Key Races & Bets for Saturday, February 8

Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes – Race 8 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 3:59 PM Eastern

Got Stormy opens as the 4/5 favorite and although the race isn’t playable from the perspective of a win bet or even other exotics there’s value in the pick 5 which starts here because it becomes a pick 4 with a strong single (the only horse to play) to begin the sequence. She’s a multiple grade 1 winner in a grade 3 race and although she hasn’t run since winning the Matriarch Stakes in December she fired to win last August off a three month layoff. Hopefully we can make a decent profit in the pick 5, or at least more than we would make betting her to win.


Pick 5:
Race 8- Got Stormy
Race 9 – Lucrezia, Two Sixty, Motu
Race 10 – March to the Arch, Devamani, Caribou Club
Race 11 – Ajaaweed, Sole Volante, Independence Hall
Race 12 – Igottawhiteface

You can certainly play a pick 3 starting in this race and use the same horses as above in races 9 and 10, as well as a double from race 8 to race 9.


Suncoast Stakes – Race 9 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:29 PM Eastern

Lucrezia possesses a win over the track, a stakes win, taking the Sandpiper Stakes on 12/7. She is stretching out to two turns but that’s not a problem based on her breeding as her sire is Into Mischief and her dam produced the winner of the nine furlong Sunland Oaks in 2017. Centeno stays aboard after being up for the first time and with excellent tactical speed and the rail she could have the early lead or stalk whichever horse chooses to go. Her workout on 2/2 in preparation for the race was the third best of 82 and sends a strong signal she’s ready to win her second stakes race in a row.

Motu has run second in both two-turn tries, the most recent at the end of November in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes. She starts her three year old campaign with five workouts from the beginning of the year through February 1 and McPeek knows how to keep horses fit enough to run well off layoffs into routes. As such, she must be respected as a win contender.

Two Sixty has had the lead in the early stages in her last four races, two sprints and two routes, so it’s likely she will be sent to the front by Gaffalione from the opening bell. Aside from fading badly to ninth in the much tougher Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Two Sixty has done little wrong since stretching out in September to win a statebred stakes at Gulfstream. She was very game last time out winning the Gasparilla Stakes over the track by a neck, neck and nose in a four horse blanket finish and rounds out a trio who have the bulk of the probability to win.



Win: Lucrezia to win at 2 to 1 or more.
Consider win bets on Motu and on Two Sixty at odds of 5 to 2 or more, settling on the one with the highest odds near post time.

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.

Exacta: Box Lucrezia, Motu and Two Sixty.

Pick 3:
Race 9 – Lucrezia, Two Sixty, Motu
Race 10 – March to the Arch, Devamani, Caribou Club
Race 11 – Ajaaweed, Sole Volante, Independence Hall

Optionally, you can play the pick 4 ending in race 12 with Igottawhiteface but if you did play the pick 5 I race 8 and Got Stormy won (as expected) there’s no reason to do so.


Tampa Bay Stakes – Race 10 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:59 PM Eastern

March to the Arch has a slight edge over Caribou Club in my opinion. They are both grade 2 stakes winners on turf, but whereas Caribou Club is making his first start in three months, March to the Arch just won on January 18. March to the Arch captured the Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes last June at Churchill Downs and then last fall was a very respectable fifth, beaten under a length for the win, in the Shadwell Turf Mile. After a short rest he won the Sunshine Millions Turf with a big rally in the final strides and he gets the ground saving rail today. His starting odds of 7/2 offer more value than the 5/2 odds on Caribou Club as well.

Caribou Club won the Grade 3 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup in September as well as the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap the previous fall. He missed by a neck in the Artie Schiller Stakes when last seen on November 9 and fires nicely off layoffs so there really are no knocks except he’s giving two months of recency (fitness) to March to the Arch.

I can’t let Devamani run well at decent odds, opening at 8/1, considering he’s trained by Chad Brown because if the North American Leading trainer the past few years thinks the horse fits in a stakes I’m not going to argue, and I’m not going to get beaten by him. When winning one before last on November 9 in New York, Devamani beat Instilled Regard, who came back to win a stakes on grass and that’s why I think he fits here, particularly with Rosario getting on.



Win Bets: March to the Arch and Caribou Club to win at odds of 9 to 5 or higher, low odds overlays.
Note: I tend to doubt Caribou Club will go to post at those odds.

I would also make a smaller win bet on Devamani at odds of 4 to 1 or more, considering Brown’s record the past few years in turf races and especially in stakes races.

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.

Exactas: Box March to the Arch, Caribou Club and Devamani.

Double: (only if multi-race wagers in earlier races did not advance to this point)\
Race 10 – March to the Arch, Devamani, Caribou Club
Race 11 – Ajaaweed, Sole Volante, Independence Hall


Sam F. Davis Stakes – Race 11 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 5:29 PM Eastern

Although there’s little doubt Independence Hall has been impressive in his three races to date, winning by margins of four lengths, 12 lengths and four lengths, the latter two in stakes, I believe Sole Volante can post the mild upset and win the Sam F. Davis Stakes. The reasons are two-fold. First, Sole Volante is one of only two horses in the field to have won around two-turns, the other being Chapalu, but his win came in October and he’s been away from the races for three months. Sole Volante is actually two-for-two around two turns, with both wins coming on grass. He broke his maiden at first asking in October at seven and one-half furlongs on turf, then won the Pulpit Stakes with a visually impressive rally from last of 11 in the early stages. That effort earned a career-best and field high 109 Equibase figure, better than the 107 figure Independence Hall earned in the Nashua Stakes in November. Trying dirt for the first time in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on January 4, Sole Volante wasn’t disgraced one bit as he rallied from last of six to get third at the end, beaten two lengths for the win but seven lengths clear of the next horse in the field. Although Sole Volante regressed and earned a 98 figure, it was still better than the 94 figure Independence Hall regressed to when winning the Jerome Stakes and again I must remind myself Independence Hall has is running in a two-turn race for the first time. Since the Mucho Macho Man, Sole Volante has put in two morning workouts on dirt and two on turf, the most recent of which was a potentially portentous 58.25 workout for five furlongs on grass which was the best of the day at the distance. As such, I think this colt gets onto the Kentucky Derby trail with a win in this year’s Sam F. Davis Stakes.

Independence Hall isn’t necessarily a suspect or vulnerable favorite in the race so he has to be considered a strong win contender as well. Independence Hall improved mightily off an 87 figure in his debut to 107 when dominating by 12 lengths in the Nashua Stakes in November. Following two months off, it might have been expected for the colt to run a bit more slowly, which he did when earning a 94 figure when winning the Jerome Stakes on New Year’s Day. Since the Jerome, Independence Hall has put in four excellent morning workouts, signaling he continues to remain in top physical condition and if can take to the two-turn trip of the Sam F. Davis he can win.

Ajaaweed ran poorly in a short six furlong sprint in his career debut last August but was a different horse just one month later when stretching out to a mile, winning by four lengths. Sent to post as one of the favorites at 7 to 2 odds in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November, Ajaaweed ran on for fourth of 10 while very wide around the far turn. Given two months off to mature after that, Ajaaweed returned to run a bang-up second, beaten just a half-length, in the Remsen Stakes in December. Considering the Remsen winner, Shotski, returned for his three year old debut with a nice second place effort in last week’s Withers Stakes, Ajaaweed could run even better than when earning a career-best 98 figure in the Remsen to be a strong contender in this race.



Win: Sole Volante to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Exacta: Box Sole Volante, Ajaaweed and Independence Hall.

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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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