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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


One thing I didn’t give serious thought to until midweek. Major Breeders’ Cup Grade 1 preps taking place at Belmont Park and Keeneland are going up against Preakness Day at Pimlico Race Course. Or is it the other way around?

From any vantage point it’s a shame for all. This glut of stakes activity, including many of the Grade 1 variety, makes it impossible for even professionals to do a thorough job on races of major interest throughout the U.S.

And if you survive all that until Sunday morning, remember that Enable will make another attempt at an unprecedented third Arc victory on very soft ground which ironically moves up the chances of her own stablemate, Stradivarius.

Love, the European sensation of 2020 expected to run, was never entered, leaving “only” a field of 13. Name your passion: Has there ever been a year quite like this? Alas, we soldier on.

The races we chose to analyze are those from which we hope to cull information for a gambling assault on Keeneland that takes place on the weekend of November 7. Hopefully, we can build a Breeders’ Cup nest egg on Pandemic Preakness Saturday.

PIMLICO (Races 8, 10,11)

Laurel Futurity

MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Pivotal Mission (3-1)

THE BET: Pivotal Mission to win at 5-2 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta box with Hidden Enemy (4-1). Exacta and trifecta part wheel Pivotal Mission and Hidden Enemy on top, over each other and Nautilus (10-1).

G2 Black-Eyed Susan


THE BET: Exacta key-box Bonny South with Hopeful Growth (8-1), Mizzen Beau (12-1) and Miss Marissa (12-1).

EXOTICA: Exacta and Trifecta key Bonny South over those three value fillies. Cold Double Bonny South with Authentic.

Grade 1 Preakness Stakes


THE BET: Authentic to win–if not alive in Pimlico Special Double (posted Thursday) or Black-Eyed Susan Double (as above) at 8-5 or greater, and pressed exacta box with Art Collector (5-2).

EXOTICA: Trifecta part wheel Authentic and Art Collector first and second, and first and third, with, Pneumatic (20-1), Max Player (15-1), Thousand Words (6-1) and Swiss Skyrider (6-1).

Superfecta part wheel Authentic on top, Art Collector second and third, with the four price shots above, and also including Mr. Big News (15-1) and Ny Traffic (15-1).

BELMONT PARK (Races 7, 9)

Grade 1 Turf Classic

MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Channel Maker (5-2)

THE BET: Cross Border (9-2) to win at 4-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta box Channel Maker and Cross Border. Trifecta part wheel these two on top with each other and Rockemperor (2-1) second and third. PICK 3: Channel Maker, Cross Border and Rockemperor // with Code of Honor (1-1) // with No Word (9-2), Gufo (3-1), Domestic Spending (5-2 and Pixilate (5-1).

Grade 1 Belmont Derby

MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Domestic Spending (5-2)

THE BET: No Word (9-2) to win at 4-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta and Trifecta key box No Word first and second with Domestic Spending, Gufo, and Pixilate, including Moon Over Miami in third.

KEENELAND (Races 9,10)

Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity


THE BET: SUPER STOCK (8-1) at 6-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta box Calibrate and Super Stock. 10-Cent Super key-box Super Stock with Calibrate, Essential Quality (2-1), Founder (5-2) and King Fury (12-1)

Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile


THE BET: Casa Creed (12-1) to win at 8-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Three-horse exacta box Halladay, Casa Creed and Analyze It (9-2). Also, 10-Cent Superfecta key Casa Creed over the two above, adding Without Pride (12-1), Raging Bull (6-1) and Flavius (9-2) to the mix.

