TimeformUS Saturday Plays from Gulfstream, Tampa Bay and Santa Anita

Saturday, Gulfstream, Race 10, Local Post Time 5:03pm ET
The G2 Holy Bull Stakes, 1 and 1/16 Miles, Dirt, 3YO
By Douglas Salvatore

The Holy Bull is without question the deepest Kentucky Derby prep race to date. It includes a fascinating field of eleven led by 3/1 morning line favorite Cairo Prince.

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Cairo Prince was a spectacular winner of the Nashua Stakes two starts back, and he came up a nose short in a stellar edition of the Remsen, which was run at a crawling early pace.

(TimeformUS Result Chart for the Remsen)

TimeformUS Result Chart

Going into the Remsen, everyone anticipated a two-horse race between standouts Honor Code and Cairo Prince. Two other horses ran exceptionally well, and their performances were concealed by the brutally slow pace.

Wicked Strong (8/1 morning line) and Intense Holiday (6/1 morning line) are the other two horses we speak of, and they are the two we're excited about betting in the Holy Bull.

Wicked Strong is the top selection. He threw his head at the start of the Remsen and was badly compromised by the pace dynamics. That unfortunate start forced him to have to rate, which he did beautifully. Wicked Strong unleashed a furious final furlong in 11.41 seconds while racing wide. It was a tremendously impressive performance in defeat, and we believe he clearly ran a better race than either Honor Code or Cairo Prince.

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Wicked Strong now obtains the services of Eclipse Award winning jockey Javier Castellano, who is a red-hot 48-for-166 (29% wins) at the current Gulfstream Park meet. He offers tremendous value at his 8/1 Morning Line odds.

Intense Holiday was also victimized by the slow early pace in the Remsen, and he is our key underneath horse. His trainer, Todd Pletcher, is known for getting huge improvement out of horses at Gulfstream Park, and he's been doing it again this year.

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Betting Strategy: Win bet on Wicked Strong. Box him in the exacta with Intense Holiday and Cairo Prince.

Saturday, Tampa Bay, Race 8, Local Post Time 3:53pm ET
The G3 Endeavour Stakes, 1 and 1/16 Miles, Turf, F&M 4+
By Douglas Salvatore

A full field is entered in an interesting edition of the Endeavour.

The morning line favorite, Left A Message, is stuck out in post position number 11, and is cutting back sharply in distance off of two consecutive races at 12 furlongs. She is also making her first start off of a 77 day layoff, and solid Trainer Tom Proctor has just a 54 TimeformUS Trainer Rating (out of 100) with route horses coming in off of similar rest.

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We anticipate that Left a Message will be up against it.

The most obvious alternative is Moment in Dixie. She exits a tougher race at Gulfstream Park last time out, and has good speed figures to go along with her ideal rail post position draw. However, we are more interested in alternatives that will offer more betting value.

The Pace Projector indicates that #4 Sca Doodle (15/1 morning line) will get a dream trip sitting a clear second, just off of the impossible longshot Seattle Me Up.

TimeformUS Pace Projector

Sca Doodle was claimed for $60,000 out of her last start, however, the daughter of Scat Daddy was a very good third in her most recent turf start. In her last start, Sca Doodle ran a TimeformUS speed figure of 96, which is very competitive with her rivals today. She has a string of bullet workouts in preparation for this race, and trainer Daniel Vella has a 97 Trainer Rating with horses off of similar rest.

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At her generous morning line odds, Sca Doodle is the play in the Endeavour.

Betting Strategy: Win bet on Sca Doodle. Box her in the exacta with Moment in Dixie and Floral Romance.

Saturday, Santa Anita, Race 4, Local Post Time 1:30pm PT
The G2 Santa Monica Stakes, 7 Furlongs, Dirt, F&M 4+
By Jason Perlmutter

Of the many pitfalls facing those foolish enough to engage in public handicapping, perhaps the greatest challenge (other than overcoming the fear of humiliation) is trying to anticipate the final odds 48 hours before the starting gate opens.  As any seasoned gambler will tell you, the name of the game is finding overlays.  At times, it can feel like a guessing game and horses with easy angles tend to be overbet.  

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Saturday's G2 Santa Monica features a horse that we think would offer tremendous value at her morning line odds of 9-2.  Her name is Iotopa and she is worth a play in the 3-1 range.  In six career starts, she has never finished out of the money and she is three-for-three in one-turn races, which happens to be the number of turns she will be asked to race around on Saturday.  Her trainer John Sadler has an excellent 98 TimeformUS Trainer/Jockey Combo Rating when teaming up with Rafael Bejarano.  Iotapa will have to fire her best shot off a 188-day layoff, and although Sadler does not have a good recent record, he is more than capable.  Furthermore, six month layoffs no longer have the red flags attached to them that they used to, especially in one-turn races.

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Overall, she has enough positive angles to warrant serious consideration, but if she gets pounded down to 5-2 or lower, handicappers may be best off waiting for a better opportunity in a race card loaded with big fields. Let's hope the deep pockets look elsewhere for their winner.

Teddy's Promise should also be used liberally at her morning line odds of 2-1.  She in fine form and sports a clear speed figure advantage over her competition.  The Santa Monica's 103 TimeformUS Race Rating represents a soft spot for this venerable six-year-old mare.   However, 7/8ths of a mile may be a few strides beyond her preference and she will be put to the test in the final sixteenth.

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The Wager:  Iotapa to win.  Iotapa / Teddy's Promise exacta box (assuming at least 6-1 on shorter-priced exacta).  Use both in multi-race wagers.

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