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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, June 4, 2021 — No hyperbole intended; no hyperbole needed: Eight Grade 1s and a Grade 2 on one program does not require an introduction.

The hope is the weather man continues to cooperate after the projected rains of Belmont Eve left the main track a sloppy mess and the turf course a bog. Get ready, get set, now players can go bet!


STRAIGHT WAGER: 4- Dream Shake (5-2) to win at 3-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 3-4: Jackie’s Warrior (7-5) and Dream Shake. Trifecta Wheel: 3.4 // 1.3.4 // 1.3.4 (adding 1-Nova Rags (8-1).

Grade 2 BROOKLYN Race 4

STRAIGHT WAGER: 6-Moretti (4-1) to win at 4-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Key-Box: 6 // 4.8. Moretti with Rocketry (6-1) and Tizmagician (7-2).


STRAIGHT WAGER: 4-Dayattheoffice (4-1) to win at 7-2 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 4-6 Dayattheoffice with Search Results (1-1).


STRAIGHT WAGER: 6-Bound for Nowhere (2-1) to win at 2-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Key-Box 6 // 2.11. Bound for Nowhere with Casa Creed (8-1) and Got Stormy (6-1).


STRAIGHT WAGER: 7-Bonny South (10-1) to win at 8-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Key-Box: 7 // 3.5. Bonny South with Letruska (9-5) and Shedaresthedevil (5-2).


STRAIGHT WAGER: 8-Althiqa (8-1) to win at 5-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Key-Box 8 // 1.4 Althiqa with Zofelle (8-1) and Regal Glory (8-1). Trifecta Key-Box: 8 // 1.4.11. Althiqa with Zofelle, Regal Glory and Blowout 4-1).


STRAIGHT WAGER: 1-Mischevious Alex (5-2) at 5-2 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 1-6. Mischevious Alex with Knicks Go (6-5).


STRAIGHT WAGER: 2-Bye Bye Melvin (30-1) to win at 20-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: 2 // 4-9. Bye Bye Melvin with Domestic Spending (3-1) and Gufo (5-2).


STRAIGHT WAGER: 4-Hot Rod Charlie (7-2) to win at 3-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 2-4. Hot Rod Charlie with Essential Quality (2-1). Trifecta Box: 2-3-4-8 Essential Quality, Rombauer (3-1), Hot Rod Charlie and Overtook (20-1)

Suggested exotic plays at available minimums. Straight wagers: $2. Win plays should at minimum equal the amount spent in vertical exotics.

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44 Responses

  1. John, this is a long post, but I believe this needs to be seen by the appropriate audience, your readers.

    The Belmont Stakes is the perfect time for racing fans to take a cold hard look at the state of the American thoroughbred horse.

    Here are the number of lifetime starts for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in the Belmont Stakes since 1971. Arguably the strongest, healthiest 3-year-olds in any year.

    The list is sorted by the average of those 3 horses lifetime starts (final data field on each line). The facts are sobering and depressing. Durability is dead in the American thoroughbred.

    19 of the top 20 years are before 2000 (foal year 1997).
    14 of the top 20 years are before 1990 (foal year 1987).

    An asterisk (*) notes a horse that is still active.

