Horse racing best bets for Churchill Downs and Del Mar – November 25


Weekend horse racing handicapper best bets from Mike Somich

Now that the turkey and stuffing hangover is out of the system it is time to head back to the track with a solid Saturday of racing! We have great racing from coast to coast with graded stakes at Aqueduct, Del Mar and Churchill Downs. At Churchill, two-year-olds take center stage with a pair of Grade 2 races that serve as early preps to the Derby and Oaks! Let’s hit on a couple of the stakes and then look at some spot plays for the day!


Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes – Churchill Downs, Saturday Race #11

This early Kentucky Derby prep drew an interesting field of eight with your two favorites #6 Stretch Ride and #7 Risk It both looking for the same thing early, the lead. Stretch Ride looked great blowing away a field going gate to wire at this distance last time out at Keeneland but will face much more early pressure from Risk It today. Risk It was the favorite in the Iroquois last time out at Churchill and will stretch out to two turns today which should help extend his speed. The key to this race will be if these two hook up early. If they both go for the lead and press each other, it sets up well for someone coming from off the pace. If not, whoever gets the lead is very dangerous.

One of the main beneficiaries of a duel would be the #1 Awesome Road who should sit right behind the two favorites on the rail and save ground into the stretch. Brad Cox has historically been very good in these early Derby preps, but Awesome Road will need to run much better than his last effort to win today. The wild card is #5 Nomos who will be trying the dirt for the first time today. He is bred to handle the surface and distance both top and bottom, and the price is right at 12-1. Luiz Saez takes the call to ride, and the last workout over the dirt was excellent.

Picks: 1-7-6-5


$25 Win 1

$5 Trifecta 1 / 5,6,7 / 5,6,7


Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap– Del Mar Saturday, Race #7

On the West Coast, fan-favorite #4 Hong Kong Harry returns to the Del Mar turf where he has won two of his three races. He is your deserving favorite, but since this is a handicap, he will carry the high weight of 125 pounds and be tested by a plucky field, so I am not willing to take too short of a price.

#2 Easter will run for the D’Amato barn for the first time today. The barn has dominated turf stakes in California for over a year now and has another live runner today. He is exiting the Lure Stakes at Santa Anita where he won in his first try in California and is training well entering this race.

The other D’Amato entry, #3 Balnikhov stretches back out to a mile for today’s race and offers a nice 8-1 price. He has multiple efforts that would be competitive with this field and a win over the Del Mar turf but will need the trip. He will be rolling late and faces the weakest field since this spring.

The low weight in this allowance is #5 Yes This Time who offers a monster price at 20-1. He has been very aggressively spotted in three of his last four races so the results are not eye-popping, but the race three back over this Del Mar turf makes him a player.

Picks: 2-4-3-5


$25 Win #2

$10 Exacta 2 / 3,5

Spot plays:

Saturday, Del Mar, Race #8, $20 Win #11

Saturday, Aqueduct, Race #6, $20 Win #7