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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


In addition to his weekly Wednesday column assessing the previous weekend’s graded stakes racing action, each Friday founder Keith Pettyjohn will provide a runner listed at 10-1 or greater on the early line to use in your multiple pool wagers

By Keith Pettyjohn — As stated, each week we will scour that weekend’s graded stakes events looking for a horse that can add value to your exotic plays.

That runner will be the horse that I’ll be keying as a board-hitter to fill out the vertical exotics.

This week I’m looking at the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens: No Parole is listed as the 9-5 favorite and could very well be vulnerable in this spot. He’s coming out of the six hole and has a ton of early speed. In fact, he does his best running when out on the lead.

The problem for him is that there are three speed horses to his inside. The number #2 horse, Eight Rings, the number #4 horse, Echo Town and the number #5 horse, Mischevious Alex, all have early speed. Therefore several things could happen early in today’s scenario:

No Parole gets the front but has to expend too much energy doing so. Or he gets caught on the outside in a speed dual or he doesn’t get the front at all. “We’re going,” trainer Tom Amoss told the Saratoga Live audience this week.

So for those of you who may be looking elsewhere, we are leaning towards the mid-priced horses, like the 6-1 Three Technique or 5-1 Tap It To Win. Feel free to back them with gusto if you choose.

But all this brings me to my Play-At-A-Price horse; the 12-1 Shoplifted.

Steve Asmussen put blinkers on this colt two starts back. He made a strong move before flattening out late in a mile and an eighth race at Oaklawn Park back in April.

Then he returns in June in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens and runs third behind No Parole and Echo Town. But note that since that race, he posted two strong bullet workouts, signalling he is ready for a maximum effort, especially if given the right setup.

Tyler Gaffalione, known for his aggressive, position-conscious style and strength in deep stretch, is just the type of rider who can work that all out.

When playing this type of game, “It Only Takes One.” Good luck everyone and enjoy some great racing from coast to coast this weekend.

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20 Responses

  1. Welcome to HRI Keith! So glad that you and John have partnered. What immediately sold me on John’s “vetting” process was the Cary Fotias connection. In honor of Cary’s “Most good bets lose” narrative, often cautiously repeated by the Editor over the years, I plan to purchase a boxed tri-ticket on Shoplifted. Tap It To Win, and Three Technique. A single on Shoplifted as well of course.
    Riders Up, Thumbs Up, and Welcome to HRI. Wishing you and John many safe and prosperous journeys ahead. – McD

  2. Interesting analysis., KP

    Agree that Asmussen is adept at not telegraphing his winners at a price.

    The 4 Woody Stephens survivors are hard to separate as No Parole benefited from bumping problems for both Echo Town and Mischievous Alex.

    I’ll be focused on the likely underlayed Tap It To Win. Dropping from the Belmont where he may have “bounced” off only 2 weeks rest following an impressive 1-1/16 miles, he could have the brightest future here.

    My vertical exotics will involve some combination of the above five assuming no scratches

  3. I, while it’s true that No Parole benefitted from a fast getaway–his natural gift–didn’t think the trouble was all that between ET and MA (I’m sure you noted I’ll be making a value plat on Echo Town).
    Of course, you’re on to something with ‘Tap It’ for the reasons you mention and he does like the surface. Interesting 3YO sprint to be sure; curious to see the off odds…

  4. TTT

    Dear Mr. Pettyjohn:

    Enjoyed reading your analysis. Best of luck in all that you do. Below are my figures:

    No. Horse Race 10 M/L TTT

    7 Shoplifted 1.302779159 12 5.17
    2 Eight Rings 0.942073495 8 7.15
    10 Captain Bombastic 0.728535378 15 9.24
    5 Mischevious Alex 0.718908149 8 9.37
    6 No Parole 0.588045695 9/5 11.45
    4 Echo Town 0.562899339 9/2 11.96
    8 Three Technique 0.499015620 6 13.50
    11 Tap It to Win 0.464653896 5 14.49
    9 Liam’s Pride 0.453293289 20 14.86
    1 Hopeful Treasure 0.237487241 50 28.36
    3 Sonneman 0.236756238 50 28.44

  5. Tough distance.There isn’t a Housebuster here.Got to go with the #s : 6- 2458 x the exacta,boxed and straight,plus the others for fourth.Just wanted to mention that A.Jerkens was a different kind of a trainer,even his helpers questioned his moves,from jockey choices like S. Uske,N.Wynter to distances.He often went against the ” flow” which gave surprising results to many bettors thus the nickname Giant Killer.Hall of famer,but if he would have used better jockeys more often instead of prepping for other races he ,and his followers,would have won more.Good memories.

