Key Races & Bets for Saturday, October 5

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Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes – Race 7 at Keeneland – Post Time 4:29 PM Eastern

When a horse comes back from a layoff as Spiced Perfection is doing, I look to insure the workouts in the last month are consistent, about every five to seven days, and then if they are I feel comfortable assuming the race which led to the layoff can be ignored and to look starting at the second before the layoff to assess form. In the case of this filly, that’s great as she won the Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland, her fourth “A” race in a row which also included victory in the Grade 1 La Brea at the end of December. Both those wins came at seven furlongs but she’s two-for-two at six furlongs so I have no doubt she can win here particularly with Castellano aboard as he was for the Madison.

Ours to Run has won 11 of 17 career dirt races, six at the basic six furlong trip. She was only beaten a head by Chalon for second in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Stakes when last seen in July and she’s won from the rail so that’s not a problem. Ours to Run, as well as Spiced Perfection and Chalon, have a stalking style which should benefit nicely from the likely early pace battle between Razorback Lady and Danuska’s My Girl, that pair pressed by Mia Mischief and Talk Veuve to Me. Ours to Run shipped in last week to put in a strong five furlong drill over the track and appears ready to add to her fine record today. Chalon won a non-graded stakes off the runner-up effort in the Honorable Miss then was flattered when the third horse came back to win. She’s five for nine at the trip and missed by a head in last year’s edition of this race at Keeneland so rounds out a trio which in my mind have the bulk of the probability to win.

That being said, there’s not a SINGLE HORSE I’d count out being capable of finishing second. You can call it a cop-out if you want, but I went over the field multiple times and even the supposed need-the-lead types have some chance to hang on for second.

Spiced Perfection to win at 2 to 1 odds or higher. a true KEY BET on the day.
Consider slightly smaller win bets on either Ours to Run or Chalon if they should be about 3 to 1 or higher 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.

Exactas (just for $1 in my opinion): Spiced Perfection, Ours to Run and Chalon over ALL.

Double and Pick 3 tickets:
Race 7 – Spiced Perfection, Ours to Run and Chalon
Race 8 – Juliet Foxtrot, Uni, Vasilika, Indian Blessing, Rushing Fall and Just Wonderful
Race 9 – Tap It to Win, Enforceable, Maxfield, Ajaaweed and Gouverneur Morris
The Double, at the $1 minimum threshold, between races 7 and 8, has a cost of $18
The Pick 3, at the $0.50 minimum threshold, has a cost of $45

First Lady Stakes – Race 8 at Keeneland – Post Time 5:04 PM Eastern

This race not only has Breeders’ Cup quality, it has Breeders’ Cup field size, with 14 entered to run a mile on grass, and with many already grade 1 winners on the surface. I started my analysis looking at the early pace scenario and in doing so slightly discounted the chances of five horses who have shown an “early” or “early presser” style only in their best efforts, or those which have not proven themselves in grade 2 or grade 1 company. Although many of those can finish second or third, I’m barely considering them for exacta as well. That group consists of Conquest Hardcandy, Marina’s Legacy, Mitchell Road, Ms Bad Behavior and Awesometank.

I’m left with SIX quality fillies and mares which can win, some at odds we may never see again because of the depth of the field. I’ll start with Indian Blessing who shipped over from Europe to run in the Ballston Spa Stakes at Saratoga in August and who ran the race of her life then in a four horse blanket finish. She missed by a neck to Significant Form, who came back to win the Noble Damsel, and she was a neck in front of Starship Jubilee, who won the Northern Dancer Stakes next time out. With Jamie Spencer in to ride this gal who appears to be ignored at 12/1 on the morning line has a legitimate shot to win.

Just Wonderful is another European shipper, for Coolmore and Aiden O’Brien. She hipped over in 2018 to finish fourth of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies then in July to finish second in the $1 million Belmont Oaks and she missed winning by less than a length in a very tough mile stakes in Ireland last month to set her up for another top effort. She too opens at 12/1.

Rushing Fall is, well, Rushing Fall, one of the best distaff turf stars to come along in years. With eight wins and two defeats in 10 career starts, all but one a graded stakes, and with a perfect four-for-four record at Keeneland, the ONLY knock I can find is her starting odds of 9/5, which make it impossible to even consider her for a win bet. Thank goodness we can use here with a few horses at higher odds in exacta and multiple race bets.

Uni was not disgraced one bit when third of 10 in the Fourstardave Handicap last time out against Males, beaten a head for second by Raging Bull as the filly Got Stormy drew off by a couple of lengths. She had won FIVE in a row prior to that including the Grade 1 Matriarch at this mile trip and Rosario was responsible for all but one of the win so riding her today we can expect a top effort.

