Sunday, April 5, 2020
A so-so, and bit of a disappointing day playing the late Pick 4 at Oaklawn yesterday. Full fields and a few surprises, especially in Race 10, knocked me out of winning the Pick 4. We saw two huge favorites "bite the dust"...or in this case, flounder in the slop -- at the Arkansas track.
Usually sloppy conditions have the potential to throw off the best of any handicapping plans, and the was kind of the case here. From the start of the late Pick 4 to the finish.
In race 7..... 9-1 odds Cardamon went to the lead and never relinquished it to the others in the six furlong affair. Unfortunately, this one wasn't one of my top five picks. We did pick up a second place with Inthemidstofbiz, and she was my top pick in the race. Maryanorginger finished out of the money.
Race 8 got me my first win of the sequence, but it was not odds-on favorite Answer In....who was my top pick. Instead, Finnick the Fierce used an inside move, finished well and got elevated to first, after a stewards inquiry and jockey claim of foul knocked Winning Impression out of the top spot. Fortunately, I gave you "Finnick" in my top four and also the second place finisher General Trey. That was a nice exacta of almost a $35 dollar payout for the $1 exacta play.. A box of my top four cost $12, so we gained a little profit there on that race.
Race 9 saw another upset of a huge favorite when Frank's Rockette, my top pick, lost the lead in the stretch to a flying Kimari, who came absolutely flying down the middle of the track. A very impressive stretch move by Channing Hill, who subbed in for Mike Smith, who was scheduled to ride bu t didn't make the trip in for the race. I gave you Kimari as one of my top four, I had the top three finishers in the ninth race. The exacta of the top four picks cost $12 and I got back $11.90. As we've said many times here, we can pick winners, but we can't pick what we get paid.
It all blew up in the final of the day, Race 10. Don Vito Corleone, a 25-1 shot, went to the lead and outran the rest in his first ever start. unfortunately, I didn't see "the Don" as a top contender and didn't give him to you. I did run second and third in the race, with Copper King, who was my top pick in the race and Aztec Empire, who finished third after looking to have a wide open trip on the rail in the stretch and failed to fire...getting show money.
Watching the race with my wife, she mentioned "You know 'the Don' is going to win, Sonny and Michael have the fix in." (A reference to The Godfather movies.) . She did not put her money where her mouth is, though, and a $52 payout on a $2 wager was never placed. .
On the day, out of 19 horse provided to you as worthy of consideration, I had two winners, four seconds and two thirds. That's a 42% "in the money" percentage and we filled 66% of the 12 "payout" spots in the four races. (8 of 12).
With the failed pick 4 bet I lined out to you yesterday, I dropped $50. My four exactas cost a total of $48 and returned just about $48 -- so that was a "push".
That's the way gambling goes sometimes. I guess you could say we had close to four hours of entertainment watching the races on TV and , when you break it down, at $25 a person, we've seen less than stellar musical acts in concert for a lot more $$$$ and a shorter period of time.
We'll get 'em next week.
If, of course, there is any racing. The COVID-19 is gaining momentum on the far turn now, to use a racing analogy, and these next few furlongs -- or next couple of weeks -- could be very rough for "the rest of the field".
Stay in, stay away and just survive somehow.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
As the number of tracks running continues to drop, we're seeing less "big" races, but Oaklawn has a very interesting and challenging late Pick 4 available today (Races 7-10) that is a fun one to handicap and features the Purple Martin for three year old fillies in Race 9.
Two six-furlong sprint affairs and two mile-and-a-sixteenth races make up the sequence. I'm not really sure how I'm going to "attack it" just yet, but Pick 4 players could reap a nice reward if they can afford to go a little deep in their pockets for the wager. The sequence has two Pick 3's as well, and they've been pretty good to me lately, so...we'll see.
Today's picks will feature my top pick to win at the top of the picks today and then others I feel have a shot.
Here we go:
RACE 7 -- ALLOWANCE 61k -- SIX FURLONGS -- (DIRT)
3 -- MARYANORGINGER
2 -- INTHEMIDSTOFBIZ
4 -- TAKE CHARGE ERICA
10 -- SUPERWONDERGIRL
5 -- SAVVY ALLY
Comments: Maryanoginger took a stakes race in New York back in the summer, even after stumbling badly at the start. The lack of racing since then worries me a bit but the works look sound, and hot Oaklawn jock David Cohen jumps on. My top pick. Let's look at Inthemidstofbiz. I can't complain about how she's run at Oaklawn in three outings, a win and two finishes less that two lengths behind. She'll contest the early pace, can she hang on? Take Charge Erica was hot at Ellis Park in the summer, closed in here last at Oaklawn and rates a look. Superwondergirl finished second her last two times out at Keeneland and Churchill. Can't ignore her. Savvy Ally comes in from FairGrounds, jumps off the turf to dirt and has been no worse than second in three of her last four. Cardamon could show up.
