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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


There will be no Mardi Gras this year but there will be a Louisiana Derby and a very good way to get there would be a top effort in Saturday’s Grade 2 Risen Star.

With NOLA’s Derby now run at 1-3/16s miles, the Risen Star was also lengthened, but that won’t stop 13 three-year-olds from answering the starter’s call in Saturday’s 1-1/8 miles test.

Saturday’s race is the deepest field of Derby-aged runners assembled this year and, without exaggeration or qualification, eight of the 13 could become serious racehorses—no disrespect to the other five. Take a look:

G2 RISEN STAKES STAKES FIELD, listed in post order with early odds:

1-STARRININMYDREAMS (12-1): 2-for-2 lifetime, partnership of trainer Dallas Stewart and WinStar Farm, 7 works since his CD finale with two bullets

2-PROXY (8-1): Both wins with Lasix, both placings without, finisher was second to Midnight Baron-one of the favorites here-in the Lecomte

3-BEEP BEEP (20-1): Maiden win at seventh-eighths, rough-trip fourth in 1X two-turner

4-CARILLO (15-1): Either a barn change or on loan to Tome Amoss from Chad Brown; broke maiden on debut in Big A flat-mile

5-SENOR BUSCADOR (6-1): Two for-two lifetime, both at Remington, but his Springboard Mile must be seen to be believed; Arazi-lite.

6-MIDNIGHT BOURBON (6-1): Lecomte winner previous second in Jockey Club Stakes and third in Champagne, has credentials

7-O BESOS (12-1): Two-for-two post debut with blinkers around one turn, gets neither here

8-SERMONONTHEMOUNT (50-1): Blessed are the Delta shippers for they shall inherit a class rise and a second turn

9-DEFEATER (12-1): Overcame trouble to break maiden on debut sprinting, closing one-turner or more, bullet for Amoss

10-SANTA CRUISER (15-1): Much troubled trip when fourth in Lecomte, finishing up very nicely

11-MANDALOUN (9-2): Disappointing as odds-on Lecomte favorite but two huge works since for Cox/Geroux team indicates rebound a strong possibility

12-KEEPMEINMIND (3-1): Excellent credentials as Breeders’ Futurity runnerup, third in BC Juvenile and G2 Jockey Club Stakes hero; Spendthrift recently bought half-interest

13-RIGHTANDJUST (15-1): Claimed two back for $50,000 and won of the claim; figures that are competitive and his line is forward-looking.



WORTHY FAVORITE:  Dalika (7-2)

VALUE PLAY:  Tuned (6-1) to win at 7-2 or greater

EXOTICA:  Exacta Boxes 5.7.11 and  7.9.11   Trifecta Wheel 7.11 // 7.11 // and 7.11 // // 7.11


WORTHY FAVORITE:  Maxfield  (4-5)              

VALUE PLAY:  Wells Bayou  (6-1) to win at 4-1 or greater    

EXOTICA:  Exacta Box 2.4  Trifecta Key Box 4 first and second with 1.2.3


WORTHY FAVORITE:  Factor This  (3-1)              

VALUE PLAY:  Danceteria (6-1) to win at 9-2 or greater   

EXOTICA:  Exacta Box 4.8   Trifecta Wheel 4.8 // 4.8 //              


WORTHY FAVORITE:  Travel Column  (2-1)

VALUE PLAY:  Clairiere (5-2) to win at early line odds or greater        

EXOTICA:  Exacta Box 1.8   Trifecta Wheel 1/8 // 1.8 // 2.3.9             

G2 Risen Star     Race 13

WORTHY FAVORITE:  Mandaloun (9-2)          

VALUE PLAY:  Proxy (8-1) to win at 5-1 or greater      

EXOTICA:  Exacta Boxes: 2.5.11 and 2.6.11 and 2.10.11 and 2.11.12                

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24 Responses

  1. John: Just a FYI, but Carillo was the last winner in NY for the Estate of Paul Pompa. He was part of the dispersal of the Pompa horses at Keeneland last Month. Apparently, he was purchased by the Amoss crew for 875K.

  2. That makes a lot of sense, Fram.

    I noticed the breeder but didn’t put it together. Good work; horseplayers helping horseplayers!

    If you haven’t seen the video, check out. Not the prettiest action I’ve seen but the win was thoroughly comprehensive. Tough, tough race and the good chance of a wet track only makes it more problematic, but a great betting race and my dollars will be represented.

  3. Wow, the back half of the Saturday FG card is great. Will you be breaking down any of the other stakes on the card?

    1. Isn’t it great? Agreed, Doc. I won’t be breaking down the races which are very, very challenging. But I will be posting the selections and betting grids on the final five stakes on the program–the Risen Star is an absolute killer!

