05/15/2015 2:26PM

Bet This, Not That for Preakness 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 one to play as well as one to avoid.


Race 4 – stakes, one mile on turf

Bet This: No. 7 Syntax (12-1 morning line). This colt earned his first victory last out at Gulfstream Park in his sixth career start, and that race featured two next-out winners from five starters to race since. In prior races, he finished behind two runners he’s facing again here, but a case can be made for excusing those two efforts. In September at Laurel Park, he ran second as the 2-5 favorite, losing to today’s foe All I Karabout. Something may have gone awry in that race, as Syntax did not post a published workout for nearly four months. In his return race at Gulfstream Park in February, he stalked the pace and took the lead at the top of the stretch before tiring and finishing fourth behind today’s morning-line favorite, Force the Pass. It was a race he likely needed, and he moved forward nicely to win a maiden special weight on the turf at Gulfstream last month. Off that win, trainer Bill Mott switches jockeys to John Velazquez and moves him straight into a stakes race, both fantastic signs. Over the past year, Mott and Velazquez are 28-8-8-4 with a $2.33 ROI when teaming up in turf routes. That’s 29 percent winners and 71 percent in the money, and the ROI was nearly much higher considering two runners higher than 10-1 were second, beaten less than a length each. Also, in the past year, Mott is an eye-popping 21-10-1-2 for a $5.19 ROI in turf routes following a maiden win. I give this colt a big chance to move forward in his third start as a 3-year-old.

Race 6 – allowance, five furlongs on turf

Not That: No. 2 Hooligan (4-1 morning line). The morning-line favorite draws the rail in her return to the races eight months after her last effort, a victory in a stakes race for Virginia-breds at Laurel Park. Don’t be fooled; all eight horses in that field were maidens at the time, and only two of the seven she beat have since graduated from maiden ranks. She’s eligible to improve in her first start as a 3-year-old, and she’ll need to, considering the 61 Beyer Speed Figure she earned for that effort is slower than what nine other runners in this field have earned at this distance on turf. Trainer Wesley Ward is solid enough off a long layoff in turf sprints (38-7-10-7, $1.43 ROI over past five years at five or 5 1/2 furlongs on turf following a layoff of 180 days or more), but those runners tend to get overbet. The bigger concern is that he’s removing blinkers following a win, something he’s done five times in the past five years, and none of those horses hit the board.

These are just a couple 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. Click here to 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 the code BETTHIS at checkout.