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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


In addition to his weekly Wednesday column assessing the previous weekend’s graded stakes racing action, each Friday 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.”

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5 Responses

  1. Keith,

    Entering the Transylvania, Bama Breeze was on my Horses to Watch list for closing very well into a slow pace at a longer trip, so I bet him back in that Grade 3, knowing that it’s Rusty’s hometown track. I saw exactly what you saw and so kept him on my list.

    Now he reappears in Saratoga in search of a winner’s share of a $500,000? I’m all over him as a price-play exotic key. But you had to go and tell the world that can’t be bothered watching video about his Keeneland trip. Thanks a lot!

  2. Well John,
    I knew how much you cared about the pockets of your HRI faithful. So I figured that you’d gladly share with your readers. After all, what a few hundred bucks less going into your pockets so that it can make it’s way into theirs. You’re such a great guy. THANKS JOHN!!!

  3. I suppose…

    I will have ‘Bama’ in my Exotica mix Saturday morning along with the Alabama and a few features from around the country. May yours and all horses have safe and speedy journeys tomorrow.

  4. Should I gloat that had the last race exacta today,Friday,or should I keep it to myself ? Luzzi,boy, here is a quiet name from the past placing with double digit payoff ! One of my fav jockeys,and Hall of Famer,Junior Alvarado,won with a 51 -1 closing charge. Happy for him
    and Cancel, Lexcano,of course. To tell the truth, I Am really enjoying the closing races. If I’M Lying I’m Dying…. Only a couple of negative days so far,maybe three,just to be honest ,but, all in all, got them back plus much,much more. No luck or superstition,and I’m not religious nor would I make it up as I’m going over my notes,#,bets and results. If it is true, a rich businessman that I have known for over 35 yrs said that I should be driving a Rolls Royce,without willing to go partners when I tried to decipher m y numbers with him,a former harness owner. I like my semi new ,black Nissan Suv.There are so many like it that it would not be as noticeable as a R.R.Besides,I don’t like stuffy cars that need fill ups every time I get on 495,even at today’s gas prices…maybe a mid 70’s Charger,now that would bring 8 track memories like Chicago’s 250624,Deep Purple,The Who,.Cannot go back,just enjoy today-s R I D E and look ” Normal” ,whatever that means today..(Should I have a Notary public with me?)

    1. Of course the intelligent question remains:.How much did it cost( friend,food,trip and even bets)? All in total,$ 67 with supers,triples exactas and 3 horses to win and place..$ 770 +21+12+33 minus 67,equal about $ 760 with basic unit bet. Had the exacta the previous race so there were no DUE bets,that Is,any losing streak.Got the 6 th and the 8 th.. Gotta go finish my Lasagna for my famiglia,four brothers,sister and 85 yr old Mamma,the best word in Any language!My other sister ,Carmela,Should have been there too,but died in a one vehicle accident two months ago in Melville. You,JP,know where that is,of course.Bless you,dear sister.We all miss your kindness and care for everyone who ever knew you well. Jimmy.😗

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