AmWager Key Races & Bets for Saturday, May 4, 2019


Jacques Cartier Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:40 PM Eastern


Extravagant Kid missed by three-quarters of a length in last year’s edition of this race, to Pink Lloyd, who also returns, but Extravagant Kid has a race this year and Pink Lloyd does not and that may be how the former turns the tables on the latter. Extravagant Kid won a sprint stakes on dirt at Tampa in March when last year he was returning from 13 months off. Contreras rode him last year in this race, not before or since, and with a good post to stalk the likely dueling leaders Yorkton and Wyatt’s Town and opening at 6/1, Extravagant Kid gets top billing.


Ikerrin Road finished a well-beaten sixth in this race last year but won his last two start of the year including the Grade 2 Kennedy Road Stakes over the track before taking the five months off he’s returning from today. He put in a SPARKLING best of 70 five furlong work over the track recently and has every right to pick up where he left off in December with a top effort good enough to win, opening at 8/1.


There’s not much to say about Pink Lloyd which hasn’t been said and as evidenced by his 16-for-21 career record at Woodbine including this race last year. He has been working well for his return and won this race last year off a similar layoff. However, it must be noted he tailed off badly at the end of the year with fifth and fourth place finishes.



Win Bet: Both Extravagant Kid and Ikerrin Road should be bet to win at odds of 3 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.


Exacta: Box Extravagant Kid, Ikerrin Road and Pink Lloyd.


Honey Ryder Stakes – Race 10 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:08 PM Eastern


Don’t Make Fun stretches out to two turns for the first time, in her fourth lifetime start, and as daughter of Kitten’s Joy could excel at the trip, making her 10/1 starting odds look like a gift. She finished a close-up fourth in her career debut last December in a turf sprint then won nicely in January, also in a sprint, before a poor sixth place effort on paper which actually serves as an exceptional sprint prep for this two-turn race as she was about 6 lengths behind the leader from start to finish. With veteran Prado riding and with room to improve off a sharp 93 Equibase figure from the win which is the second best figure by any horse in the field, Don’t Make Fun gets slight preference of three potential longshot worth considering for our wagering dollars.


Perspire opens at 20/1 only for the fact she’s never run on turf. She won at a mile on a sloppy track last month at 11/1 at the first allowance level and she’s never been in a claiming race. She rallied nicely in the win and earned an 87 figure she can improve on and she’s certainly bred to do just as well on turf.


Peaceful Feeling made her three year old debut in February at a mile on the course and won as she pleased by three lengths at 2 to 1 before a third place finish also at a mile, a race in which she rallied from third to lead before getting passed. The issue of getting passed may be remedied by the addition of blinkers and as a daughter of War Front there’s little doubt routing on turf may be her forte, so opening at 12/1 she’s yet another to consider.


For exactas, we can also consider Devious Charm, Vow to Recover and Itsmyluckycharm, the latter being the 3/1 morning line favorite who is in form and who has won five of 10 career starts but who is also no standout.



Win Bet: Bet two of these three to win going to post at the highest odds and at 4 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or higher: Don’t Make Fun, Perspire, Peaceful Feeling.


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: Don’t Make Fun, Perspire and Peaceful Feeling over Don’t Make Fun, Perspire, Peaceful Feeling, Devious Charm, Vow to Recover and Itsmyluckycharm.


Also (the opposite of the above exacta): Don’t Make Fun, Perspire, Peaceful Feeling, Devious Charm, Vow to Recover and Itsmyluckycharm over Don’t Make Fun, Perspire, Peaceful Feeling.


Westchester Stakes – Race 11 at Belmont Park – Post Time 5:40 PM Eastern


Hoffenheim finished third a little over a month ago in a non-graded stakes at seven furlongs, his first start back from eight months off. He’s bound to move forward and ran exceptionally well at Belmont last spring when second to stakes winners Timeline and Recruiting Ready so with second off the layoff improvement likely he’s the one we look to first for profit as he opens at 15/1.