RACE 8 -- OPTIONAL CLAIMING 80K -- 1-1/16 MILE -- (DIRT)
5 -- ANSWER IN
1 -- FINNICK THE FIERCE
3 - GENERAL TREY
7 -- FORT KNOX
Comments: Answer In has run third or better in all four lifetime starts. Ran third in the Southwest here behind powerhouse Silver Prospector and won't see anything as strong today. Answer In is my top pick. Finnick the Fierce ran second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes this fall at Churchill and if he can return to that form rates a chance. Leaves the FairGrounds and picks up Martin Garcia as the rider. General Trey won her maiden race at Oaklawn with a strong, three wide move and it's a Steve Asmussen runner who could continue to improve. Fort Knox has gotten strong each time out, won convincingly at Fairgrounds despite a bump at the break and could surprise at a price.
RACE 9 -- PURPLE MARTIN STAKES 100K -- SIX FURLONGS -- (DIRT)
8 -- FRANK'S ROCKETTE
2 -- RING LEADER
7 -- LADY GLAMOUR
1 -- KIMARI
4 -- EDGEWAY
Comments: Frank's Rockette destroyed the competition at Gulfstream last out and has been first or second in five lifetime starts (including three graded stakes races). She's the top pick. Ring Leader is the speed here, was three for three before stretching out to a distance, goes back to six furlongs today, drops in class and had a nice, last workout. Could be dangerous on top. Lady Glamour ships in from Churchill, had the misfortune of finishing behind Finite twice and should find the going easier than she did in Churchill's Goldenrod Grade II stakes. Kimari finished third in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint at 5/2 odds and returns to dirt today with Mike Smith on board. I gotta use her, she's four for five lifetime first or second. Edgeway makes a huge jump from her first start, a maiden win, where she blew out the competition at Oaklawn by five furlongs. She'll be sent early and will try to wire these and we'll see how she handles the class jump.
RACE 10 -- MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT 60K -- 1-1/16TH MILE -- (DIRT)
7 -- COPPER KING
5 -- WILD UNION
8 -- MO AND GO
4 -- AZTEC EMPIRE
12 -- ON D' ORO
Comments: Copper King is purely a hunch here for me. She's 0-8 lifetime and run behind a couple of these today at Oaklawn. Is today the day? Drops in class, is a closer, should get a fast track today and is a Asmussen horse, so I'll nervously make her my top pick. Wild Union has been second or third in seven of his eight lifetime starts. Joe Talamo returns for Brad Cox, Mo and Go drops in class in his second try at Oaklawn. The New York invader as seen better and has a shot. Aztec Empire puts on blinkers today for new trainer Ron Moquett and gets Calvin Borel aboard. Calvin gets them to the rail, this one shows a bit of closing ability and has a chance in a wide open race. On d' Oro gets the horrible post, but Stewart Elliott will try to get her to the lead and see what happens. This one runs better, it seems, on a off-track, so..buyer beware. A VERY wide open race.
19 horses is a bunch to give you, I know, but it speaks toward the competitive nature of the fields today. I fooled around with a .50 cent Pick 4 that costs $50, and I'll share it, despite my lack of confidence in it:
Good luck today in a very competitive card. Bet 'em anyway you like and remember what we say here, don't put the mortgage on a mudder.
Sunday, March 29, 2020
A bit of success yesterday in the late Pick 4 at Gulfstream yesterday. We didn't hit the ultimate goal of taking down the Pick 4, but won the last three races of the (race 11-14) sequence and nailed the late Pick 3.
Race 11, the one we lost was a strange race. Swiss Skydiver went to the lead, was not seriously challenged by anyone else, despite the incredibly slow first 1/2 mile of 49 seconds, and no one bother to make a challenge late in a race where the 9-1 "Diver" went wire-to-wire. Head scratching and puzzling. Oh, well. Sometimes, you just don't get the race you envisioned when you handicap it. Zulu Alpha and
On the day, we gave you 18 horses to consider. Out of those, nine hit the board, so it was a 50% "in the money" average. If you look at the total "in the money" spots available -- 4 races X 3 spots = 12....I gave you nine of the twelve, which is 75%. We had three winners, three places and three shows.
