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Bet This, Not That: Races on Saturday, March 21
Last week, we used DRF Formulator to come up with some plays who ran well and, maybe even more importantly, a couple of short-priced horses who we thought might be vulnerable and proved to be, most notably Untapable losing at odds of 1-10. Formulator allows you to see the lifetime past performances of horses who have run in the past five years for any trainer who has horses entered, as well as charts, replays, filters, and more. With access to this database and with one-click access to replays, it can allow you to see some things that aren’t readily available to the betting public. Using Formulator, let’s look at some specific horses entered at a few different tracks Saturday.
Race 7 – Grade 2 Inside Information Stakes, seven furlongs on dirt
Not That: No. 3 Sweet Whiskey (3-1 morning line). The first question to ask is whether Sweet Whiskey’s future lies as a sprinter or a router. Her top Beyer Speed Figure came in a one-turn mile when she finished second to Sweet Reason in the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont, but her last victory came in January 2014 in the six-furlong, Grade 3 Old Hat at Gulfstream. Either way, ask yourself if she will be ready to fire a big shot in an elongated sprint following an off-the-board effort in the one-mile, Grade 3 Go For Wand at Aqueduct 18 weeks ago. She’ll need to improve on the 88 Beyer she earned in that race, considering that a couple of runners in here hold a considerable edge from a Beyer standpoint. And looking at how her trainer, Todd Pletcher, fares with horses going route-to-sprint off similar layoffs, it’s hard to make a strong case for her to improve. Over the past five years, he’s 47-7-5-6, with a $0.73 return on investment, going route-to-sprint on dirt following a layoff of 120 days or more, and he recently had Daredevil finish second in the Grade 3 Swale, in a nearly identical return race, at odds of 3-5. If you think she’s better routing and that Pletcher plans to stretch her out next time, that may be the time to bet her, as he’s 67-19-8-12 with a $3.60 ROI over the past five years going sprint-to-route on dirt in the second start following a layoff, and 22-7-2-2 with a $5.30 ROI when he does that in graded stakes. Considering that Merry Meadow holds a clear edge on Sweet Whiskey, both in terms of recency and Beyers, she seems a much better play if they end up anywhere near each other in price.
Race 8 – maiden special weight, five furlongs on turf
Not That: No. 2 Dia de Encanta (2-1 ML). This 3-year-old filly makes her debut for Todd Pletcher going long on the turf. She sold as a yearling for $220,000, so you’d think she might have a decent pedigree. However, her lone sibling to race is winless in five career starts, with a top Beyer of 52, and while her dam did win twice on grass, both of those wins came in the claiming ranks. Plus, Pletcher hasn’t had a debut winner in a five-furlong turf dash in the past five years, albeit from a small sample. He’s 6-0-2-1 with those runners in that time, and considering that this is not something he does regularly, we’re happy to take a stand against here if the odds end up low. Pick your favorite entered to play against her, and if the price is right, we could make a case for No. 9 Cool Cat Jazz (6-1 ML), a debuting filly out of a minor stakes winner who won her first career start and is by Grade 1 winner Wildcat Heir.
Race 9 – maiden special weight, one mile on turf
Bet This: No. 1 Canadian Flyer (12-1 ML). This 3-year-old colt debuted at 6 1/2 furlongs last month for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and now moves to turf and stretches out to one mile. This is a move where Mott has had some success over the past five years at Gulfstream, as he’s 13-4-2-1 with a $8.76 ROI in that time going dirt-to-turf and sprint-to-route in maiden special weights in the second career start. In fact, last month he scored a $51 winner in Perfect Flute with this very move. Also, note the jock switch to Johnny V., who is 13-5-1-3 with a $3.06 ROI in turf routes when riding for Mott at this meet.
Race 11 – optional claimer, 1 1/16 mile on turf
Not That: No. 9 Tepin (5-2 ML). The morning-line favorite has never won on turf and is coming off a layoff of more than seven months. Trainer Mark Casse is 51-7-5-9 with a tepid $1.35 ROI over the past five years in turf routes with horses returning from a layoff of 180 days or more. Considering that she is a Grade 3 winner on dirt and that she’s a half-sister to Vyjack, who won a Grade 2 and more than $900,000 racing exclusively on dirt, we’ll take a stab to beat her on grass at a short price.