    1974 Little Current (16), Jolly Johu (73), Cannonade (25); 38.0
    1987 Bet Twice (26), Cryptoclearance (44), Gulch (32); 34.0
    1985 Creme Fraiche (64), Stephan’s Odyssey (16), Chief’s Crown (21); 33.7
    1990 Go And Go (15), Thirty Six Red (20), Baron De Vaux (59); 31.3
    1975 Avatar (33), Foolish Pleasure (26), Master Derby (33); 30.7
    1996 Editor’s Note (31), Skip Away (38), My Flag (20); 29.7
    1976 Bold Forbes (18), Mckenzie Bridge (22), Great Contractor (46); 28.7
    1995 Thunder Gulch (16), Star Standard (25), Citadeed (43); 28.0
    1982 Conquistador Cielo (13), Gato Del Sol (39), Illuminate (32); 28.0
    1978 Affirmed (29), Alydar (26), Darby Creek Road (29); 28.0
    1984 Swale (14), Pine Circle (29), Morning Bob (39); 27.3
    1972 Riva Ridge (30), Ruritania (29), Cloudy Dawn (22); 27.0
    1993 Colonial Affair (20), Kissin Kris (35), Wild Gale (22); 25.7
    1979 Coastal (14), Golden Act (30), Spectacular Bid (30); 24.7
    1973 Secretariat (21), Twice A Prince (23), My Gallant (27); 23.7
    1998 Victory Gallop (17), Real Quiet (20), Thomas Jo (33); 23.3
    1971 Pass Catcher (25), Jim French (28), Bold Reason (17); 23.3
    1981 Summing (23), Highland Blade (29), Pleasant Colony (14); 22.0
    2005 Afleet Alex (12), Andromeda’s Hero (25), Nolan’s Cat (26); 21.0
    1980 Temperence Hill (31), Genuine Risk (15), Rockhill Native (17); 21.0
    1986 Danzig Connection (17), John’s Treasure (16), Ferdinand (29); 20.7
    1999 Lemon Drop Kid (24), Vision And Verse (21), Charismatic (17); 20.7
    1997 Touch Gold (15), Silver Charm (24), Free House (22); 20.3
    2011 Ruler On Ice (23), Stay Thirsty (17), Brilliant Speed (21); 20.3
    1989 Easy Goer (20), Sunday Silence (14), Le Voyageur (26); 20.0
    2003 Empire Maker (8), Ten Most Wanted (13), Funny Cide (38); 19.7
    1977 Seattle Slew (17), Run Dusty Run (24), Sanhedrin (16); 19.0
    1991 Hansel (14), Strike the Gold (31), Mane Minister (12); 19.0
    2010 Drosselmeyer (16), Fly Down (23), First Dude (17); 18.7
    2015 American Pharoah (11), Frosted (19), Keen Ice (24); 18.0
    1983 Caveat (21), Slew o’ Gold (21), Barberstown (12); 18.0
    1988 Risen Star (11), Kingpost (20), Brian’s Time (21); 17.3
    2008 Da’Tara (19), Denis Of Cork (6), Anak Nakal-DH (25), Ready’s Echo-DH (14); 16.0
    2000 Commendable (12), Aptitude (15), Unshaded (20); 15.7
    2002 Sarava (17), Medaglia d’Oro (17), Sunday Break (13); 15.7
    1994 Tabasco Cat (18), Go for Gin (19), Strodes Creek (9); 15.3
    2014 Tonalist (16), Commissioner (15), Medal Count (14); 15.0
    2012 Union Rags (8), Paynter (11), Atigun (25); 14.7
    2016 Creator (12), Destin (15), Lani (17); 14.7
    2013 Palace Malice (19), Oxbow (13), Orb (12); 14.7
    2007 Rags To Riches (7), Curlin (16), Tiago (20); 14.3
    2019 Sir Winston* (15), Tacitus* (16), Joevia (11); 14.0
    2017 Tapwrit (13), Irish War Cry (13), Patch (14); 13.3
    2004 Birdstone (9), Smarty Jones (9), Royal Assault (21); 13.0
    2006 Jazil (11), Bluegrass Cat (11), Sunriver (17); 13.0
    1992 A. P. Indy (11), My Memoirs (14), Pine Bluff (13); 12.7
    2001 Point Given (13), A P Valentine (13), Monarchos (10); 12.0
    2018 Justify (6), Gronkowski* (17), Hofburg (11); 11.3
    2009 Summer Bird (9), Dunkirk (5), Mine That Bird (18); 10.7
    2020 Tiz the Law (9), Dr Post* (7), Max Player* (9); 8.3

    1. An amazing piece of research Dan, thank you!

      Sobering indeed. We will pick up on your treatise post-Belmont…

    2. In the bottom dozen years, no horse raced over 20 times in his career. Looking at the names I don’t think they’re retired for there stud fee’s which means……………..

