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La Luna de Miel, Sidney’s Candy Look Tough in Grass Headliners

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 5/27/2011 6:34:41 PM
weekend horse betting
  • Who: Thoroughbreds – Hibaayeb, La Luna de Miel, Liberian Freighter, The Usual Q. T., Sidney’s Candy
  • What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Sheepshead Bay, The American Handicap
  • Where: Belmont Park, Hollywood Park
  • When: Saturday, May 28th

The defection of probable favorite Morning Line from The Met Mile due to a foot bruise has taken a bit of the luster off that prestigious Belmont Park fixture. With past performance info for The Met Mile not available at press time, we’ll focus our attention on a pair of Grade 2 grass events on Saturday…The Sheepshead Bay for older fillies and mares at Belmont Park, and The American Handicap for older horses at Hollywood Park.
Morning line choice Hibaayeb (2-1) will appreciate the added ground, after opening her 4YO campaign with a 3rd-place finish going 1 1/16th miles at Gulfstream Park in early April. She’s a Grade 1 winner in the U.S. and a Group 1 winner in Europe, so she’s plenty classy. Still, I’m not sure she’s up to spotting three pounds to the talented La Luna de Miel, who should get the firm ground she relishes on Saturday. Don’t read anything into the jockey switch, as John Velazquez committed to Hibaayeb when he didn’t know if La Luna de Miel would run. I’ll take La Luna de Miel to win her third race in four starts stateside at odds of 3-2 or better.

Based on Beyer Speed Figures, it would appear at first glance that The American Handicap is a wide-open affair. Following are the two most recent turf Beyers for the major players in here: Ryehill Dreamer (102, 101), Liberian Freighter (103, 102), The Usual Q. T. (101, 101) and Sidney’s Candy (99, 102). The Usual Q. T. is by far the most accomplished of these runners, having banked more than $1.4 million on the sod. He’s on a six-race losing streak, however, and has burned a lot of cash along the way, going off at odds of 3-1 or less in five of those starts. Liberian Freighter, on the other hand, rarely gets respect at the windows. He’s won four of his last seven, at odds of 9-2, 22-1, 9-1 and 7-2, all with Martin Garcia in the irons. Still, none of these have generated the buzz surrounding Sidney’s Candy. After establishing his credentials on synthetics by winning all three of Santa Anita’s major Kentucky Derby prep races last year, he followed up with a tour de force in his first grass start, the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar. Sidney’s Candy also has a penchant for winning his second start off a layoff, so he should be doubly tough on Saturday. Although Sidney’s Candy has won on every surface, trainer John Sadler insists he’s at his best on grass. I’ll take that to the bank with a play on Sidney’s Candy to win at odds of even money or better.

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

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