      1. Yeah very challenging is a good way to describe it. I downloaded TG when I was taking a quick WFH lunch break before – I took a look at the stakes races, shook my head, closed the PDF, and said “nah, I’ll have to look at it later”. It is going to require a good dinner and a quick nap before I can really give it the focus it is going to need!!

        1. Wise choice, I’ve been looking at those five races over for parts of two days… no easy game this!

  4. It’s nice to look at good horses,entries In good races but the usual wintry Aquaduct mediocre product does remind me of Suffolk Down frigid days and worse program with small fields. Why can’t this track take a , let’s say, a two month breather instead of these animals cutting 6f in 49 and change and finishing a mile in over 1:40 plus ? As an outdoor sport why have these poor animals,jockeys-,walkers,groomers et al suffer through this crapola? It isn’t like if it showing an interesting product or an intriguing ,engaging solution for it’s betting patrons! It feels like watching forced manure into someone’s pea brain,the addicted bettors who won’t have anything else to do.Really? There are other tracks South and West which can reached as easily as the one in Ozone Park,all they got to do is switch channel or site,,while standing or sitting in their favorite spot,be it a lounge,club,OTB or their own kitchen or living room. Yeah,but ” They know the New York horses and trainers/ jockeys-,,” ! Really,what , they give you Tips,hints,numbers? Pleez ! Shut this mediocre offering for the months of January and February,it will do you good,for you ,your addiction,family and pocket esp.if you happen to be one of too many thousands who are gambling with their pension $.To each his own,I know,but some logical break won’t harm most people involved. Even Greed has its limitations .

    1. First, greed has no limitations, this is America, where nothing is free, not even a good number of its people.

      JG, no one is forcing you to bet or look at Aqueduct if you don’t want to. But lesser owners, smaller barns, and backstretch workers all need to earn or they won’t survive.

      I’m not a fan of the winter product, and never really have been. But I will not deny any racetracker a chance to earn a living.

      1. Another reason x disliking New York winter racing is,,,Why wait for 25 minutes between races when most fields have 7 or less plodders,I mean contenders? Why can’t 2 minutes for each entered horse be enough ? Who needs 20 plus minutes to eliminate non contenders and choose ,write down your probable main horses esp.since many have already looked at PPs by the time ” It’s Post time” ?? …..First race at Fairgrounds,the favorite,7, got whipped,Hard,5 times within a couple of seconds,and then Again when it was easy to notice to blind people that he could never get to the winner.That whip looked and felt like a nightstick,Bryan Hernandez .,You Should get your butt in the penalty box !😠😠😠😠

        1. What you suggest re time between races is simply impossible. You need to think it through better. And we get it, you don’t like winter racing in NY. Some people do, let it go now, please…

  5. John: I’m quite sure that we ( NY racing fans) would prefer to return to the “good old” days that existed before OTB and the Inner Track, to wit, a break from about December 1st until March 1st, but those days are long gone. Moreover, as you note, the Aqueduct winter is designed to enable the smaller outfits to win some races and pay some bills. We all wish that Saratoga started yesterday, but not only is it unrealistic, I think that we’ve stretched the Saratoga Season to its Outer Limits.
    John, may I ask you to look into something? NYRA announced the schedule for the Belmont Spring/Summer meet earlier this afternoon. I have examined it several times and there is a glaring omission that I still can’t believe was not a huge mistake. In this regard, there is NO stakes race scheduled for the weekend of May 22nd-May23rd. John, I have only been going to the NY tracks for 45 years; your tenure is somewhat longer than that. I cannot recall any such stakeless weekend at Belmont, ever. Can it be true and not just someone overlooking the actual schedule? One other glaring omission is that there is no stake on Opening day, April 22nd. Its just a random Thursday in April, and the weather in Floral Park can be dicey then, but Belmont has always had an opening day stake.
    So, John, if you can find out if these omissions were intentional, or merely some negligent oversight, it would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Framarco,
      The Seek Again is scheduled for Saturday May 22, 2021 which precedes the Belmont Stakes by two weeks. That Saturday corresponds to May 25 in 2019 when the Paradise Creek was run in that spot.

      There are no Sunday stakes scheduled between the multiple graded stakes Saturday card (that includes the G1 Man o’ War) and the Memorial Day weekend.

      A lot of Belmont’s Stakes races have been moved to the expanded Saratoga meet and several of the remainder have had their purses cut.

      The only Thursday stakes scheduled are during Belmont Stakes week.

      Sure looks carefully planned out to me. LOL

    2. Fram, found answer to your query, there’s a new stakes that weekend of May 22-23, wrote down the name but misplaced it; getting old sucks. Anyway, like I said it’s new so it’s probably some $100K listed event.

      As far as opening day stakes, late decision to open Belmont on a Thursday. The Friday opener was scheduled to be the Affirmed Success Stakes. It will remain in that Friday slot.