  2. JP,

    Amen, notwithstanding my stated desire to restore The Met Mile to its own day, this is the best day of racing outside The Breeders Cup two day end of season championships….by a long way….


    1. Peter, guess the higher-ups think they can’t build a mega-day around the Met Mile What else could it be? Seven Grade 1s would not have been enough for Belmont Day?

      1. JP,

        7 grade ones would have been more than enough. In an alternate universe the Met Mile was run on this past Monday (Memorial Day) and the Belmont Stakes draw was done after that card finished …. but alas that is in an alternate universe….


  3. Always find reasons and reminders why I miss the 70 besides my first car,trips to the many Long Island beaches with different young women, great Rock Music, my USA citizenship, US Air Force ,my first wedding,my son,now a Federal D.A.,my first business and,of course,the most memorable Horseracing with several indelible,athletic quadrupeds and their famous jockeys,trainers and owners who were proudly showing off their horses in front of thousands of fans/bettors/ analysts and to the national audience. Yeah,being in our early 20s was another good was Broadway,movies,Coney Island and Hershey Park trips and again,nearby accessible beaches,Carvel ice cream,your favorite local restaurant. If 234 com in in the Triple it could be a boring race. It’s More than likely that some other races Will be more ” Innterestingk !”Well, I hope so… My picks ,after I ll bet them. Checking on track conditions…

    1. Mammaries ? Those fatty tissues? Always been a leg man,drumsticks .They tell me a lot about fitness,look at those lady swimmers ,track n field athletes,.🏇🐴. Some side interesting races to watch,like that Liam horse versus the Gufo ( Owl, in Italian), Swiss Skydiver horse vs the fav,,Share the Devil,Silver State vs Knicks Go,Valiance was one of my top choices,,too bad !! Will the Iraq Ortiz absence cause many bettors to hesitate or switch their primary picks since he would have had some top choices to ride,like Known Agenda ? Is Swiss Skydiver an ” in and out” horse or it’s just a coincidence in the last few races ?? If Overtook does Not close well in this race he should be demoted..

      1. Man,is it boring trying to ignore these numerous commercials during this 2021 BELMONT !!! RAN OUT of beer,pizza,Tiramisu and if it wasn’t that the Islanders are playing next I would have taken a walk..!! My numbers: 2- 37- 374-186 plus 3- 27- 247- 168,plus 237 exacta box. $ 100,circa .Very disappointed that no exactas combos are shown in the screen But they sure like to show Breaking News about an NbaOrlando coach being fired,,who cares right now ? With so many ads,it won’t help attracting ( new) fans,,Too boring !

        1. Ps: I got the 4 the race exacta but.. can someone explain the race time breakdown? It does not make sense( to me). Sterling mentioned it but then that was it. When Migliore replaced him there was no mention of it at all.Hmmn !🤔🤔!

          1. All announcers can do is to bring attention to an issue, it’s up to officials to follow up. Perhaps there was some announcement/correction on track but if there were it would have been mentioned. Somebody dropped the ball but it wasn’t the talent on set.

      2. JGR: Clearly my reference was a bad one. It was a poor attempt at calling attention to motherhood–the reduced foal crop, etc.

        Mea culpa

  4. The expanse of Belmont track itself has me leaning towards “endurance and gameness” in the big race. Leads me to EQ. My problem is getting around playing the favorite at 2-1. Any of five, or maybe six, could take this year’s contest, but the runner standing out as the best quality is indeed Essential Quality.

    Undecided I am between Bold Agenda, the Charlie Horse, and Rombauer for place, so in order to extend the odds a bit on the favorite, I am front and back ending P3 and P4 tickets based off of Essential Quality. P3 and P4 selections listed below.

    Out of respect for the Indulto factor, I’ll add a ten cent box the “aforesaid four” in the Belmont
    Ditto respect for the Editor, I am adding a $2 Ex Bx EQ and the Charlie Horse.

