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Bet This, Not That: Races on Saturday, March 7
Partly due to a storm that led to the cancellation of most of the races at Gulfstream Park last Saturday, this Saturday will feature a plethora of interesting stakes races as well as salty allowance and maiden special weight races. There are 12 stakes races, including 10 graded stakes, on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, and Tampa Bay Downs, many of which will provide large fields and great betting opportunities.
DRF 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. Using Formulator, let’s look at some specific horses entered at those three tracks Saturday.
Race 5 – 1 7/16-mile optional claimer on turf
Not That: No. 2 Biz the Nurse (3-1 morning line). Ridiculously named horse was a multiple group stakes winner in Italy, and although he hasn't won since September 2013, he's placed in five consecutive graded stakes. Unraced since October, the layoff is a concern, but if he's ready to tackle nearly 12 furlongs, he'll be a player here. He makes his first start for Albertrani, who looks good in the “first start with trainer” category (52-7-6-2, $2.51 return on investment over the last five years), but he's 10-0-0-0 giving Lasix for the first time following a trainer switch. Sure, it's a small sample, but none even hit the board, and four of the 10 runners went off at odds of 5-1 or lower. He's also 37-0-3-4 in the past five years in turf races off a layoff of between 90 and 180 days, and Albertrani is still searching for his first win at the Gulfstream meet (59-0-11-5).
Bet This: No. 9 Calvados (9-2 ML). This horse seems to want two things: firm turf and marathon distances. His best race in the U.S. was 12 furlongs on firm turf at Laurel Park, and when he's raced at 10 furlongs or longer on firm turf, he's 10-5-3-0, while his record in all other races stands at 15-1-0-2. We know this race is carded at 11 1/2 furlongs, so watch the skies and make sure the turf course is firm. If so, Calvados looks like a solid bet.
Race 6 – Grade 2 Swale Stakes, 7 furlongs on dirt
Not That: No. 1 Daredevil (4-5 ML). Daredevil is the best horse in the race. By far, he's the most accomplished runner in the field, and even though his top Beyer Speed Figure of 107 came in October while he was a 2-year-old, that figure towers over this field. He will be a very short price, he won at six furlongs in his debut at Belmont, and if he runs his best race here, he could win easily. But is he ready to fire his best shot off a four-month layoff, especially considering that half-brother Albertus Maximus's best days came going two turns in winning the Donn Handicap and the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile? Trained by super-trainer Todd Pletcher, he's eligible to fire big off the bench, but Pletcher is 50-7-5-7 with a $0.68 ROI over the past five years going route-to-sprint on dirt following a layoff of 90 days or more, and he's 5-0-1-1 doing it in graded stakes, with three of those five losses coming with horses who went off as the favorite. And if you can make a case that this seven-furlong race is a prep prior to a stretch-out next, you’ll be pleased to know that Pletcher is 68-20-9-13 with a $3.60 ROI over the past five years going sprint-to-route on dirt in the second start after a layoff.
Bet This: No. 8 Bluegrass Singer (8-1 ML). A possible upsetter lies in horse-for-course Bluegrass Singer. Anyone can see that he's 6-3-0-2 at Gulfstream, but he's 4-3-0-1 with three open-length victories in one-turn dirt races at Gulfstream. After tiring in the two-turn Fountain of Youth Stakes two weeks ago, cutting back to seven furlongs here may be exactly what he needs.
Race 7 – 1 mile maiden special weight on dirt
Neutral: No. 1 Wisecracker (3-5 ML). His debut was impressive, running second to the well-bred and extremely highly regarded Khozan in a race where other runners have already come back with strong races. He's by Distorted Humor out of a stakes-winning dam who won four of six lifetime, and the one-mile distance should be perfect for him. Better yet, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin fares markedly better in the second career start (27 percent winners, $2.01 ROI, 60 percent in the money over the past five years) than in the debut (14 percent winners, $1.53 ROI, 36 percent ITM over the past five years).
Bet This: No. 9 Seeking Alpha (5-1 ML). If you are inclined to try to beat Wisecracker, and if you get a price, you could do worse than Seeking Alpha. This is the debut for the first foal from a winner of the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie who has been working so regularly you could set your watch by him. They paid a lot at auction and nominated him to the Triple Crown before he'd ever raced, so you have to figure the expectations are high. And better yet, when Chad Brown debuts a horse in a dirt-route maiden special weight, he's 9-4-1-0 with a $7.60 ROI over the past two years. Oh, and he's 19-6-6-3 with a $6.28 ROI over the past two years with Paco Lopez in the irons. Plus, word is that this horse has been training extremely well for his debut.
TAMPA BAY DOWNS
Race 9 – The Florida Oaks, 1 1/16 miles on turf
Bet This: No. 4 Tiger Ride (6-1 ML). Do yourself a favor and watch her last race, a victory in an optional claimer on this course and at this distance. Jockey Antonio Gallardo let her run the first six furlongs under her own power, and when he asked her to run at the top of the stretch, she kicked clear and won easily, showing the kind of turn of foot that is very rare in fillies making the first start of their 3-year-old campaign. After that, watch her debut, a turf-route maiden special weight at Keeneland last fall. In that race, she made a strong middle move along the backstretch, dropped back a bit, then swung wide off the turn and kicked clear late while running a little greenly. Better yet, that race came back strong, with three next-out winners. If she shows the same turn of foot Saturday, she’ll be very tough.
