Key Races & Bets for Saturday January 15, 2022

Race 7 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 3:05 PM Eastern

This is a great betting race for newly turned three year old straight maidens running a mile on dirt around one turn. It’s great because if the morning line holds up, Touch Code is going to be a HUGE low odds overlay. He opens at 7 to 2 and that may just hold up for reasons I’ll mention in the next section. Touch Code finished second to a seven length winner in his debut last month, in a field of 10, a big effort from which he’s going to improve leaps and bounds. This improvement is based on numerous reasons, not the least of which is logical improvement off the debut in a highly rated race. Other reasons are he (as well as the rest) are now eligible for lasix as newly turned three year olds and the fact Bill Mott has a STELLAR record with second time starters. Perhaps most significant of all is the colt’s breeding as he’s the eighth foal of Caressing, winner of the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies whose sons and daughters RUN BIG early in their career, as follows: 1st then 1st, 2nd then 1st, 2nd then 1st, 1st then 2nd, 2nd then 6th, 2nd then 4th and 3rd then 1st. Many are stakes winners, most notably West Coast, who earned $5.9 million in his multiple stakes winning career.

There are four others to use on double tickets to the next race. They are the two Pletcher first time starters – Charge It and Calipari, both working well and likely to be live but overbet, plus Logico, who finished second and third in his first two starts and lost all chance in his third start last month, and Volcanic, who was a fast closing fourth in his debut last spring then lost by a neck last summer before being overmatched and slightly injured in the Hopeful Stakes and taking five mont s off.

Handicapper Picks

Win betTouch Code to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more.

Doubles (three sets of wagers, two for sure and one optional):

Race 7: Touch Code

Race 8: LargentClear VisionValue PropositionBelgrano

Race 7: Charge ItTouch CodeLogicoCalipariVolcanic

Race 8: Clear Vision

This wager is optional:

Race 7: Charge ItTouch CodeLogicoCalipariVolcanic

Race 8: LargentClear VisionValue PropositionBelgrano


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Race 8 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 3:55 PM Eastern

Kuramata, Patriot Drive, Shirl’s Speight, Kygo and A Rose for Raven are the win contenders.

Kuramata opens as the 2 to 1 favorite but I suspect he will go to post at lower odds as he was the 4 to 5 favorite winning 11 months ago on the Tampa Turf when breaking his maiden and he was the 3 to 5 favorite last April when winning at the first allowance level at Aqueduct. Chad Brown ships him here for an easier field (and possibly to keep company with other horses he is racing today) off an eight month rest but for Brown that’s like yesterday as he wins about 25% of the time in these situations. Using Camacho is another strong indicator Kuramata can win off the bench as he did off a 14 month layoff last February, as they are 5 for 11 when teaming up in the last two years.

If Kuramata doesn’t fire there are four horses, all likely to go to post at decent odds, with a shot. Patriot Drive is one of them as he comes into the race off probably the best effort of his life on turf when second in a very highly rated race at Tampa on 12/26. He’s won EIGHT races in his career including at this allowance condition so is in for the optional claiming price and Alvarado rides back. The 99 Figure earned in that las trace is only just lower than the 104 Kuramata earned in his win last April so Patriot Drive certainly has a shot.

Shirl’s Speight returned from 11 months off last month in a race taken off grass and he stayed in the race only because he needed to get into shape. He moves back to turf where he broke his maiden before winning a grade 3 stakes as a two year old and Gallardo getting on is a good sign. Shirl’s Speight’s best effort yielded the same 104 figure as Kuramata’s best effort so he fits.

Kygo adds lasix for his second U.S. start and second after three months off and should improve particularly as his stateside debut was in a stakes at Aqueduct and he’ll find this level much easier. Before he imported, Kygo ran two “A” races in a row on grass in France with 101 and 97 figures so he’s another who must be respected.

The best value among the contenders lies with A Rose for Raven, who opens at 15/1. A lightly raced gelding that has a 2-1-2 record in eight races, with both wins on grass, he’s making his third start off a layoff on a pattern of improving figures (90 then 97) and absolutely fits with these.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bet: Kuramata would be a win bet at 2 to 1 or more but that’s not going to happen and some of the others are worth betting at decent odds so this is what I plan to do: Patriot Drive to win at 4 to 1 and A Rose for Raven at 6 to 1.

This is a great race in which to proportion our bets accordingly for the best mathematical edge. This can be best accomplished by using a “Dutching Tool” like the one which is free and easy to use at 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.


