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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


If you’re planning on playing Keeneland Saturday, bring money, especially you horizontal types. Or you can make it easier on yourself with five rolling doubles.

But if you prefer something a lot more risque; there’s the $1 Pick 6 starting with the G2 Appalachian or a $500,000 Pick 5 guarantee launched by the G1 Madison. No?

Well, then, there’s the G2 Shakertown Pick 4 with it’s guaranteed $500,000 pool. Still no interest? Then how about the Late Pick 4 commencing with the G1 Ashland–but you’re on your own there; no more guaranteed money.

Finally a graded late double combining the G1 Jenny Wiley into the G2 Blue Grass. And, just askin’ for myself: How the hell can this legendary three year old fixture remain a Grade 2?!

Race 4: After winning all four lifetime starts, Alms (6-5) drew post 12 vs. a dozen rivals in a prep for this. She broke flat-footed and was a one-paced fifth thereafter.

Today, it’s five rivals with a switch Joel Rosario. We’ll take her to make amends as most probable and Evil Lyn (6-1) as the best value.

Race 5: Sally’s Curlin (10-1), Guarana (1-1), Mia Mischief (3-1) and Bell’s the One (6-1) can all win this. This being Keeneland we’ll err on the side of tactical speed:

Guarana is the most probable winner off her 2020 return but the good Mia Mischief would offer value; forget her last, she finished up like a filly short of condition.

Race 6: The Shakertown at 5-1/2 furlongs on turf attracted 15 entrants and any one of seven can win it. We’re narrowing our choices down to three:

Extravagant Kid (6-1) usually breaks well, has drawn the rail with Joel, is tactical but can finish up; very consistent sort.

Fast Boat is in “super” hands and has two races on the page that can win this. Lienster (12-1) was hurt by the wide draw but unlikely to encounter trouble, Tyler is a plus.

Race 7: Venetian Harbor (6-5) was a bit of a runoff when second to Swiss Skywalker at Oaklawn, not a friendly track to run off on and it was, after all, the division leader that beat her.

Bonny South (5-1) is not as fast but is going in the right direction developmentally; of the late runners she can offer value, has Johnny, and is 3-for-3 at the trip.

Race 8: This is Rushing Fall (6-5) against the world; appears a layover. Should she do her job, we’d prefer it if Juliet Foxtrot (8-1) completed the exacta, and perhaps Secret Message (15-1) might sneak into the exotics.

Race 9: Swiss Skywalker (3-1) is more than capable of making history. Our only concern is for the filly’s cross-country travel; five pounds will come in handy. The key to this, but no single.

Basin (8-1) chased Charlatan throughout the Arkansas Derby, a good second with strong workline since. Enforceable (10-1) owns the best late kick but it must be timed perfectly. Many strong drills since and Joel knows how to time the big late kickers.

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29 Responses

  1. I have no respect for anyone who keeps on picking the probable post time favorite,race after race and choosing to bet Horizontally or Obliquely does Not change my impression of a superficial, lady pick which does Not carry weight or insights.There Is this guy goong by the initials of J.K who perennially picks the post time fav which Is ridiculous.Even the ladies handicappers once in a while they mention other horses. Esides the top three money getters,but not this guy! What a waste of money and time,space for someone who just,almost automatically, chooses the fav$. No guts,no interest ,no glory esp.In days when that 33 % Is invisible.Thankfully,Nyra-s main guy ,Sterling,and former jockey Richard Migliore do not fall into that shameful category..Who needs such lazy stiffs who have no explanations on Why they pick so many favs after each race? What Is their winnings percentage,ROI in each meet like Pricci,Harris,Bossert,,used to show in the Good old days of newspapers handicappers?I miss that,,not that they often changed my mnd but there was a different type of efford ,Pride,, Am i wrong?ps: not showing prob.exactas,Daily double and pick 3,4 prices Is a SHAME !Does it cost these tracks( besides Belmont and some other) anything more to show those ( Important) Numbers ?

    1. I have no respect for anyone who continuously complains about the results of others without demonstrating the superiority of his own.

      IMO, not only does the preceding fail to provide either enlightenment or entertainment, but unbridled negativity is also an infectious disease requiring containment.

      Constructive criticism confirmed by supporting evidence is always relevant. Absent that, a poster’s effort to create an opportunity for the audience to laugh with him rather than at him is usually appreciated.

