Tuesday, April 30, 2019
We now know who will contest the Kentucky Oaks and what post they'll break from.
The Oaks is contested at 1-1/8th miles on the dirt. 14 horses contest the distance of Friday of Derby Week.
Here's the list by post position, morning line odds and jockey:
1) OUT FOR A SPIN 16-1 Irad Ortiz
2) CHOCOLATE KISSES 20-1 Julian Leparoux
3) LADY APPLE 20-1 Ricardo Santana
4) BELLAFINA 2-1 Flavian Prat
5) FLOR DE LA MAR 20-1 Joel Rosario
6) POSITIVE SPIRIT 30-1 Manual Franco
7) JAYWALK 8-1 Javier Castallano
8) MOTION EMOTION 15-1 Mike Smith
9) LIORA 20-1 Channing Hill
10) CHAMPANGE ANYONE 6-1 (unnamed jockey yet)
11) JELTRIN 15-1 Luis Saez
12) STREET BAND 15-1 Sophie Doyle
13) SERENGETI EMPRESS 8-1 Jose Ortiz
14) RESTLESS RIDER 6-1 Brian Hernandez, Jr
Bellafina didn't get hurt at all with the four spot. No rail post to deal with and I'll take 2-1 all day, every day on this one. I doubt it stays there. Out For A Spin, one of my five I like, got the rail and that isn't good but maybe a little early speed will get her out of the danger being there presents. Lady Apple should be OK with a #3 post, Baffert should have confidence in Ricardo Santana to so the right thing with her early. Champagne Anyone is OK with the #10 hole, I'll look to see who takes this ride. There are some very good jockeys remaining to choose from... Johnny Velasquez, trainer Ian Wilkes son-in-law Chris Landeros, Joe Talamo, Rafael Bejarano and Corey Lanerie, just to name a few. Liora is OK with where she is at #9, Channing Hill probably wouldn't be my first choice to ride her, but who am I to question owner and trainer decisions?
8-1 on Serengeti Empress surprises me, especially with Jose Ortiz named yet. This one could drop in odds, based on her run in the Pocahontas at Churchill. She seems to be a "bounce" as well, one good race and then a bad race...the Fairgrounds Oaks, her last, was the bad race...so....
Two horses are on the "also eligible list". Dunbar Road (who was listed at 5-1 odds) and Code of Honor (30-1)
I remain solidly behind BELLAFINA as my top choice, I'll back her up with Champagne Anyone. Liora, Out For A Spin, Lady Apple and Dunbar Road (if she gets in) Jaywalk is one of those "mystery" horses, she ran so well at the Breeders Cup at Churchill last November but since then has gone 0-2 as a three year old. I suspect she'll figure in there in some of my handicapping, but...it's buyer beware on her.
Sunday, April 28, 2019
I didn't do too badly for the ten race card on Opening Night at Churchill Downs Saturday. Out of ten races, I picked six winners, six places and five shows. That is over 50% as far as the the possible payouts go. 17 payouts on the 30 possible money makers in a ten race card. Out of my 40 picks for the night, I had five scratches...so 35 runners actually left the gate for me.
Winners I gave you were:
Mindyerownmalone -- 2nd race --- $21.20 payout to win
Moonfield -- 3rd race -- $9.20 payout to win
Proschema -- 7th race -- $15.60 payout to win
Jo Jo Air -- $30.40 payout to win
Belle Tapisserie -- 9th race -- $4.60 payout to win
Apreciado -- 10th race -- $15.60 payout to win
$96.60 returned on win bets
So, a profit, just on the win bets alone. If you had put $2 win on each of the 35 horses I have you, that's $70 bucks.
We'll look at Oaks and Derby later week here and maybe Thursday.
Saturday, April 27, 2019
The horses have returned to Churchill for Derby Week Racing. Saturday Night
under the lights is featured today out at the Twin Spires. I've crunched the numbers and
handicapped the card for you. I've given you my top four contenders in each race below.
I like to play $1 exactas on the top four picks, but use them however you like. I'll also try a couple of Pick Threes and maybe a late Pick Four.
