Key Races & Bets for Saturday, November 24


Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship – Race 7 at Aqueduct – Post Time 2:50 PM Eastern


Dubini is the KEY to a big profit in the race, opening at 15/1, if he runs as he did in this race last year when 2nd, beaten 3/4 of a length, at 59 to 1. He’s in fine form off a pair of runner-up finishes in Turf Sprints, last out to a very tough horse in Smokin’ Nitro, who might have won a stakes last week if half the gate didn’t open when it sprung for the rest of the field. First or second in 8 of 13 career races, all turf sprints, the 122 figure Dubini earned in this race last year is as good as heavy favorite Disco Partner (even money on the morning line) earned in his two best efforts this year, with the rest of the field FAR SLOWER, and from a much better post (2) than the favorite (9), Dubini could be in the thick of the action from start to finish once again.

is another potential overlay, opening at 8/1, because he ran two “A” races in a row before his last when 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint when over his head and on a soggy course he did not care for. Jose Ortiz gets back on, having ridden him just once in the past year, to a win at Kentucky Downs in a turf sprint in September. Those allowance races at Kentucky Downs carried stake purses and fields and that 106 Equibase figure effort was improved upon to 116 when Hembree won the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine in October. If the Nearctic was his most recent race there’s no way he would be opening at 8/1 and I have no problem ignoring the BC effort so he’s got a shot to outrun high odds as well.

There are no particular knocks on
Disco Partner, whose best effort has him in the photo on the wire, but except for his Jaipur effort in June and his Belmont Turf Sprint effort in October, he’s just average this year and that accounts for FOUR of his six races this year. Blind Ambition was 2nd to Disco Partner in the Belmont Turf Sprint and won a similar stakes (the Elusive Quality) in April but he too has run just so-so at best in five races this year so he’s a poor win bet opening at 3/1.

Bets: Dubini to win and place at 7 to 2 or more (and/or the exacta below which can be played instead of a win/place bet). For a smaller amount, Hembree to win at 4 to 1 or more.

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.

Exacta: (which can be played instead of, or in addition to, a win/place bet on Dubini): Dubini over All and then All over Dubini. Then come back and play an exacta box of Dubini and Disco Partner and Dubini and Blind Ambition.

Trifecta: Box Dubini, Hembree, Disco Partner and Blind Ambition.

Long Island Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:50 PM Eastern

Tricky Escape has proved competitive in marathons on turf like this one, first winning the Grade 2 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes in July then two later taking the Ramsey Farm Stakes at Kentucky Downs, which in spite of not having a grade was a grade 3 or grade 2 level race carrying a $360K purse similar to the $400K on the line here. Those two wins bookended a three race streak since rejoining the Ashby barn, before she was overmatched in the G1 Flower Bowl last month. The 106 and 104 best figures earned in two of the three recent wins are BEST in the field yet the mare opens at 8/1 so she must get top billing.

Violet Blue opens at 2 1/2 times the odds of Tricky Escape, 20/1, which will really help us make a profit if she runs well. There is really only one race in her recent history to be competitive here, three back on 8/10 at Saratoga when beaten a half-length in a tough allowance field at 9/2, with a 105 figure as good as any in here. Alvarado gets on for the first time, for the very solid Toner barn, and considering she didn’t care one bit for the soggy turf last month in the Zagora Stakes and was 6th in the same Ramsey Farm Stakes which Tricky Escape won, Violet Blue doesn’t have 3 times less of a chance to run well as Tricky Escape so we must consider her for all wagers we make in this race.

Lady Montdore won the similar Glens Falls Stakes in September at Saratoga at this 11 furlong trip, leading from start to finish, but she also won in her U.S. debut one month earlier when rallying from 4th in the early stages. She too was overmatched in the Flower Bowl but wasn’t disgraced when 3rd of 7 and so returning to the distance of her last two wins and with a great inside post to use her tactical speed to its best advantage, she is another contender to consider although not nearly as good a win bet at the first two, as she opens at 7/2.

Lady Paname is one of three from the Brown barn, and she’s got a decent upside off a strong win at 10 furlong last month in her U.S. debut. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rode her then as today and she should improve as she was off for 13 months before that start. She was 4th in a strong group 2 race against males (won by The Queen’s Call to Mind) before the layoff so she’s got a bit of class. Brown has won with nearly 20% of his allowance to graded stakes starters in turf routes over the last 5 years, with over 40% finishing 1st or 2nd, so I would not discount this filly’s chances for even a second.

Bets: Tricky Escape to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

For a much smaller amount (about 1/3 to 1/2 of that bet on Tricky Escape), Violet Blue to win and place at 4 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Tricky Escape over ALL.

Box Tricky Escape, Violet Blue, Lady Montdore and Lady Paname.

Jimmy Durante Stakes – Race 5 at Del Mar – Post Time 5:30 PM Eastern / 2:30 PM Pacific

Lakerball is a two year old filly like all the rest here, but she’s a DOUBLE STAKES winner, a claim none of the rest can make. As a matter of fact, only three of the other 12 are stakes winners, two in Europe and the other in dirt sprint whereas Lakerball earned both her wins at a mile on turf just like this race. With improving figures of 91 and 96, a great inside post and good tactical speed, she’s the one to beat in spite of opening as the third choice at 9 to 2.


