After a brief excursion overseas last weekend to Royal Ascot in England, we return stateside today to look at the Thistledown race card. Thistledown is a relatively small track in Ohio, and Saturday is their biggest day of the year where they host the Grade 3 Ohio Derby. The race features many familiar faces, including Kentucky Derby also-rans White Abarrio, Tawny Port, and Classic Causeway, as well as a few local horses. The undercard is loaded with minor stakes races as well, so it’s the best time of the year to give some love to Thistledown!
If you’ve been following along with us here at DFS Karma, you already know the gig. You have a mythical $50k budget to pick 10 horses racing today. Each horse has a price, based on it’s morning line odds. Horses who are heavy favorites will cost you more salary to use, but they also generally bring more upside. Longshot horses will be cheaper but do carry some risk. You will either earn or lose points for each horse you’ve selected based on where they finish. The short version is that finishing in the top 5 earns you 10-60 points from 5th to 1st, respectively, plus or minus some points based on the margin of victory. If you finish worse than 5th, however, you lose points based on how much you lost by, so be careful with taking longshots!
Below, I’ve outlined a few horses at varying price tiers who I feel are compelling horses to include in some StableDuel stables.
If you need a refresher on scoring, please refer back to our debut article that goes a little more in-depth, located here.
Looking for other ideas to fill out your stable? Be sure to check out the discord, where we provide core plays and cheat sheets to help you win! Also be sure to check out the podcast where Ricky, Trevis, and I review some of our favorite horses, angles, and strategies for the Preakness!
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High Price Favorites
White Abarrio $7,500 – Race 11
I think the $7,500 price tag on White Abarrio is an absolute steal for a horse who I expect to go off as your post time favorite. This horse won two of the biggest Kentucky Derby preps of the year in the Holy Bull and the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, posting both wins in rather dominant fashion. Draw a line through the Derby race itself, as that race is generally a throw out for most horses given the huge field sizes and insane pace scenario (see: Rich Strike). White Abarrio should be able to sit a great stalking trip off of the likely pacesetters Classic Causeway and Pineapple Man, allowing those two to tire themselves out while he gets first jump on the closers such as Tawny Port and Ethereal Road. Tyler G travels to retain the mount, and Abarrio gets Lasix for the first time, an angle that hits at 25% for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.
Mid Price Plays
Microcap $3,000 – Race 10
The filly and mare version of the Ohio Derby, the Lady Jacqueline Stakes, drew a rather interesting field of ten horses. That includes a few big names such as Crazy Beautiful, Army Wife, and Maracuja. However, I’m not particularly enamored with any of the short prices in here. Sure, they can win, but they are somewhat inconsistent, and I’d prefer to go elsewhere. My selection here is Microcap. This mare has always shown flashes of talent, but has struggled to race with consistency herself. She really seemed to put it all together last time out when running a huge race at Churchill Downs, beating a solid field of $62,500 allowance horses. She is proven at this longer distance of nine furlongs, which is not something that can be said for many of the other runners in today’s field. There is a risk that she bounces out of that last race, as that was a big effort and this mare is now five years old, but I think at only $3,000 she is a worthwhile StableDuel play in a field that appears to have a few runners in here without much hope.
Big Truck $1,000 – Race 9
Race 9 is an extremely competitive affair where I would be hesitant to take a short price on just about anyone. That makes for a great opportunity to target a value horse in Stableduel. Big Truck has done almost nothing wrong in his career, winning 6 of 18 career starts and hitting the trifecta in in 15 of those 18 starts. He is a versatile runner who can invent his own trip, and he gets the services of one of the top local jockeys in Guillermo Rodriguez today. He’s already beaten a few of today’s rivals, including likely favorites First Song, Authentic Cowtown, and Mobil Solution. The pace appears to be quick in this race, with quite a few front runners signed on, so I expect he will be midpack and running strongly late with a very realistic chance to win at more than fair value .