Let's face it. The first four tonight are pretty ugly. Beaten claimers and non-winners.
Let's get into it. As always "for entertainment purposes only"
RACE 1 -- 1 MILE -- MDCLM 10000
6 - LADY OF DRAGONSTONE
5 - DATA STAR
2 - STREET RALLY
4 - ORLEANS
RACE 2 -- 1 1/16TH MILE -- CLAIMING 25000
5 - MONO
4 - CONQUEROR
1 - CALIFORNIA SWING
RACE 3 -- 1 MILE -- MDCLM 10000
5 - WEIGHTLESSNESS
6 - MOONFIELD
4 - CZARINA MARIA
2 - COUNTRY LOVIN
RACE 4 -- 6 FURLONGS -- CLAIMING 20000
6 - FAITH HEALER
3 - GENUWINE
4 - THEA BEA
1 - FIVE STAR FACTOR
RACE 5 -- 7 FURLONGS -- MD CLM 50000
1 - YABBA DABBA DUDE
3 - ATOMS
5 - JUDGE STANTON
9 - TRASH TALKING YANKEE
RACE 6 -- (TURF) 1-1/16TH MILE -- OPT CLM 62500
1 - MURAD KHAN
7 - SPACE MOUNTAIN
4 - FRANKINCENSE
10 - COMMANDEERING
RACE 7 -- 1-1/16TH MILE -- CLAIMING 75000
6 - HISTORIAN
1 - GENTLE WARRIOR
5 - MAKE AMERICA GREAT
4 - PROSCHEMA
RACE 8 -- (TURF) -- 5 FURLONGS -- WILLIAM WAKER STAKES -- 125000
1 - BULLETIN
8 - HARTEL
2 - SOVERNIGN IMPACT
5 - JO JO AIR
RACE 9 -- 6-1/2 FURLONGS -- CLAIMING 40000
8 - BELLE TAPISSERIE
2b -- GRIFF
1 - TWIN FARMS
6 - SIR NAVIGATION
RACE 10 -- (TURF) -- 1 MILE -- CLAIMING 30000
3 - COMBUSTIBLE
8 - JAILHOUSE KITTEN
2 - SEKONDI
4 - APRECIADO
BEST BET OF THE NIGHT
#1 -- BULLETIN - RACE 8
LONGSHOT OF THE NIGHT
#3 -- WEIGHTLESSNESS - RACE 3
Thursday, April 25, 2019
I posted an article last week on the five horses to consider and my favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.
Here's a current Vegas update on those five horses odds:
OMAHA BEACH 4-1
GAME WINNER 9-2
I'll be watching the opening week at Churchill (which starts Friday night) and offering a few
suggestions here on wagering, as well as, breakdown of Oaks and Derby cards and my picks.
Be sure to check back.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
BELLFINA LOOKS THE BEST OF THE BUNCH
The Oaks may not be nearly interesting as the Kentucky Derby this year in terms of multiple contenders poised to win. BELLAFINA, from the West Coast, has been solid, spectacular and won four in a row since her 4th place finish in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill last fall. That finish was attributed to the horse "being in heat" according to the barn.
She toyed with a small field in the Santa Anita Oaks before drawing off to win by five lengths. Flavian Prat is a great rider, Simon Callaghan a respected trainer and if you can get 2-1 odds on her, run to the betting machine as fast as you can. My guess is she'll be even money or lower when they break from the gate on May 3rd.
CHAMPAGNE ANYONE is an interesting filly. She finally got a win in the Gulfstream Oaks after her prior three career starts...and at 7-1...stalking the pace and holding off Dunbar Road when Chris Landeros took her to the lead in the stretch. Ian Wilkes brings them along slowly, at times, and this one's best race may still be in the future...but if you see 10-1 on her, you might want to invest a small wager.
OUT FOR A SPIN cause quite the commotion when she won the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland at a whopping 52-1 odds. Journeyman jockey Paco Lopez pulled the upset with a nice move on the turn and held off incomng Restless Rider (maybe another horse to consider?) for Dallas Stewart. She had been running allowance company stuff at Fairgrounds before the win in Lexington and had won her last, but this huge jump and ultimate win baffled the bettors. Can she keep it going? If I get 20-1 on her, Ill be willing to lay down a few coins to find out.