    1. Tom Amoss, on trying to smoke them to the front as far as the horse could was a suicidal mission,esp.without a speed favoring track.Like I had mentioned ,his charge was no Housebuster. Rare horses can go wire to wire at that 7F distance.Two of the three horses bet with No Parole came in the exacta.Good race for Asmussen with the winner and show horse. Magnifique,Monsieur Clement ! He has interrupted,or even maybe cancelled,the C.Brown show! Talk about a hot barn, C’est si Bon !!! Another favorite appropriately failing to win in a Jerkens race.He must be smiling from Upthere.Graveyard for favorites was , Again, evident this Saturday. Lexcano,Saez are as good as any jock anywhere.They just need more opportunities to prove it over and over again.When Lexcano is in an Exacta there is a good chance that I got it.

    2. OTB,

      The Chief’s motivation was to give the little guy a chance. Yes, used Noel Wynter and Shannon Uske in the afternoon because they worked for him in the mornings.
      But in the age of Rotz and Cordero, et al, the Chief’s “big name” riders were Johnny Ruane and Robyn Smith, to name just two.
      Yes, Jacinto Vasquez did engineer the upset of Secretariat in the Whitney and the Chief probably used him for two reasons:
      Vasquez was considered more than a jockey but a real horseman and he probably loved Jacinto’s attitude, too. I remember someone asking him after a big race if he was excited about the big victory he just pulled off, Vasquez dead-panned:
      “I rode a horse called Ruffian.” Good memories, indeed.

  6. Congrats Keith – look forward to reading your writings twice weekly and your selection on Friday and the debate we can have. For me personally, I had the honor of meeting Keith several months ago at Lone Star Park and see him often at the track. He is a very pleasant and respectful person to be around at the track and I enjoy his insight and knowledge he brings to the sport as well as the laughter we share. And sometimes this old man gives a little insight which has made a profitable ex.- tri – super as well as win-place show. HRI did good by this. Hey Keith – now that I have totally blowed smoke – Me and Ritchie will now expect a little VIP treatment – lunches, dinners , special parking and seating at the track – all on you….LOL. Congrats again.

  7. Kim, you and Richie should pick up that tab. Keith did his job and we gave Echo Town a big call, the trifecta was there for the taking, with all due respect.
    Thanks for checking in!

  8. good morning MR P. — yesterday morning when I went to the track — the first person I saw was Ritchie and I suggested to him that Echo Town was the play.Ritchie was also on board. I hit win and place – also ex. and tri. Latter I saw Keith and read his article and your selection. We all did well. Pick up his tab – not a chance – Us senior citizens need a break. FYI– saw the Tom Amoss interview after the race – he stated that No Parole was not acting like himself – he got hot and to much sweat and had to saddle him out in the open. He said he had a concern — horse began to cool down but he did not sound to positive about the race. Turns out he was right. Horse should have been scratched but everybody can play Monday morning QB. I will see Keith next SAT. and will have some fun busting his chops.

    1. Let me see if I got this right, both of your “PLAY OF THE DAY” horses won.
      You won money betting to win
      You made money betting the exacta
      You made money betting the tri

      And I can’t even get you to pick up the tab on a $6 burger at Lone Star Park?

  9. Also — I look forward to reading more articles and the banter from the e-mails. Keith is the one who first told me about HRI – so far so good. OK – enough nice about Keith — do not want him to get any bigger headed than he could get – need to keep him grounded.

    1. I am on social security and a budget. So much for a senior discount. I have a good day at the track – and the man with a paying job wants some of my winnings. WOW – not feeling the love for a senior citizen. Plus i have seen you eat at the track – looks like an all you can buffet – six dollars ?

