Minor Stakes, Major Cashes - Super Screener
Super Screener

Minor Stakes, Major Cashes

Photo by: Ryan Lasek / Eclipse Sportwire

Well, it is winter and as is so often the case, tracks can come up sloppy, frozen and everything in between resulting in changing track conditions and multiple scratches. Such was the case this Saturday when the Gulfstream Park dirt surface came up sloppy due to heavy rain that fell in the early morning hours.  Meanwhile, at Laurel Park, the track was shrouded in heavy snow showers during the early part of the card.  Scratches reduced the Willa on the Move stakes to a 7-horse field and the Howard H. Bender Memorial was hit with 4 scratches shrinking that field from 12 to 8 rivals.  The recap on these races are is as follows:

Howard H. Bender Memorial Stakes

What was looking like a pretty good betting race with 12 horses entered got hit hard by four scratches leaving 8 horses and a chalky finish to the race.  The Super Screener Top Board Hitter pick did just that finishing 2nd and the Super Screener 3rd choice, Struth won the race taking advantage of the salty pace.

Several suggested Super Screener wagers hit including the Superfecta, Trifecta and an Exacta wager and despite all the favorites comprising the Superfecta, the total return was $422.


Willa On The Move Stakes

Scratches reduced this field to just 7 horses depleting any value we could hope to get on top picks.  The Super Screener pretty much ranked this field in order of finish with our top two win picks completing the Exacta and the third and fourth place finishers completing the Trifecta and Superfecta.  Ms. Locust Point seized the lead from that favorable outside post position and never looked back.  Ivy Bell ran a good race on the right part of the track trying to close the gap on Ms. Locust Point but to no avail.  

The Super Screener suggested Exactas returned $255 for the chalky even money over 8-5 odds Exacta finish.


Smooth Air Stakes

Pletcher’s Bal Harbour, ranked 3rd by the Super Screener took advantage of the sloppy sealed track surface that resulted in an off-the-pace/outside bias aiding the top four finishers.  A Super Screener Top Win and Top Value pick, Stronger, did manage to finish third.  Pletcher’s other horse and the Super Screener Top Win pick, Coltandmissippi ran best of the front runners but being on the pace and near the rail was not the place to be.  Upgrade this colt next time he runs.  Forever Taken finished 4th at 46-1.  We downgraded this horse’s chances under the assumption of a fast track though we did recommend covering him lightly “under” in your Exotics wagers.  He got his preferred wet surface and took advantage of it for a 4th place finish.  Downgrade this horse next time he runs if the track comes up fast.


Pulpit Stakes

The anticipated swift and pressured pace never materialized and the sprinter, Street Copper, carved out very slow fractions through the half and Speed Franco sat just off that foe enjoying the easy going up front and then just ran away from the field late for the easy victory.  The Super Screener projected that Pletcher’s less favored colt, Pony Up, would outrun his highly regarded, odds-on favorite stablemate, Maraud…which is exactly what happened.  The Super Screener Top Long Shot pick, King Angelus did manage to rally for a bottom of the Superfecta finish at enormous odds of 57-1.  Here’s what the Super Screener had to say about this bomber pick:

“The Super Screener has isolated #10 King Angelus as a prime Top Long Shot bomber pick in this race.  It took him awhile to break his maiden running in bottom level maiden claiming races but after an explosive win against so much easier he followed that one up with an even more impressive win against other winners overcoming a dreadfully slow pace, while hopelessly behind, and having to steady twice before showing that wicked turn of foot in the final furlong to grab the impressive win.  Came back and very uncharacteristically dueled in a race in the slop but held on well in the end and even came back a bit after being passed.  He may not be the classiest sort but he has heart and is a live long shot.”


We are definitely in the slower stakes season but fret not as Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs and Fair Grounds offer a variety of minor stakes events with what we hope will be large, competitive fields (and dry tracks!)  


As an early heads up, there will be no Super Screener published for Saturday 12/23 (extremely sparse on the stakes front that day) and as we have done in the past, we’ll be putting out a Super Screener for Tuesday 12/26 which is highlighted by opening day at Santa Anita featuring multiple graded stakes races on the card as well as other graded stakes holiday action from around the country.


Until next weekend, “Go Fast and Win”