How to wager on the Starlet
by Scott Shapiro
The $300,000 Starlet is the second of two Grade 1 events on Saturday’s nine-race card at Los Alamitos Race Course. The event is contested at a mile and a sixteenth and features a field of nine two-year-old fillies.
#7 American Gal is the horse to beat in the Starlet for trainer Bob Baffert. The Concord Point filly makes her return to the races after a huge third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
In the championship event off of just two weeks rest, American Gal was off slowly, fanned extremely wide into the first turn, moved four wide into a slow pace and still had enough left to finish an even third. If she can break well under Hall of Famer Mike Smith she will be tough to pass in the lane.
While I respect American Gal a great deal, I do not think she is unbeatable. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies was not a fast race and there is another runner in the Starlet that I think has a ton of ability and will provide much greater value.
#3 Tapped is a daughter of Tapit that has done little wrong to start her racing career. After a narrow victory in her debut at Santa Anita, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer shipped his filly north to Golden Gate Fields for the $75,000 Pike Place Dancer Stakes. In her first try around two turns, the LNJ Foxwoods runner stalked three-wide early, took a brief lead at the top of the lane and was out finished late by late-running Simmy’s Temple.
I think Tapped should move forward quite a bit in her second start around two turns on Saturday. She should sit a perfect trip just off the lead under jockey Kent Desormeaux and anything close to her 6-1-morning line makes her worth a Win wager in the Starlet.
#2 Union Strike is the second choice on the morning line for Ruis Racing and trainer Craig Dollase. This filly was impressive two back breaking her maiden in the one-turn Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, but failed in her first start going a route of ground in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She certainly could move forward off that ninth-place effort last month, but I do not like the way the connections are going and think she may find herself with too much to do late. I will play against her in this spot.
The wild card in the Starlet is #9 Berned. Trainer Tom Albertrani rarely sends runners out to Southern California other than for the Breeders’ Cup and has not shipped a two-year-old to this circuit over the past five years.
In addition to the coast-to-coast move, the Bernardini filly will make her first start around two turns after a strong runner-up finish in last month’s Grade 3 Tempted at Aqueduct. She clearly has talent, so if she can adapt to her new surroundings and get the added distance she has a shot to pull off the minor upset.
If you are looking for a long shot maybe #4 Mopotism can hit the board at a big price. The Uncle Mo filly has yet to break her maiden, but ran extremely well after a troubled voyage in her last at Del Mar. She has the pedigree to move forward going the extra distance and the Doug O’Neill barn has been going relatively well of late after a tough summer. At 15-1 on the morning line the value makes her worth including.
Here is how I will wager on the Starlet:
$50 Win 3
$15 Exacta Box 3+7 = $30
$5 Exacta Box 3+9 = $10
$4 Exacta Box 3+4 = $8
$5 Exacta Box 4+7 = $10
$1 Trifecta Wheel 3+7 with 3+4+7+9 with 1+3+4+5+7+8+9 = $30
$2 Trifecta Wheel 3+7 with 3+7 with 4+9 = $8
$2 Trifecta Wheel 3+7 with 4+9 with 3+7 = $8
Total = $154
The Starlet is the third leg of Saturday’s Pick 4 at Los Alamitos that also includes the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity. For my suggested wagers in that sequence see my “How to wager on the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity.”
Good luck at the windows!