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Ron The Greek Goes Back To Back At Churchill Downs

Posted by Marco Sussman on 6/13/2013 6:38:24 PM

Sports betting players aren’t done with horse racing just because Triple Crown season is over. Trainers are getting their horses geared up for the summer months, which will take them into the Breeders’ Cup in November at Santa Anita Park. You’ll start to hear about handicap races more, and the Grade-1 Stephen Foster Handicap takes place at Churchill Downs this Saturday. Named for the man who wrote “My Old Kentucky Road”, the theme of the Kentucky Derby, this race holds sentimental value.

Look for last year’s winner to defend his title and end up in the winner’s circle once again.

What: Horse Betting
When: Saturday, June 15th, post time TBA
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
Pick: Ron The Greek

Fort Larned has struggled a bit since winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November, finishing sixth at the Grade-2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in March, and then fifth at the Grade-2 Oaklawn Handicap in April. There is an excellent chance that he’ll be back at the Breeders’ Cup to defend his title, but this five-year-old colt needs to get on a roll as the summer months begin. This will be his second attempt in the Stephen Foster Handicap and the first didn’t go so well as Fort Larned finished eighth in this event last year.

Golden Ticket is coming off a win, but it was just in an allowance race (albeit at Churchill Downs), so horse betting sharps shouldn’t get too excited. His last appearance in a Grade-1 event came last November in the Hollywood Derby, and Golden Ticket finished a disappointing 11th. This four-year-old shouldn’t be expected to do a lot, even in a smaller field, but he may have odds worth taking a look at before you head to your racebook on Saturday.

Like Fort Larned, Pool Play will be making his 22nd start and that is a lot of miles on a horse. Then you take into account that Pool Play is eight years old and you have no idea what you’re going to get from him. He has finished sixth in his last two starts (the Grade-1 Donn Handicap in February and the Grade-2 Elkhorn Stakes in March), and he rolled in eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But there was an encouraging runner-up finish in the Grade-3 Hal’s Hope Stakes in January, and Pool Play won the Grade-2 Hawthorne Gold Cup last October. He also won this race in 2011.

Ron The Greek is the defending champion at the Stephen Foster Handicap, and since then he has posted some good results, finishing fourth or better in five of six races and they were in some high-profile events (winning the non-graded Sunshine Millions in January, a fourth at the Breeders’ Cup Classic and most recently, a third at the Grade-2 Charles Town Classic). This six-year-old should be one of the horse betting favorites heading into Churchill Downs and he seems to be a well-balanced thoroughbred that would put in a good showing in any type of race.

Successful Dan should have some high expectations and he could even be a favorite for this event, given his track record. In 12 career starts, he has eight wins and has finished outside the top three just once. Four of those wins came in allowance or maiden races, but he did break his maiden on his first try and is coming off a victory in the Grade-3 Ben Ali Stakes, which has been his only start of 2013 so far, so this seven-year-old gelding could be itching to hit the racetrack. He has finished in the top three in his two handicap starts; keep a very close eye on Successful Dan.

Take Charge Indy has been brought along carefully since a terrible 19th-place performance at the Kentucky Derby last year, and he has responded by finishing inside the top three in all five starts since then. He won the Grade-2 Alysheba Stakes in May at Churchill Downs, and he finished behind 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford at the Grade-1 Clark Handicap (also at Churchill Downs) last November. Outside of that day two Mays ago in Kentucky, Take Charge Indy has put up great results and he is another horse that could steal the show on Saturday.

How It Will Play Out

Ron The Greek has been solid as a rock since winning this race in 2012, and he’ll hold off a talented field to claim the win in your online betting picks.

Stephen Foster Handicap Betting Pick: Ron The Greek

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