Mr. Ed's Best Bets for Saturday, September 9; news & notes

By Ed Sehon  ( handicapper) 

September 8, 2023 06:13 PM

Mr. Ed's Best Bets, Saturday, September 9

SAY GOODBYE, NEW YORK. HELLO KENTUCKY & VIRGINIA: Nestled between the end of the popular Saratoga meet and the reopening of Belmont (at the Big A) next week is one of Mr. Ed’s favorite end-of-season racing weekends. Many a horseplayer’s eyes will be focused on the rolling hills of eastern Tennessee at cash-laden Kentucky Downs, featuring full fields and super-rich purses, and in rural southern Virginia for excellent turf racing at refurbished and popular Colonial Downs. Today, Mr. Ed is concentrating his handicapping skills on both venues, each of which offers a plate full of excellent stakes, spotlighting some of the best turf horses and many of the nation’s top jockeys and trainers.

TIP OF THE WEEK: When studying past performance charts, often change can be your friend. Don’t listen to all those TV pundits who go on and on about why you should ignore backing a horse who is trying something he’s never done before. For example, where the change will do you good is when a horse moves from the dirt to first-time on turf. Any good trainer has worked the horse several times on the grass in the morning before trying him on the weeds in the afternoon. Based on those works, the conditioner is well aware of the horse’s ability to handle the surface switch. (For an example of handicapping change, see Kentucky Downs Race 10 analysis below.) … Also keep an eye on significant rider or trainer changes as well as noticeable distance changes. All may offer profitable betting opportunities.  

Here are Mr. Ed’s selections for Saturday:

Colonial Downs Race 6 (3:58 p.m. ET/12:58 p.m. PT)

$150K Da Hoss Stakes

Mr. Ed likes #7 SOUPER QUEST (7-2 morning line). The young speedster son of top sire Munnings takes on nine elders in an excellent turf sprint for conditioner Mark Casse, who hires journeyman jock Gallardo to build upon his undefeated 3-3 win streak. Wager: $10 to Win. ($10)


Kentucky Downs Race 8 (4:40 p.m. ET/1:40 p.m. PT)

The $1 Million G3 Franklin-Simpson Stakes

My LONGSHOT OF THE DAY is #4 BAT FLIP (20-1 morning line). This turf router turns back to sprint for HOFer Todd Pletcher and rejuvenated Javier Castellano. He scored a popular win on this colt last Fall, so shouldn’t I roll the dice again?  Look at it this way: Mr. Ed is Bat Flip crazy. Wager: $5 to Win, Pace and Show. ($15)


Kentucky Downs Race 10 (5:54 p.m. ET/2:54 p.m. PT)

The $1 Million G2 Ainsworth Turf Sprint

Mr. Ed’s BEST BET OF THE DAY is #10 DREAM SHAKE (8-1 morning line). Trainer Michael Stidham shakes things up with a rider upgrade to Tyler Gaffalione cutting the five-year-old speedster back to six furlongs. The winner of his last two at Woodbine, including the G2 sprint, should get a dream trip upfront from the get-go. Wager: $10 to Win and box in Exactas with 1,5,7,12. ($26).


Colonial Downs Race 10 (6:20 p.m. ET/3:20 p.m. PT)

$500K G3 New Kent County Virginia Derby

Mr. Ed likes the big-time jockey change on his choice #4 SALUTE THE STARS (4-1 morning line) for tip-top trainer Brad Cox, who replaces Joel Rosario with local hot-shot Sheldon Russell.  I’ll box the rising star with two Chad Brown entrants. Wager: $20 to Win and $5 Exacta boxes of boxes of 4,7,11. ($50)


Kentucky Downs Race 11 (6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT)

The $1 Million G2 AGS Ladies Turf Sprint

I like #3 WAKANAKA (4-1 morning line). HOF conditioner Bill Mott ships filly in from Saratoga where she Placed in G2 Caress stakes. Joel Rosario, who knows gal well, climbs back aboard for Mott as he stretches her out in the high-priced sprint. Wager: $10 Win and Place. ($20)


Kentucky Downs Race 12 (7:05 p.m. ET/4:05 p.m. PT)

$1.7 Million G2 Kentucky Cup

I like the elder, seasoned pro RED KNIGHT (4-1 morning line). Winner of 12 of 36 mostly high-stakes stakes turf routes and nearly $2 million, this nine-year-old stands head and shoulders above a dozen other grass marathoners. Mike Maker trains, and Tyler Gaffalione returns to ride. Red Knight is special. Wager: $20 to Win. ($20)




Bet on the BENGALS -2 to cover vs. in-state rival Browns.

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