Realm opens at even higher odds, 20/1, odd considering he lead in the stretch last time out (3/29) in the Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park at 19/1 and was beaten only a half-length and neck on the wire at the end. He had been away for six months before that, has won at Belmont, and gets hot Carmouche to ride so must be respected as it’s very probable he’ll run better than his high odds suggest.


Prince Lucky opens as the prohibitive 4 to 5 favorite and although his chances can’t be discounted he’s no standout. He won the Hal’s Hope Stakes and Gulfstream Park Mile in succession this year but the 112 and 105 Equibase figures aren’t standout figures as Hoffenheim earned a 107 figure and can improve, and Realm earned a 107 figure and can improve.


Stan the Man won at this one turn mile trip at Aqueduct in February as well as at Belmont last May and has now been first or second in 10 of 16 career dirt starts. Dylan Davis rides him exceptionally well as he’s been aboard for ALL five wins so the gelding rounds out a quartet who can win and who can complete the exacta.


Sunny Ridge, who opens at 7/2, isn’t a win contender in my opinions as he appears to be happy finishing second or third. We’ll just use him on exacta tickets in the second position.



Win bets: Hoffenheim and Realm to win at 4 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or higher.

Consider a win bet on Stan the Man at odds of 5 to 1 or more.


Note: This is a race we can, and should, bet at least two of the horses above to win, and 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: Hoffenheim, Realm, Prince Lucky and Stan the Man over Hoffenheim, Realm, Prince Lucky, Stan the Man and Sunny Ridge.



Bonus Race


Kentucky Derby – Race 12 at Churchill Downs – Post Time 6:50 PM Eastern


Although the Derby can’t be bet via Amwager, here are my thoughts.


#17 RoadsterMinimum odds 3/1

#9 Plus Que ParfaitMinimum odds 6/1

#8 Tacitus Minimum odds 6/1

#3 By My StandardsMinimum odds 6/1

#7 Maximum Security Minimum odds 10/1

#14 Win Win Win Minimum odds 12/1


Wagering strategy for win, win/place or win/place/show bets: I think it is a good idea to consider betting more than one contender to win, using the minimum odds as a guide and starting with the top listed contender. I would also bet to place/show at 8 to 1 odds or more.


Wagering strategy for exotic wagers are at the bottom following the analysis of the race and the main contenders. As always, I write this analysis for me and share it with everyone who wishes to read it and these wagers are ones which, as of this writing, I intend to make myself.



As I do every year, I list six win contenders, believing the winner will be among that group. I would never list six win contenders in most fields of 8 or 10 or even 12, but in the Derby even that may not be sufficient to catch the right one who becomes a man among men in the Derby. This is a race to take the rubber band off the wallet and to bet in ways we would not otherwise consider, because the return for the risk on some of the wagers warrants it. In addition there are a number of horses who I believe can finish second or third, and there are some serious lines in the sand which need to be drawn to come up with that list as well. Those horses are #2 Tax, #5 Improbable, #6 Vekoma, #10 Cutting Humor and #16 Game Winner.



Overview: The 145th running of the Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve is one of the more wide open editions of the race in recent memory because only one horse, Tacitus, has won two “Road to the Derby” races in succession and because many of the favorites in prep races for the Derby have failed to live up to expectations. For example, Game Winner, the Eclipse Award champion two year old of 2018, has finished second as the prohibitive favorite in both of his races this year. Similarly, Improbable, who like Game Winner was undefeated as a two year old, has also finished second in both his starts as a three year old. Bob Baffert, who has won the Derby five times including two of the last four years with Triple Crown Champions Justify and American Pharoah, trains Game Winner as well as Improbable. Baffert also trains Roadster, who has won both races this year though the first of the two was not a stakes race. Roadster made his second start of the year in the Santa Anita Derby, the same stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby which produced last year’s winner Justify, as well as 2014 Derby winner California Chrome and 2012 winner I’ll Have Another. Other major Derby prep race winners include Wood Memorial Stakes winner Tacitus, who overcame significant traffic trouble to win, as well as Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Vekoma, Louisiana Derby winner By My Standards, Florida Derby winner Maximum Security, United Arab Emirates Derby winner Plus Que Parfait, Sunland Derby winner Cutting Humor and a slew of horses who finished second or third in those prep races.