Elsa is the horse we want to be in the picture at the end for a big profit as she opens at 20/1. The reason is in her most recent race she finished 7th of 11 and was well beaten. HOWEVER, not only was that race contested on a soggy turf course, compared to the firm grass at Del Mar, she was sent to post as the even money favorite in that big field, the reason being she was third as the favorite with traffic trouble in the Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga prior to that. She won her only other start, her debut, on turf in July and she’s adding Lasix today. She put in a spectacular workout at Fair Grounds for Stidham before venturing west, the best of 101 on the day, and the barn’s #1 jockey, Joe Bravo, takes the call so she’s very live and appears capable of running a lot better than many will suspect.


Monette ran very well in her U.S. debut last month in New York when rallying from last of 11 to miss by just a head in the Grade 3 Matron Stakes on the turf at six furlongs. She won a stakes in France in July against males and has only been worse than 2nd once in seven career starts so must be respected as a contender.


Pivottina and Posh Holly are two horses to consider for exotics, the former a bit overbet (opening at 7/2) off a troubled fourth in the Natalma Stakes in September, her U.S. debut, as the trouble wasn’t that bad. However, she has some talent. Posh Holly won in her 2nd U.S. start last month at this mile trip and although she’s facing much tougher she might have a say in the outcome.


Bets: Lakerball to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more, a true low odds overlay key bet.

For a smaller amount, Elsa to win at odds of 4 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or higher.

To finish off the three win contenders, Monette can be bet to win at 4 to 1 or higher.

Don’t forget, when making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge.

Exactas: Lakerball
over ALL.

Lakerball¸ Elsa and Monette over ALL.

Lakerball, Elsa and Monette over Lakerball, Elsa, Monette, Pivottina and Posh Holly.

Consider playing the reverse of that exacta as well.

Seabiscuit Handicap – Race 7 at Del Mar – Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern / 3:30 Pacific

Synchrony has won four of seven races this year, starting with the Fair Grounds Handicap in February following seven months. After finishing third in the Turf Classic Stakes on Derby weekend and third again in the Arlington Handicap, he shortened up to the distance of the Seabiscuit for the Oceanport Stakes and won, followed by a similar win in the Red Bank Stakes in September, with a strong 111 Equibase Figure similar to the 112 figure effort put for in the Muniz earlier in the year. Overmatched in the Shadwell Turf Mile following the Red Bank, Synchrony is reunited with jockey Joe Bravo for the Seabiscuit, who was in the saddle for all four wins this year. Before leaving trainer Stidham’s base in Louisiana, Synchrony put in a very strong five furlong workout (58.4) which was the best of 39 on the day, followed by another excellent half-mile drill, so he enters the race ready to put forth his best effort, which should be good enough to win.

Although Synchrony has a much higher probability to win than some others, there are three more we can consider for wagers made involving this race. He Will gets the extreme outside post in this 12 horse field, but that may not be an impediment as he likes to run fairly far back, as when he rallied from eighth of nine to win the Lure Stakes last fall. Following the Lure, He Will put in a strong late run to come up a nose shy of victory last year’s Seabiscuit. After seventh and fourth place finishes, He Will was given time off, eight months to be exact, returning in nothing more than sprint prep for this year’s Seabiscuit in the fall when eighth in the Eddie D. Stakes. Having earned a 116 figure in the Lure followed by a 119 figure in this race last year, He Will has potential to post the upset or at least outrun what may be high odds. Caribou Club showed he could compete at the level, albeit at a shorter distance, when victorious in the Connaught Cup Stakes in June at seven furlongs on turf. Fourth and seventh with no excuse in two stakes following the win, Caribou Club prepped for the Seabiscuit in the Eddie D. Stakes in similar fashion to He Will. In the Eddie D, Caribou Club broke a bit slowly to be eighth of nine in the early stages but put in a strong late run to finish third, just three-quarters of a length from the runner-up. That race has since become a “Key Race” by virtue of winner Stormy Liberal returning to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and with the fourth place finisher winning his next race as well. Considering Caribou Club earned a career best 112 figure in the race, with similar improvement he certainly has a right to run well enough to win the Seabiscuit. Pincheck (IRE) will round out a quartet of win contenders in this race, making his U.S. debut and having the Desmond Stakes in August in his native Ireland, rather easily by three lengths, earning a 110 figure in the process. Third in a tougher field in September, Pincheck (IRE) gets the services of Mike Smith, who continues to win at a high percentage (23%) on the year in spite of riding in about one-fourth of the number of races of the other jockeys in the top 10 in North America. Being just a four year old, Pincheck (IRE) may not have run his best to date and must be respected when considering wagers involving the Seabiscuit Handicap.

Bets: Synchrony to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher, a true Low Odds Overlay Win Bet.

Exactas: Synchrony over He Will, Caribou Club and Pincheck, then also the reverse which is He Will, Caribou Club and Pincheck over Synchrony

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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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