In addition to his weekly Wednesday column assessing the quality of previous weekend’s graded stakes action, each Friday GradedStakesRaces.com 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.