Main contenders:

Roadster showed me what I needed to see in the Santa Anita Derby to make be believe he has the tools to win the Kentucky Derby this year. Although jockey Mike Smith rode both Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby and Omaha Beach in the Arkansas Derby and opted for the latter (although now scratched), what Smith did in the Santa Anita Derby with Roadster is the reason I believe Roadster can win this year’s Kentucky Derby. In early stages of the Santa Anita Derby, Roadster was fifth of six on the inside of other horses and two lengths behind the leader when Smith let the colt drop back of his own accord, going to nearly five lengths behind the leader with a quarter-mile to run. Roadster was then allowed to go to the outside although there were no horses inside of him until an eighth of a mile to go, the colt continually accelerated and was head-and-head with the leaders in mid-stretch, eventually pulling away to win by a half-length. I believe what Smith was doing was educating Roadster to get ready for one of the longest stretch runs in any track in North America at 1,234 feet, and that education may serve him very well in the Kentucky Derby. Having continually improved since his debut last July when he earned a 90 Equibase Speed Figure, Roadster finished third behind Game Winner in the Del Mar Futurity with a 96 figure effort then was given six months off to mature. He certainly did mature over the winter, running two-turns for the first time and winning in March without a prep race first while earning a 104 figure, then improving to 106 in the Santa Anita Derby. Being as the Kentucky Derby will be his third start off a layoff, Roadster should peak in this race and given he’s already been educated as to how to run down the long stretch at Churchill Downs I believe he can win.


Plus Que Parfait showed talent as a two year old when beaten a neck in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill downs last November, but his first two races as a three year old were complete clunkers, first finishing fifth in the LeComte Stakes and then finishing 13th in the Risen Star Stakes. However, he was an entirely different horse in his next start on March 30 in the United Arab Emirates Derby. Adding blinkers for that race, Plus Que Parfait was in traffic until about an eighth of a mile to go when he found room to run in between horses, accelerated and got the lead. He continued to run strongly to the wire, holding off the late challenge of Gray Magician with minimal effort. When we can identify the reason for a turnaround in performance, as is the case with Plus Que Parfait adding blinkers, we can more easily assess whether the effort was a fluke or can be repeated. The effort earned a 112 Equibase figure which is even a bit better as now scratched favorite Omaha Beach earned winning the Rebel Stakes and if he can repeat the effort and if Roadster does not move forward as expected in his third start as a three year old, Plus Que Parfait could post the upset.


Tacitus also showed a lot of physical toughness, as well as heart, in his most recent race when victorious in the Wood Memorial last month. Near the start of the race, Tacitus was bumped pretty hard and caused jockey Jose Ortiz to momentarily lose his balance. Shortly after that, a horse nearly crossed in front of Tacitus going into the first turn and he clipped that horse’s heels, nearly falling. Recovering nicely but finding himself seven lengths behind the leader with about three-quarters of a mile to run, Tacitus shows a big burst of speed on the turn to get the lead by a head with an eighth of a milt to run, holding off the challenge of Tax to win by a length and one-quarter at the finish. As with others, Tacitus is on a pattern for a peak effort in the Derby as he’s making his third start of the year and Equibase figures of 105 and 106. As a son of Tapit, sire of multiple graded stakes winners such as Frosted, Cupid, Creator and Tonalist, there is little doubt Tacitus has anything but the makings of a potential Derby winner and so he’s another deserving of respect when considering who can win this year.


