A Look At Saturday’s BC Pick 6 Races

2 Nov

By Lucky Kalanges

A carryover of almost $500,000 is on tap in today’s Breeders’ Cup program over races 7-12, so I decided to focus my attention on the last six races of today’s card.

Race 7 – BC Filly and Mare Turf

The crowd will be looking to get off cheap here with a single on #2 Sistercharlie (8/5) and with good reason. She enters on a 7-race winning streak and has won half of her six races at the mile and a quarter distance. Strictly the one to beat in here.

An intriguing alternative might be #4 Billesdon Brook (10/1) who ships in from the UK having won three of her last four, gets Lasix for the first time and will look to carry her recent success over 10 furlongs.

It’s also hard to ignore #7 Vasilika’s  (8/1) remarkable 11 for 12 lifetime record over the Santa Anita turf course.

Lastly, with the scratch of Sistercharlie’s rabbit, Thais, look for #5 Mirth (20/1) to get a loose lead and try to steal it at a huge price. Not entirely out of the question, as speed has been playing well over this course.

Picks: 2-7-5-4

Race 8 – BC Sprint

This one is shaping up to be an epic three-way battle between #1 Catalina Cruiser (4/1), #4 Mitole (9/5) and #6 Shancelot (4/1). The latter two figure to hook up in an early speed duel. Catalina Cruiser is unbeaten at the track and distance, but it was a far different surface more than a year ago.

Keep your eye on #2 Hog Creek Hustle (20/1), who will be trying to run them down late. He almost always out-runs his odds.

Going to hope to get a bit of a price on the outside horse, Shancelot, and hope Hog Creek can blow up the Exacta and/or Trifecta.

Picks 6-2-4-1

Race 9 – BC Mile

I see this race coming down to a battle between the filly #6 Got Stormy (7/2) and the mare #11 Uni (7/2), with the recent addition to the Chad Brown Barn #10 Without Parole (20/1) being a potentially upsetter. The latter has been a bit off form lately, but has battled the likes of Almond Eye and Roaring Lion in Group 1 company, and gets Lasix for his stateside debut.

Can’t argue with anyone who sides with #2 Lucullan (12/1) who is 3 for 4 this year and could get a good ground saving trip, or #8 El Tormenta (12/1), who looks to use his speed to complete a Woodbine Mile/BC Mile Double.

Picks 6-11-10-8

Race 10 – BC Distaff

Going to take a bit of a stab on the win-end here given the unique state of the tiring dirt surface at Santa Anita, and hope that #9 Serengeti Empress (12/1) is ready to roll today. She’s sporting an on/off pattern that is sitting on the “on” today, and a repeat effort of her runner up finish to Covefe two back could be good enough to run this field off its feet.

If she fails to fire, that could benefit #7 Secret Spice (10/1) who makes her first start going nine furlongs and has the speed to get to the front.

#4 Midnight Bisou (6/5) seeks to extend her winning streak to eight and is strictly the one to beat. She’s 3 for 4 with a second over this track, but I suspect its a much different surface than before, which makes be a little reluctant to swallow a short price in a big field.

The closer at a price is #11 Blue Prize (6/1) who’s 6 for 12 at the distance and enters second off a layoff, after running down a short field following a slow pace. She should get a lot more pace to chase today and could be a threat if she likes the surface.

Picks 9-11-4-7

Race 11 – BC Turf

This one is all about #9 Bricks and Mortar (9/5) who can secure HOY honors with a win here. He’s never been 12 furlongs before and that is the major question mark. Generally, the Europeans dominate this event, having won 8 of the last 10. Chad Brown seeks to buck that trend today.

#10 Old Persian (4/1) had his coming out party at Woodbine and might be ready to take on the potential champ for Charles Appleby.

#4 Mount Everest (15/1) gets Lasix for the first time and fulfills the “Euro at a price” angle for me.

#11 Arklow (12/1) tries hard every time and could boost the exotics prices.

Picks 9-10-4-11

Race 12 – BC Classic

With an unpredictable, tiring dirt surface, this is going to be a spread race for me and I’ll go with #7 Higher Power (6/1) to spring the upset. He never had a chance after stumbling at the start against McKinzie in his last, and could be tough to run down if he can get to the lead and relax under Flavien Prat.

McKinzie (3/1) is still the most logical choice as he’s super consistent, having won or finished second in his last seven starts, but his “signature win” remains elusive. This could be it today, but I am going to bet against him at an expected short price. And I’m not crazy about the jock switch to Rosario.

