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Horse racing handicapping - Scouting Saturday’s Stakes Action

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 4/26/2012 10:36:04 AM
Horse racing handicapping: Taking “Tend” twice

  • WHO: Thoroughbreds – Tend, Fitz Just Right, Mambo Meister, Noble Court
  • WHAT: Saturday’s Stakes Races
  • WHERE: Fair Grounds, Aqueduct Gulfstream Park in Santa Anita
  • WHEN: Saturday, January 10

As I looked at Saturday’s stakes action around the country, the first horse that caught my eye happens to be entered in a pair of stakes races at Fair Grounds. Tend is entered in both the Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap (G3) at about 1 1/16th miles on turf (Race 5) and the Louisiana Handicap at 1 1/16th miles on the main track (Race 6). With rain in the forecast, there’s a chance that the Colonel Bradley will be moved to the main track. If that happens, and Tend’s connections opt for this spot, he’ll have a big chance. The ungraded Louisiana Handicap appears to be a much tougher spot.

The 10-horse Colonel Bradley field will probably be reduced if the race moves to the main oval. In that event, Tend’s main rivals will be Classic Campaign, Wise River and Red Rock Creek. He fits well with these on dirt. Tend has a two-turn win in his lone start at Fair Grounds on a track labeled sloppy, and followed that up with his first stakes victory at Delta Downs last out. I’ll bet him at odds of 5-2 or better. If he tries grass, all bets are off.

In the Busanda Stakes (Race 8) at Aqueduct, Kiaran McLaughlin trainee Fitz Just Right has plenty of appeal at her morning line odds of 8-1. She’s two-for-two, successfully stretched out to two turns last time, and I like the fact that McLaughlin gave her a spin over the track on Dec. 28 (a bullet move at that). This filly’s in very capable hands, and she appears to be a gamer, having won both starts after dueling for the lead. If you’re horse racing handicapping, go ahead and take her at 6-1 or better.   

Unfortunately, horses that receive positive press tend to attract an inordinate amount of betting action and offer little value. That’s a fact of life in the world of horse racing handicapping. The 4YO gelding Mambo Meister looked like a very live 6-1 shot in the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Then I noticed that both Mike Watchmaker and Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form wrote articles about him on Thursday.

That will probably knock his odds down to around 7-2. He’s bred to be a good one on the grass, and he proved it last out with a powerful score in a key N3x allowance race at Calder, earning a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. Removal of the blinkers last May helped this horse relax…he’ll be tough from off the pace. I’ll take him at odds of 5-1 or better.

Finally, I’ll take a stab with Noble Court in the San Pasqual Handicap (G2) at Santa Anita (Race 8) at odds of 5-1 or better. Well Armed figures to be favored, and reportedly is training well, but I’ll try to beat him. Noble Court is in top form, owns a win over the Pro-Ride surface, and has a two-turn win under his belt (at Del Mar), as well as a Grade 2 victory in the San Vicente Stakes as a 3YO.

Good luck on Saturday and happy betting.

For more horse racing handicapping from Pete, regularly visit betonline.com’s Betting Edge every week.

Pete Mitchell has been handicapping horses since his teenage years. He has been a professional horse player for many years, and came to betonline.com’s attention through multiple referrals from industry insiders/sportsbook owners. Pete is revered for his horse handicapping opinion and industry experts acknowledge his impressive career winning record. Thoughts or questions?

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