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Hail to Haynesfield

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 10/21/2011 8:05:46 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Haynesfield, Great Hot
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Empire Classic, The Raven Run
Where: Belmont Park, Keeneland
When: Saturday, October 22nd

New York-bred millionaire Haynesfield returns to action Saturday at his favorite venue, Belmont Park. The Grade 1 winner has been out of action for nearly five months, but he’ll no doubt enter the starting gate as the favorite vs. fellow NY-breds in the 36th Running of The Empire Classic. Is he worth a play?

Immediately following the Empire Classic, a group of 13 sophomore fillies will head postward for the 13th Running of The Raven Run at Keeneland. A juicy payoff is practically assured in this deep and contentious field. Will Great Hot ring the bell?

The last time Haynesfield tackled New York-breds was in June of 2010. That race was also a comebacker (off an even lengthier layoff) and he won in front-running fashion, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 99. He should be plenty fit after back-to-back 7-furlong drills earlier this month, and regular rider Ramon Dominguez retains the mount. Johannesburg Smile is the “now” horse, having won his last pair, including the Noble Nashua for state-breds in September. He’ll be tested for class, however, against the likes of Haynesfield. Inherit the Gold rattled off five straight wins in late 2010 and early 2011, but tailed off in the spring. It’s hard to picture him getting the better of fellow comebacker Haynesfield while spotting that rival four pounds. I’ll bet on Haynesfield to win at odds of 6-5 or better.

An indication of the competitive nature of The Raven Run is that #12-Mizdirection was made the lukewarm morning line favorite at 4-1. #2-Groupie Doll and #3-Hot Summer are co-second choices at 5-1.  They’re followed closely by #4-Great Hot, #7-Roman Treasure and #11-Strike the Moon, all at 6-1. Groupie Doll won the Grade 3 Gardenia vs. older fillies and mares two back, and finished fast to get second last out in the Charles Town Oaks. She has yet to race on polytrack, but has trained well locally. Hot Summer has notched a pair of Grade 3 victories, but has yet to crack 90 on the Beyer scale. Roman Treasure has fallen short vs. graded company, and has yet to try poly. Like Groupie Doll, she has worked swiftly at Keeneland. Throw Strike the Moon into the same pot of competitors making their polytrack debut with the benefit of a local workout or two. Mizdirection ships in from the left coast having established her sharp form on grass, but with no polytrack experience. That leaves Great Hot. She was bred in Brazil, but with a sire like Orientate and a dam sire like Seeking the Gold, she stacks up just fine in the pedigree department. Mizdirection bested her twice on the Del Mar lawn, but Great Hot shook off those defeats to win the Torrey Pines on the Del Mar main track. Last out she finished a game third behind budding star Zazu and the ultra-tough older mare Ultra Blend in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret at Santa Anita…certainly no disgrace. I’ll take a shot with #4-Great Hot to win and place at odds of 5-1 or better.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for the weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!

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