The Horses You Need To Bet in Guaranteed Wagers on Saturday at Arlington

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Ed DeRosa

August 14th, 2015

I can’t guarantee any winners, but I can guarantee great wagering opportunities on Saturday at Arlington International Racecourse for the Chicagoland track’s International Festival of Racing presented by Liftmaster.

The 11-race card features a guaranteed Pick 5, Pick 4, and Pick 3 alongside an earlier Pick 4, eight other Pick 3s and 10 doubles. It’s a multi-race players paradise with full fields and competitive turf racing during the Festival.

The Pick 5 begins with race 6, the Pucker Up Stakes for three-year-old fillies and leads into the Festival races: the American St. Leger (start of the Pick 4), the Secretariat (start of the Festival Pick 3), the Beverly D, and the Million.

Each offers its own challenge given the European variable, and especially in the case of the Million a deep field. And at least with the way the sequences are structured, if you miss the Pucker Up you can come right back in the St. Leger, and if you miss that there’s the Grade 1 Pick 3.

But the plan here is to take no prisoners and hit all three of these bad boys, and it starts with the Pucker Up, a race in which I will respect the class of #10 Miss Chatelaine, who reunites with Joel Rosario and was last seen running behind multiple Grade 1 winner Lady Eli. Rosario won the Lake Placid Stakes—another race for three-year-old fillies on turf—on Friday at Saratoga, so he knows this division and should work the right trip from the outside going 1 1/8 miles here.

The American St. Leger has two key scratches with both The Pizza Man and Calvados defecting. That leaves Hyper as the likely favorite, and he is beatable here and maybe with a price. #1 Panama Hat’s wins going long in European group stakes company give hope here, and Az Ridge has similar efforts going long on turf domestically. The class of those is questionable, but he’s done it multiple times and experience at this three-turn trip can’t be undersold.

The Secretariat Stakes is a classic domestic-international battle with Grade 1 winner Force the Pass looking to be only the second three-year-old male to win more than one Grade 1 race this year. The other, of course, is Triple Crown champion American Pharoah. To do it, though, he’ll have to defeat two interesting European-based horses in Highland Reel and War Dispatch. I’m drawing the line at using Goldstream, the undefeated Italian Derby winner, who is likely to be underlaid off his running lines.

The Beverly D features last year’s winner, and I’ll try to beat Euro Charlene as the likely favorite in this spot. Wedding Vow ships in for the same trainer as Highland Reel, and looks tough here getting weight from the group as the lone three-year-old filly, and she is favored in her local (i.e. European) markets. Secret Gesture ran with these in the Breeders’ Cup, and I’d be more leery of her as a favorite considering she’s camera shy, but she always run her race and the price is OK. Lastly, Stephanie’s Kitten will be on my tickets. Ken Ramsey REALLY wants to win this race, and she’s capable.

The featured Million could be the Chad Brown show with Slumber and Big Blue Kitten figuring to be the top two choices, and while I can’t ignore either in this spot, they’re not all I want in here, as I think either The Pizza Man or Maverick Wave can sit the best trip behind “rabbit” Shining Copper. The Pizza Man has a local edge, and Maverick Wave is tops on Class Ratings.

Here are my tickets:

Race 6, $.50 Pick 5: 10 with 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 11 with 2, 6, 7 with 3, 9, 10 with 2, 4, 7, 11 ($108)

Race 7, $.50 Pick 4: ALL with 2, 6, 7 with 3, 9, 10 with 2, 4, 7, 11 ($162)

Race 8, $1 Pick 3: 2, 6, 7 with 3, 9, 10 with ALL ($117)

Race 8, $1 Pick 3: 2, 6, 7 with ALL with 2, 4, 7, 11 ($120)

Race 8, $1 Pick 3: ALL with 3, 9, 10 with 2, 4, 7, 11 ($84)