By My Standards doesn’t appear to be as fast as either Roadster or some of the others, as he earned just a 93 Equibase figure when winning for the first time (in his fourth career start) in February and then a 96 figure when winning the Louisiana Derby. However, By My Standards showed the mental toughness of a top level horse in the Louisiana Derby, a race in which he as stuck behind a wall of horses turning for home, slowing his momentum, before jockey Saez guided him to the inside for running room, at which point By My Standards accelerated nicely to take the lead. By all reports, By My Standards has improved both physically and mentally since the race, with a pair of exceptional workouts at Churchill Downs. Mental toughness is a key to running well in the Kentucky Derby given the 20 horse field and the likelihood for traffic trouble, and as By My Standards has excellent tactical speed to allow him to be towards the front of the pack, he may be able to spring the upset by improving off his last effort.


Maximum Security is undefeated in four races, including a dominant three and one-half length win in the Florida Derby on March 30. That was his first race around two turns and he passed the test with flying colors as he controlled the tempo on the front end from start to finish. Although he led from the start in the Florida Derby as well as prior to that (in February) in a seven furlong sprint, Maximum Security demonstrated he does not need the lead to win when rallying from third to win in January. Having earned a career-best 109 figure winning the seven furlong race on February 20, it might seem like a regression to a 102 figure effort in the Florida Derby, but considering Maximum Security had no challengers for nearly the entire race, he could have run faster. Trainer Jason Servis trains his horses rather unconventionally by working them very slowly and at longer distances than most other trainers. As such, Maximum Security has been galloping a mile nearly every day at three-quarter speed and if nothing else, he may be the most fit horse entering the Derby. Considering the winners of the Florida Derby in 2013 (Orb), 2016 (Nyquist) and 2017 (Always Dreaming) all won the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security could add to that list with a top effort.


Win Win Win rounds out my annual sextet of main contenders and although I don’t believe he has the same probability to win as any of the other five, he has a high probability to finish second or third at the least and help us profit in the exacta or trifecta. Racing around two turns for the first time in the Tampa Bay Derby in March, Win Win Win closed from far back in seventh to finish third behind Tacitus, who improved to win the Wood Memorial the next month. Win Win Win then entered the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and although no threat to three and one-half length winner Vekoma, Win Win Win showed a good deal of ability after being steadied in traffic and losing momentum with five-sixteenths of a mile to run, rallying from eighth to pass all but the winner in the final stages. In a recent workout at Churchill Downs, Win Win Win showed a strong competitive instinct because even though he was not in company with two other Derby entrants (Country House and Tacitus), when he saw them in front of him he insisted on accelerating past them to be in front. This competitive desire could prove very helpful in the late stages of the Derby and as Win Win Win is likely to go to post at high odds given he did not win his most recent Derby prep race, he is definitely a horse I want to use on any exacta or trifecta tickets I play.


Notes about others: Game Winner and Improbable did not move forward as three year olds as compared to their two year old campaigns, both finishing second in their two races each this year, beaten most recently by Roadster and Omaha Beach, respectively. They didn’t run badly, but in predicting which horses may peak in the Derby, it is tough to consider either more probable than a horse like Roadster or some of the others. Similarly, as Tax was beaten by Tacitus in his most recent race, I can’t envision a scenario where the finish is reversed in the Derby. Cutting Humor is included as a minor contender as I respect Todd Pletcher and the colt is improving, but he doesn’t appear to be of the caliber of the top contenders. Vekoma won the Blue Grass rather impressively, but regressed to a 97 figure off the 104 figure earned in the Fountain of Youth and I suspect it may have been due to the longer distance, so I have concerns about his running as well at 10 furlongs.


Exotic wagering options:
Exactas: (Options below are dependent on how risk averse or risk tolerant you feel, here are the options)

Box 3,7,8,9,14,17 (cost $30 at the $1 minimum level)

Key 17 over ALL (cost $19 at the $1 minimum level)

Key 17 over 3,7,8,9,14 (cost $5 at the $1 level)




17 over 14 over ALL and ALSO 17 over ALL over 14

With these bets we win if Roadster wins and then if Win Win Win finishes second or third. The cost of both bets at the $0.50 min level is $17.

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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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