    Race 9 Knicks Go
    Race 10 Domestic Spending
    Race 11 Essential Quality
    Race 12 Runaway Rumor
    Race 13 The Price Talk and Valued Engineering entry

    Safe journey to all.

  5. June 5,2021

    3rd race-Drain the clock is forward moving (7/2) and maybe more.

    4th race-Lone Rock (9/2)Use with the 2,4,8

    5th race-Dayattheoffice(4/1) Great betting race. Box with the 1,3,6. DO NOT LOOSE THE #4 TO WIN

    6th race-#3 Completed Pass(12-1) Box with the 4,6,8 Could be boxcars with a little racing luck

    7th race-#1 Swiss Skydiver (5/2) Needed last against these. Ready. Box with the 2,3,7.Throw out the #5 Shedaresthedevil

    8th race-Impossible race so let’s big ! #4 Regal Glory to win(8-1), box with the #2(12-1), #6(5-1) and #7(20-1)This race could make your month. Git those bad guy’s(Pay attention to the odds on pocket square, you may have to make a win bet if they float up)

    9th race-Box the 1,5,6. Knicks go is a big ? mark for me. Win bet on the highest odds of the 3.

    10th race-#4 Domestic Spending (BEST BET) Key with the 2,8,9,10

    11th race- The Belmont Stakes. I’m not in the habit to play on a favorite but this horse checks every box. Going from the 14 hole to the 2 hole and beaten just a length in last.Should be in the garden just behind the speed. Cox and Saez are hot and Hot Rod Charlie could take some extra cash. The one I don’t like is Rock your world. He’s a toss. The 1 and the 5 are not good enough with these which leaves us with #4 Hot Rod Charlie (7/2), #6 Known Agenda (6-1), #8 Overtook (20-1) and #3 Rombauer(3-1) in that order.On paper it looks like a 2 horse race BUT when that happens one usually disappoint’s.2-1 is square on EQ in a race IMO he should be even odds or 4/5.
    One more time “Let’s go get the bad guys) and may everyone come home safe

    Vin O’

  6. Get the posse ready boys, Marshall O’Connell just checked in.

    Vincent, I also passed on the Rock horse. See something say something. Learned that one well after working two WTC recoveries in lower Manhattan. Any hoot, here’s my add on the race. If ever a race could still factor in on the Dosage Index lines, it would be the Belmont Stakes. I noticed an interesting detail on Known Agenda on pedigree query. I always felt a bell shape on the DP was a big positive with Dosage. Cashed a few good tickets over the years. The DP line on Bold Agenda reads DP = 4-5-8-4-1 (22). Pretty sweet looking bell shape is all. DI = 1.44 CD = 0.32. Total races 7 with 3 wins, 1 place, and 1 show. I am thinking this one may have more stamina and staying power than we are allowing due to his Derby also ran ending. Earnings are 541,700 so we know that Known Agenda is a race horse. I may still turn my cards to using him on top if the board lets him get away. I am using KA over Overtook based on the DP. – good journey – DMcD

    1. Small food for thought. Dr. Roman retired several years ago and chef-de-race have not been updated since. I agree Known Agenda is in with a chance after breaking from the 1 hole in last. Good luck.

  7. Scratch the Aussie Foster’s in Race 4 John Boy. I like your call on a cold Italian Moretti even more.

  8. The last trivia post for Vincent, et. all, before we go out and get them bad guys, I had to add one additional item of note from the pedigree online page on Known Agenda. The Dam of Curlin is Sherriff’s Deputy. Riders Up!

  9. I hope everyone had a great day with a happy ending. We got all the bad guys today. Just like baseball, there are days you can just see the stitches on the ball coming down the plate. My grandson graduated today. I shared with him you need to graduate every week. Lol. Be well everyone.