Grade 1 Preakness Stakes


THE BET: Authentic to win at 8-5 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta box with

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13 Responses

  1. John,
    On a huge racing day I will offer up my 2 cents.
    1st race, Fluffy socks ( 1 ) 8 hole to 1 hole, McCarthy 28 percent on turf for Chad with number power and is not the favorite.
    I would use the 3 and 5 top and bottom in a good betting race.
    2nd race, pass
    3rd race Bronx Beauty (6) and would use with the 1.
    4th race This race is a little more complicated. there are quite a few contenders who if they get the right trip……….. I settled on the 3, undefeated, daughter of Mizzen Mast @ 12=1. The only other horse I would put on top is Princess Grace(9) and if your an exotics player the 7,8,11. If you really want to spread use the 6,10 also. Could be a big one.
    5th race Wicked Whisper with 3,5,6
    6th race pass
    7th race pass
    8th race. Nautilus beat Pivotal Mission in July. 10-1 and Geroulx is enough for me. Cox good turf trainer. 3 and 8 could get a check.
    9th race Ben Perkins has a first time gelding who is very lightly raced. Never took a step back, Reconvene (4) 10-1. Use with the 7,10,13.
    10th race Hard to get by Bonnie South. I would pass the race or make a 5,7,9 box and hope we get lucky.
    11th race The Preakness, I liked Art Collector since his Blue Grass. If he made the derby I would have played him. Why jump off now. Paired tops, He’s fast , Won’t be the favorite, Hernandez is regular rider who has won a triple crown race. Undefeated this year and last 3 workouts shows you their intent. Use with 4,9,10.
    Good Luck everyone and Let’s go get the bad guys.

  2. Vincent, thanks for sizable well-thought-out contribution. I’m sure the Faithful appreciate the effort.

    You’re not along in your liking of Art Collector; almost exactly co-choice in Pimlico Special-Preakness double. I thought originally something like 8-5 and 5-2 but would not be surprised if both about 2-1 now. Fascinating race and a deep Preakness field.

    A safe and speedy journey to your and all the horses at Old Hilltop and everywhere else…

  3. P.S. I have a horse to watch in the opener, Invincible Gal off her Spa debut and gets Johnny back… Think Golden Voice worth a look as well.

  4. Wanted to add a “Thank You” for yesterday’s call on Simply Ravishing and the SF as well John. I pressed the SF and profited more than enough to negate last Saturday’s minor shortfall. Locked and loaded again today on your analysis. I did not bet a win ticket on the Preakness however as I have mt doubts and will side with Vincent (thanks for the posted comments Vincent) and am content instead to box the Exacta call. I didn’t follow your calls to the “T”, but played them all close enough to square for a win at “horseshoes”. I was sad to see that Keith continue to draw the negativity on his latest entertaining post. Tough to satisfy everyone I guess. Some continue to push and sell their oats that have already been through the horse. How about we just call them “Muckers”. Curmudgeons I enjoy. Muckers not so much. Riders up. Safe and prosperous outing to all. Don’t forget the Masks. Now proven that bleach is not an adequate defense. Wish the man a healthy recovery, but in no way will I support his being elected once more.

    “An ‘Old Bucker’ I am” said Sam I am. Please give me two bucks to Win on “Buckpasser” in the big race and pour a pint of Fosters for Wendell. Vision a good day ahead is all.

  5. Art collector obviously needed the race. He was short. The winner is old school. 9 races, all different tracks and still beats the boys in the Preakness. The guts on the inside of the derby winner. unbelievable. Now do you go to the Classic ? Any thoughts.

    1. Will play devil’s advocate here, Vincent. He might have been short, but he also appeared empty to me. Sometimes horses just don’t show up; happens to everyone at one time or another.

  6. Swiss Sky Diver’s final time was 1/5th off Secretariat’s track record. Made a believer out of me, JP. Old school and honest as they come, huh? I know you have said good things about her in the past and did notice you used her in your horizontal plays.

    1. I’m a big fan, but gave her no respect as a possible Preakness upsetter. Guess Art Collector not showing up helped her, and the runnerup for that matter. But that’s it since it was 10 lengths back to the third horse…

  7. To all,

    Yes, yes, yes, and thank you V O’Connell for two nice-priced winners and a good-paying exacta box as well. And thanks to all the HRI Faithful for staying engaged!

    FYI: Will be posting Preakness column later this afternoon…

  8. Miss Marissa, upset winner of Black-Eyed Susan, was available at 2018 sale for 11k. Selected under horror trip runnerup fave Bonny South by Pricci, MM’s earnings now top 300k.

    1. No red barding intended but that was a crazy price. The form was obvious but her figures were competitive to all except tough-tripping favorite.

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