The Player’s Edge – June 7th: Hollywood Park & Churchill Downs

Matt Carter

June 7th, 2013

Hollywood Park – Charlie Whittingham Memorial


Hollywood Park – Manhattan Beach


Hollywood Park – Honeymoon Handicap


Churchill Downs – Saturday Pick 4

Hollywood Park – Charlie Whittingham Memorial Slim Shadey Looks to Rebound

There are three stake races on the Saturday card at Hollywood Park with the feature, the Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham Memorial Handicap, carded as race four. The ten furlong turf race drew a field of seven led by morning line favorite Slim Shadey.

Slim Shadey comes into the Whittingham off a very disappointing effort in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Derby day, but that was on a very yielding track against the best horse in the U.S. Wise Dan. Slim Shadey is back on firm ground in California and will be tough to beat if he runs his A race.

Of course the five-year-old gelding does not always run that A race and there are plenty of other horses that have claims on the top spot.

All Squared Away missed by a nose in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over longer at Santa Anita in April and is looking for his first graded stakes win. All Squared Away should be close to the pace, which is expected to be set by Slim Shadey.

In fact, there are several other runners that should also be on or near the pace. Lucky Primo may even opt to take the lead from his inside draw and the chute start. Lucky Primo has yet to tackle graded company in his 16 start career.

Smart Ellis is likely to drop just off the pace and he was three lengths behind All Squared Away in the San Juan Cap. The Smarty Jones colt has only two wins in his last ten starts and has yet to be better than third in six graded stake races.

The beneficiaries of a quick early pace are Niagara Falls and Lime Rickey, two that will be doing their best running late.

Niagara Falls has really taken to this longer distance turf race and the ten furlongs may even be too short for him. The Giant’s Causeway colt is coming off a dominant victory in allowance company and two starts back was third in the Round Table Stakes. Second in the race was Lime Rickey.

Lime Rickey is another that may find the ten furlongs too short as he is just getting going around nine furlongs. The seven-year-old gelding has seven wins in 40 starts with 11 seconds and six thirds. He was nearly two lengths clear of Niagara Falls in the Round Table.

Tale of the Champion is the final runner in the race and he is a bit of a query. He won four of nine races in 2012 and is coming off a win in the $42,000 March Madness Handicap in late March at Santa Anita. He has won at five furlongs, eight furlongs and nine furlongs so the distance should not be a problem.

Post time for the Whittingham is 5:32 pm ET and as race four is the fourth leg of the pick-5 and the third leg of the early pick-4.


Hollywood Park – Manhattan Beach Filly Turf Sprinters

The second stakes race on the Saturday card at Hollywood Park is the $70,000 Manhattan Beach stakes for three-year-old fillies going six furlong on the turf course. The field of eight kick off the late pick-4; let’s take a look.

Judy In Disguise is the morning line favorite at 5-2 dropping in class after a $173,000 stake race and the Grade 2 Beaumont. Judy In Disguise was the post-time favorite for the Beaumont, but simply ran around the track and finished third. She can win if she runs back to her Sweet Life Stakes run.

One thing the race should have is pace. We start with the rail horse, Kinz Funky Monkey.

Kinz Funky Monkey is likely to get some pop as a daughter of the expensive The Green Monkey, but she has a big say in the outcome of the Manhattan Beach. She is quick and is coming off a layoff with some bullet workouts so expect jockey Victor Espinoza to send.

To her outside is Upbeat Mood, who is coming off of three straight races in which she was the leader at the first two calls. Now, she didn’t hold on to win any of those and her only win was at five furlongs, but those last three were at six and one-half and a mile so the cut back in distance helps.

Tizmetizyou drew post four and just broke her maiden over the course and distance in gate to wire fashion. She increased her lead at every call and has come back to work a solid three furlongs earlier in the week. From post four jockey Joe Talamo has options and could sit a solid trip.

Unwritten Law adds pace shipping west from Arizona and Turf Paradise as does Lady Rosamond from post six. Lady Rosamond may be ranked too low seeing she is a Bob Baffert-trained filly, but her form does not just jump off the page. This will be her first start on turf.

