Penalty, Kroy and Ry’s the Guy.

For $1, I might also play an exacta box of Award Winner, Timmy M, Bourbon War, Penalty, Kroy and Ry’s the Guy, the reason being the cost of $30 could be a pittance if two of the 15/1 shots ran first and second in the event Largent doesn’t fire.

Any Limit Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:04 PM Eastern

After paying attention to what trainer Patrick Biancone did with Diamond Oops last summer and fall, then with Sole Volante recently, I think Yesterdayoncemore can post the upset in this stakes, opening at 12/1. When a trainer who is good at sensing when a horse can transition from turf to dirt, and has done it with good success, in stakes races, its likely we can catch a horse before much of the public does and that’s what I’m sensing with Yesterdayoncemore, who has only run on turf and all-weather in eight career starts to date. The filly is by No Nay Never, known as a turf runner and turf sire, BUT from a very limited sample of progeny, No Nay Never produced Mae Never Know, who has a record of 3-2-2 in dirt sprints including stakes. I’m guessing after some pretty nice works on the main track at Palm Meadows, Biancone is going to take a shot here. Panici, who gets on for the first time, is Biancone’s go-to jockey when Leparoux isn’t available and rode Sole Volante to a third place finish in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on the dirt here at Gulfstream before winning the Sam F. Davis a few weeks ago so I have no concerns. Yesterdayoncemore won a non-graded stakes like this one in her North American debut in September before a poor effort, three month layoff, and poor effort, but this will be her second start for Biancone and she’s dropping out of graded stakes to boot.

Sound Machine and Frank’s Rockette comprise the rest of the probability to win but open at 8 to 5 and 9 to 5, respectively, compared to 12/1 for Yesterdayoncemore, because both are proven in stakes. Sound Machine won the Glitter Woman Stakes last month while Frank’s Rockette was last seen (in October) finishing second in three stakes in New York including the Grade 1 Frizette. This is a sprint so I’m not worried about her needing a race and the trainer is Mott to boot.


Win Bets: Yesterdayoncemore to win at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

Box Yesterdayoncemore and Sound Machine.
Box Yesterdayoncemore and Frank’s Rockette.

Sound Machine and Franke’s Rockette over Yesterdayoncemore over ALL.
Sound Machine and Franke’s Rockette over ALL over Yesterdayoncemore.

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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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