Mr. Ed's Best Bets, Saturday, September 23
RAILBIRD’S RANT: With apologies to Mr. Ed’s favorite gambling-themed musical-comedy Guys and Dolls, welcome to VSiN’s oddest, somewhat legitimate, permanent, once-a-week, floating, thoroughbred handicapping column from outside Las Vegas.
Once a year (thank goodness), all eyes of owners, trainers and hardcore handicappers focus on PARX in Philadelphia for its annual multi-million-dollar, stakes-laden 14-race card. Today is that day. I can recall in the early ‘70s, during the stone age of simulcasting, when PARX (aka Keystone Park) being the lone, live signal available at most off-track betting shops, was my favorite track!
On any given Friday afternoon at my local OTB near Harrisburg, PA, the crowd looked like a sales convention. Fifty years later, the only difference is a crowd consisting of elderly, retired salesmen. But, I digress. Today is PARX’s time — rain or shine. In addition to offering several selections from the aging PA facility, Mr. Ed has added a few later plays from venerable Churchill Downs. Think, like a day-night baseball doubleheader.
TRACKING MR. ED: Cashed three tickets from Churchill and the BIG A last Saturday. Unfortunately, the combined payoff fell slightly short of matching the amount wagered (after scratches), so I posted a small, net loss.
PLAYS TODAY AT PARX & CHURCHILL: Several first-class riders, among them Irad Ortiz Jr., Johnny Velasquez, Junior Alvarado and Tyler Gaffalione have made the trip to the City of Brotherly Love along with top-name trainers Chad Brown, Bob Baffert, Brad Cox, Kenny McPeak and Bill Mott. Race 1 post is 11:35 a.m. ET at PARX and 6 p.m. ET at Churchill. Here are Mr. Ed’s suggested plays (Note: Onto Mr. Ed’s PARX picks a gallon or two of rain might fall):
PARX Race 3 (12:33 p.m. ET/9:33 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes #5 DANCING SPIRIT (4-1 morning line) to capture the overnight stakes for PA-bred fillies. Low-profile, yet accomplished trainer Adam Rice ships this young gal down from Saratoga, where she broke her maiden last month. High-profile jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. returns to ride the filly as she cuts back to sprint. Wager: $10 Win & Place. ($20)
PARX Race 4 (1:01 p.m. ET/10:01 a.m. PT)
I like a $5 Exacta Box of #3 FAST BREAKIN CASH (5-1 morning line) for Jamie Ness; #4 MASROUR (7-2) for Ruperto Perez, and #11 CARAMEL CHIP (3-1) for Jose D’Angelo. ($30)
PARX Race 6 (2:01 p.m. ET/11:01 a.m. PT)
100K Plum Pretty Stakes
Mr. Ed likes #7 SOCIAL SUCCESS (9-2 morning line) to go 3-3 at track. Trained by Bruce Kravets and ridden by Anthony Salgado, this filly looks poised for additional success off bullet work at Penn National. Wager: $10. ($10)
PARX Race 7 (2:31 p.m. ET/11:31 a.m. PT)
$200K G3 Greenwood Cup
Mr. Ed’s PLAY OF THE DAY is recent Win machine #6 NEXT (8-5 morning line). The classy gelding might never look back in this marathon test. Sharp Bill Cowans trains and Luan Machado returns in the saddle. Wager: $30 to Win. ($30)
PARX Race 10 (4:04 p.m. ET/1:04 p.m. PT)
$300K PARX Dirt Mike
#5 GUNITE (2-1 morning line) towers over this field as he drops in off an impressive G1 Forego Stakes score at Saratoga. Tyler Gaffalione returns to ride for winningest trainer Steve Asmussen. Guy should have little trouble stretching out an additional furlong. Wager: $20 to Win. ($20)
PARX Race 11 (4:35 p.m. ET/1:35 p.m. PT)
$400K G2 Gallant Bob Stakes
Mr. Ed’s SHOT OF THE DAY is underrated #7 SIR LANCELOT (6-1 morning line). Johnny Velasquez picks up the mount on a sneaky-good sophomore sprinter returning to dirt off a turf victory at Colonial Downs for excellent trainer Michael Stidham. Wager: $10 Win & Place. ($20)
PARX Race 13 (6:10 p.m. ET/3:10 p.m. PT)
$1 million G1 Pennsylvania Derby
Mr. Ed likes #3 SAUDI CROWN (7-2 morning line) for superior Brad Cox barn. Ridden by Florent Geroux, the sophomore colt scores here to gain a spot in Breeders’ Cup Mile. Wager: $10 Win & Place. ($20)
Churchill Downs Race 7 (9:05 p.m. ET/6:05 p.m. PT)
I like the trio: #1 MANCIATA D’ORO (4-1 morning line) and #2 SLIP MAHONEY(5-2), both for Brad Cox, and #5 OSCAR ECLIPSE (3-1) for Brian Lynch. Wager: $5 Exacta Box. ($30)
Churchill Downs Race 8 (9:39 p.m. ET/6:39 p.m. PT)
$300K Harrodsburg Creek
My pick is #6 EVERSO MISCHIEVOUS (2-1 morning line). Young rider Cristian Torres picks up an excellent opportunity aboard a 3YO colt for high-percentage Brad Cox barn. Look for the son of sire Into Mischievous to go back-to-back following sprint win at Saratoga. Wager: $10 to Win. ($10)
Churchill Downs Race 10 (10:42 p.m. ET/7:42 p.m. PT)
$300K G3 Dogwood Stakes
Mr. Ed’s choice is #1 YESTERNIGHT (3-1 morning line). The late-blooming filly appears poised to make another forward move for a solid Lindsay Schultz outfit. Cutting back to 7 furlongs, look for James Graham to put her in front early from the inside post. Wager: $10 to Win. ($10)
TOTAL PARX WAGERS: $150
TOTAL CHURCHILL WAGERS: $50
WHAT WILL MR. ED DO (1-1) ON SUNDAY?
Bet the Eagles -4.5 over the Buccaneers