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#5 Effinex – The bottom line of this race is very simple…If Effinex rebounds and runs his normal solid effort he will smoke this field. He won this race last year which is always a good sign, and he also gets his regular rider back aboard today. It’s definitely scary putting him all alone up top based on that pathetic effort at Churchill Downs last time out, but you have to think he’ll rebound today. The last time he ran an off race was last year in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He came right back in the Breeders Cup Classic to run second to American Pharoah after that one which was perhaps his best lifetime race. So there is no doubt he’s capable of a big rebound, and I think he’ll do just that today.
#2 Mubtaahij – Certainly could come here and win today, but sorry I’m just not sold on him and his second place effort in the Dubai World Cup. The fact is he hasn’t been all that great in any start outside of his two nice Dubai efforts. Last year in America he disappointed in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and really he wasn’t good in Meydan until World Cup. Hasn’t won since that UAE Derby romp and don’t think he will today either.
#4 Eagle – I never pick this horse to win, and I won’t again today. However, he is always a must use underneath in any race he enters. He’s shown over and over again that he has a nice amount of class as he consistently runs the same race each time he enters. Last time out I thought could be the day he was going to break through with his first Grade 1 win but he just couldn’t get to Bradester in the end. He might be looking at that exact same set up today if Effinex rebounds like I think he will.
#6 Turco Bravo – Very consistent runner who may not be classy enough to win today, but could definitely finish third. Since Javier Castellano has climbed about his races have gotten slightly better than ever, and he finished a nice second in the Brooklyn last time out. Will be strictly an underneath play for me in this one, however he’s 3 for 8 at this distance and 7 for 8 in the money so it’s not out of the question that he could upset.
#3 Shaman Ghost – Stepped up last time out in a huge way as he dominated the Brooklyn Handicap much to the delight of the other Racing Dude who had him on top. Today he cuts back to a mile and a quarter which should be ok as he has a win and a second place effort in two life time starts at the distance. I think his stablemate Effinex is certainly more talented, but Jerkens is very sneaky in these types of races with the “other” horse he enters. I’m very scared of this guy and think the price will be right.
#1 Noble Bird – Forget about his easy win at Pimlico…he just isn’t running at the same level that he was in 2015. This is another race where I could see him being competitive at his best, but not sure that he’s capable of his best anymore.
#7 Samraat – Pretty much over him as he hasn’t won since the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes in 2014. He’s ran in some very tough spots, but this one isn’t easy as well. I don’t think he’s a high stakes caliber horse.
#8 Tapin Mojo – From low claiming races to Grade 2 company…that usually doesn’t work out so well. He’s won five of his last six races but a 20k claimer is the highest class he’s faced.
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