I led last week’s column with this, but … “There seems to be more distractions than ever before for gamblers’ attention with MLB starting to join NBA and NHL on the daily calendar” … and now we have football, too, with the second coming of the USFL. But, hey, there’s always time to slip in some horse racing plays on our busy Saturdays.
Last Saturday, Rampart race and sports book manager Duane Colucci gave us Zandon in the Blue Grass Stakes here in Team Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes. Ed Sehon also had him in his “Mr. Ed’s Keeneland on (about) $100 a Day” column at VSiN.com/horses, so check that out as he’s off to a great start to the meet,
This Saturday, Sehon posts his non-Keeneland plays here along with Colucci and my other handicapping friend, John Lauro, as we look for value at tracks from coast to coast.
Good luck today (and every day).
Oaklawn Race No. 4 (2:46 p.m. ET/11:46 a.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #5 Happy Boy Rocket (5-2 morning line). “Trainer Bill Mott takes the blinkers off (38 percent angle) and puts Ricardo Santana aboard in effort to bounce back from disastrous Tampa Bay. High-priced son of Runhappy has looked live in mornings. Make me happy, boy! Wager: Win.”
Aqueduct Race No. 6 (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT)
Duane Colucci likes #8 Athwaaq (12-1 morning line). “This front-runner has two solid workouts at Belmont. Mare steadily improved last year, including a decent run in a stakes race to end the year. Jockey Luis Rodriguez Castro is 3-for-10 with this barn with an amazing $21.19 ROI. Will go wire-to-wire in this one. Bet 8 to Win and key 8 over 1,5,7 in Exactas, Trifectas and reverse.”
Woodbine Race No. 7 (4:22 p.m. ET/1:22 p.m. PT)
Duane Colucci likes #5 Matais (20-1 morning line) in the Long Branch Stakes. “This 5-year-old ran huge here twice in November on 6 day’s rest. Trainer Don Pleterski hits at 27 percent with a $9.84 ROI on synthetic surfaces and Eswan Flores takes the mount. Bet 5 to Win and key 5 over 1,2,3 in Exactas, Trifectas and reverse.”
Laurel Race No. 8 (4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #8 Artful Splatter (10-1 morning line) in the ungraded Heavenly Cause Stakes. “This 6-year-old could be the speed of the speed of this group of fillies and mares that aren’t quite good enough for graded stakes competition. Trainer Kieron Magee has used jockey Carol Cedeno twice for wins in past 2 months out of just 7 starts. Artful Splatter has a bit of seconditis (9 runner-up finishes in 39 starts, including 5 of her last 9), but that’ll work for us. Wager: Win and Place.”
Aqueduct Races No. 7-10 (4:32 p.m. ET/1:32 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes the following Pick 4 (cost $48)
Race 7: 1,2,3,7
Race 8: 4,9,10
Race 9: 3,4,7,8
Race 10: 8,9
Keeneland Races Nos. 8-11 (4:44 p.m. ET/1:44 p.m. PT)
Duane Colucci likes the following $.50 Pick 4 (cost $60)
Race 8: 2,3,4,5,6,12
Race 9: 2,4,7,9,10
Race 10: 3,4
Race 11: 2,4
Keeneland Race No. 8 (4:44 p.m. ET/1:44 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #6 Jouster (12-1 morning line) in the $200,000 Giant’s Causeway Stakes. “This 4-year-old filly could steal this on the lead. With the way Flavien Prat has been riding early this meet, I’m not sure we’ll get 12-1, especially with Todd Pletcher as the trainer, so worth a shot. Wager: Win and Place (but drop Place if not 10-1 or higher).”
Keeneland Race No. 9 (5:16 p.m. ET/2:16 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #4 Ethereal Road (10-1 morning line) in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes. “Full disclosure first: I’m a little biased here as I have a 135-1 Kentucky Derby ticket on Ethereal Road that is dead unless he wins this last points race. He’s wheeling back after a wide trip in the Blue Grass last Saturday over this same course, so I’m trusting trainer D. Wayne Lukas believes he can still contend with these and get a stalking trip (and have something left this time). Wager: Win and Place (might actually bet more to Place in this situation).”
Oaklawn Race No. 9 (5:31 p.m. ET/2:31 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #1 Supremacy (4-1 morning line). “Stretching out to a mile, strong finisher should benefit from inside post. Ricardo Santana takes mount for top Cox barn. Versatile colt could lead or close, but look for super effort in stretch. Wager: Win.
Oaklawn Race No. 11 (6:42 p.m. ET/3:42 p.m. PT)
John Lauro likes #5 Jackie’s Warrior (6-5 morning line) in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap. “Jackie’s Warrior returns to begin his 4-year-old campaign. Strong Win bet on 5, plus straight Exacta with #6 Bob’s Edge and straight trifecta with Jackie’s Warriors to Bob’s Edge to #1 Mojo Man.”
Note: also check out our A.I. Pick of the Week at vsin.com/horses early this afternoon as we’ve gone 25-for-51 (just below 50 percent) since taking over the feature at this time last year. There are also more plays from 1ST/BET handicappers on that page at vsin.com/horses.