The two fillies that will be doing their best running late are Disko Dasko and My Lil Shamrock, both at solid prices on the morning line.

Disko Dasko has been well bet in all three of her U.S. races after coming over from France and England. The French-bred filly drops out of the Grade 3 Senorita stakes and it’s interesting that trainer Jim Cassidy opts for this spot instead of the Grade 2 Honeymoon two races later. Perhaps Cassidy feels Disko Dasko is best as a late-running spinter.

On form My Lil Shamrock looks like a speed horse, but those races were all around two turns. She was quick enough to make the lead after a half in her debut and was able to finish third in the Golden Gate Debutante in December after not making the lead. She has never won when she didn’t have the lead early, which is the only negative. Her sire, City Zip, gives her a huge boost on the switch to turf.

Certainly looks like an interesting way to start the late pick-4. Post time is 7:35 pm ET.


Hollywood Park – Honeymoon Handicap Scarlet Strike and Charlie Em Battle Again

The second of the graded stake races and final stakes overall at Hollywood Park this Saturday is the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs on the turf course. The race features the first two place finishers in last month’s Grade 3 Senorita Stakes, Charlie Em and Scarlet Strike.

Charlie Em won the Senorita by a head, but we will start with Scarlet Strike, who will suited by the additional furlong in the Honeymoon. It was mentioned in the write-up for the Senorita that the distance may not be ideal for the favorite and that proved to be true. Now at nine furlongs, the Smart Strike filly will be motoring late and could reverse the outcome. Scarlet Strike two back won the nine-furlong Grade 3 Providencia at Santa Anita by a measured half-length.

Charlie Em was cold on the board in the Senorita, but was given a masterful ride by Gomez, who is riding on the other side of the U.S. on Saturday. Victor Espinoza takes over the mount and while Gomez is the higher profile jock, nothing is lost with Victor. The one concern for the English-bred filly; however, is distance as this will be her first start past a flat mile.

The pace scenario of the Grade 3 race is going to be an interesting one and there is really no one filly that does her best running on the pace. Somethingabouther is the most likely to be on the engine early, especially with her rail draw. She was second in her last start to Macha, who is also entered in the Honeymoon.

Macha makes her graded stakes debut after running in four straight allowance races, three of which were on the turf. Macha finished in front of Somethingabouther in her last start, but two and three starts back could not defeat other Honeymoon runners; Becky Lou, Wittgenstein and Sweet Red Cat.

Becky Lou was completely dismissed in her debut off at odds of 32-1. Of course horses don’t know the odds and she was able to nose out a victory at one mile over the turf course at Santa Anita. Trainer Matt Chew can get them to run even though he is a low percentage trainer and note that the filly broke her maiden against the boys in England.

Wittgenstein and Sweet Red Cat are long shots in the Honeymoon, which is surprising, at least for Sweet Red Cat. The Bluegrass Cat filly was favored in the allowance race won by Macha and was third in the Grade 3 Providencia, beaten two and three-quarter lengths by Scarlet Strike.

Blingismything, Sarach and Kyriaki are three others that deserve mentioning and could hit the board at a nice price. Blingismything was a rare debut winner for trainer Eric Kruljac and his horses always improve with racing. Sarach was fifth in the Providencia with an even running line and comes in off a two month layoff. She would look just decent if not for the strong five-furlong bullet drill last Sunday. Kyriaki has a win at nine furlongs on her form and could actually be sitting the garden trip if able to get a good spot from post eleven.

If it’s not Scarlet Strike, then the Honeymoon becomes a separator in the pick-4. First post on Saturday is early, 2:00 pm ET with the Honeymoon scheduled to break from the gate at 8:30. It will be a long, but great day of racing.


Churchill Downs – Saturday Pick 4 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap Leg 2

The feature race on Saturday at Churchill Downs is the Grade 2 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap, which only drew a field of six and has a strong morning line favorite in Daisy Devine. While she may be s standout on class, she isn’t exactly a slam dunk, but the best way to make money on the day should be the late pick-4, which starts in race eight with two-year-old maiden special weight runners.

