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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL — May 12, 2021 My inbox is full of questions asking when I’m going to write about perhaps the biggest existential threat to horse racing in the modern era.

In this sport, we call that Wednesday.

Horse Race Insider has written commentary relative to Mr. Baffert not that long after learning that “sudden equine death syndrome” was a thing. I’m a city horseplayer and not a country horseman. Could not imagine such a thing.

That incident was in 2013, several lifetimes ago. And right around the same time, PETA went underground and emerged with video and audio direct from the Steve Asmussen shedrow.

At once, it was fascinating but not the look anyone tethered to the game was hoping for.

While looking at a few stakes on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard, it hit me that things haven’t been going swimmingly in Maryland, either. The dirt surface and backside environment required immediate attention.

Maryland’s Thoroughbred population was moved from Laurel Park to Pimlico Race Course. And they will be there for a minute.

I finally escaped into the past performances and saw a few races on Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan undercard from which a few horses revealed themselves. Winners? I hope. Prices? Maybe, maybe not. An assist from the vertical gods would be nice.

The Grade 3 DuPont is a terrific puzzle, If you can find and bet the winner, you will get fair odds in the straight pool on any of three favorites; Horologist (3-1), Spice Is Nice (7-2) or Mrs. Danvers (4-1).

We prefer Horologist, who owns tactical speed, the power to finish it off, and nine furlongs is her friend.

Hope to complete a ninth-race double with Caravel (7-2) in The Very One. The weather is projected clear, the course should not compromise any running style, five furlongs is this filly’s jam and she’s acted on all types of ground. An inside draw and Florent Geroux add confidence. But it’s very competitive.

Dixieincandyland (3-1) and Gotta Go Mo (8-1) are drawn badly but are fast enough to compete and the prices should be fair, is our best guess. Feeling lucky? Price shot Gogo Shoes (12-1) is worth a look.


DESERVING FAVORITE: 5-Horologist (3-1)

EARLY LINE VALUE: 5-Horologist to win at 5-2 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 3 Spice Is Nice-5-Horologist-6-Mrs. Danvers (4-1). Super-Exotics Wheel: 3.5.6 //3.5.6 //



EARLY LINE VALUE: Caravel to win at 3-1 or greater and/or Gotta Go Mo (8-1) to win at 6-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 3-Caravel;11-Dixieincandyland-12-Gotta Go Mo Superfecta Wheel: 3.11.12 //3.11.12 // // Superfecta Key-Box 3 //


DESERVING FAVORITE: 2-Fearless (9-5)

EARLY LINE VALUE: 1-Modernist (6-1) to win at 4-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 1.2.7-Harper’s First Ride (10-1). Exacta Box: 1.2.11-Last Judgment (4-1).


DESERVING FAVORITE: 10-Beautiful Gift (9-5)

EARLY LINE VALUE: 1-Army Wife (8-1) to win at 5-1 or greater and/or 8-The Grass is Blue (6-1) at 4-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Key-Box 10 // 1.8.6-Iced Latte (6-1).9-Adventuring (4-1)

Trifecta Key-Box 10 //

All multiple wagers are at suggested minimums. Straight wagers: $2. The rest is all you.

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10 Responses

  1. Read yesterday that Lukas said Ram didn’t hit the track Tuesday morning with the same energy he usually has. He said Ram handled the track just fine, but he is usually a real handful and was pretty quiet and well mannered. His quote was “I don’t think he had a lot of energy.”

    That doesn’t sound like what you want to hear when looking for that underneath price horse.

    I’m really trying to put this Baffert stuff out of my mind and not let it do any more damage to my enjoyment. I’m really, really trying.

    1. Me too, Doc, but I have a suspicion Preakness ratings will be amongst the highest ever, especially if Medina Spirit passes his tests and runs. Hard as we may try, this story has the kind of legs you hate to see. Things could get really interesting. Either way there will be no cause for uproarious celebration, unless you beat favorite underlays of course. Interested to see how the network covers this Classic…

  2. Hi John,

    Just a couple of observations on Black Eyed Susans day.
    Pimlico May 15,2021

    12th race- #1 Modernist (6-1) Mott has been hot of late, regular rider Alvarado up for this multiple graded stakes winner by Uncle Mo. Harper’s first ride finally get’s back to Maryland where he’s run numbers that would crush these. 10-1 is juicy. Let’s hope Cohen won’t stick to his MO and not stay so wide this time. These are the two that make the most sense. Play with the 2,11 to get the exotic cash.

    13th race-Generally speaking, history tells us to win this we have to be coming out of a graded stakes and have the propensity to run a ‘6’ in Thoro-Graph terms. That puts us squarely on the #1-Army Wife, The rail, Rosario and 8-1 is all you need to know. Key him with the 5(12-1), 8(6-1), and the two favorites 9,10. This race is very winnable and one has to wonder how much pressure Baffert is under to stay focused through this weekend. We’ll find out more about Saturday’s Preakness right here.

    Today we settle all family business. Let’s go get the bad guys.


  3. Vin, we look at the same data so can’t disagree. No pressure at all for Baffert in Baltimore. He’ll be at home in California this weekend.

      1. I’m wondering what will be the reaction should Mr. Baffert sweep the Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness?

  4. Unfortunately, there will always be questions about a man who has been called to task with 30 violations over the years as opposed to Graham Motion ( zero) or Shug ( once) There is just so many excuses you can use for the same thing. It’s not fair to the fans, the gamblers and most of all to the horses. Remember in life, figures don’t lie but liars can figure. It’s all about the money. Shame.

  5. Vin, A most important add on to your comment above. “Not fair to the trainers who play the game honestly.” No way that Baffert didn’t know exactly everything about his Derby runners. Give us a break or lose us forever.

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