  10. ALL: You guys were all over it today; Drain the Clock a crazy good pick!

    God help me but, as Patton said, “I do love it so…”

  11. Well someone at HRI picked my front pocket for a couple of bucks, and my wallet is also out a five spot thanks to my Bell Curve pedigree Agenda venture. I wagered $43 and had a $37 return on the day. The best part of the day is we have our 2 1/2 and 6 year old grandsons over for a sleepover for the weekend. so they both watched the race with my wife and I. The younger one liked the 2 horsey because he wore blue, and the older picked the 4 horse because he liked his name. I boxed the exacta for them, so they both scored some serious ice cream money.

    The next outing I hope will be a breakfast at Belmont, and a wagon ride through the barn area. I did that with my son years back when they were youngsters. Nick Zito even came over and tossed a football with them both for a good five to ten minutes. All of this was only days after winning with Strike the Gold who we also saw in the barn area.

    What a race Hot Rod C. ran today. Fastest quarter mile ever in a Belmont was the call and he was still there to the end. Reminded me of Aydar and Affirmed. Sure didn’t miss Barrert today is all.

    Hopefully we can find a way to restore the breeding and the future of this game can be set back on track. There are so many other grand kids who could become future fans. Today was a nice step towards the restoration. Racing won big today.

    1. McD, Racing won big today indeed, but who thought a butchered NY accent was a good way to begin a national telecast. Would have even taken two stereotypical horseplayers having a handicapping disagreement. And unless they’re paying on-air talent less this month, it’s sophomoric repeating NBCSN segments into the network broadcast. However, getting Steve Karnacki involved to talk to the casual players a terrific idea!

      Enjoy the grandbabies…

  12. I say the horse will win, the horse finishes 4th. A concise description of my overall wagering record since 1972.

    1. You hang in, Dan, better days ahead. Stat research is great and is much appreciated. Love the HRI Faithful!

      1. JP,
        I doubt I’ll ever have a better day again than I did yesterday.

        I’ve long believed that horizontal exotics are the best tools–along with a little luck– for extended stakes cards such as TC and BC days which usually produce more than their fair share of winning favorites.

        Your selection of Althiqa to win, and Steve Asmussen’s dominance of the Met Mile, were the keys to leveraging chalk in three consecutive $1 P3s of $195.25, $229.00, and $59.00; and a 50c P4 of $269.25. The 50c P5 of $660.50 eluded me because I had limited enthusiasm for redundant early expenditure while playing this year in the red.

        People who made those horizontal exotic plays might have had the $1 P6 as well for $19,528.00 had they been able to see what you saw in Casa Creed.

        Despite your declining to take me up on my proposed P3 challenge, I’m sure your sincere wishes for “Good Luck” played some role in the extended good fortune I experienced. We definitely missed an opportunity. Together we probably could have identified eight consecutive winners.

        So, please, no more “I don’t do stakes races” excuses. They publish running lines and speed figures for stakes horses too, you know. And — as you’ve pointed out ad nauseum — they run in the same circles on the same surfaces as claimers.

        Yesterday really has me revved up for Whitney and Travers days. And maybe even Foster’s Day (Stephen Foster, that is, not Foster’s beer). Wouldn’t it be a shame if one of us hits the finish line before two left-leaning cyber-curmudgeons could collaborate congenially? LOL

        Finally, the feeling of watching the Belmont stakes with a P4 and P3 on the line using both Elusive Quality and Hot Rod Charlie is what this game is all about. Of course I was rooting for HRC, but as McD observed, that blistering first quarter ruined his chances. Interestingly, EQ dropped from 9-5 to 6-5 after the bell while HRC went from 4-1 to 9-2.

        1. I, Very happy to hear and glad to be of service. I’m a verticals guy myself and while a very small winner on the day, Bound for Nowhere finishing third to Casa Creed was very costly.

