It's Time For The Sham Now and

Are you tired of Kentucky Derby prep races that don’t soak up excitement and leave your appetite whet for more?

Then you need the Sham, now!

You’ll be saying “WOW!” every time you watch the replay of this race, as it is sure to be a classic pitting five maiden winners up against California fair circuit stakes winner Life Is a Joy in a battle to determine the West’s best two-year-old not named Shared Belief.

But the Sham now does so much more. For horsemen, there’s a $100,000 purse plus 17 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, including ten to the winner.

Giant Finish only needed ten points to get in the gate for the 2013 Derby, so beating just five other three-year-olds on January 11 at Santa Anita might be good enough for a spot in the starting gate on May 3 at Churchill Downs.

Whether you watch this race live, via simulcast, or at home on TwinSpires TV, the camera guy will be following this six pack’s every move during the two-turn, one-mile race leading to a finish that is sure to have you saying Sham wow.

And if you click this link in the next five minutes (because I can’t do this all day), you can access FREE Ultimate Past Performances for the Sham courtesy It’s like getting one for the price of none. You’re going to spend $75/month for unlimited PPs, anyway. Or at least you should because that’s a great deal!

Now that you’re sold on what a great race this is and how great it will be to handicap it with and watch it on TV, I’ll try to sell you on a winner.

There are only two choices for me in this race: #1 Kristo and #5 Top Fortitude. The former will likely be at least half the price of the latter as the favorite, which makes Top Fortitude the pick.

Yeah, Top Fortitude has some questions to answer like two turns and dirt and stakes company, but this is the time of year where answers are in short supply, anyway, so might as well take the price. As kin to Uh Oh Bango, EZ Dreamer, and Rocky Bar, I’m not too concerned about dirt, and while further distances might cause some pause, one mile does not.

In other weekend action, Oaklawn opens today (Friday, January 10), and the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes headlines the nine-race card, and I’m going to get involved on #8 Street Story if her 5-to-2 morning line holds up, as I see her as good as likely favorite #3 More Than Beauty (8-to-5 morning line) but a better price.

Street Story got her doors blown off last out at Fair Grounds, but that was off a six-month layoff, and she was well clear of third in a strung out field. If she tracks More Than Beauty (herself off a four-month layoff) she could take control turning for home to get it done.

For all your Oaklawn needs, though, has you covered with the Arkansas/Florida Track Stats circuit book that not only has Oaklawn but also Calder, Gulfstream, and Tampa. This book includes trainer and jockey statistics for each track and circuit as well as individual track bias information plus shipper stats. E.g., horses who last raced in Pennsylvania had a +1.19 ROI in their first start at Oaklawn in 2013. Clearly, you can bet Pennsylvania shippers with confidence at Oaklawn, a nugget that could come in handy when going after 1-million points with’s Oaklawn Kickoff.

As an update to Wednesday’s blog regarding Let 8 Ride at, I whiffed on Wednesday and didn’t get to advance to Thursday, but for the 12 who did cash for $184.80 on the 22-to-1 winner Wino, they had a big decision on Thursday, bet $184 for a chance at the $1,500 added money on Friday-Saturday or pocket the $184?

Six players let the $184 ride, and two successfully tabbed #3 Chargray at $10.40 to collect $956.80. Now the question is, let $956 ride on Friday or pocket the $956.80? They’re really only risking $706, though, because even if both bet and lose Friday’s players are guaranteed $250.

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