While the cliche that horseplayers can’t find value in small fields is mostly true, that’s not entirely so. It’s like when a handicapper believes a horse to be of odds-on quality and is 8-5 ante post–that’s value.
But there’s no need for sophistication in today’s second from Oldsmar. Arnaud Delacour will saddle two of the six, and if handicappers can’t separate the two early favorites on paper, Daniel Centeno always has.
Delacour’s main stable rider jumps off Talk or Listen (8-5) and onto Chez Pierre (7-5), who makes his U.S. debut here. Undefeated in three starts over disparate courses-soft, heavy, and good-today will also be his route debut with appropriate pedigree for the trip. The first-time gelding gets first-time Lasix, too.
He’s an exacta must-use but we’re taking Blue Sky Kowboy (5-1) straight. His spacing is perfect, trainer Michelle Boyce has been 22% effective the last two seasons, goes second off the layoff, switches to Samy Camacho, and probably was best when beaten by a neck last out.
See the video for yourself then decide: Tampa Bay Downs, JAN 2, Race 5. We’ll opt for present condition over potential class.
Taking Blue Sky Kowboy to win at 4-1 or greater, and an exacta box with Chez Pierre.