I’m a bit intrigued by #4 War of Will (20/1) and whether he could secure the lead from his inside post position. He doesn’t look fast enough on paper, but he a big, strapping lad could prove tough to run down if he’s left alone up front.

My closer at a price is #3 Owendale (15/1) who’s done nothing wrong leading into this race. He’ll have kick it up a notch, but has winning spirit and could save ground from the inside.

Lastly, #11 Code of Honor (4/1) is coming into this race in great form and could vie for favoritism with McKinzie. He can lock up top three-year-old honors with a win here.

Picks 7-8-3-11

Breeders’ Cup Friday Thoughts

1 Nov

By Lucky Kalanges

Here’s my quick thoughts on the Breeders’ Cup Friday card.

While I’m not a huge fan of two-year-old races, in general, the last few years it seems I have done well on the Friday programs and would have been best served to just pocket my winnings and passed on Breeders’ Cup Saturday. But we know that will never happen so without further ado, let’s take a look at the Friday BC races from Santa Anita.

Race 5 – BC Juvenile Sprint

This is only the second running of the race, but if we use the Turf Sprint as a guide, the U.S. horses have been dominant, having won all 11 editions to this point. The Europeans just don’t break as fast or are as accustomed to racing around what they call “a bend” overseas.

That said, I don’t see an abundance of gate busting speed in this race, which could set the table for #2 Band Practice (12/1), who has been forwardly placed in three of five victories over the five furlong distance. The only question is whether Jamie Spencer can get him out of the gate on top. If he does, I think he has a chance to wire this field and at 12/1 on the morning line, I’m willing to take that chance.

The U.S. contingent is led by the Wesley Ward trainees and you can take your pick between Kimari (7/2) and Four Wheel Drive (3/1). Kimari has shown the versatility to win on the lead and by circling the field, and also shows a close second in a field of 25 at Ascot. Four Wheel Drive has won both of his starts with relative ease, and broke his maiden in a 100K stake.

A longshot who could drive up your exotic tickets could be Encoder (15/1), who gets Flavian Prat and turns back from a mile to five furlongs for the John Sadler barn. He won his debut at five panels at Del Mar in August. Look for him to be rolling late.
Unfortunately, we won’t get to see Bulletproof One, who won the Everett Nevin at Pleasanton by nine lengths back in July, as she didn’t draw into the body of the field.

Race 6 – BC Juvenile Turf

The Europeans have dominated this race, winning 10 of the 12 runnings since 2007. That said, there’s only two in here, your 5/2 morning line favorite #12 Arizona and #13 Fort Myers. Arizona has finished behind multiple Group 1 winner Pinatubo, and the fact there’s so few European entries in this race suggest he’s scared them off. I’m going to take a more skeptical view, given the challenge of having to cross the pond, race over two tight turns from an outside post, in hopes of catching a price on a U.S. runner.

Since there seems to be an abundance of horses that want to race on or near the pace, I am going to turn my attention to the top U.S. closers, and I’ll side with the trio of #4 Decorated Invader (4/1), #5 Vitalogy (NOW SCRATCHED) and #3 Peace Achieved (10/1), in that order. The latter might be at a bit of a pace disadvantage given he is a stalker who likes to lay close, but is coming in on a three-race winning streak and should have a shot with an expected ground saving trip. My top two like to come from off the pace, which seems to be the best tactics on grass. Of course, if you are playing the multi-legs, you might consider Arizona and Chad Brown’s Structor (5/1) defensively, because, Chad Brown.

Race 7 – BC Juvenile Fillies

In what like one of the most wide-open editions of this race, I’m finding it hard to split the three 7/2 morning line shots #4 British Idiom (7/2), #6 Bast (7/2) and #7 Wicked Whisper (7/2). It might come down to who offers the best value on the tote board. I like how Idiom demolished 10 rivals in her two-turn debut in the Alcibiades at Keeneland while improving her speed figures both on the Beyer and Brisnet scales. Bast looks tough and you always have to respect Baffert, but there isn’t as much buzz about this one’s works in the morning. If a Baffert horse is going to fire, usually there’s buzz.

Wicked Whisper has done nothing wrong and figures to be on or near the lead two-turning for the first time. Early speed usually dominates these filly races, so I’m leaning toward a Whisper/Idiom Exacta. I’ll take a stand against morning line favorite Donna Veloce (3/1) beating this field out of her impressive maiden win.