Bet This: No. 2 Munirah (12-1 ML). Like the favored filly above, this filly is a graded stakes winner, has not raced in months, and will be making her first start as a 4-year-old. However, this filly seems to be best suited for the green. She’s by top turf sire Kitten’s Joy, and her dam is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller. Her graded stakes win came on grass in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park last summer, when she showed a nice closing kick after getting roughed up a bit on the first turn. Then came a 10th-place finish in the $200,000 Pebbles Stakes at a one-turn mile on the Belmont turf, a race that was actually better than it looks on paper, as she was impossibly wide on the turn and never had a chance to threaten. She followed that with a dull effort in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill in November, and we can only assume something went amiss, as she hasn’t been seen since. Ace turf trainer Graham Motion calls the shots here, and he excels with runners coming off similar layoffs; he’s 73-20-8-17 with a $2.71 ROI over the past two years in turf routes following a layoff of 120 days or more. That’s a 27 percent win rate and 62 percent in the money.
Race 4 – Private Terms Stakes, 1 1/8 miles on dirt
Bet This: No. 6 Bridget’s Big Luvy (5-1 ML). Trainer Jeremiah Englehart was featured in the “Power Moves” edition of Bet This, Not That a couple months ago with a move he is doing with this very colt: adding blinkers in dirt routes. It’s a move that has yielded a 19-6-5-0 record and a $5.79 ROI over the past five years for him, most famously his $66 shocker via disqualification with Ria Antonia in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. This one is also stretching out from a sprint, and Englehart is 8-2-3-0 adding blinks and going sprint-to-route on dirt.
Race 5 – maiden special weight, six furlongs on dirt
Bet This: No 6 Rutile (10-1 ML). This filly makes her debut as a 4-year-old for a barn known to take its time. Using Formulator, you can view all lifetime workouts and can see that this one recorded her first public work way back in November of her 2-year-old year and has worked 37 times in advance of this debut, recording at least two works a month since last October. She certainly should be fit. Yes, but you’re focusing on that little stat at the bottom of the PPs saying that trainer John Shirreffs is 0 for 15 in the first start. That’s true, but that stat only covers 2014-15 and includes a few who ran well at square prices; over the past five years, he’s reasonable with firsters, going 97-11-10-8 for a $1.54 ROI. In terms of pedigree, this one could very well be the best horse in the field and has a chance to be any kind, as she’s a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo as well as stakes winners Tiago and Stanwyck. While none of them won their sprint debuts, both Tiago and Stanwyck did hit the board, the latter finishing second at odds of 20-1.
Not That: No 9 Exposure (4-1 ML). This 3-year-old filly makes her debut for the team of Bob Baffert and Kaleem Shah. She sold last year for $310,000 at auction as a 2-year-old and must have worked quickly at the sale, as she does not have much pedigree power. Her dam never hit the board in six starts, the last of which came for a $32,000 tag. She’s produced four foals to race, and while all are winners, they have been very ordinary. Those four are 5 for 56 combined with a top Beyer on dirt of 59. Yes, you say, but Baffert is lethal with first-time starters, as he’s won at a 25 percent rate with them over the past five years. That’s true, but with 3-year-olds debuting in dirt sprints, he’s a more ordinary 80-15-13-11 with only a $1.03 ROI over the past five years. At the morning-line price or lower, we’d let her prove her quality to us.
Race 7 – optional claimer, six furlongs on dirt
Bet This: No. 9 Crushed Velvet (5-2 ML). In general, it’s wise to try to beat horses coming back off a long layoff, especially when that layoff is more than one year. When Angle Finder launches later this year, you can look up the win rate and ROI of all of those runners as a whole, but my guess is that neither is very good. Baffert, however, is one of the few trainers who regularly wins with horses coming off long layoffs. He has a 32 percent win rate over the past five years with all runners following a layoff of 365 days or more, and in dirt sprints at Santa Anita, he’s 12-7-2-1 with a $3.81 ROI and 9-6-1-0, $4.46 ROI in those races with jockey Martin Garcia aboard. Oh, and guess who’s riding this one today? Let’s hope she stays near that morning-line price; based on Baffert’s stats with these types, it could feel like stealing.
These are just a few examples of great bets to target. Every day, at every track, you will find many examples of these kinds of great (or awful) opportunities. DRF Formulator gives you the keys to find these angles, and it could very well lead you to a winner that is overlooked by much of the betting public. Check out the different Formulator plans available, priced for every budget. Better yet, try it for yourself; get two Formulator cards for a penny by using code BETTHIS at checkout.
I saw this article in the morning and just glanced at it thinking I will do my own handicapping using the past performances in pdf files from HPI. I was having a bad day but I returned back to DRF and this article. Using the pdf past performances did me no good. So in desperation I turned to this article. I still wasn't convinced till the first winner emerged. I quickly bet on Rutile just in time and won a 10$ win bet. Thanks for leading the way DRF and to its knowledgeable writer Mike Hogan.
nice hit on Rutile!