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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing OFFERS TWO “PLAY AT A PRICE” HORSES IN PAIR OF SPA GRADE 1s

In addition to his weekly Wednesday column assessing the quality of previous weekend’s graded stakes action, each Friday founder Keith Pettyjohn will provide a runner listed at 10-1 or better 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 see several horses that could possibly make your vertical exotic wagers pay handsomely. So what I’m going to do is give you two for the price of one. To get it started, let’s turn our attention to the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes.

Here it looks like we have a lot of speed signed on for this race. Serengeti Empress, Cookie Dough and Letruska all appear to have a desire to be in front. So that means we need to look at what horse who’s listed at 10-1 or higher that will benefit most from the pace dynamics.

And I’m going to land on 15-1 Victim Of Love. It seems as though this horse was headed in the right direction late in her three year old campaign. Let’s take a look at her running lines.

She faltered late in the Safely Kept at seven furlongs. Then came back with an improved effort to win a listed stakes at Laurel.

Victim of Love then followed that run up with another improved effort, finishing second in a Grade 3 stakes where she took the lead in the stretch but gave way to finish second.

Next out, she runs a mile race where something must have gone amiss. She didn’t run well and went to the sidelines for three months.

In her first race back, she wins a Grade 3 stakes race posts her best Class-Based Performance Figure. Look for her to love the set-up that she will get in Saturday’s Grade 1 Ballerina.

Now let’s take a look at the big race of the day, the Grade 1 Travers at a mile and a quarter. This will be the first time any of these horses will run that far as none have ventured beyond a mile and one-eighth.

The big favorite is Tiz The Law and rightfully so. But there is a horse that seems to be coming into his own. And that horse is 15-1 South Bend [yes John, you guessed right]. This horse had shown promise on the dirt before being entered in five straight turf races.

South Bend made his return to dirt in the Grade 3 mile and an eighth Ohio Derby. There, he was closing willingly but ran out of real estate behind a winner with clear sailing and a pace advantage.

Making his second straight start on dirt and going an extra furlong for a new trainer, Hall of Famer Bill Mott, he rates to relish the added ground and pace dynamics appear to be his friend in this spot. 

Remember, when playing this type of game, It Only Takes One. Good luck everyone and enjoy the great racing on display this weekend.

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8 Responses

  1. Keith, you didn’t tell me when you came on board that you were going to steal my thunder! Left both of your “Play Price” horses open, meaning they will be somewhere on my tickets. Working on Spa as you read this.

    Full house at Saratoga tomorrow with three G1s and a pair of G3s. If anyone thinks they can safely embrace odds-on horses, they only need to harken back to last weekend: It’s horse racing.

    Good luck to you and all the HRI Faithful.

    For those interested, today and every Friday (11:30 am), with occasional Mondays, I guest on “Big Board Sports” with Rodger and Chris, ESPN Radio 104.5-The Team. Catch it online.

  2. Of course they were already on your ticket. I was looking over your shoulder when I came up with these plays. It was just like when we were back in high school and you’d look over someone’s shoulder to copy the answer. The teachers used to tell us how wrong that was. Life has taught me differently. Life has taught me that, “It’s okay to be a copycat, just make sure that you copy the right cat”.

    1. Thanks for that, and flattery will get you everywhere. But don’t lay that modesty on me, these past few weeks I know that you know what’s up. Hopefully, the harder we work the luckier we get!

  3. Not getting off the boat after last week’s TRI, but I expect both lowest ML odds to finish in the top four.

    Will play Tiz the Law and Uncle Chuck in slots 1-4
    Country Grammer and Caracaro in slots 2-4
    South Bend in slots 3 & 4

    Good luck to all.

  4. Well there was no “trifecta for the taking” this round. Who knew Chuck would transition tp Upchuck. But we’re all big boys and girls, and know well that why they call it “gambling”. Next week we’ll get ’em back.

    I couldn’t help but revert back to recalling the greatness of the sport that we witnessed throughout the 1970’s. Year after year. Excellence and endurance. Back when weight was weight. Forego comes to mind? And with him, the up and coming Wajima, and on and on. How blessed we were to view them all. And to think as you headed off to the track, for a dime you could hitch a ride with John Pricci and Russ Harris. They could have renamed Big Sandy Shaefer City on the bus ride into the grounds.

    All this has me thinking back of a cold beer. Gotta wait at least until five or I’ll get time in the penalty box once again. Maybe even a working man’s beer. Maybe like one of your Dad’s, or even a neighbors, pinched off their back porch. Even if you didn’t like beer much, a warm can made a great water gun. All you needed was a dart to puncture the can and shake it up. Better than any little black squeegie. You could nail kids all over the block for drinking beer as well. “But Mom, I didn’t…..😇.” The reply we all knew was coming…”Get to your room and wait until your father gets home.

    Here’s “Cheers” to John, Keith, Indulto, and Wendell, and all the mischievous “Usual Suspects” and commenters of the HRI Faithful. Most still mischievous even in our 70’s, and now teaching the grandkids the same, but never to be malicious. Peace boys and girls. We’ll get ’em back next week. Thank You all for the yeomen’s effort. It is really the best Covid-19 entertainment around. Sure beats the talking heads on the big screen. No “Indulto Pantameter” found there.

    1. Au contraire, McD. True, the exacta was nowhere but the horses mentioned in Exotica turned a 1-2 shot into 8-1, so there was that…

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