Race 8 – Juvenile Fillies Turf

The U.S. runners have a 9-2 advantage in 11 runnings, probably due to the European juveniles having difficulty adjusting to two-turn miles. I’m going to hope that continues this year when backing who I think is the best U.S. closer in the field in #7 Crystalle (8/1). This one topped one of the likely favorites in here #12 Sweet Melania (5/1) two back and nearly got the job done after going nine-wide under Rosairo while falling a half-length short to the Chad Brown trained #13 Selflessly (8/1), who has to carve out a trip from the parking lot.

The concern with my top choice again is Rosario having to take the long route home, but I like her chances at what could be a better price than her morning line.

Of the European’s, Daahyeh (5/1) and Shadn (10/1) are the runners I’m most interested in. With the latter getting Lasix for the first time, she could offer value in the exotics. I’ll take a stand against Albigna (9/2) at an expected short price, coming off a G1 win over soft ground at Longchamp.

Race 10 – BC Juvenile

There doesn’t seem to be much early speed in the Juvenile this year and that sets up perfectly for #6 Eight Rings (2/1) who figures to go right to the lead and have every chance to win if he’s good enough. It’s Baffert, the Juvenile at Santa Anita – nuff said. Budding superstar #1 Dennis’ Moment (8/5) is the major danger and my guess is he will attempt to stalk Eight Rings and blow by him. He could definitely do that and is probably a must use on your multi-race exotic tickets.

If you are looking to split these two to get an Exacta price, #5 Scabbard (8/1) is your best shot. He had to put on the breaks in the Iroquois and re-rally, but once he got clear he came running to finish within a length and a half of Dennis’ Moment. If the top two decide to engage in a prolonged pace battle, Scabbard could upset this field.

I’ll be back Saturday morning to share my thoughts on the big Saturday card. Best of luck everybody.

Breeders’ Cup Saturday At A Glance

29 Oct

The OTB doors open at 8:45am for Breeders’ Cup Championship Saturday at Santa Anita. As is the case on Friday, breakfast will be served until 11am. $20 Corona Buckets of 5 will be on sale throughout Breeders’ Cup weekend.

The first race on the 12-race Breeders’ Cup program goes to post at 10:07am. While there isn’t a guaranteed pool for the Early Pick 5, it bears repeating that all Pick 5 pools on Breeders’ Cup Friday and Saturday will have just a 15% takeout, returning more winnings to players than any other wager over the two Championship programs.

The Early Pick 5 will consist of the following races:

1 – $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes, 5 1/2F Turf, 10:07am (9 horses)
2 – $100,000 Damascus Stakes, 7F Dirt, 10:42am (5)
3 – $100,000 Twilight Derby, 1 1/8M Turf, 11:17am (13)
4 – $1,000,000 BC Filly and Mare Sprint, 7F Dirt, 11:55am (9) – Early Pick 4 (4-7)
5 – $1,000,000 BC Turf Sprint, 5F Turf, 12:33pm (14)

The sixth race on the card falls between the major guaranteed pools, but does kick off an All Breeders’ Cup Middle Pick 4.

6 – BC Dirt Mile, 1M Dirt, 1:10pm (10) – Mid Pick 4 (6-9)

The $1 Million Guaranteed Breeders’ Cup Ultra Pick 6 takes place over races 7-12. It is a $1 minimum wager and will be a mandatory payout after the 12th race.

Both the Late Pick 5 and Late Pick 4 will feature $2 Million Guaranteed pools. All Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers may be played for 50-cents per combo.

7 – $2,000,000 BC Filly & Mare Turf, 1 1/4M Turf, 1:54pm (12) – Pick 6 (7-12)
8 – $2,000,000 BC Sprint, 6F Dirt, 2:36pm (10) – Late Pick 5 (8-12)

9 – $2,000,000 BC Mile, 1M Turf, 3:20pm (16) – Late Pick 4 (9-12)
10 – $2,000,000 BC Distaff, 1 1/8M Dirt, 4:00pm (11)
11 – $4,000,000 BC Turf, 1 1/2M Turf, 4:40pm (12)
12 – $6,000,000 BC Classic, 1 1/4M Dirt, 5:44pm (11)

The Final 5 Breeders’ Cup races are included in our $1,000 Breeders’ Cup Final 5 Pick ‘Em Contest. Pick the most winners for your chance to win up to $1,000. Entry is FREE with admission or CHRB license on Friday and Saturday, up until post time for the 8th race at 2:36pm. Winners will be announced by Sunday, Nov. 3.