Patriot Drive has a high probability to finish first, or second, so the plays are

Patriot Drive over Kuramata, Shirl’s Speight, Kygo and A Rose for Raven

Kuramata, Shirl’s Speight, Kygo and A Rose for Raven over Patriot Drive

Pick 3: Refer to the Pick 4 in race 7 for the pick 3 play in races 8, 9 and 10 (if you played the pick 4 in race 7 and none of the five contenders won the race)

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Wayward Lass Stakes – Race 9 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:25 PM Eastern

This is where we “go big or go home” with Nantucket RedAll Good Times and Striking Chrome as the contenders.

The favorite is Allworthy, who finished third off a layoff last month in the Rampart Stakes, and the second choice is Don’t Get Khozy, who finished second in the Rampart. The Rampart was a mile BUT it was a one-turn mile, and Allworthy finished fourth and eighth in her two tries around two turns while Don’t Get Khozy has run 36 times around one turn but NEVER around turns. That’s enough lack of experience to take a stand against them at low odds especially when the three win contenders ALL have two-turn wins.

Nantucket Red and All Good Times both draw very well and both have tactical speed but don’t need the lead to win so can establish the top two positions, on slow fractions, from the start. Nantucket Red changed trainers to Wright before her 12/17 race which was a CAREER BEST, earning a 97 figure which is better than the 93 figure Allworthy earned in the Rampart and on par with the 97 figure Don’t Get Khozy earned. Since the race, Nantucket Red put in a sparkling 2nd best of 43 half-mile workout and looks very capable of repeating that last effort.

All Good Times has won or placed in 24 races in her 55 race career and earned $277K, which is second only to Don’t Get Khozy. She was off for three months from September until last month and the six furlong race she was entered in was nothing more than a prep. The last time she stretched out, last June at Delaware Park in a classified allowance race, she won by six and earned a 93 figure and the reason she opens at 20/1 is because her last effort was a fifth place finish and the one before the layoff was a sixth place finish, but I’m ignoring both because I feel she’s capable of winning here. It MUST be noted Danny Centeno rode Nantucket Red to victory on 12/17 and rode All Good Times to that fifth place finish on 12/6 but opts for this filly today, and he was aboard for the six length win last June.

Striking Chrome was closing fast late behind Nantucket Red and missed by a neck at the wire at 4 to 1 odds. She opens at 10/1 here and that’s out of line especially for a filly with a very fine 4-6-1 record in 14 starts. Two before last she stalked in second and got up so I expect her to be in a striking position from the start today and coming off a 95 figure effort she could post the upset as well.

Handicapper Picks

Win BetNantucket RedAll Good Times and Striking Chrome should ALL be considered for win bets at 4 to 1 or more.

If more than one is above 4 to 1 odds near post time, the DUTCHING TOOL at Amwager will really help proportion our bets for the best profit.

Exacta: Box Nantucket RedAll Good Times and Striking Chrome

TrifectaNantucket RedAll Good Times and Striking Chrome over ALL over Nantucket Red, All Good Times and Striking Chrome (these two bets in combination cover any two of these three coming in first and second, or first and third)

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Race 10 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:55 PM Eastern

Similar to the eighth race, Chad Brown saddles the likely favorite in Investment Strategy, who opens at 2/1. However, first time starters Fantastic Rafaela and Silver Sea, as well as another second time starter in Weezy Does It, all have good chances to succeed.

Investmentstrategy finished second to a four length winner in her debut on the Belmont Turf in November and was clearly second best. The 90 Equibase Figure wins here if repeated unless one of the first timers is something special and Brown gets a very strong 25% of his maiden second time starters to win.

Fantastic Rafaela is the second foal of her dam, who is by turf specialist Elusive Quality. The ONLY Other foal out of this mare ran on 12/10/21 in a two turn turf race identical to this one, and she won. Trainer Hamm is okay with first time starters and the workouts are fine so at 12/1 if this gal runs just like her sister she might post the upset.

Silver Sea is a Clement first time starter in a turf route and the trainer is exceptional at getting his horses ready without needing experience of a race. The dam has had four foals and they are ALL turf runners, with three of them finishing second in their debuts and the other fourth then winning second time out. This exceptionally well bred filly is another who could fire a winning shot at first asking.

Weezy Does It, like Investment Strategy, debuted in a turf route last month, and ran very well. She lagged in sixth of seven early then rallied to make the lead in the stretch, before settling for second to a horse which had already run. This time she’s the one which has already run, and with Gallardo staying aboard and with just modest physical and mental improvement off her debut she might be the one getting her picture taken after the race.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bets: Fantastic Rafaela, Silver Sea and Weezy Does It at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

Hopefully the pick 4 is live and paying well so betting any of the above to win isn’t necessary.

This is another race where, when wagering on two horses(or more) for the best mathematical edge, a DUTCHING tool like the one at Amwager, really helps us maximize the value for our win bets.

Trifecta: Box Investment Strategy, Fantastic Rafaela, Silver Sea and Weezy Does It

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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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