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UPDATE FINAL: BETTING GRIDS AND VALUE PLAYS FOR BELMONT, KEENELAND AND LAUREL PARK

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 20, 2022 – It’s now countdown to Breeders’ Cup pre-entries and that sound you hear is the exhaling before extensive preparation begins in earnest.

After that’s done, of course, and when final entries close Breeders’ Cup week — BC Ltd. could give us all another day of preparation since horsemen have a good idea of where they want to run. Or not.

Either way, pre-entries and the post draw could happen just one day earlier so that the recalibrating can begin. Doesn’t anyone believe that a better prepared horseplayer would be inclined to bet more money?

And if said player were to win more money, he or she be would be inclined to churn it right back in? Another handle bump. There’s no need to call Neil deGrasse Tyson to confer on this…

For our betting entertainment, and hopeful enrichment, HRI’s Tote Busters analysis will look at two graded stakes from New York, two events at Keeneland, and a pair from the always parimutuelly-entertaining  Maryland Million program, replete with its large fields.

Our overview of New York:

BELMONT AT THE BIG A

G3 Noble Damsel                          Race 3         

The Skinny:  The G3 Noble Damsel has a good history even at a Grade 3 level, but this year has drawn but a field of five; two from Christophe Clement, none from Chad Brown. (Not a typo).

Two of the five hold an edge on the Tote Busters’ class scale: 2-Plum Ali (8-5), one of the two Clements, is reuniting with winning partner Manny Franco and 1-Kept Waiting (3-1), who happens to be 2-for-2 on the Big A green.

Both fillies have an inside draw with tactical speed to go with. A rider’s race in the making.

DESERVING FAVORITE:  Plum Ali

POTENTIAL VALUE PLAY:  3-Evvie Jets

STRAIGHT WAGERS and EXOTICA:  Exacta Box: 1-2-3. Exacta Key-Box: 2 // 1.3. Value Play: 3-Evvie Jets to win at 7-2 or greater.

G2 HILL PRINCE                          Race 7

The Skinny:  Two each from Shug McGaughey, Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown, all taking advantage of one of the last graded events of 2022 limited to three-year-olds.

This 9-furlong two-turner has drawn 10 entrants overnight and it’s difficult to know which will be favored ante post. On first look, we found two that appear most worthy:

2-Grand Sonata (5-1) was a good second in the G3 Dueling Grounds Derby and beaten one length in the G1 Belmont Derby this summer. He had a no-chance troubled trip in his only start over this course at 2.

10-Limited Liability (4-1) would probably be shorter on the early line with a better draw but he does come from the clouds successfully, mitigating that issue somewhat. Further, he was a very good third following headstretch ground loss behind a moderate pace over firm ground at Colonial. Blinkers have helped.

6-Be Better (6-1) has been working strongly on Oklahoma course for turf debut. 7-Mackinnon (9-2) has ability (third to Modern Games in BC), Brown reaching out for Prat here

DESERVING FAVORITE: Limited Liability

POTENTIAL VALUE PLAY:  Grand Sonata

STRAIGHT WAGERS and EXOTICA:  Exacta Box: 2-6-7-10. Trifecta Key-Box 10 // 2.6.7 // 2.6.7. Value Wager: Grand Sonata to win at 6-1 or greater

KEENELAND

PERRYVILLE STAKES                Race 6

The Skinny: 8-Gunite (6-5) jumps out as an obvious legitimate favorite: classy, accomplished, fast, well posted, top connections and loves the trip (5) 3-2-0. He’s a likely horizontal single, not a lot of fun and there may be some fun to be had in this lineup.

Remember 4-Pinehurst (20-1). At 2 he won the G1 DMR Futurity. He finished second to Forbidden Kingdom—remember his 15 minutes—when favored in the G2 San Vicente.

Pinehurst was sent to Saudi Arabia and Dubai over the winter, to no avail, went to the shelf, broke badly from the pole in Spa’s G2 Amsterdam, rushed up, stopped, now here he is off an 83-day break with a new trainer (B Walsh) and rider (Johnny V). Can you say dark horse? We can.

Then there’s 7-Of a Revolution (5-1), who ran huge last time adding blinkers and removing Lasix, a good second to BC-bound Scaramouche. Tactical speed, kick, outside draw, getting 4 pounds, makes him a player.

Curlin winner but underlay 3-Artorius (5-2), turnback 6-B Dawk (6-1) and 2-Provocateur (12-1) rate honorable mention at least. Things could get interesting if the favorite stubs a toe.

