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Zoffany, Cease Ready to Make Their Mark

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 10/7/2011 7:16:38 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Zoffany, Cease
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Shadwell Turf Mile, The Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap
Where: Keeneland, Hawthorne
When: Saturday, October 8th

With four weeks to The Breeders’ Cup, you would expect a slew of top-notch races this weekend…and the racing gods didn’t disappoint. There are seven Grade 1 races and three Grade 2 events on Saturday, plus another Grade 1 on Sunday. While all of these are likely to have Breeders’ Cup implications, two of the most intriguing from a handicapping standpoint are The Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Saturday, to be followed an hour later by The Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap. Let’s try to cash in on a couple of fresh faces.

In The Shadwell Turf Mile, speedsters Sidney’s Candy and Get Stormy are likely to keep one another honest on the front end. With a lively pace expected, it’s hard to picture either horse hanging on for the top prize. Wise Dan made his turf debut a winning one two back, when he captured the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs in relatively easy fashion. He didn’t beat much that day, however, and he’ll be toting 11 more pounds on Saturday. He should enjoy a nice stalking trip, and may grab a minor award. Defending champ Gio Ponti keeps turning in honest efforts, and could win with decent racing luck. He should get the type of firm footing he enjoys, and the race shape suits his closing style. I’ll try to beat him with 3YO Euro-shipper #4-Zoffany (3-1 Morning Line), who has been keeping top company across the pond. He two best races were a pair of close seconds going a mile vs. Group 1 horses, including the undefeated Frankel. He appears to favor good-to-firm footing, and will get Lasix for the first time. Ignore this talented sophomore from the powerful Aidan O’Brien barn at your peril.

Giant Oak has been made the 2-1 morning line favorite in The Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap, with Rule second choice at 5-2. Giant Oak finished second in this event last year behind Redding Colliery, and should make his presence felt in the late going. He needs an honest pace to set up his late charge, and may not get it here…could be he’s destined for his third placing in three attempts locally. Rule has yet to compete at 1 ¼ miles, and may find the distance a bit beyond his scope. Worldy won his only start at 1 ¼ miles two back at Prairie Meadows, but the waters are much deeper here. Headache fits well with these. He’s capable at the distance, and had excuses in The Whitney last out. I’ll use him in the exotics. At 12-1 on the morning line, Cease looks very attractive. Granted, he’s taking a big step up in class, and his two daylight wins at Saratoga came on off tracks. Still, he’s bred to handle the distance, his Beyer Speed Figures say he belongs, and he hails from a top-class barn. I’ll bet on #5-Cease across the board at odds of 8-1 or better, and key him (top and bottom) in exactas with #6-Headache and #10-Giant Oak.

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

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