LIORA . Let's not forget she won the Goldenrod last fall at Churchill and beat Champagne Anyone and Restless Rider in that one. Maybe a horse for the course? A front running wire-to-wire nose victory in the slop over Restless Rider, but...at 27-1 odds and she held off the challenge(s). She's hd a bit of "second-itis" since then, but watch her if the Oaks is contested in the slop. She just might wire them all again for Wayne Catalano. Expect about the same odds Oaks Day.
LADY APPLE . Winner of three straight, including the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park, she's one of Steve Asmussen's runners and Ricardo Santana was on board for that rail-skimming ride. LADY APPLE stalked the pace-setters and favorites (Motion Emotion and Brill) who just might have worn themselves out in the duel, and she got through on the inside and forged ahead with a few steps to go. I doubt she can repeat that in the Oaks, but I'll throw her in all the "exotics" and hope for the best. 15-1, if you're lucky, on her...is my guess
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
SOME DERBY THOUGHTS
In a race where favorites have won each year since the Bush presidential administration, the logical picks would be to go with the favorite. That wasn't hard at all last year with Justify, although some of us out here believed Audible might get the nod.
That was yesterday (or last year), though, and yesterday's gone. (to paraphrase an old Herman's Hermits ditty).
I'm currently looking at the five horses below as having the best chance to dance in the winner's circle at Churchill on Saturday, May 4th. One of them will most likely be the favorite.
GAME WINNER Thinking maybe he goes off around 6-1. He was the Breeders Cup Juvenile Champion as a two-year old. Since then, he's 0-2 in 2019. He's been trying, he's been close and you have to think that if he gets a good trip on the first Saturday in May, he might just triumph down that long Churchill stretch. He likes running at Churchill, remember.
ROADSTER This guy could be your Derby favorite and I'll guess around 4-1. He beat Game Winner in the Santa Anita Derby. He has throat surgery to clear up a breathing problem when he was two. He's trained by Bob Baffert (who has an army of them) and a big question is who will ride...Mike Smith or someone else?
OMAHA BEACH. He may not be the Derby betting odds favorite (I'm going to guess around 10-1) but he has big momentum after winning the Arkansas Derby and the Rebel. This one will run in any type of conditions and will shine. OMAHA BEACH IS MY PICK TO CAPTURE THE ROSES. Mike Smith has to decide whether he'll ride or not. If not, you can be assured trainer Richard Mandela will enlist someone else very capable.
IMPROBABLE. I expect he'll be a 10-1 or so choice on Derby Day. He was fractious at the gate in Arkansas. He's lost two in a row now, but ran well in each. He picks up Irad Ortiz, Jr in the saddle, since brother Jose is going with Tacitus. He loved Churchill as a two-year old and that could be a huge factor. The question is, how will he respond when he's eye-to-eye with one or more of them in the stretch?
TACITUS. Bettors will probably send him off around 8-1 or so. He's gone a different route than most of the contenders, getting wins in the Tampa Bay Derby and in the Wood at Aqueduct. We've mentioned Jose Ortiz staying on board for trainer Billy Mott. I wonder how he'll hold up against the other four listed here, though. He's never run at Churchill, either.
I'll be back in a few days with some Oaks ideas. Until then, good racing luck and wager responsibly. After all, you're betting against me and the guy in the corner -- not the track.
Monday, April 15, 2019
A new start.
Here, you will find commentary and selections from me on horse racing in Kentucky and beyond.
We'll keep you up on the Derby and Oaks trail, the Triple Crown and other big thoroughbred racing days throughout the year.
Stay tuned. I'll post my top five Derby and Oaks picks in a couple of days.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Thank you for checking out Handicapping Heroes.
We are no longer active. We have also stopped our radio show and our weekly articles. I'll be introducing a new site here eventually that will reflect my own picks, thoughts and selections. Radio? Maybe down the road.
We'll see you at the track.
Paulie, Archie, Hollywood and in memory of our co-founder the late Scott Harris.