Vasilika and Juliet Foxtrot finished first and second, respectively, when separated by a nose in the Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes at the end of August. Vasilika was the queen of the division in California before that with seven graded stakes wins in the past year while Juliet Foxtrot won her first three starts since coming to the U.S. before that narrow defeat. Vasilika has NEVER gone to post at odds under 2/1 for over a year but opens at 5/1 here as a testament to how tough this field is while Juliet Foxtrot opens at 8/1.

Bets: Win bets on BOTH Indian Blessing and Just Wonderful are warranted at 7 to 2 or higher

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.

I would not talk ANYONE out of win bets on win bets on Uni, Vasilika or Juliet Foxtrot at 9 to 2 odds or higher (maybe even 4 to 1 or more). If you really like Rushing Fall, instead of a win bet my recommendation is an exacta over the other five, so for the same $5 (at $1) you get more back then betting to win at 9 to 5.

If you played the pick 3 starting in race 7 and none of the contenders won that leg, you can consider doubles using the contenders from that pick 3 in this race and the next race as follows:

Race 8 – Juliet Foxtrot, Uni, Vasilika, Indian Blessing, Rushing Fall and Just Wonderful
Race 9 – Tap It to Win, Enforceable, Maxfield, Ajaaweed and Gouverneur Morris

I can’t even come close to recommending any exacta bets in this race with so many horses which can finish first or second.

Breeders’ Futurity – Race 9 at Keeneland – Post Time 5:39 PM Eastern

This is another exceptionally deep field, particularly as almost none of these have run two turns and as two year olds always have a shot to take a big step forward from one race to the next.

That being said, I think one horse has a slight edge, and four others offer the rest of the bulk of the probability to win this year’s Breeders’ Futurity. Ajaaweed is the one with the edge, as he improved a lot off a fifth place finish at six furlongs to win at a mile second time out. As a son of Curlin, one would expect improvement as the distances increased, so that was no surprise but the manner in which he won suggest he is a very smart and talented horse. Stalking in third with a quarter mile to run, Ajaaweed advanced to get his head in front with an eighth of a mile to go then drew off by four lengths. At the point he moved into contention, Ajaaweed was in traffic and he acted as a battle worn horse with a lot of maturity as he not only went between horses in tight quarters but increased his stride significantly when asked without the crop. Rosario rides back and the extra sixteenth of a mile poses little problem for this colt running well enough to win this race.

Maxfield looks to be ignored by bettors if they abide by his 12/1 morning line. He too won at a mile around one turn the same as Ajaaweed and he did that in his debut. He broke a bit slowly so I’m hopeful that was an aberration and he’s been well-schooled since because a horse can’t get away with those tactics and still win at this level. After breaking 10th of 11, Maxfield bided his time then moved up eight paths wide on the turn to sweep by in the last 1/16 of a mile. Jose Ortiz rides back and the breeding on this colt is as good as the breeding on Ajaaweed, who don’t share the same ownership but the ownership is similar as Ajaaweed is owned by Shadwell and Maxfield is owned by Godolphin.

Tap It to Win opens at 3/1 the same as Ajaaweed based on his easy three length win at Saratoga about two weeks after Ajaaweed won. However, Tap It to Win broke his maiden at six furlongs so he’s stretching out a quarter mile further than both Maxfield and Ajaaweed. Still, he gets the rail, has tactical speed as he sat third in the early stages of the last race, has come back to work well, and was flattered by the runner-up, who came back to win. On the other hand, it must be noted in that winning effort on 8/24, Tap It to Win got a dream run on the rail with nary a straw in his patch so the race may not be as good as it looks on paper.

Gouverneur Morris similarly won easily in his one and only start and that’s why he’s the 5 to 2 favorite. He stalked in third and drew off professionally with a big 101 Equibase figure, the best in the field, BUT the race was at 5 1/2 furlongs to there are three more eighths in his way today. Sire Constitution (also the sire of By Your Side) has his first crop on the track and is highly regarded but NONE of his foals have run two turns yet so although this colt ran fast first I’m a bit skeptical of his chances, particularly at low odds with an outside post. Just the same I respect the connections (Pletcher and Castellano) and will use him on pick 3 and double tickets I play involving this race.

Enforceable opens at 15/1 and that is just not right in my opinion. He added blinkers for career start #5 so I will ignore one through four. He won that race, on 8/22 at Saratoga, running nearly as fast at Tap It to Win (84 figure vs 89) and actually faster than Ajaaweed (78) and he’s the ONLY horse in the field to have run two turns to date. He’s a FULL brother to Mohayman, who many remember as an in-and-out type who when “IN” was tough at top levels, and he’s a half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day, whose career was cut short by injury. As such, there’s little doubt Enforceable can run well and at the least I plan to bet him to win and place at likely high odds.

Win Bets: Ajaaweed to win at 5 to 2 or more, a low odds overlay win bet.
For smaller amounts: Maxfield and Enforceable to win at 4 to 1 or more, adding place bets at 8 to 1 or more.

Exacta & Trifecta: Box Ajaaweed, Maxfield, Tap It to Win, Enforceable and Gouverneur Morris.

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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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