Weekend horse racing handicapper best bets from Mike Somich
This Saturday all eyes will be on Aqueduct which has one of their marquee winter days including the wide-open Grade 2 Cigar Mile which I’ll touch on in this article, but that is not all! They have a late Pick 5 which includes four stakes that are all competitive events. On the west coast, Del Mar features the Hollywood Derby where Chad Brown looks to have an edge, and Gulfstream Park runs their second day of the Championship Meet and offers a mandatory payout $0.20 Pick 6!
Grade 2 Cigar Mile, Aqueduct, Saturday Race #10
Named after one of my favorite horses of all time, the Cigar Mile features a full field of 12 horses and a boatload of speed which should help horses that are looking to come from off the pace. The lukewarm morning line favorite is #3 Senor Buscador who ships in from California in good form. He is going to cut back to a mile today but has had success at this distance in the past with two wins in his career. In the past, Senor Buscador has been able to sit closer to the pace going this distance. It’s important he does not get too far behind early, but his best makes him a major player here.
To his inside is #2 Everso Mischievous who won the local prep for this race last time out beating multiple horses in this field. He will have to improve off that race and is at a disadvantage from a pace perspective, but he has answered the bell in every race with four wins and two seconds in six starts.
#5 Dr Ardito ran second behind Everso Mischievous last time out but should get a better setup today. He will be coming form the back of the pack and has been on the improve. The 8-1 price is also a nice bonus.
Even with all the speed, I’m interested in #4 Cascais who is lightly raced and aggressively placed here. Chad Brown, his trainer, has two other entries in this race so there was no reason for him to enter Cascais unless he felt the horse was live. His last race was first off a long layoff so expect some improvement, and Jose Ortiz stays aboard. Since this is a handicap, Cascais will also carry a race-low 114 pounds. At 20-1, I’m willing to take a short.
Another longshot with some upside is #9 Castle Chaos who will try to pick up the pieces if the race falls apart. He will need a career-best, but at 30-1, I’ll use this one in my pick 4/5s.
$5 Exacta 3,4 / 3,4,5,9
$2 Trifecta 3,4 / 2,3,4,5,9
Grade 1 Hollywood Derby – Del Mar Saturday, Race #7
Chad Brown enters this race with a very strong hand shipping out two horses, #7 Redistricting and #8 Program Trading. Program Trading will go off the deserving favorite as he’s done nothing wrong in four career starts with three wins and a second. Of the two, he will also be more forwardly placed and projects to get a solid trip. Redistricting is more of an unknown with two wins outside of stakes company, but a sound defeat when he stepped up in class. He did look awesome at Aqueduct last time out, and the fact that Brown shipped him across the country for this one tells you he believes in the horse’s talent.
I’ve got some interest in the #4 Watsonville here at a nice 12-1 price. He had an eventful trip last time out in the Twilight Derby and was a little too close to the pace after a stumbling break from the far outside post. He will get a better trip today and with it could make some noise.
One of the horses that cashed for me at the Breeders’ Cup, #9 Seal Team is back today after winning that Twilight Derby with a wonderful ride. He tripped out that day, and the price was right. I think he can get a minor award, but I’m not interested in taking him on top at a shorter price today.
$25 Win #7
$10 Trifecta – 7 / 4,8 / 4,8,9
Saturday, Gulfstream Park, Race #9, $2 Win #9
Saturday, Aqueduct, Race #6, $20 Daily Double – 3 / 3,8