Bet Minimums for the Breeders’ Cup progams are as follows:

$10 Head2Head
$2 WPS and Daily Double
$1 Exacta, Pick 6 and Special 2-Day Daily Doubles
$.50 Trifecta, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 and Jackpot Super High 5
$.10 Superfecta

There will be Head2Head wagering on selected two-horse matchups in each Breeders’ Cup race, with the object of selecting the horse which will finish ahead of its rival. Head2Head matchups will be listed in the racing program.

Breeders’ Cup Friday At A Glance

29 Oct

Here’s a quick rundown of your Breeders’ Cup Future Stars Friday happenings at Pleasanton OTB.

The OTB doors will open at 9:45 am for Future Stars Friday. The first race from Santa Anita, the $200,000 Marathon Stakes, goes to post at 10:45am. The Future Stars program features five Breeders’ Cup races exclusively for two-year-old horses.

There’s a $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 5 pool covering races 1-5 on Friday’s program. All Pick 5 pools on Breeders’ Cup Friday and Saturday will feature a low 15% takeout, the lowest of any wager on Breeders’ Cup weekend. And any Pick 5 that carries over from Friday or early Saturday, will be added to the Late Pick 5 pool on Saturday.

The Early Pick 5 will cover the following races:

1 – $200,000 Marathon Stakes, 1 3/4M Dirt, 10:45am (6 horses)
2 – $80,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 1M Turf, 11:20am (11)
3 – $200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies, 7F Dirt, 11:55am (12)
4 – $200,000 Golden State Juvenile, 7F Dirt, 12:32pm (13)
5 – $1,000,000 BC Juvenile Turf Sprint, 5F Turf, 1:12pm (16)

A $1 Million Guaranteed All Breeders’ Cup Late Pick 5 kicks off with the 5th race – the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and continues with the remaining four races, over which there’s also a $1 Million Guaranteed All Breeders’ Cup Pick 4:

6 – $1,000,000 BC Juvenile Turf, 1M Turf, 1:52pm (15 horses)
7 – $2,000,000 BC Juvenile Fillies, 1 1/16M Dirt, 2:32pm (9)
8 – $1,000,000 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1M Turf, 3:12pm (14)
9 – $2,000,000 BC Juvenile, 1 1/16M Dirt, 4:03pm (9)

The 10th and final race is an $80,000 Allowance Optional Claimer with a full field of 16 going seven furlongs on the main track. Post time for the nightcap is 4:43pm.

Breakfast will be served between 9 and 11am, with the full Turf Club menu available from 11am to 5pm. We will also be featuring $20 Corona buckets of 5 throughout the day.

If you’re in attendance on Friday, be sure to complete and turn in your complimentary entry to our $1,000 Breeders’ Cup Final 5 Pick ‘Em Contest. If you pick the most winners over Saturday’s Final 5 Breeders’ Cup races, you could win or split $1,000 with all other winners.

If you are attending both Friday and Saturday, you may turn in a second entry on Saturday before post time for the 8th race at Santa Anita, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at 2:36pm.

Winners will be announced by Sunday, November 3.

There will be three Special 2-Day Daily Doubles linking three Breeders’ Cup races for Friday to three Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday. Look for the Special Daily Doubles in Friday’s race program or on the self service wagering terminals.


Breeders’ Cup Week Is Here!

28 Oct

For horseplayers, the Breeders’ Cup is one weekend you have to clear the deck of any and all distractions. There’s too much money at stake and you can’t afford to miss on any of your strongest opinions. You want to have your seat picked out and your past performances spread in front of you so you can grab whatever shred of information you need at a moment’s notice.

What you don’t want is to be driving, and having to pull over to the side of a Nevada highway between Stateline and Las Vegas, like I had to a couple years ago to get a Win bet down on Caledonia Road in the Juvenile Fillies. The race was chock full of speed and seemed to set up perfectly for her off-the-pace running style.

And she was approaching the starting gate at odds of 17-1.

Since I was in the state of Nevada, I was using an archaic sports betting app that clearly wasn’t designed with the horseplayer in mind. Win bets were easy enough, but trying to get multi-leg wagers down was a chore. So I stopped the car on the side of the road to get my bets in.