I spent a total of $132 on the three wagers I placed, both Pi ck 3's in the sequence, and a smaller Pick 4. I didn't hit the Pick 4 or the first Pick 3, but the final Pick 3 fell into my win column and it returned $131.35 on the 50 cent wager. A great day of watching racing and lost 65 cents. I'll take that.
Tiz The Law was all he was cracked up to be in the Florida Derby. He held off any attempts by Ete Indian and overcame a stubborn, psce-setting and huge-priced Shivaree iin the stretch to dominate the field.
The real (and next) question now is whether they'll take "Tiz" to Oaklawn to run in the Arkansas Derby five weeks from now? Oaklawn jumped up and grabbed the date that Churchill had for the Kentucky Derby,...after Churchill moved it. Who will ship to Arkansas to test him? Will Ete Indian try again? How about Modernist, Wells Bayou, Authentic, Mr Monomoy or Nadal? Do they go after "the big guy" in five weeks?
We'll see. We'll see if horse racing is still being conducted in May. This COVID-19 isn't exactly slowing down, you know...
We did get a big effort out of Bemma's Boy in Rqce 12 to start our late Pick 3. He shot by Zulu Alpha and Channel Cat in the stretch of the thurf race and rewarded us at 9-1. Florent Geroux...remember I told you he is a great turf jockey yesterday? He came up with the perfectly timed ride. Then, in race 13...it was "Geroux go-time" again...as he took 6-1 Social Paranoia to a win on the turf over a competitive field...knocking out a couple of our other oicks in Somebeyay and March to the Arch. Another masterful ride by "Flo-Geo".
A note from a reader on yesterday's picks:
"So, I played the top four Paulie Picks in each race. I played a $5 exacta box on each race. It cost me $240. I hit two of the four races and got back almost $350. Keep the picks coming Paulie!
We'll see you next week, hopefully with something good to handicap.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
We head to Florida today for the running at Gulfstream. The Florida Derby takes place this afternoon, the final leg of the Late Pick 4 -- and it's a race that is preceded by three very good Grade III or better stakes races, two on the turf.
It is an important stop on the road to the Triple Crown each year. That maybe changes this year, with the delay of the Triple Crown...but still very good racing on hand to watch (from TV) and wager on
The sequence I'll be handicapping today starts in Race 11., scheduled for around 4:45 p.m. this afternoon. I list my top four picks below in each race, but always check the comments section below each race for other horses I consider possibilities, and play them if you want.
RACE 11 -- GULFSTREAM PARK OAKS -- 1-1/16TH MILE -- GRADE II -- 200K
9 -- TONALIST'S SHAPE
5 -- SPICE IS NICE
8 -- DREAM MARIE
7 -- LUCREZIA
Comments: Tonalist's Shape a nice looking three-year-old filly that has one all five of her lifetime starts (four of them at Gulfstream) and is my top pick. She's beat several in the field and ran impressively in her last, the Davona Dale. She also had a great workout back on March 22nd for today's race. Spice Is Nice ran behind Tonalist's Shape in the Davona Dale, her second career start. She should be close again today, but, has she improved that much to beat Tonalist? Dream Marie chased my top two around the track in the Davona Dale, had three wins before that, but would be a surprise today if she won. Lucrezia comes in from Tampa Bay, won two stakes there and will try to run on top from wire to wire. How does she match up against her new competitors? I will consider #4 Lake Avenue in here, did little wrong up in New York and will also probably try to wire the field in front. Could be dangerous, if the jockey change to Joel Rosario works out.
RACE 12 -- PAN AMERICAN -- 1-1/2TH MILE (TURF) -- GRADE II -- 200K
9 -- ZULU ALPHA
2 -- BEMMA'S BOY
1 -- CHANNEL CAT
5 -- GO POKE THE BEAR
Comments: Zulu Alpha looks reborn since the start of the year and Tyler Gaffalione has figured the horse out for Michael Maker. Zulu likes Gulfstream, has won two in a row there and will be hard to beat today as my top pick. I will try for a price with Bemma's Boy, another Michael Maker horse who gets turf specialist Florent Geroux on board and has turned in two bullet works in Florida. I'll also give Channel Cat consideration. He lost all chances stumbling at the start against Zulu Alpha last time out...this is a horse that is usually finishing no worse the 2-3 lengths behind the winner and should like the distance. Go Poke The Bear closed really well to win last time out, at Gulfstream, and I can't dismiss "the Bear". Other than these four, I got nothing and I hope for a price but probably won't get it.
