She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"
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.
Saturday, March 14, 2020
A lot still up in the air about Derby, but...they are still running Derby prep races, even with no crowds, there is still plenty of internet betting...so let's take a look at what's going on down at Oaklawn today.
The Rebel Stakes will be contested, it's produced Derby winner in the past and the field looks to be pretty competitive. In fact, the Pick 4 sequence that involves the Rebel (Race 10), is quite challenging and there is some money to be made today.
I haven't fully decided on whether I'm going to take the Pick 4 on, or just do two Pick threes, starting with Race 8. As we like to say here, bet 'em anyway you like.
RACE 8 -- ESSEX STAKES -- 350K -- 1-1/16TH MILE
2 -- NIGHT OPS
4 -- BANKIT
6 -- SNAPPER SINCLAIR
7 -- PIONEER SPIRIT
THOUGHTS: I like the switch of jockeys on #2 Night Ops (from Geroux to Talamo) I like his closing style and he's won his last two on the dirt. Others to consider are #4 Bankit, #6 Snapper Sinclair and #7 Pioneer Spirit. Not listed about, but a horse i might include is #3 Laughing Fox. He has a win over Night Ops back in May, switches to Castellano on-board and ran in the Rebel and ARkansas Derby last year, SO HE KNOWS THE TRACK. .
RACE 9 -- AZERI STAKES -- 350k -- 1-1/16TH MILE
1 -- STREET BAND
2 -- MY LADY CURLIN
4 -- LADY APPLE
5 -- SERENGETI EMPRESS
THOUGHTS: I put #4 Lady Apple a notch above the rest. Two wins in a row over some of these and third in the Kentucky Oaks last year. Of course, the winner of the Kentucky Oaks is in here #5 Serengeti Empress, and she's a "must include" as well even though trainer Tom Amoss has gone to Joe Talamo instead of Flavien Prat on board. Let's toss in #2 My Lady Curlin and #1 Street Band also. They've been running with these and have done OK. Note, if it rains, I might not "bite into Lady Apple"...she bombed in the slop at Saratoga last fall.
RACE 10 -- REBEL STAKES -- 1 MILLION -- 1-1/16TH MILE
1 -- NADAL
3 -- BASIN
4 -- SILVER PROSPECTOR
5 -- NO PAROLE
THOUGHTS: I'm putting #4 Silver Prospector on top. He's won at the distance, Won at Oaklawn. Won in the slop. Took the KYJCUP at Churchill in the fall and Santana returns as jockey. He'll have a toigh go of it, though. #1 Nadal or #3 Basin will probably get the money and are perfectly capable of winning. #5 No Parole has won three in a row, moves up in class today but very dangerous, too. To further complicate things, I recommend keeping an eye on #6 Three Techniques. This one got a bad start last time out, looked really good in the two before the last one...but the jockey change to Luis Saez is puzzling. Wide open race.
RACE 11 -- MDN 87k -- 6 FURLONGS
3 -- LUCKY BETTY
5 -- CYNICAL GIRL
6 -- SACRED UNION
10 -- WEEKEND FUN
12 - TIPSY GAL
THOUGHTS: #3 Lucky Betty finished better than some of these in her last at Oaklawn. I'll put her on top, but, must consider others. #12 Tipsy Gal could surprise from post position #12, which usually isn't a great spot in a six furlongs race-- she does have early speed, though. #6 Sacred Union closed well against these and has had a bullet workout since. #5 Cynical Girl fits the requirements and has finished second in both her lifetime starts. #10 Weekend Fun hasn't run since November, but looks to be the early speed here. Another wide open one
Good luck today and remember what we say here, never bet the mortgaage on a mudder..
Sunday, March 1, 2020
It was a winning day in the Pick 4 play for the Gulfstream Fountain of Youth selections. I identified the four winners in Races 11-14, lined them out for you and we cashed. It wasn't much of a profit, the wager cost $80, after a scratch in the feature race, but it returned $110.85.
Interesting that Chance It chose not to "chance it" in the Fountain of Youth and scratched for the Tampa Bay Derby next week. I wonder if the pace scenario that was expected in this race (that came to fruition) made the owner and trainer decide that the west coast of Florida might be a better fit for this Derby hopeful.
All in all, 15 of our runners left the gate and seven of them returned a payout. Four winners, one second and two thirds. A little less than 50% in the money.
Prices weren't too huge on the win payout, but that'll happen sometimes. As the late Scott Harris used to say, we can pick winners, but we can't pick what we want paid out to us.
Somebeyay proved best in the 11th race, Mr Freeze chilled the rest of the field in the 12th., Zulu Alpha romped in the 13th. and Johnny Velazquez went to the lead and never looked back in the 13th, the Fountain of Youth, on Ete Indian.
Ete Indian won convincingly but the question still remains, has he improved enough to beat Tiz the Law, who got him in the Holy Bull? Going wire-to-wire in the Kentucky Derby to win rarely happens. Still, a solid win by a veteran, Hall of Fame jockey. It was the call on a bright day in Hallandale, FL. yesterday.
We'll see how Ete Indian's front running style holds up on the first Saturday in May. I'm not convinced it'll work, but, it's not like I've hit every Derby with the winner, you know. my list of 'also rans" at the 1-1/4th mile Churchill leg of the Triple Crown is quite long....