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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Hope you can find the time, we can’t, but if there’s a remote chance you have the day off, fans and players have races from Belmont Park, Santa Anita Park and Newmarket to choose from.

What’s that? Hipodromo Da Davea? Well, yes, that also.

Start your Breeders’ Cup handicapping-prep work at Newmarket. The winner of the Juddmonte Royal Lodge will win an all-expenses paid jaunt to the New World for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

The winner of Belmont’s Vosburgh will gain admission into The Sprint but Santa Anita Park, which opened today, a win in the Speakeasy, Rodeo Drive, American Pharoah, Chandelier and Awesome Again gets you into the Juvenile Turf Sprint, Filly & Mare Turf, Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies and Classic, respectively.

Santa Anita has two more Sunday; the Santa Anita Sprint Championship and Zenyatta for the Distaffers, while victory in the Grande Premio Brazil could add more international flavor to the Turf.

The early Vosburgh favorite Engage hasn’t started since last year’s BC Sprint, winning two straight after the barn change to Steve Asmussen before he finished fourth, which was also where he wound up the last time he came off a 300-day layup.

It opens up a bit after that, even with only five other rivals. Share the Share freaked winning his last at Monmouth and True Timber was third in the G1 Forego in his Spa finale.

No win-and-in races at Gulfstream but South Florida produces runners that often surprise in the Breeders’ Cup and the Hallandale track is hosting the finals of the Florida Stallion series.

Trainer Ralph Nicks does well with youngsters and he has starters in both the In Reality and My Dear Girl at 1-1/16 miles. In the latter, Nicks has eight-length debut winner Big Rings (3-1) behind the experienced, stouter bred Princess Secret (5-2).

Nicks has the deserving favorite in the In Reality, Breeze On By (1-1), 3-for-3 by an aggregate 14-1/2 lengths, coming into this off graduating distances and owns bottom-side distance pedigree. Emisael Jaramillo is the only rider he’s had on his back.

Out west, Lady Prancealot (2-1) is 1-for-1 at the 10 furlongs of the G1 Rodeo Drive. Richard Baltas also saddles second favorite Bodhicita (5-2) Flavien Prat up. Cal-bred Mucho Unusual (5-1) comes into this sharp and Maxim Rate’s (4-1) in top form. Interesting heat.

But the G1 headliner of Santa Anita’s first Saturday and of the entire race day is the 9-furlong Awesome Again. It drew a field of five, two saddled by Bob Baffert and arguably the country’s two top handicappers; Maximum Security (3-5) and Improbable (8-5).

The latter is reunited with Drayden Van Dyke and rides a pair of Grade 1s, the Hollywood Gold Cup and Whitney, into this.

Drawn on the far outside is the ‘Max’ who, reuniting with Luis Saez, gave a top class effort taking the Pacific Classic but turns back a furlong meeting the toughest rival he’s faced this year. If both bring their ‘A’ game, it should be quite a show.



MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Sweet Bye and Bye (7-2)

THE BET: Sweet Bye and Bye to win at 3-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Keying Sweet Bye and Bye first and second with Blowout (3-1) and Chaleur (5-1), using Viadera (9-2), Lemon Zip (30-1) and Feel Glorious (4-1) third and/or fourth.



THE BET: True Timber to win at 5-2 or more

EXOTICA: Key-boxing exactas with Stan the Man (8-1) and Share the Ride (6-1)


G2 Ack Ack

MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Warrior’s Charge (9-5)

THE BET: Thirstforlife (30-1) to win at 20-1 or more

EXOTICA: Exacta box of Thirstforlife, Warrior’s Charge and Everfast. Trifecta and/or superfecta key Warrior’s Charge over the exacta horses plus American Anthem (5-1), Mr. Money (6-1) Ebben (5-1) and Bankit (10-1)


Grade 1 Rodeo Drive


THE BET: Maxim Rate to win at 3-1 or better

EXOTICA: Keying Maxim Rate first and second in exactas and trifectas with Bodicita ((5-2), Mucho Unusual (5-1) and Lady Prancealot (2-1). 50-Cent PICK 3: 2 // ALL // 3 [$4]

G2 John Henry


THE BET: United to win, no price restrictions

EXOTICA: Key-boxing United first and second in exactas and trifectas with Originaire (7-2) and Salvator Mundi (6-1), extra ticket United on top

Grade 1 Awesome Again

MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Maximum Security (3-5)

THE BET: Cold exacta, Maximum Security over Improbable (8-5)


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11 Responses

  1. I was only 16 months late in my prediction with Improbable. He was my 2019 Kentucky Derby pick, but we all know how that went.
    Improbable win was devastatingly easy against Maximum Security who appeared to be laboring in the stretch.
    Improbable is going back to Churchill, and if he duplicates yesterday performances it will be a Breeders’ Cup Classic win and HOY honors.

    1. Tony, you are right, of course, providing your scenario is correct. I will have my take on yesterday’s Awesome Again later Sunday, working on it now, Indeed, the question is can Improbable be awesome again? Will the real ‘Max’ show up the next time or has his ship sailed for good? Alas we shall see…

  2. Curlin won Eclipse Award for HOY in 2007 (and in 2008) as a 3YO. He also won the Eclipse for 3YO that year. He was third in KY Derby and won The Preakness Stakes. What cinched HOY for him was his win, as a 3YO, in BC Classic. Tiz the Law could, not saying will, win BC Classic as a 3YO and, as in the example of Curlin) win HOY. I think your prediction above is a likely scenario and another big win for BB (Baffert). I just haven’t given up of Tiz yet. And I still remember the year Blame beat Zenyatta in BC Classic and the Eclipse Award for HOY went to Zenyatta. She was the sentimental favorite, not to mention her stellar career record, and I think a lot of people are pulling for TTL to bounce back at Keeneland in early November. I am one of those people.