RACE 13 -- APPLETON STAKES -- 1 MILE (TURF) -- GRADE III -- 100K
10 -- SOMEBEYAY
3 -- MARCH TO THE ARCH
12 -- EL TORMENTA
7 -- SOCIAL PARANOIA
Comments: This is a VERY wide open race and I don't see a clear favorite here. It could be a good race to "go deep" in. I picked Somebeyay as my top choice. He's run well at Gulfstream in his last two, caught and passed the leaders last time out and won't get killed in a early speed duel. March to the Arch deserves consideration also, A very close third at Tampa Bay last out, gets Gaffalione on top and likes the turf at Gulfstream. El Tormenta has faced better in Grade I's at Woodbine and Santa Anita, won in Canada and adds Julian Leparoux, a great turf jock. Social Paranoia hasn't raced since September, but won convincingly then. Who will replace Castellano on board? He broke his maiden at Gulfstream and could figure in here. I also like #1 English Bee who ran a very close second to Somebeyay last time out and #9 Louder Than Bombs was right there with Somebeyay and English Bee last time out and could improve with Joe Bravo riding again. Wide open. Wide open, this one. i''ll go deep here.
RACE 14 -- FLORIDA DERBY -- 1-1/8TH MILE -- GRADE i -- 750k
7 -- TIZ THE LAW
12 -- ETE INDIAN
9 -- INDEPENDENCE HALL
5 -- GOUVERNEUR MORRIS
Comments: I've been a Tiz The Law fan a long time and that ain't changing. 3 for 4 lifetime, won the Holy Bull at Gulfstream easily and got a horrible boxed in trip at Churchill in the Kentucky Jockey Club and still battled back to get third by less than a length. He's my top pick. ETE INDIAN followed Tiz The Law home two back, won the Fountain of Youth for fun and is the main threat to Tiz The Law today. They may try to go wire-to-wire with him and having Florent Geroux on board doesn't hurt at all. Independence Hall looked brilliant up north, barely missed in the Sam Davis at Tampa and could be a factor with a good start. Don't ignore him. Gouverneur Morris is the great unknown. Won an allowance race, ran second in Keeneland's Grade I Breeders Futurity and could be a challenge here. I'll use him. I'll leave it at these four, no one else has shown me they are a challenge to these.
The play? I'll probably try a couple of Pick 3's here (going very deep) and a small Pk 4 with the big guns getting priority.
Pick 3 (Race 11)
Pick 3 (Race 12)
Play 'em anyway you like and remember, don't put the mortgage on a mudder.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
I tackled the final four races at Fairgrounds on Saturday, four quality stakes races that culminated with the run of the Louisiana Derby, a "normally major" player in the road to the Kentucky Derby. The Derby has has been pushed back, obviously, to Labor Day weekend -- so we don't know how significant Wells Bayou win will ultimately be...but still a very good day of racing to watch.
Wells Bayou did what he likes to do, so far, in his win in the Louisiana Derby. He went to the lead, played "come catch me" and no one else in the field could. Enforceable was a disappointment for many, the horse just never seemed to "get interested" in the race and finished out of the money.
In the 11th race, the FairGrounds Oaks, a major upset with Bonny South running down the field in the stretch and blowing by them all for the win with odds-on favorite Finite failing to hit the board. That exacta paid $40 with Bonny South and Temper's Rising the top two, that's on a $2 wager. If you had taken our top three picks there, played a three horse exacta box for $2 -- it would have cost you $12, but you would have made a $28 profit.
Out of the 16 horses I provided in the four races we researched, I had three winners, a second and a third. 31% "in the money" is a little lower than I normally do here, but, we made money.
The winners were Factor This in the 10th race ($21.00), Bonny South in the 11th race ($14,20) and Wells Bayou in the 12th ($8.40). We knocked off a couple of prohibitive favorites and cashed in on the late Pick 3 for $160.05 on the .50 cent wager that cost $37.50 to bet. We drew a "blank" in the ninth race with any winner, Tenfold finished third in that one, so the Pick 3 I tried for races 9,10 and 11 didn't produce a winner, after a $37.50 - .50 cent wager.
$75 total bet, $160 returned, so we'll take that $85 profit for the day.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Today we look at FairGrounds Race Track and the Derby prep race they feature: The Louisiana Derby.
