In addition to his weekly Wednesday column assessing the previous weekend’s graded stakes racing action, each Friday GradedStakesRaces.com founder Keith Pettyjohn will provide a runner listed at 10-1 or greater on the early line to use in your multiple pool wagers
By Keith Pettyjohn — As stated, each week we scour that weekend’s graded stakes events, looking for a horse that can add value to your exotic plays. That runner will be the horse that I’ll be keying as a board-hitter to fill out the vertical exotics.
Apologies HRI faithful, but there doesn’t appear to be much meat on the bones for the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes in terms of finding a price horse. It certainly appears that Swiss Skydiver is the horse to beat at very low odds.
If I had to pick a horse at a price in this field to use as a board-key, it would probably be Harvey’s Lil Goil. The problems here are that there’s only two horses in the race listed at 10-1 or higher.
The second problem is her last dirt effort was absolutely abysmal. Maybe she got a lot out of her last race on the turf and will run better today on the dirt. But I can’t with a clear conscience tell you to key that horse in your exotics.
What I will say is that I will be watching the odds of the rail horse, Envoutante, closely. She’s listed at 8-1 on the morning line and if she floats up, I’ll be using her as my board key in the exotic wagers.
But fret not as I do have a horse for you in New York; he’s just not in a Graded Stakes Race. That said, let’s take a look at the $500,000 Saratoga Derby Invitational.
Here, three year olds will travel 1 3/16 on the turf. With the exception of the #3 horse, No Word, none of these have traveled that far in a race. That alone adds an interesting dynamic to this race.
However, the horse I landed on was the rail runner, Bama Breeze, listed at 15-1. This horse should get a ground-saving trip from Manny Franco in this spot.
In his last effort at Keeneland, Bama Breeze was well out of it early, made up good ground to be in contention late, but ran into traffic trouble in deep stretch as the hole he sought closed up. With that, the rider took care of him late, to await another day. That day has come.
The added distance should be fine for this gelding by Honor Code. ‘Rusty’ Arnold’s training regimen of 14 furlongs over three works since his last race 34 days ago should have him in top condition for this event.
Also, the Class-Based Performance Figure that he earned in his last race when running 1 1/4 lengths behind the #7 horse here, Field Pass (6-1), was actually one of the best last-race efforts in the field.
Look for Bama Breeze to give a good account of himself in the Saratoga Derby. Good luck today, good gambling, and when playing the game never forget; “It Only Takes One.”