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This is going to be a fun two days of picking races for me as I go back to one of my favorite tracks that I used to follow every night. Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa is a great venue for racing. The facilities are great and racing at night in Central Iowa is usually very comfortable temperature wise, with lots of outside seating to watch races, and beautiful scenery in the background. I have always enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere, small crowds, and the open air of outside viewing. Over, the last few years, the fields have dwindled and the races have slowly deteriorated, but today’s action is fantastic. After looking at the cards Friday and Saturday for the Iowa Festival of Racing, there are some very good horses that will be featured.
Also, there is Game 3 in the NHL, and we’ll try to pick the winner in that one.
So let’s get started with Prairie Meadows and I am going to be operating on approximately a $60 budget for tonight, hoping I can make a profit to use for Saturday. There are only 7 thoroughbred races on both days, so we’ll make the most of our options.
My Picks: 4,1,2 This race for a tag of $35K. So, obviously, these horses aren’t very good. By now, if you have followed my free picks, you know my theory on these types of races. All of them can win, unfortunately, all of them can lose as well.
My Picks: 1,2,5 Refer to explanation on Race 3
My Picks: 3,2,6 William Martin sends out #3 Northern Diamond in this allowance for non-winners of 2. She has hit the board in 6 of her 10 lifetime starts, and is coming off of a win over the local track in a 30K maiden claimer. She had a decent Spring at Oaklawn against much better horses, which is a definite plus. She should grab the lead and hopefully hold the closers off.
My Picks: 9,2,6 This is probably the JV team of the 3-year-old crop, but there is still quality here even though it was lessened by the scratch of #1 Proxy, who would have been my top choice. The Arkansas Derby (G1) winner #2 Super Stock is here. He is a definite contender but most experts agree that the Derby in Hot Springs was the weakest one in years and his two past races have not been good at all. He finished 16th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and a disappointing 4th in the recent Texas Derby. I’m a fan of this horses’ story, but I’m not sure how good he is so we’ll stay away. Then there is #6 Rightandjust, who finished 3rd in the previously mentioned Texas Derby. He has 3 wins out of 7 starts but nothing above an allowance victory. Brad Cox has the #7 Gagetown and the #8 Snow House and they are both to be considered also, especially with odds of 6-1 and 8-1 respectably. Finally, Bill Mott trains #9 Nova Rags who has caught my eye. He finished 4th in the Florida Derby (G1), 2nd in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3), and 3rd in the Woody Stephens Stakes (G1). His odds are 5-1, and I think he’s got a shot.
My Picks: 2,1,6 This is another strong race that has attracted some good talent. I like #2 Pauline’s Pearl trained by Steve Asmussen and #1 Army Wife under the guidance of Mike Maker. Let’s try and see if we can find something to make us decide who to pick by looking at their last 3 races.
#1 Army Wife: Won an allowance at Gulfstream in March. Finished 3rd in the Gazelle Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. Won the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) in May. That was an impressive performance and I think that might be the race that sways me.
#2 Pauline’s Pearl: 2nd in Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn, 1st in Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn, and 8th in Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Both have good trainers, both have good jockeys, and both have comparable records. I want to pick #1 Army Wife, but I’m betting on Asmussen.
My Picks: 4,7,5 #5 Knicks Go is the even money favorite in this race, but I don’t really like him that well, so I’m going to try and beat him with #4 Last Judgement trained by Mike Maker. In his last 3 races, all G3’s, he has two firsts and a second. I think he is worth a shot at 4-1 on the morning line.
My Picks: 6,8,1 #6 Catechism trained by Karl Broberg looks to be a solid choice in the last race on the card. She is very consistent, as she has hit the board 5 out of 8 times this year. It is somewhat concerning that she only has one win, but she certainly is good enough to win this one.
Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final heads to Montreal where the Canadiens face a must-win situation against the mighty Lightning. Tampa Bay has a commanding 2-0 lead after winning both games in Florida. If they win this one, they can almost taste the champagne out of the Cup for the 2nd year in a row. However, in Game 2, Montreal dominated the 2nd period and just couldn’t beat the amazing goaltending of Andrei Vasilevskiy, so Tampa eventually won the game. This should give the Canadiens some hope, and maybe they can get enough pucks in the net to win this one.
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