    1. I love when fans get sentimental about their favorite horses; love of a particular horse is a great part of the game. Did you see that TTL took a baby step on his road to redemption, a soft work but the first since finishing second in the Derby. I think he can and will rebound. Whether it’s enough, we shall see. Meanwhile, let’s see what happens in Saturday’s Preakness, especially as it relates to Authentic and Art Collector. The Preakness draw is tomorrow at noon.

      1. I remember Steve Haskin saying that if MAX had not had the Derby DQ he would have won HOTY Award last year. He did win 3YO Male Horse Award, ‘tho. One thing is true, Breeders’ Cup counts for a lot when the votes are counted (Eclipse Awards).

        1. C, Steve was right and as far as Breeders’ Cup counting a lot, that’s why they’re called the Breeders’ Cup Championships…

  3. Keeping an honest account below for Wendell. I thought that Thirstforlife displayed quite an effort John. Ran much better than the Tote gave him credit for going into the gate. I lost a few dollars yesterday, but still had fun trying. That’s why we call it gambling right? Thanks for all the work you and Keith put into this.

    Proof follows that I don’t only comment on the winning days is all:

    Number of Bets
    Win Percentage

  4. McD, I take you at your word. No one is here to impress anyone else. Thanks for the update. That 60-1 shot gave me a big thrill. If he didn’t angle out eight wide he might have been second–or maybe better??

    Anyway, it was a costly photo as I made a rare across the board wager but at that price? Hey, he paid $14.40 to show, probably would have been around $40 in the middle. But it’s Sunday evening now and the sting is gone… Bourbon helped.

  5. John, I cut back on a few of your dxotica recommendations to keep my wagers for the day under $40. I did keep Thirstforlife in play however. Congrats on cashing a Tony Betts “Across The Board” wager. Thirst just as easily could have placed. Enjoy that Bourbon my friend.

    Comey movie comes on at 9:00 on Showtime. Received positive reviews on all that went down at the FBI. Should be interesting.

    The detailed NY Times Audit Details. No I did not pay $750 in Federal. I can’t talk until the audit is complete, but my accounting reads I lost only $9.60.

    Sep 26 11:43:43 AM Complete Santa Anita 10 Exacta $2.00 5/2 $2.00 – -$2.00
    Sep 26 11:42:52 AM Complete Santa Anita 9 Trifecta $0.50 3/2,5/2,5 $1.00 – -$1.00
    Sep 26 11:42:09 AM Complete Santa Anita 9 Exacta $1.00 3/2,5 $2.00 $5.20 $3.20
    Sep 26 11:41:51 AM Complete Santa Anita 9 Exacta $1.00 2,5/3 $2.00 – -$2.00
    Sep 26 11:41:24 AM Complete Santa Anita 9 Exacta $1.00 3/2,5 $2.00 $5.20 $3.20
    Sep 26 11:39:48 AM Complete Santa Anita 9 Win $2.00 3 $2.00 $3.40 $1.40
    Sep 26 11:39:10 AM Complete Santa Anita 7 Pick-3 $0.50 2/1-8/3 $4.00 $0.50 -$3.50
    Sep 26 11:36:21 AM Complete Santa Anita 7 Exacta $1.00 3,4,6/2 $3.00 $14.70 $11.70
    Sep 26 11:36:07 AM Complete Santa Anita 7 Exacta $1.00 2/3,4,6 $3.00 $1.00 -$2.00
    Sep 26 11:35:13 AM Complete Santa Anita 7 Win $2.00 2 $2.00 – -$2.00
    Sep 26 11:33:42 AM Complete Churchill 9 Superfecta $0.10 1,10,13/1,10,13/1,10,13/4,5,8,9 $2.40 – -$2.40
    Sep 26 11:32:44 AM Complete Churchill 9 Trifecta Box $0.50 1,10,13 $3.00 – -$3.00
    Sep 26 11:29:55 AM Complete Belmont 9 Exacta $1.00 4/1 $1.00 – -$1.00
    Sep 26 11:29:43 AM Complete Belmont 9 Exacta $1.00 1/4 $1.00 – -$1.00
    Sep 26 11:28:43 AM Complete Belmont 9 Win $2.00 1 $2.00 – -$2.00
    Sep 26 11:28:09 AM Complete Belmont 8 Superfecta $0.20 2/3,4/3,4/1,6,9 $1.20 – -$1.20
    Sep 26 11:26:14 AM Complete Belmont 8 Exacta $1.00 3,4/2 $2.00 – -$2.00
    Sep 26 11:25:55 AM Complete Belmont 8 Exacta $1.00 2/3,4 $2.00 – -$2.00
    Sep 26 11:24:37 AM Complete Belmont 8 Win $2.00 2 $2.00 – -$2.00
    Number of Bets
    Win Percentage

    1. McD,

      I don’t make WPS wagers, I said above at ’20-1 or better’ off the 30-1 ML , thought he was live and that 20-1 was fair. When I finally caught up to that race with, I don’t know, 5-6 minutes to post, I saw 45-1 and that’s when I decided I needed to bet straight across. The favorite looked best but was not crazy about rail position; wound up hurting him, too.

      I made the 3-horse exacta box and Everfast, bet in half from 10-1, never raised a gallop. Tough game…

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