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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, May 29, 2027 — We’re flying out to SoCal, parimutuelly speaking, and hoping that our arms are not too tired to begin wagering later today.

The main attraction for us–and for Breeders’ Cup Mile fans–is the ‘win-and-in’ Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile, one of the best turf races anywhere in America, year after year.

The Shoemaker is one of three Grade 1s on the Santa Anita docket.

We know Phil D’Amato thinks so as he’s entered three of the 11 entrants. We believe 2-Hong Kong Harry (7-2) is the best of them because he IS turning back to his most effective trip.

Flavien Prat must agree, too. He’s flies West for real. D’Amato’s others are not without portfolio: 1-Gold Phoenix (4-1) won the G1 Kilroe here two back, for which he’s pays the tax today toting highweight of 126 pounds.

Peter Eurton sure has been getting the best out of 6-Exaulted (5-1) who has taken three in succession coming into this. In fact, he’s 3-for-3 in both course and trip. Juan Hernandez takes the call.

But two others are intrigue the most. 3-Du Jour (6-1) just missed in the Kilroe due to a much tougher trip and he’s been training great for this. Luis Saez keeping Prat company on the flight out for the mount.

Baffert certainly owes Saez a live ride and that adds to the appeal. The other is price shot 8-Cabo Spirit (15-1). who deserves a look off his troubled show finish in the Kilroe and is reuniting with his favorite partner here, Joe Bravo.


BEST-VALUE PLAY: Du Jour to win at 9-2 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Key-Box 3 // 1.2.6 Trifecta Key: 2 //

* * *

With two weeks remaining to the final jewel in a crownless crown, HRI shall put Saturday’s Late Pick 4 at Belmont Park in the Tote Busters spotlight to see how the surfaces are playing in Elmont, New York.

Saturday’s seventh event is the day’s featured offering, the G3 Soaring Softly Stakes for three-year-old turf fillies sprinting 7 furlongs on the Widener course.

For some, Saturday’s stakes is a worthy goal, for others a place to begin the long run of Belmont’s Summer-Spring session, with some thoughts doubtlessly given Saratoga interspersed between.

Only six entered the Soaring Softly but they are among the most promising in the division. Saturday’s run will strongly hint as to where they best belong in the very near future. Without ado:



The Skinny: Cutting to the chase, our trip notes on 1-Lady Beth’s (7-2) racing debut, a turf event rescheduled to Gulfstream’s Tapeta Track, FEB 5: Always look a winner, had restrained speed while under wraps throughout, kicked on with eye-opening change of foot, stakes next step?

Oops, here it is. Lady Beth makes her turf debut against proven grass performers, not usually our thing, but it’s Chad Brown, profitable with turf debut types and a worthy 27% effective with returns off 90-days + layups. We’re thinking Chad’s thinking let’s a get graded stakes title for owner Richard Schermerhorn–a barn new shooter. Prat takes the call.

2-Love Appeal (6-5) is a worthy favorite, although the early line seems a bit heavy-handed. But at 2-for-3 lifetime and in the hands of Team Clement/Rosario, that quote could be right on the mark. 3-America Apple (4-1) carries 123 pounds of high weight [118 all others] owing to a graded stakes score, fastest on the Thoro-Graph scale. We followed 5-Quarrel’s (10-1) juvenile campaign with great interest.


BEST VALUE PLAY: Lady Beth at 3-1) or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 1-2-3. Trifecta Wheel: 1.2 // 1.2.3 //

#25,000 Claiming Race 8

The Skinny: Pick 4 players should consider an All here. Every entrant is on a negative run and no forward moves are indicated. We whittled eight horses down to five: 1-My Friends Bear (3-1) haltered last out, returns in class level of claim following 30-day “jail” time. He seeks his third straight win but figures are descending; mixed signals and second favorite. 3-Alcools (10-1) meets weaker and barn profitable sprint to route; worthy 4-for-7 on Long Island.

6- Gypsy Road (2-1) has beaten better following $40K claim now drops seeking third win for crafty outfit. 7-Rocco Strong (5-1) never has run this cheaply; exits six-next-out-key-race winners and is 2 of 3 lifetime wins on this strip; Davis sticks. 8-Dust Devil (3-1) makes first start at reduced level since claimed and retains Franco for today’s drop.