          Meanwhile, happy to be of service…

  13. June 6,2021.After Belmont Stakes notes to self: As usual,the numbers showed the way to cashing tickets. There is No Emotion involved. Act like the IRS,or your nastiest CPA or even a cold killer with a very focused ,intentional Mission.. EQ stood above all,the #s showed, with Rembauer and the other choices behind. Surprised that the Wine horse did not close better ? Yes ! Instead of going x the HR ,Triple and other gimmicks,could have settled x a nice single,x the Winner,or a Double but instead went for the 2021 Yankees swing,not my forte. Funny that when betting in other sports we don’t blink an eye about shelling out $ 120 plus to just cash$100 but in Horseracing many of us see it as cheap when it comes to cashing in 4/5,1\1 or 6/5 and better odds….!! And then we talk about VALUE ? Don’t overthink it,just bet the fig #s !! Nothing worse than playing against your actuarial deductions.Either that or skip the race,event and do something else. These are the, ever present,Facts.

    1. I’ve often mentioned that you tend to go off on tangents. In that context, the above nailed it in just about every instance. It’s very meaningful to recall your always laying 11-10 playing sports and often significantly more. In context, what’s so bad about even money?

  14. Congrats to the Iman. My young grandsons also each cashed a ticket on the Indulto Ten Cent Super. Almost forgot I wagered another $4.80 on TVG. That score we will bank for ice cream 🍦 on Travers Day.

    The secret to racing as with most all ventures in life is moderation. You never leave the track broke, and always set aside some of the winnings for ice cream.

    Thank you all connected on the comments board. A fun weekend it has been. I even gave a class on ïmoderation that even my two year old understood. No racing today, but there’s still plenty of ice cream left for later in the day.
    An Ice Cream and Riders Up HRI day it was. Thanks John.

  15. I’m often surprised when our our comment section gets me to smile, given the nature of the beast. Glad everyone seemed to have so much fun Belmont day!

    1. And why not? Sunshine, quality competition, no breakdowns, no Baffert, live crowd, less tension from daily political/health crises to deal with, top races to look forward to at top venues … all that was missing was the Marx Brothers!

  16. Mr. Ed: Congrats on your profitable day. Your now are all set for the forthcoming stake races. Continued good luck.

    You wrote above in reference to me: ‘I don’t do stake races excuses’; I don’t and since about 1980 never bet serious money on a stake race.
    I’m a gambler who bets on many sporting events (keep killing the Yankees, Red Sox). Simply stated, claiming races are easier to ‘cap as there is rarely as odds-on (a race you skip) and usually the probable winner can be narrowed down to two or three; not so in stake races if there is no odds-on favorite. With a plethora of race tracks operating most days, a serious ‘capper can find four or five races EVERY DAY that can provide a winner (thus my constant 30% win percentage). It’s about making money, isn’t it?

    1. Disagree with claiming races being easier to handicap with so many drops, ups, off layoffs, trainer/owner changes. Too turbulent to predict ” how a certain horse will run today”. Trainers’ moves to me are not clear on paper and have to rely on the $ board and then, with late $ coming in, it will be too late to make corrections.” Is he/she going? Won’t know until after the start but to each his own way to do it. NYRA coverage on Fox has not shown exactas and DD. probables for several days which would force me to go to the ” temporary, day-time rest home” better known as OTB. Also, TVG colorful graphics are not needed as I was watching Santa Anita big money Pick 5,6. Not all changes are for the better!😷 Have never bet any Las Vegas style bets a la $125 to win $ 100 but I have used odds-on horses for the exactas, triples and there lies the difference, plus tripling up on the horse to place. Vegas odds don’t offer place bets 🐴🍕🤔

      1. J.Lezcano ,one of my two favorite giant killers, Alvarado is the other, had a great day yesterday by winning races in a row. And of course, afterwards, mouthpieces say that he’s a good jockey on turf! Duh !!!

      2. JG, spent some time editing to make this understandable to entire audience. Please give it a re-read before posting — as I don’t always have time to correct? Thanks!

        1. From the South Bay’s weekly from the Babylon,LI area: ” Some readers are simply
          looking for mistakes and we usually satisfy them with their search “🤔

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