      1. What,? Who? Where,How,?,Some patrons do not like to play blindly.It is Their money that they are playing with not dreams or bottle caps.,Odds alone do not say much,if you have ever learned anything .Your 2 cents did not say much and your thesaurus usage was useless,unimpressive,well not to adult Men,anyway,maybe with adolescent minds..✌️

        1. JG, I hope you take better care with your personal handicapping and betting than you do when trying to express a coherent thought.

          1. My point is that odds Alone don’t say,reveal enough informations about how a race is being bet. Any idiot can see who the favorite is,especially if odds on But without the exacta board I would not know who is getting bet with it ! Did not bet on Belmont ‘ s exit day,just like I do not bet on Saratoga’s first day.Without the probables I would have Never hit a serious 1-8 bet of $ 32 on Saturday,my last bet. And especially now with Saratoga racing coming up with so many trainers-owners trying to Hit and run for a few races,the exacta board,to me,is even more important than ever.Money talk$! As for ” indulto” ,an Italian nome finto,nom de plume,presumptious nick name,He never explained why the exacta chart is Not important.And neither have you.Odds alone don’t tell me squat! We’ve all seen horses just bet to win but with its low odds we have to decipher,or try to find which other horses are being bet with it ! Indulto,if you overlook the $ board you won’t comprehend where the real money is going.Addio,illuminato without a clue.

    2. Not that I owe you or anyone an explanation for my freely given opinions but I worked on these races for five hours, hence the late posting Friday.

      I identify the most probable winner which, IMO, is, by definition, the MOST PROBABLE WINNER of the race.

      I also indicate which horse has the BEST CHANCE to win that COULD OFFER VALUE at post time, thus serving two different types of players. My crystal ball hasn’t worked for years.

      E.G. If I think a 1-5 shot is unbeatable, I indicate that for the players who might want to ‘single’ in the horizontal pools, the only pool the entire industry promotes because they want you to ‘spread’ your money around.

      The Best Value in the same race–which we popularized at Newsday and we were the first metropolitan daily to institute an accounting by publishing the handicapping records and ROIs of its handicappers–is for those players who bet straight, or straight and place, etc.

      Finally, if you have no respect for this approach, I suggest you look elsewhere. At Newsday I had one track to handicap and one column per week to write.

      Here I effort to keep all the balls in the air 24/7/365 by trying to serve several audiences.

      So, if you finally decide to take this advice, I suggest you watch out for those swinging doors on your way out.

      Have a nice day…

  2. “Useless and unimpressive”. Let’s try being a little more concise in your thoughts going forward Indy. If you like a selection or two, or maybe agree with one of John’s takes, let’s simply go with a “bigly” going forward. Far less confusing is all. KISS principle 101. Hemmingway used to suggest that he would review his work, and after, see just how much of it he could line out, or thesaurus eradicate,
    Maybe I should I say Iradicate, lol.

    1. McD,
      I just added “Iradicate” to my spelling checker. LOL

      Will use Rushie on top in the Blue Grass over combinations with Shivaree, Basin, Enforceable, and Swiss Skydiver.

  3. I appreciate John’s straight forward handicapping style. He is looking for value in his selection but does indicate the most likely winner. It’s your choice how to play.

  4. Thanks John. I much more enjoy the five rolling doubles approach. The tough part with the Pick 4 is when you are busted out of the gate in race one, as happened with last weeks $80 upset runner. I thought the third place finisher was going to pass them all by the way, until he hung. One for your watch list? Should have written the name down. I think he or she will learn and improve.

    I will root for you” bigly” today my friend, but I don’t so much look to Horserace Insider for the big score, as I am really just here to have some fun. I come here faithfully for the light heartened action and enjoyment and of catching a few races, and never out of desperation. My real wagers during the week are with Hedgeye ETF’s and my Schwab accounts. As Parcell’s used to say of Pennington, “As long as the chains are moving in the right direction, we’re all doing well. Not looking to clear the bases each at bat, but more towards consistent singles and doubles. Kind of like why we box exactas I guess.

    Rolling Doubles it will be today, and hopefully come the end of the day, I will not be ‘stooping” for any winning discarded desperation tickets. Never leave broke. Riders Up!

