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Steve Klein: From coast to coast, four playable stakes
By Steve Klein
There are a dozen stakes races on Sunday, and I have handicapped all of them. The following are the four I’m most interested in:
◗ The $200,000 Soviet Problem is a seven-furlong race for California-bred 2-year-old fillies going seven furlongs in race 9 at Betfair Hollywood. Home Journey and Unusual Way look best.
Home Journey is 2 for 2 with a maiden win at Santa Anita in her debut, and a highly-rated allowance win in her first race at Hollywood. She and Unusual Way both have early speed, but Home Journey might have a little more.
Unusual Way has been less consistent, but she is the proven class. She has 3 wins from 5 starts, all against open company, including two stakes wins, but she was also far back in two other races. Both of those poor performances were at Hollywood, but she did win her debut on that track, and she shows a sharp work there since her last start.
I will give the call to Home Journey based on her local form. I will bet her to win, and key her on top in exactas over Unusual Way, Doinghardtimeagain, and Akiss Forarose. Doinghardtime and Akiss Forarose are worth including in the bottom half of the exacta just in case Unusual Way regresses on the track switch.
◗ The South Beach, the eighth race at Gulfstream, is a 7 1/2-furlong, $100,000 turf stakes for fillies and mares.
Horses with early and tactical speed have an advantage more often than not in turf races at Gulfstream.
Romacaca was either first or second at the first call in each of her last seven races, at distances ranging from a mile to 1 3/16 miles. The fractions are likely to be faster at this shorter distance, but she still figures to be close to the leaders if she isn’t in front during the early going. She has won three of her last five races, including the Grade 3 Modesty. She also finished fourth in the Grade 3 Violet, and seventh, only five lengths behind the winner of the Grade 1 Beverly D. That form is good enough to make her the one to beat in this softer field.
Frontside is a turf specialist who stopped badly, and finished last when she raced on dirt for the first time in her last race. Look past that effort and she can contend in the exotics in her return to grass.
Chokurei ran well enough in her last two races at Woodbine to be competitive for a share here.
Button Girl beat softer company on Sept. 21 at Belmont, and can hold on for a part in this stronger group.
Hooh Why can rally for a share, but she will need to make an earlier move as she cuts back from 1 1/8 miles.
I will bet Romacaca to win, and key her on top in the exacta over Frontside, Chokurei, Button Girl, and Hooh Why.
◗ The second race at Aqueduct is the $80,000 Raymond Earl, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds.
Last Gunfighter has been consistent with 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 third-place finishes from 6 races. The two wins were achieved despite wide trips in his last two races, including a first-level optional $25,000 claiming victory at Aqueduct at this distance last time. He only won by a nose, but there was a 4 1/2-length gap back to third. Big Business, the second horse, flattered Last Gunfighter when he won his next start by six lengths, with a 91 Beyer. He seems sharp enough to handle the class raise.
Saturday’s Charm showed tactical speed in his first three races, but switched styles and used closing tactics in his last two starts. He won both of them, including an optional $35,000 claiming race last time, but the fractions in those races helped him. He might have to work harder in this field.
Guyana Star Dweej was in tough against graded stakes company in June, but he fits much better here. He finished third of six in an optional $50,000 claiming field last time, and deserves respect.
I will bet Last Gunfighter to win, and key him on top over Saturday’s Charm and Guyana Star Dweej in the exacta.
◗ The eighth race at Aqueduct is the one mile, $80,000 East View for New York-bred 2-year-old fillies.
Kelli Got Frosty has won two of three races since Lasix was added in her second start, including the 1 1/16-mile $125,000 New York Stallion Series. She will be formidable as she stretches out from six furlongs to a mile.
Agilion finished second in three of her last four races, including the $125,000 Joseph A. Gimma two starts ago. She’s the one most likely to complete this exacta. The switch from seven furlongs to a mile should make her late kick more effective.
I will bet Kelli Got Frosty to win, and play a cold exacta using Kelli Got Frosty over Agilion.
- 1.Posted 06/16/2013 08:05PM
- 2.Posted 06/17/2013 01:04PM
- 3.Posted 06/15/2013 01:52PM
- 4.Posted 06/17/2013 01:00PM
- 5.Posted 06/17/2013 04:52PM