Hong Kong Spot Plays: The show goes on at Happy Valley
Although a cloud of uncertainty currently hovers over racing in Hong Kong, the sport will nevertheless continue forward with an eight-race card on Wednesday at Happy Valley.
Concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in Hong Kong have led to restrictions on attendance and wagering. The sport may eventually face a temporary shutdown, but in the meantime, the show will go on with racing fans and bettors watching via simulcast rather than in person.
We'll follow suit, watching and wagering from afar with a couple of spot plays for the Wednesday card:
Race 2: Tai Po Handicap (Class 4, 6:45 a.m. EST)
#11 Everyone's Elite gets in light carrying just 117 pounds and should have every chance to steal the victory. A lightly-raced 5-year-old, Everyone's Elite has finished second in three straight races over this course and 1,650-meter distance, most recently coming up a half-length short against the capable Winning Endeavour on Jan. 8.
On that occasion, Everyone's Elite broke from post 12 and was compromised by a very wide trip. He's drawn the rail this time around and should have better luck saving ground, especially with Hong Kong's leading jockey Joao Moreira taking over the mount.
All signs point to a winning effort from Everyone's Elite on Wednesday, so we'll play the race accordingly, betting the gelding to win and playing him in the quinella with #3 Starlit Knight:
$26 to Win on #11 Everyone's Elite
$13 Quinella: 3,11
Race 3: Sai Kung Handicap (Class 4, 7:15 a.m. EST)
#4 California Rad appears primed for victory in this 1,200-meter turf dash. The 3-year-old son of Fastnet Rock has cracked the trifecta in his last three runs over this course and distance, producing strong stretch kicks to finish within a half-length of the winner on each occasion.
For Wednesday's race, California Rad will be guided by Joao Moreira, which suggests trainer Tony Cruz is anticipating a winning performance. California Rad has drawn well in post 2 and isn't facing a particularly imposing field; only the improving #5 Compassion Star seems likely to offer a fight.
We'll bet California Rad to win and play him in the quinella with Compassion Star:
$26 to Win on #4 California Rad
$13 Quinella 4,5