The late Pick Four sequence starts in race 9, the final leg is the Louisiana Derby, so we have four nice stakes races to consider:
(Top pick is in italics)
RACE 9 -- 1-1/8TH MILE (Dirt) -- The New Orleans Classic -- Gr.II -- 400K
6 -- SILVER DUST
5 -- TENFOLD
3 -- FEARLESS
2 -- SONETEER
SILVER DUST has won both his races this winter at FairGrounds, two Grade III affairs. With Brian Hernandez on board, he's the pick. He's beaten a few in today's field. TENFOLD switches to John Velaquez today in the saddle for Steve Asmussen. The horse is a veteran performer who ran pretty well here in December (4th by 3/4 lengths) and the additional of Johnny V. can only help. FEARLESS moves over from a huge optional claiming win at Hulfstream, Irad Ortiz, Jr stays on board. He looks to be the early speed here and his 1:42 for 1-1/16th miles last out, in wire to wire fashion cannot be ignored. Trainer Todd Pletcher knows how to place them. SONNETEER returns to the dirt, the surface he likes, and can get the distance. He had a brave try in a Grade I at Belmont and won at Churchill last summer. Second off the layoff, is he ready?
RACE 10 -- 1-1/16TH MILE (turf) -- Muniz Merorial Classic Stakes -- Gr.II -- 300K
6 -- INSTILLED REGARD
8 -- CHANNEL MAKER
12 - SYNCHRONY
1 -- DOT MATRIX
INSTILLED REGARD retains Irad Ortiz, Jr as jockey and ran two great turf races in his last two, a narrow loss to Zulu Alpha and Magic Wand at a Grade I at Gulfstream and a win in a Grade II. He's the top pick. CHANNEL MAKER has the best turf speed of any in this race, came off the layoff with a steady performance despite traffic at Gulfstream last out. Junior Alvarado returns for Billy Mott. This one ran in the Breeders Cup Turf in the fall, so the distance should be no problem. SYNCHRONY just missed in the Grade III FairGround last out, I'll use him with Joe Bravo and will also add as a possible FACTOR THIS, who won the race. FACTOR THIS is dangerous and should be included to go deep here. DOT MATRIX got a nice win at Houston with Florent Geroux on board and has never finished out of the money at Fairgrounds, so I'll make room for him as well .
RACE 11 -- 1-1/16TH MILES -- (Dirt) -- Fair Grounds Oaks -- Gr. II -- 400K
6 -- FINITE
4 -- BONNY SOUTH
3 -- TEMPERS RISING
It's pretty much a one-horse race with FINITE, a wonderful three year old filly the winner in her last two at Fairgrounds and her last five overall. You could "single" here. I'm going to toss in BONNY SOUTH WHO CLOSED IMPRESSIVELY to win at Oaklawn last out and TEMPERS RISING, who ran third and fourth to Finite in her last two but had trip trouble each time. Leparoux rides.
RACE 12 -- 1-3/16TH MILES -- (Dirt) -- LOUISIANA DERBY -- Gr. I -- $1 MILLION
10 -- ENFORCEABLE
1 -- MAJOR FED
3 -- WELLS BAYOU
13 -- SILVER SLATE
I've liked Enforceable since the first time I saw him run and they don't have to worry about Mr. Monomoy today, so, he's the pick with Leparoux in the irons. He'll love the extra two furlongs today. MAJOR FED has a win and a second at Fairgrounds, including the Grade II Risen Star. Leparoux jumps off but Joel Rosario gets on for Greg Foley. WELLS BAYOU comes over from Fairgrounds where he chased Silver Prospector home for second in the South West. His best could get a score today. SILVER SLATE likes Fairgrounds, he's finished right behind Enforceable two times in a row now and can't be ignored.
Good luck today and don't toss the mortgage money on a mudder...
Sunday, March 15, 2020
We didn't see a whole lot of surprises in handicapping the four race sequence yesterday at Oaklawn until the final race of the sequence. Jockey Joe Talamo pulled a huge upset in taking the lead and never relinquishing it in a six furlong MSW affair, getting #1 Classy Beast home first. It was a big day for "Joe"...he won four races on the day and three of the four in the late Pick 4 sequence. Maybe a play for those who subscribe to the "hot jockey" theory...we didn't have him in the 11th. Such is horse racing. #3 Lucky Betty never fired in the race and #12 Tipsy Gal closed for third but it was a surprising race.
On the sequence, we gave you 19 runners to consider. Out of those, we had three winners, two seconds and three thirds. That's a 42% "in the money" number...not bad but not a profitable one for the Pick 4. We did have one of the Pick 3's in the sequence, but it wasn't a huge payout.
Our winners were priced OK -- #2 Night Ops returned $15, Serengeti Empress $5.80 and Nadal (who looked incredible from start to finish in winning the Rebel) $3.80.
Put Nadal in your list of horses to consider for the Derby. This Bob Baffert runner got a great ride over the sloppy Oaklawn dirt from Joel Rosario. He heeded the old axiom "When the track is slop, get on top" He duel in front and did not fade in the stretch...holding off Basin and not appearing to get tired in doing so.