  5. Last Weeks Third Place Finisher? Thinking she was Princess Cadey. Out of the gate a bit slowly in last, but she ran well after. Respectable third.

  6. Exactly, McD, that’s why tracks, as Keeneland is doing today, sequentially offer a P6, P5, P4 etc. Get busted out early? Good, as you are likely to reinvest, having done the work.

    Tracks should endeavor to keep their players liquid. Instead, they sell the dream because of their insatiable hunger for handle. But the public does vote with their dollars. They seem to prefer these wagers, thus we feel compelled to serve that audience.

    As you’re hinting, bettors would be better served by taking their big horizontal bankrolls and condense their plays down to bite size doubles, increase the size of those bets, and take down a good payoff that way while reducing the degree of difficulty.

    The sad fact is that these difficult horizontals require that bettors throw money at them if they want to win those bets with a measure of consistency.

  7. Came up short wagering on Mia Mischief and Swiss Skywalker today, but totally enjoyed watching both. Quite the gut check by Guarana, and how could you not admire the intestinal fortitude displayed by Kenny Mc Peek once more taking on the boys. Indulto might just chuckle and add “Spaldeens Baby”. Gotta love this game, as long as you never leave for home broke. Thanks for yeoman’s five hours John Boy.

    1. In the main, very disappointing display on my part, The Mia Mischief exacta saved my from ruin, fortunately…

  8. TTT

    JP, baby, Indulto, baby, after handicapping the card around the country for Saturday, a total of more than 30 races (a guess) with purses more than $50,000, it was apparent that if I was going to make money, it would be with the chalkerooni, as when you have analyzed and watched as many races as Big Ted has, you get to know a few things (very few). All that was needed was for the weatherman to cooperate around the country, and so he did. It’s like stealin’! They’re givin’ it away! Not one of those guys who always throw the chalk out, nor one of the guys who always include the chalk. I only have one rule when it comes to racing. Bet on winners.

  9. TTT

    Consider myself a pacifist, but at times I resort to Violence, which is what must be done today, Sunday, in the 6th at Belmont. 10-Violent Point, the son of Violence, is the fastest of these, was killed off in his return by Winifred J., has faced better, wires them today, turning the tables on those late closers from 5 June. Tell ’em Teddy sent you at the window….

  10. After reading all of the above, I decided to look at the stake races held at Belmont, Del Mar, Keenland, Monmouth, and Delaware: Eleven stake races were run and the betting favorite won five of them. The win prices of the five winners of the stake races were the Ruffian $2.30, Coolmore $3.80, Blue Sparkler $5.20, Dick Memorial $2.40, and Delaware Cap $2.40. Yup, ya made a bundle if you bet these blue bloods to win; these extremely slow payouts did not diminish what the owners, trainers, and jockeys received though, did it?

  11. Right Mr. Pricci. Like the exacta is easier to win than a simple win ticket; then God created the ‘box’ exacta, and then numerous other wagers that speed up the treadmill to bankrupt horseplayers, while the owners, trainers, and jockeys involved in these ‘best’ races continue to receive a check, even if their blue blood fails to ‘hit-the-board’ regardless of odds (think, Alice, things don’t seem right?).

    1. Blue blood son of Bernardini rolls in Blue Grass and is now entered in Derby. Every once in a great while a non-blue blood horse comes along and jumps up and wins Derby (Mine That Bird) but blue bloods like Seattle Slew more often than not grab the roses.

    2. By definition, cannot argue with you WMC, much as I would love too. But I need to say this, however.

      There are times when an outstanding favorite and one other exacta contender jump off the page and it seems like I have as much success given that “cold exacta” scenario with favorite as top key than trying to find value on a straight wager.

      Just saying that’s the way it happens for me… Not for everyone, agreed.

  12. Mine That Bird is far from being a non-blue blood; sired by Birdstone who won the 2004 Belmont. Birdstone was sired by Unbridled who was sired by Fappiano; and behind Fappiano in the family tree are Dr. Fager and Mr. Prospector. The fact that Mine That Bird was a long shot has no correlation to pedigree.

    1. You have a point, it’s a bit of a stretch my my standards but can’t argue too vociferously…

    2. You’re right and even though Slew was a bargain purchase he had an impressive family tree: his sire, Bold Reasoning, was the grandson of Bold Ruler, the father of Secretariat.

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