05/13/2015 3:18PM

Bet This Not That for Black-Eyed Susan Day


Two big days of racing at Pimlico, both offering 14 races with quality horses. There are a lot of betting opportunities, and we’ll be using DRF Formulator to find a few to play, as well as one to avoid.


Race 9 – stakes, 5 furlongs on turf

Not That: No. 3 Ben’s Cat (2-1 morning line)

Look, Ben’s Cat is a fantastic horse. He’s won 60 percent of his races and earned over $2.3 million. He’s the kind of horse you’d love to own, and he’s the kind of horse I root for every time he steps onto the track. However, he’s winless in his last four turf starts as the favorite each time (and the odds-on favorite in two of those). His last effort may have been a race he needed following nearly a six-month layoff, but it was his weakest effort in two years, and he won his other two starts off similar layoffs. He’s going to have to improve quite a bit off that race, and as the favorite yet again. Are you willing to bet that this 9-year-old gelding is likely to do that? If he’s able to pull off the victory here, no one will be clapping louder than me, but my wallet will be supporting others.

Race 10 – Grade 3 stakes, 1 1/8 miles on dirt

Bet This: No. 4 Joint Return (15-1 morning line)

Joint Return finished less than a length behind today’s 9-5 morning line favorite in the Grade 1 Alabama last summer at Saratoga, a race where she was forced to rally into a dawdling pace. Her next race was the Grade 1 Cotillion, an effort that can be excused for a couple reasons. She was trying to rally from last on a day that famously favored horses on or near the pace, and something may have gone awry for her in there, as she did not work until three and a half months after the race. Her return effort last month in the Grade 3 Top Flight at Aqueduct was better than it looks on paper, as she again tried to close into tepid fractions and seemed to find her best stride late. That effort came nearly seven months after the Cotillion, and trainer John Servis generally gives them a race off of long layoffs, especially when they return in routes. He’s 12-0-1-0 over the past five years in routes off a layoff of 180 days or more, but he’s 4 for 9 with a $4.67 ROI since the start of 2014 in the second start off 180+ day layoffs. With Brenda’s Way, Before You Know It, and Yahilwa signed up, Joint Return should get enough pace to set up her closing kick, and should run an improved effort in her second start as a 4-year-old at a very nice price.

Race 11 – Grade 2 stakes, 1 1/8 miles on dirt

Bet This: No. 2 Pure (10-1 ML)

It’s always tough to win first time versus winners, and that’s what this filly is trying to do here. She notched her first win last out in her seventh start, so it’s taken a bit of time, but she seems to be getting better and better. She looked impressive in that maiden win after going wide on the first turn and making a bold bid on the backstretch. But her race two starts ago may have been even better, considering she was impossibly wide on the first turn, took the lead on the far turn, and held well to lose by less than a length. Trainer James Cassidy is average with all starters over the past five years (11% winners, 34% in the money, $1.40 ROI from 897 runners), but he excels with horses making their first start following a maiden win: 39-9-9-3, $3.99 ROI, which is nearly 50% in the exacta. One of those exacta finishers came two weeks ago with Moons Over Me, who missed winning the Ultrafleet Stakes by a head at odds of 36-1. Oh, and over the past five years Cassidy twice tried graded stakes off a maiden win; one ran third and the other won the Grade 3 Miesque, paying $26.80.

Race 13 – optional claimer, 5 furlongs on turf

Bet This: No. 9 Velvet Tie (6-1 morning line)

This Speightstown filly has done nothing wrong as a 3-year old, winning both of her starts this year, both at this distance on this surface. Trainer John Salzman strikes while the iron is hot, wheeling her back 12 days after that last victory, and he’s been very successful with that move, winning 30% of the time over the past five years that he’s run horses back within two weeks of their last race (56-17-6-7, with a gaudy ROI made irrelevant by one winner that paid nearly $170.00). He’s 9-3-1-1 with a $3.64 ROI in those races with last-out winners. Will we get 6-1 on an improving filly who’s undefeated at this trip and has a trainer who excels with this move? If so, I’m in.

These are just a few examples of great bets to target. Every day, at every track, you will find many examples of these kinds of great (or awful) opportunities. DRF Formulator gives you the keys to find these angles, and it could very well lead you to a winner that is overlooked by much of the betting public. Check out the different Formulator plans available, priced for every budget. Better yet, try it for yourself. Get two Formulator cards for a penny by using code BETTHIS at checkout.