BEST-VALUE PLAY: Rocco Strong to win at 5-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 1-6-7. Super Box: 1-3-6-7-8

Preliminary Allowances Race 9

The Skinny: Seven horses, but another spread-race with equal measures of good, spotty, and inscrutable form: 1-Danzigwiththestars (3-1). Schettino trainee owns the consistently fastest figures on the Thoro-Graph scale, but his pedigree does not scream 11 furlongs. Between pole position, a likely tactical trip and strong finisher Trevor McCarthy, he will take beating.

3-Afjan (10-1) will go this far but has (4) 0-0-0 turf form. Trip could be the equalizer and switch to Davis intrigues. 4-Inflation Adjusted (2-1) is one of two Maker’s we have in this; 4 turf wins, 1-for-2 on this ground, switch to Irad, marathon-type pedigree.

6-FIghter in the Win (8-1), the other Maker, has won at 10F on All-Weather; reunites with Franco. 7-Mo Zip (7-2) makes first start in 520 days, had to be a serious issue. But goes first-time Clement/Rosario, a horse meant to be a good one. Might be rusty but could win on class potential.

MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Inflation Adjusted

BEST-VALUE PLAY: Fighter in the Win at 6.5-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Superfecta Key-Box: 6 //


The Skinny: O great, state-bred fillies and mare maidens sprinting 7 furlongs, including first-starters, second-starters, layoff returnees, the kind of race that can make or break any live tickets.

First-timers 2-Sail with the Sea (20-1) has capable connections for this as does turf-ace handled entrant 12-Three Cups Full (8-1)–Irad riding for this barn news to me but here he is. 10-Strictly Taboo (6-1) and 11-Snowy Evening (8-1) are coupled horses, both running well vs. each other APR 8; they have a license.

3-Dream On Cara (20-1) is dropping from stakes. 6-Lakeside Getaway (12-1) is working with purpose. 8-Autumn (8-1) never had a chance and returns with uncharacteristically aggressive works from Shug. 15-She’s A Natural (12-1) has run well enough for Sciacca, gets Javier. Any could have something to say.

The solid exacta horses are 10-Strictly Taboo (6-1) paired up competitively for “the other’ Clement; likely second-favorite 5-Photon (6-1), and the fast, promising 9-Loon Cry (9-5), a very worthy favorite.


BEST-VALUE PLAY: Photon to win at 4-1 or greater.

Exacta Box: 5-9-10. Exacta Wheel: 5-9-10 // 11-12. Trifecta Key: 9 // //

per usual, suggested exotics at minimums available, straight wagers in $2 units

this is a live column to be updated throughout the holiday weekend

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One Response

  1. Just noticed that even you, JP now make fun of Cheap Claimers maiden State Breds! [rather than takes these one at a time, going to jump in, boldly, as this post made my hair hurt] Did not make fun of low class claimers or state-breds, I don’t do that, prefer stakes and high class turf, yes, but never disparage Even odds-on favs are not winning at that imaginary 33% clip ! Watching some weekday races and especially night ones from small, insignificant tracks. To me, it is worse than watching those bad actresses from the WWE, that I happen to watch between those long commercials. Personally, cannot understand why would anyone bets those small tracks with cheapie horses and with a small number of entries, which Belmont seems to be doing more and more. What’s up, not enough horses? [Precisely, last foal crop was 19.000–two decades ago 30,000]. We are not talking about high allowances but even higher claiming races are shortening their numbers of involved horses! Is that a national trend?[Sadly, yes] I remember Golden Gate and Laurel having small fields but now. Belmont, my favorite betting track, there are too many fields have had six or less horses, and a couple of times—Two to Four the last couple of days… My betting methods needs more equine participants. Was doing well then a minus streak… No, I’m not used to betting other tracks but I will try Monmouth and that is it. Santa Anita lost me yrs ago, right behind GG and Gulfstream that have too many low claiming races… I may have lost respect for Santa Anita now reminds me of Los Alamitos and similar 300-450 yards races… Do they need 25 minutes between those short sprints?
    Horses still have to go and return from their own barns, this takes time, it’s not a TV show. Anyway, it is foreign to me and we have to stick to what we know and remain profitable… [Deleted an entire section for clarity and brevity re NYRA TV talent–in my opinion they rank at or near the top]… I wont bet races with purses of less than $50K,no maidens[only MSW], no state-breds and I’m partly confused with those high Optional Claiming Allowances, but i will just stick to my figures and hope for the best. [Sounds like a plan, I think…]
    JG, try being a little more succinct and on original topic, I own that to our readers–yes, both of them

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