  6. Yes, Fram, we are not going back to the days of the Dec to Mar hiatus and yes, again, we have stretched Saratoga to its outer limits.

    I will make some phone calls re opening day and that May weekend, which is three weeks post Derby so it’s not vs Preakness conflict or something similar…

  7. Time to take a journey to the Fair Grounds.

    Race 7- 1 with the 4,7

    Race 8- If it’s not the 4 then I don’t know who it is. (stand alone)

    Race 9- 11 with the 3,5,9

    Race 10- 2 with the 1,5,6 You can use the 4 to spread.

    Race 11- 8 with the 2,7

    Race 12- 1,6,8 with the one a little more on top

    Race 13- The Risen Star #11 Mandaloun with the 2,5,6 to score some exotic cash

    Good luck and as always “Let’s go get the bad guys”

    Vin O’

  8. Sunday Morning recap of yesterday’s stakes action. Mandaloun’s effort at FG was very useful. He took another step forward and appears on solid footing toward Derby path.
    Maxfield win was super easy- not sure where his full potential will take him. Clearly very excited to see what his best effort will be.
    When and where will he take on Knicks Go?

    Stonestreet Stable has another filly superstar in Clairiere, gutty win over Travel Column. This daughter of Curlin has the look and stride of a filly who will love the added distance of the OAKS.

    1. Can’t argue with anything here except to note that Charlatan might have something to say about the handicap division when all’s said and done.
      BTW: Love both those fillies but my lean is also to Clairiere…

      1. Your comments,and excuses remind me of ” Never Ask an Alcoholic if He- She Drinks Too Much “. There are few values,and please stop pushing for that vertical nonsense which is now ” offered” in every horse cable station as if these charlatans have a positive ROI on gimmicks !Only Jonathon Kitchen (sp ? ) comes to mind hitting a $ 120 plus some months ago and starting with Watchmaker and others I really wonder how much have the ” Winnings” Really cost. Winter Aquaduct remains a miserable place, a hide out, for degenerates who don’t seem to mind that there’s no value or product offered to them..just leftovers,from equines to jockeys ..Which public handicapper,instead of calling them what I really think they are since most of them just Pick numbers 3- 4 days in advance of Post time,ignoring track variants,weather conditions et al,, are having a positive $ balance ??. Even Newsday s Matthews is below water for over $ 100 ,and that’s by its own count !!..Imagine the realities among all others.. via internet,wires or 888 numbers !!🤔😁🤐 If you don’t like it,don’t play it,fine,but a s a consumer I think that the present ” Buffet” has only slim pickings which are not worthy of any attention nor it’s ever diminishing cable time. Thankfully,Gulfstream and some other tracks are available,with more value,larger fields,better horses and more interest$,according to their $ pools…and yes,better form without having to guess as much as in that wintry,grey, rusty Roulette wheel called The Big A. “This is a free country”,,and many logical patrons ignore the depressing Ozone Park hangout. I’m Only One of them. It ,Aquaduct,is not worthy of my time or interest. It should take a break,give us a break.

  9. Looking forward to Clairiere’s odds in the first future Oaks Pool in early March. Pool 3 for the boys is on the board today. 6:00 PM Close.

    Nice calls on races 12 & 13 John. Another weekend of moving the chains forward and building up the account balances. I missed the big price horses blowing up our earlier bets as I was locked into reading children’s books to my two year old grandson. I was able to catch Nola races 12 & 13 however. Maybe next week I’ll divert his attention away from the “big brown bear” and start him on the “big brown horse” and his past performance lines, lol.

    1. McD, would sign for this weekend’s results in a heartbeat every week. Those two fillies put on quite a show but agree with you that Clairiere might prove the better of the two–please not a said might. Note that the winner each time was the one making the last run, just very interesting…

  10. Rideau Carlton, Ontario,harness at 16 F, in a cold,,snowy racetrack covered with thick ice. It looks like Siberian night with lights on as only 5 horses try to finish this frigid race under 2 minutes…. Nobody cares for the safety of both horses,drivers as I wonder who really is that desperate,and empty,to bet on such conditions as they get cloudier than the worst London fogs. ..Yesterday at the big A every number 1 horse was in the money as at least 4 of the first 5 races won the contest. I rarely remember such results at Yonkers of yrs past. Not all of them won in the front as some closed in…on the rail .Eric Cancel, besides the fact he’s had some good days recently, he’s a better jockey than most racegoers will ever admit.Better than Franco ? Giving them similar horses in similar tracks,there won’t be any doubt. It is much easier to get to the finish line with better horses trained by better winning trainers. The various R. Persaults of racing are just as bad training as when They were riding. Same goes to several other trainers.One wonders how do they stay in business……( How Do They,really ??)🦄🤔🍷

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