Steven Asmussen has seemingly won every two-year-old maiden special weight race this meet at Churchill and if it isn’t Asmussen, it’s Ward and both trainers have a starter in race eight. Big Gator goes for Asmussed while Ward has Richies Party Girl. Richies Party Girl makes her debut and must overcome the wide post, but has been working well in the mornings.

The “other” contender in the field is Runkle, who set the pace in his debut before tiring late. Now he cuts back a half furlong and can put a wrench in the bets of favorite backers.

Race nine is the Mint Julep and most will single Daisy Devine, but she may not get things all her own way on the front end as Soft Whisper should show some early pace. If Daisy is left alone then goodbye and good night, but if she paces pressure, Miz Ida could be a long in time.

Race ten is another maiden race, this time for three-year-olds and upward sprinting six furlongs on the main track. Sir Langfuhr is a first time starter from the Cecil Borel barn and will be ridden by Calvin Borel. Cecil has good numbers with debut runners and this looks like a good spot to take a shot with a firster. Pass the Pico, Thanks Bro and Street Call that could also win and may be worth including on the ticket.

The finale is an allowance, optional claiming race on the turf and this is where many will choose to spread. The favorite is Joinem, who has not run since finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Stars N Stripes at Arlington Park in July 2012. He is now offered for $62,500.

Those looking to beat the favorite have plenty of options to choose from.

Tahoe Lake makes his first start for trainer Gerry Carwood after running in the Ken McPeek barn from 2010 to 2012, which was his last start. Perhaps he needs one with only four works showing on the tab.

Rightfully So goes dirt to turf and has some breeding to suggest the surface switch will not be a problem. The son of A.P. Indy has two wins, three seconds and one third in nine career starts with all his wins coming at either seven or seven and one-half furlongs.

Film Making won his last race, which was only the second time in 20 starts the five-year-old horse has returned to the winner’s circle. Perhaps he is getting better with age. Set the Sail makes his third start off the layoff and may go lower than his 4-1 morning line off a troubled trip. Two starts back he won a nine furlong allowance race over the Keeneland turf in wire-to-wire fashion.

Contention runs deep in race 11 so use as many as the budget can afford. First post on Saturday is 12:45 pm ET with race eight off at 4:27.


Thoroughbred Racing Action

Great racing action from across the country this weekend.  Watch these races all on BetAmerica.com.

Saturday– June 8
  • Hollywood Park:  Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap - G2, $200,000, 3yo & up, 10f turf
  • Hollywood Park:  Honeymoon Handicap - G2, $150,000, 3yo f, 9f turf
  • Hollywood Park:  Manhattan Beach Stakes, $70,000, 3yo f, 6f turf
  • Churchill Downs:  Early Times Mint Julep Handicap - G3, $100,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8.5f turf
  • Calder Race Course:  Unbridled Stakes, $75,000, 3yo, 6f
  • Calder Race Course:  Ponche Handicap, $75,000, 3yo & up, 6f
  • Calder Race Course:  U Can Do It Handicap, $75,000, 3yo & up f&m, 6f
  • Calder Race Course:  Leave Me Alone Stakes, $75,000, 3yo f, 6f
  • Golden Gate Fields:  Silky Sulivan Stakes, $100,000, 3yo, 8f turf
  • Monmouth Park:  Fort Monmouth Stakes, $60,000, 3yo & up, 5.5f turf
  • Woodbine:  Bold Rukus Stakes, $125,000, 3yo, 6f turf
  • Woodbine:  Trillum Stakes, $125,000, 3yo & up, 8.5f
Sunday – June 9
  • Hollywood Park:  Redondo Beach Stakes, $70,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8f turf
  • Monmouth Park:  Monmouth Stakes - G2, $200,000, 3yo & up, 9f turf
  • Monmouth Park:  John McSorley Stakes, $60,000, 3yo & up, 5.5f turf
  • Woodbine:  Woodbine Oaks, $500,000, 3yo f, 9f
  • Woodbine:  Plate Trial Stakes, $150,000, 3yo, 9f