Race 10 – Hillsborough Stakes, 1 1/8 miles on turf
Not That: No. 1 Ball Dancing (7-2 ML) & No. 2 Stephanie’s Kitten (2-1 ML). Chad Brown enters not one but two graded stakes winners here. Both are returning from nearly identical layoffs, and we are hoping that Brown has bigger things in mind for both, meaning neither one may be fully cranked up first out. To some extent, the numbers for Brown over the past five years support that theory, as he’s 37-5-10-3 with a $1.10 ROI putting horses into graded stakes routes following a layoff of 90 days or more. What’s more, all of those runners took significant money, as all but six of them were lower than 5-1, and 16 of them went off as the favorite. Recent history has shown these types to be underlays compared to their chances of winning, and we hope that trend continues here.
Bet This: No. 12 Sparkling Review. This filly is 4 for 4 going long on turf, including two graded stakes wins. Her last race, the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill last November, was her most impressive yet. She tracked the leaders through most of the race, then really accelerated when asked by Julien Leparoux in the stretch, winning easily by open lengths. That race came back very live, with horses going 5-3-1-0 in the immediate next starts, including stakes wins from Sandiva and Testa Rossi. The presence of two classy Chad Brown mares will only help the price on this one.
Race 8 – China Doll Stakes, 1 mile on turf
Not That: No. 4 Maybellene (6-1 ML). Tries turf for the first time following four starts each on synthetic and dirt surfaces. From a pedigree standpoint, a case can be made for this filly taking to the turf. Even though her sire, Lookin at Lucky, never tried turf, he is by top turf sire Smart Strike, and this filly’s dam is by Giant’s Causeway and half to Elusive Quality, a multiple winner of graded stakes on turf and a fine sire in his own right. However, a move to the turf has not been a successful one for her trainer, Bob Baffert, in recent years. He has been out of the exacta with 16 of the 18 runners over the past five years who have tried turf for the first time in a non-graded stakes race (18-1-1-5, $0.25 ROI). He hasn’t been much better doing it in graded stakes either, going 5-1-0-1 with a $0.76 ROI. Her pedigree makes her worth a flier if completely overlooked in the wagering, but Baffert’s history with these types makes her tough to trust at short odds.
Bet This: No. 5 Curlin’s Fox (5-2 ML). By Curlin and out of a multiple graded stakes turf router who earned more than $700,000, you might have thought the debut at 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill might be a touch shorter than this one wanted. However, she was bet like a sure thing, going off at 3-5 vs. 11 other fillies, and she won much more easily than the three-quarter-length length margin might indicate. Mike Smith rode her like she was the best filly in the race, going about 10 wide on the turn and gearing her down once she made the lead. Now she stretches out to a mile and catches a large field of fillies mostly unproven going long on grass. Even better, trainer Carla Gaines has been stellar in all of the pertinent categories over the past five years: sprint-to-route on turf with last-out maiden winners (6-3-0-0, $3.49 ROI), second career start on turf following a winning debut (7-5-1-0, $3.14 ROI), and stretching to a route on turf after a victorious debut (2-2-0-0, $4.40). We have to hope she will drift up from her morning-line odds, but she could be a quality filly.
Race 10 – Grade 1 Kilroe Mile, 1 mile on turf
Bet This: Silentio (8-1 ML). Toss the last race; it was his first time down the hill, from a difficult post, against many of the best turf sprinters in the world. Gary Mandella gave him some time off since the race, and that’s a good thing, as he’s 9-2-2-1 with a $5.91 ROI over the past five years going sprint-to-route on turf following a layoff of 45 days or more. Plus, Silentio does seem to love the Santa Anita turf, as the Breeders’ Cup Sprint was one of only two times he’s been off the board there in 10 starts.
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.
Not sure why the following post isn't being allowed other than the fact I was right and Hogan was wrong: Make that 7-6-1-0 now. The price suffered because of the Baffert scratches but a stat like that gave me 2 free spaces in a pick 4 sequence that paid $1600 for a buck with absolute cinch Shared Belief winning the Big Cap. Plus the pick 3 that ended w Ring Weekend paid $1160. If you aren't going to use stats like this to take a stand against a bad favorite like 2 Step, not sure why you'd even bother using the tool.
Didn't Chad Brown win the FL Oaks last year with a filly off an equal layoff? That filly was coming out of a grade 1 race too. I think the class drop will probably trump the stat you mentioned. Other than Sparkling Review, who is drawn poorly, there isn't much there.
Two great "Bet This" stats in the San Carlos. One trainer is 6-5-1-0 w $8.46 ROI in Dirt sprint graded stakes 2nd off a layoff-- 5 different horses. The other is 10-5-0-0 w $7.99 ROI in Dirt graded stakes going Route to Sprint. The 5 wins with this trainer came from 5 different horses.
Thanks Mike.Bet this,not that, is my favorite DRF feature.