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Pennsylvania Derby Day: Picks and Analysis of Stakes Races Across All Tracks

No need to adjust your screen.  This is a horse article with a football players back as the featured image.

Today is an absolute monster of a day for stakes racing spanning four tracks starting at 3pm EST and closing out at 10:15pm.  Laurel Park, Parx, Belmont and Charles Town all have graded stakes and I am all over all of them.  The highlight of the day is the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.  I have compiled a cheat sheet earlier this week for the PA Derby, but news of Maximum Security scratching came literally 30 minutes after publishing.

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Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes
Laurel Park – 3:30pm

Eight horses going a mile.  Should be a quick race as we have about half of the field that are pace setters.  Should be a perfect set up for 6/1 ML Frontier Market (#6).  In 10 starts, he has finished top 2 in every race except one.  But this is his first stakes try and the competition bulks up a bit.  Should see this horse flying late if the pace ends up hot as predicted and at a nice price.  This isn’t a confident pick by any stretch, as I think its more wide open than anticipated.  The 3 will likely get money, but has never won at a mile.. normally goes a little longer.  The 8 is sort of intriguing, as this will be this 8 year old horses first race of the year.  Long layoff.  A horse that seems suited for a mile is the 5, although this horse owns all the speed and will probably end up in a speed duel.

My Bets:
$1 Exacta Box – 3,5,6,8
$5 W/P/S – 6

 

Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes
Laurel Park – 4:00pm

This race brings us to our cover image and should be a tough race.  Competition is all so close and each horse here has decent accolades.  Being a sports fan, I’ve always had an affinity with the horse He Hate Me (#6) because of the XFL and Rod Smart.  It was the perfect name to be the poster boy for the XFL and the image is iconic.  This horse was named after Rod Smart’s XFL alias.  Last 5 races, this horse has shown top 3 each time.  The trend I notice with this horse is if the dirt isn’t “fast” he struggles.  If the dirt is anything less than fast, maybe look elsewhere but I think this horse is primed for a victory here.  Alternatives to the 6 (since I said this would be a competitive race): The 7.  Only seems to win at 6F, which is what this race is.  So primed for the right distance.  I also like the 1, 3 and 4.

My Bets:
$0.10 Superfecta – 3,6/1,2,3,4,6,7/1,2,3,4,6,7/1,2,3,4,6,7 ($12)
$20 Win / Place (if dirt is fast) – 6

 

Gallant Bob Stakes
Parx – 4:34pm

Love the backstory of Bethlehem Road, but think this horse is overmatched here. A lot of these horses are lightly raced but have put up huge speed figures. King Jack (#7) is a stand out after 3 races coming 1st twice and a 2nd.  One of those 2nd place finishes was behind Improbable which is in the Pennsylvania Derby later.  Bulletin (#9) has raced 5 times and won three of them and found a third place. I think using the 7 to win is obvious, but will be the favorite.  If you’re looking to beat the favorite, look towards the 3, the 6 and the 9.  Extreme longshot outsiders will be the 4 and 8.

My Bets:
$0.10 Super – 3,7,9/3,6,7,9/3,4,6,7,8,9/3,4,6,7,8,9 (If trying to use long shots, add them earlier)
$5 Win/Show – 9
$1 Exacta Box – 3,6,7,9

 

Noble Damsel Stakes
Belmont Park – 4:51pm

This is an extremely loaded field of 6.  Look at the morning lines on these horses.. 2/1, 3/1, 7/2, 4/1, 4/1 and 15/1.  Basically just turned this race into a pickem and toss the 3 (15/1).  Its tough.  I hate Dylan Davis (I don’t ever expect to be sponsored by Dylan Davis so I think we can say this), which means I toss the 1 horse.  I really like Valedictorian (#6).  Significant Form (#5) isn’t a slouch either.  Im interested to see where the public takes their money.

My Bets:
$10 Place – 6
$1 Trifecta – 5,6/2,5,6/1,2,4,5,6

 

Cotillion Stakes
Parx – 5:14pm

Here we go.  Getting into the meat of the programs. This race is for 3 year old girls going a mile and a sixteenth for a purse of $1,000,000.  I used to love the 11, Jaywalk, but this horse cant seem to get it right lately.  Ive given you guys Guarana (#8) for 2 of her 3 races (Saratoga and Belmont). She hasn’t let us down yet.  She put away other horses in this race too.  I think she will like the little cut back in distance from her last outing.  I think in terms of challengers, the 1(7/2), 3 (at 8/1) will be top win challengers. 4, 10 and 11 should round out exotics.  The ONLY wildcard I see in this race is the 6 (at 15/1).  Comes in on a HOT streak of 4 wins (2 of those being stakes races at Monmouth).  It would be a surprise to see the 6 win, but Im mentioning her because shes gotten a whole lot better since 2 years old.

My Bets:
$20 Win – 8
$0.50 Trifecta 8/1,3,10,11/1,3,4,6,10,11
$0.10 Superfecta 1,3,8/1,3,8/1,3,4,6,8,10,11/1,3,4,6,8,10,11

 

Pennsylvania Derby
Parx – 5:48pm

The news of Maximum Security scratching was terrible.  We were all looking forward to the rematch of Maximum Security and War of Will.  On a smaller scale, I was low key excited to have a pace setter and watch the rematch of MS and Math Wizard.  As the only real closer in the field, Math Wizard needed a pace horse to drive the field.  Now we are paceless and it forces one of the pressers to try and lead the way.  Last time War of Will did this, he faded hard in the Dandy.  With only 6 horses in the field, its obvious to look towards Improbable (#2), Mr. Money (#6) and War of Will (#4).  I haven’t waivered with the scratch in saying the 3 is a trash horse.  You toss that one out and you’re sitting with the 3 favorites and 2 mild shots.  Math Wizard (#1) is one of the quickest horses, so maybe Zayas will guide the horse to stay closer than expected before so he can use his speed.  Spun to Run (#5) will be in that sweet spot right behind the pack of horses in the front.  Mr Money is coming on a 4 race win streak, but against lower competition.  Im not sure if the horse is ready to beat Grade 1 winners yet.  Give me Improbable to win this one, but if playing exotics use Mr Money and Spun To Run.

My Bets:
$10 Win – 2
$1 Trifecta – 2,5,6/2,5,6/1,2,4,5,6

 

Kelso Handicap
Belmont Park – 5:57pm

I like Pat On The Back (#3) in this race.  With the most tactical speed, I think this horse finds a way to use the speed to win.  There isn’t a single pace setter or presser in this race.  These are all run of the mill follow and try to win.  One closer in the field (#7), which you can eliminate him to win without any pace.  Id like to see the eventual favorite, Prince Lucky (#5) not come top 2.

My Bets:
$2 Exacta – 2,3/1,2,3,6
$10 Win / Place – 3

 

Charles Town Oaks
Charles Town – 10:15pm

Kind of a poo track, but when stakes racing is happening, ill watch.  Plus, all of our favorite north east jockeys leave Parx to go to Charles and ride in this race.  I like Irad on Newly Minted (#5) in this race.  I do think the 3 will get money as shes the local horse.  1,2,7 and 9 will also be competitive.

My Bets:
$25 Win – 5
$0.10 Superfecta – 2,5/1,2,5,7,9/1,2,5,7,9/1-9 ($14.40)

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