I punched in my Win bet and Exactas, keying Caledonia Road on top of speedster Alluring Star (8/1) and fellow closer Blonde Bomber (30/1). The app I was using was so difficult to deal with, I eventually surrendered and didn’t bother playing the Trifecta with the same horses.

I scored for $366 on my $20 Win bet, $392 on my $2 Exactas, but the .50 Trifecta I didn’t play because it was too much trouble returned $2,290. Lord knows what could have happened had I taken a shot at the Superfecta, which paid a whopping $29,371 for a buck.

What I’m getting at is, when it come to the Breeders’ Cup, logistics are as crucial as preparation. Don’t be like me and leave things to chance like I did a couple years ago on a lonely stretch of highway between the moon and Las Vegas.

If you like to bet the horses with cash money, get yourself to PlesasntonOTB. Get yourself a seat with a view you like, that’s also a short jaunt to the betting windows. So when the time comes to get down on your strongest opinion, you won’t get stuck writing about bets you should have cashed two years later.

Special Breeders’ Cup Hours, Post Times and Promotions

OTB doors open at 9:45am on Friday, Nov. 1 and at 8:45am on Saturday, Nov. 2.

If you’d like to reserve a table in the Turf Club, just call the Front Desk for reservations at 925-426-7622.

Post time for the Breeders’ Cup Future Stars Friday program at Santa Anita is 10:30am.

Post time for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Championship program is 10:07am.

Breakfast will be served each day until 11am, after which the full Turf Club lunch menu will be available. We will also have $20 Corona Buckets (of 5) on Friday and Saturday.

Last but not least, take a free shot at $1,000 in our Breeders’ Cup Final 5 Pick ‘Em Contest. Just pick the most winners over the final 5 Breeders’ Cup race on Saturday and you could win or split $1,000. Entry is FREE with admission or CHRB license Friday and/or Saturday. You can play two entries if you attend both Friday and Saturday at Pleasanton OTB.

Winners will be announced by Sunday, Nov. 3. See the OTB Front Desk for details.

Maryland, New York Bred Stakes Dominate Saturday’s Action

18 Oct

If claiming and maiden races aren’t your thing, you might want to check out Saturday’s action at Laurel Park and Belmont, which will be rolling out the red carpet for Maryland and New York bred horses this Saturday.

Laurel, in particular, has a boatload of state-bred stakes races with full fields. Pleasanton OTB will be taking races 4-12 from Laurel, including eight stakes races worth over $700,000. Better yet, the nine races we’re taking are averaging 13 horses per race, prior to scratches.

From the Empire State, we’ll be importing races 3-11, including all state-bred stakes smorgasbord worth $1.5 million. The action from Belmont gets underway with race 3 at approximately 10:26am.

The $250,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes highlights probably the best betting card of the weekend Saturday at Keeneland. Pleasanton OTB picks up the 10-race program starting with race 2 at approximately 10:39am. The nine races we’re taking are averaging 12 starters per race prior to scratches.

More is in store for Sunday, when we’ll be taking races 2-9 from Keeneland, starting at the same time with pre-scratch fields averaging 11 horses per race. Sunday’s feature is the $125,000 Dowager Stakes going 12 furlongs on the grass.

Santa Anita has a pair of eight-race programs Saturday and Sunday, while Golden Gate rolls out consecutive 10-race cards this weekend. Santa Anita gets underway at 12:30pm and Golden Gate gets rolling at 12:45pm. Half of Santa Anita’s races will be on the turf this weekend.

Pigskin and Ponies hits $600

17 Oct

10-1 shot River God got the ball rolling toward a Double Carryover in Pigskin and Ponies in Sunday’s nightcap at Santa Anita. After 2/1 Dueling crossed the wire in the 9th at Fresno, there were no players left standing heading into Sunday Night Football, which spawned another upset when the Steelers topped the L.A. Football Clippers 24-17.

That means $600 will be on the line this Sunday, when we will pair the 8th races from both Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields with Sunday Night and Monday Night Football. The slate of races and games for the Pigskin and Ponies Pick 4 this Sunday is as follows:

Leg 1: Santa Anita 8 – 4:00pm
Leg 2: Golden Gate Fields 8 – 4:15pm
Leg 3: Sunday Night Football – Eagles @ Cowboys – 5:20pm
Leg 4: Monday Night Football – Patriots @ Jets – 5:15pm

Join us for a full slate of racing action, the 49ers and Raiders games, plus the NFL Red Zone channel. And take your FREE shot (with admission) at a $600 pot this Sunday at Pleasanton OTB.