  10. Just watchedf the splashdown of Dragon. Awesome! Now back to the serious stuff. Racing!

    Think I just discovered a horse that Wendell and Indulto might both enjoy watching. Credit goes to the Kevin Cox for his Saratoga analysis by way of Caddy Shack. Works for me. Before I give out the horse, let me first present a question regarding just how we might determine how newcomer Keith Pettyjohn might measure up with acclaimed HRI Editor John Pricci. Not a trick question. Here’s Kevin take:

    Saratoga Race 10



    3.Striking Speed

    “How do you measure yourself against other golfers?” “By HEIGHT.” And with that Caddyshack quote said and done, we’ll go with the #9 in today’s finale, based on the legit placing behind a next out winner on the 5th of July, and an eligibility for improvement in today’s 3rd start off the hibernation. #2 TACTICIAN is confidently hiked up in the first start off the May claim ( despite faring poorly that day ) and is reacquainted with eye cups here. #1 STRIKING SPEED drops for the second straight time in today’s turf to dirt tango.

    Two Bucks works for me. Golfers, Handicappers, and Wanna Be Handicappers, Riders Up

  11. Would you be having “a Bit of the “Dew” with me and John Boy Wendell? “Tullamore” me more barkeep, and one for Wendell as well. Keep them coming until one of us falls off the bar. So I throw two bucks up for the next round, and Indulto and Pricci both holler out in tandem “Turning the page.”

    No horses today. Broke 95 again today with a “sandy” on the last hole par five. Rolled a hot 35 foot putt a tad to fast but it nailed the pin and stayed in for the par. Crap like that will have me spending more of my money on golf and less on horses.
    Now there’s sound reason for sipping a shot of the “dew”. I don’t do shots like when younger. As we age we tend to get a lot smarter about “tempo”. Speaking about tempo, no one ever better on getting a horse out of the gate than Johnny Ruane. Johnny Rotz too for extending a horses reach at the wire. What a game. And I get to shoot the crap with the likes of Wendell, Indulto, and Pricci. Could life get any better?
    Good Day / Night Boys.

  12. Wendell, Sorry but John Boy is right. The Tri was there for the taking on Saturday’s Race 10. At least a tri ticket boxed for three bucks which had been my mental bet throughout most all of Sat. I stupidly let the board, and talking heads, lead me off into swapping Keith Pettyjohn’s analysis on Asmussen and Shoplifted and into using Three Technigue. Stupid Stubborn Irish is all. I couldn’t let go of recalling Three T. from his early spring Derby Pool prospects. The Triple mapped out by Keith and John really was there for the taking. John & Keith were all over the first three finishers in their analysis. Oh well, turning the page. Maybe I’ll learn to place my wagers earlier. Had it right all day long, and sadly let it slip away.

    Been absolutely killing the market of late, so not to upset about the $150 tri. One thing easier to read that the past performances of late, are the daily actions of the Federal Reserve, Minuchin, Kudlow and Trump. They are flat out debasing the dollar in plain sight, and not to help or benefit the little guy mind you. Ask around about the latest Kodak market fraud?. Ask why our government is buying junk bonds (Angel ETF)? I am 40% in fixed income including TIP, and I have been cashing tickets for weeks now on horses named commodities, treasuries, gold, tech, utilities, and XLRE real estate. Seldom having a losing day since early April. The ETF’s I mention are all going up as the value of the dollar just keeps going down. 1 percent compounding adds day after day add up pretty quickly. Easier math than workings racing lines.

    I really wasn’t kidding about the value of a “two dollar” parimutel ticket being worth much less than a dollar of old. Just ask around about the price of lumber, coffee, silver. Bet you even see the changeover in the price of a pastrami sandwich and a Foster’s.

    If interested, check out Hedgeye’s Keith McCullough. If you think comments can get tested on HRI, check out some of the exchages on Twitter.
    That’s a wrap. Peace.

  13. McD: Am pleased that you are doing well with your investments. I’m not in the market, just watching my savings’ accounts collect $10 -12 bucks a month in interest. Only worry I have is someone will infiltrate the banks’ computer system and it will take months to get the money reinstalled in account.

    I’m not contesting the fact that the trifecta was there for the asking. I simply asked for a show of hands from those who ‘hit’ it.

    Mr. Pettyjohn’s selections finished 2nd, 3rd, and way back. No cashing here. If Mr. Pricci hadn’t come through with Echo Town then you wouldn’t be able to write ‘there for the taking’.

    1. Please note that my “Play-At-A-Price” picks are only horses with Morning Line odds of 10-1 or higher. These picks are to be used underneath in the exotic wagers of the exacta, tri and supers. So any one who used Echo Town, John’s Value Play and a likely win choice in this race with my longshot would have very easily hit the tri and super.

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