DESERVING FAVORITE:   Gunite

EARLY LINE VALUE: Pinehurst

STRAIGHT WAGERS and EXOTICA:  Exacta Box:  4-7-8. Trifecta Keys:  8 // 4.7 // 2.3.4.6.7.  Trifecta Wheel: 4.7 // 8 // 2.3.4.6.7. Betting Of A Revolution to win at 9-2 or greater.

G2 LEXUS RAVEN RUN           Race 9

The Skinny: Tougher than the Perryville with almost all fillies in with a chance to varying degrees. Have some basic thoughts but this could be a post-time-odds/post parade/prevailing bias play. We shall see.

2-Smash Ticket’s (5-2) last is fastest on the Thoro-Graph scale and looms possibly lone F. But can she duplicate the effort never have been 7 furlongs. We’re not willing to pay to find out.

8-Wicked Halo (4-1) is fast, classy, and accomplished and nicely drawn for Team Asmussen/Tyler. 10-Midnight Stroll (10-1) is also fast, in great condition, and is working up a storm. But wait there’s more…

Trip lover 4-Last Leaf (12-1) is a price shot with a puncher’s chance; 5-Fingal’s Cave (4-1) is a 4-for-4 NY-Bred from a guy having a great year who doesn’t ship very often, and taps Rosario, and we’re not willing to totally dismiss turf-to-dirt 7-Freedom Speaks (6-1) or 6-Colorful Mischief (12-1).

DESERVING FAVORITE: Wicked Halo

EARLY LINE VALUE:  Midnight Stroll

STRAIGHT WAGERS and EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 2-8-9.  Trifecta Wheel: 8 // 2.9 // 2.4.5.6.7.9.  Trifecta Wheel: 2.9 // 8 // 2.4.5.6.7.9. Two Possible Value Plays:  Wicked Halo to win at 3-1 or greater and/or Midnight Stroll to win at 7-1 or more.

LAUREL PARK

MARYLAND MILLION DISTAFF SPRINT                     Race 5             

The Skinny: Starter affair is double tough as entrants come in from all jurisdictions and class levels, a full field of fillies sprinting 7 furlongs. I’m taking the position that if I’m playing here, I’m going to get paid. Enter 10-Dulce Kiara (15-1).

In her second start off a freshening and second run for trainer Allen Ferris III, she came to life against a solid group, meeting better than she had been facing previously.

Reserved early while showing good energy, she rallied wide at the turn, was blocked in the lane awaiting room, altered course, and finished well for place with some gas left in the tank in my view. She returns with good spacing, has some upside, with plenty of speed signed on. Not familiar with Jean Alvelo, but the rider is having a solid year, a profitable 20% with sprinters.

After that, there were many that have a say in this: 3-Mavilus classes up and has the right style; 6-Betcha By Golly (6-1) exits a key race; 11-Sommer Velvet (8-1) has good figures and goes for a high percentage outfit, as does 7-Unrequited Love (8-1); 1-Targe (6-1) has speed and the pole, and 9-Bon Fire Diva (20-1) is cheaper but speedy, shipping from Delaware to meet Maryland-breds.

DESERVING FAVORITE: Mavilus

EARLY LINE VALUE: Sommer Velvet

STRAIGHT WAGERS and EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 3-6-10-11. Superfecta Key: 10 // 3.6.11 // 3.6.11 // 1.3.6.7.9.11. Betting Dulce Kiara to win at 12-1 or greater.

MARYLAND MILLION DISTAFF TURF HANDICAP         Race 12

The Skinny: If only this one turns out the way it projects on paper, 7-Brushing (6-1) has lots going for her. Second in this event at 9 furlongs in 2020, she made her first start of 2022 sprinting 5 furlongs, showing excellent turn of foot as much the best. Today she stretches to two turns for a barn that’s 28% with LAY-2 returnees and 35% with repeaters. Her Thoro-Graph figures are more than competitive and gets a rider upgrade to Daniel Centeno.

After that, 3-Downtown Katie (7-2) is fast and nicely drawn; 4-Mosler’s Image (4-1) is in good condition, has run well on this course, and goes for high profile connections.

DESERVING FAVORITE: Downtown Katie

EARLY LINE VALUE: 12-Red Wine Time (30-1)

STRAIGHT WAGERS and EXOTICA: Exacta Box 3-4-7. Exacta Key Box: 7 // 3.4.12. Trifecta Key: 7 // 3.4.12 // 3.4.12. Taking Brushing to win at 4-1 or greater.

Per usual, any suggested multiples are made at minimums available; straight wagers are in $2 units or greater

this is a live column that will be updated continually throughout the weekend

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