Mr. Ed's Best Bets for Saturday, September 16; news & notes

By Ed Sehon  ( handicapper) 

September 15, 2023 06:20 PM

Mr. Ed's Best Bets, Saturday, September 10

NEWS & NOTES: I’m willing to put last week’s dismal results behind us if you are. The unique undulating turf course at Kentucky Downs proved a tough nut to crack. Hat’s off to Tyler Gaffalione who topped riders with 12 victories, while trainer Brendan Walsh led conditioners with eight wins during the just-concluded, limited seven-day meet. Unfortunately, Mr. Ed’s posted picks at Colonial Downs fared no better.

Today, in an all-out rebound effort, I’ll return to the more familiar confines of Churchill Downs and Belmont (at the BIG A) Due to construction, BIG A will host NY racing for 29 of the next 33 months, the exceptions being the traditional eight-week Summer meets at Saratoga in 2024 and 2025. And, the Belmont Stakes, the third jewel in racing’s Triple Crown, also will be conducted at Saratoga in early June during the next two years, as part of a brief reimagined Belmont racing festival. Overnight accommodations in Saratoga Springs for the Belmont dates are expected to start at $1K per night, with a three-night guarantee. Too rich for Mr. Ed’s thin blood.

SATURDAY SELECTIONS: Racing at Churchill Downs looks like a battle of two big barns, with Brad Cox sending out a string of eight, while Steve Asmussen has six entered on the 11-race card. Here are Mr. Ed’s top selections there and at the BIG A.

Churchill Downs Race 4 (2:13 p.m. ET/11:13 a.m. PT)

I like an ice-cold Exacta Box #3 STROBE (6-5 morning line) and #4 BANGO (1-1). This resembles a good old-fashioned match race between a pair of hard-charging, older sprinters. Forget the other four. Bingo-Bango! Wager: 3-4 $10 Exacta Box. ($20)


Churchill Downs Race 5 (2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. ET)

My pick is #6 UNDERHILL’S TAB (7-2 morning line) for sharp Kentucky trainer Al Stall Jr. Son of Unified, this guy runs great when fresh. Promising rider Cristian Torres picks up the mount — and I’ll pick up the tab. Wager: $10 to Win. ($10)


Churchill Downs Race 7 (3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. PT) — G3 Pocahontas Stakes

Mr. Ed’s selection is #1 EMPIRE ISLAND (5-1 morning line) for red-hot, young trainer Norm Casse. Stretching out to a mile presents no problem for the sire of Classic Empire. Ricardo Santana Jr. retains the mount. Bullet work seals the deal. Gal gets a perfect trip from the rail post. Wager: $20 to Win. ($20)


Belmont at the BIG A Race No. 8 (4:49 p.m. ET/1:49 p.m. PT)

I like #1 NOLO CONTESTO and 1A DURANTE (5-2 morning line), #4 JAKE ROCKS (15-1) with upstart Katie Davis, and #6 VITTORIO (3-1) with Jose Ortiz. Wager: $4 Exacta Box. ($24)


Churchill Downs Race 9 (4:55 p.m. ET/1:55 p.m. PT) — The G3 $300K Iroquois

MR. Ed’s BEST BET is #8 RISK IT (2-1 morning line) for the powerful Asmussen-Gaffalione duo. The expensive son of a Gun (Runner) looks for a perfect trip as he stretches out to a one-turn mile. A repeat of his Spa trip will beat a field of promising youngsters. The road to the Run for the Roses starts here. Wager $20 to Win and Box in $5 Exactas with 3,4,6. ($50)


Belmont at the BIG A Race 9 (5:21 p.m. ET/3:21 p.m. PT)

G3 $350K Jockey Club Oaks Invitational

Mr. Ed likes #1 LAST CALL (7-2 morning line). The three-year-old daughter of English Channel ships in from Canada after a brief stop at Kentucky Downs for a freshener. A proven closer, this filly should enjoy the stretch out to 1 3/8th mile. Trainer Kevin Attard gets Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride. The last shall be first across the wire. Wager: $10 Win and Place. ($20)


Churchill Downs Race 10 (5:26 p.m. ET/2:26 p.m. PT

The G3 $400K Locust Grove

To close out my selections, I like #4 SEARCH RESULTS (3-1 morning line) to win this stakes restricted to fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles. Chad Brown’s mare has tons of back class (15-6-3-5) with career earnings of more than $1.6 million. Tyler Gaffalione will ride her for the first time. Sports recent bullet work. Wager $10 and Place. ($20)



LOOKING AHEAD: The 2023 Breeders’ Cup starts seven weeks from now, on November 3rd and 4th.


Bet on the CHIEFS -2.5 over the Jags

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