Sunday, March 5, 2023

Post Race Handicapping Analysis: The Honey Fox G3 at Gulfstream

Welcome Friends to The Turk blog. 

I write handicapping analysis of generally Graded Stake horse races. I started handicapping in 1986 when I spent a summer in Saratoga training to operate nuclear reactors in the sleepy town called Ballston Spa. I lived just blocks from the track. In the mid 1970's, like a lot of kids who grew up in that era, my only access to horse racing was older relatives, ABC Wide World of Sports and Sports Illustrated Magazine.  I had an Aunt, my dear Aunt Rose, who would baby sit me from time to time on Saturdays while my dad worked volunteering at a nearby Boys and Girls Club, and she was my first contact with the sport. I remember sitting at my older cousins house in 1977 watching Seattle Slew win the Preakness at a second cousin's first communion party. I loved reading Sports Illustrated, an era before the instant access internet, and I read and was fascinated by Formula One, Professional Boxing and Horse Racing. It was a simple time in a young boys life. 

In 1986, I was a young man, not quite 20, living in a paradise-like Saratoga (Jumel Place, just blocks from the Oklahoma Training Track.) The highlight that summer was seeing Sylvester Stallone with a bevy of women surrounding him. I worked a lot of mid and night shifts and I would grab the Daily Race Form with my breakfast and handicap. It was like a crossword puzzle to me and the next day I'd see if I was any good. Gambling was never really my thing, but I liked to predict.

Not much has changed in almost 40 years. I hate the term "tout," a label which is what bloggers like me get pigeonholed into. I'm touting no one. My handicaps and my bet constructions are offered free of charge, I have never made any attempt to monetize the blog, and all I'm doing is carefully unpacking a race each week at a level that the track handicapper doesn't have the time to do. Morning Lines and Track Handicappers miss signs, miss over and underlays, because they are busy, because they are surrounded by biases, perceived or not. One race a week I get into the mitochondrial and look for how the field should finish. I offer a bet suggestion on a simple exacta only basis, and the rest is up to you. 

I find my blog to be a relaxing therapy to the hustle and bustle of my job. Operations at a publicly traded company is high stakes, high expectations. Handicapping is an escape for a few hours each week. Horse racing is like a time machine back to Aunt Rosie's couch on 19th Street.

Anyways, I like to build these post race analysis looks at my handicapping, primarily for two reasons:  What did I miss or get right in that race and who should I quietly be watching for in an upcoming race. I will tell you I have had great success watching horses finish 4th or 5th up the track in one race, but showing me something with late turn of foot and stride, and finding them as overlays when most think of them as underlays.  

The Honey Fox G3: Fillies and Mares 4 YO and Up over Firm Turf: 1 Mile. GP.

Honey Fox G3

Race Chart

I identified Princess Theorem and Faith In Humanity (Fr) pre race.  

Faith In Humanity (Fr) Notes:

I really liked her early speed and her post position and thought she'd come out of gate and throttle this race.  Sharp works, with two bullets at 5f in late February.  Of course, being a Brown horse his stats off the layoff are good.  And finally, she was a grade 3 (class neutral) horse.  I still think Speak of the Devil (Fr) is the better horse, but not yesterday, and she herself was coming off a layoff since last June.  

Princess Theorem Notes:

When you are looking for value that that fill the second spot in an exacta, this is exactly what you are looking for.  I didn't think the mare could win, but late speed and a last race win at the distance and over same surface is a recency nod I can't ignore.  -2 Class note is to me she's a 25K OC horse, not a Grade 3.  

Look at :23 second final quarter in last race.

Yes, she finished Show, but could have easily finished Place.  The $1 Trifecta with her paid $373.80.  If you would have taken my top four and boxed them, you win the Tri.  The $2 Exacta, my juice, paid $48.60.  

I'm not touting, I'm analyzing at a level that no track handicapper could possibly because there are not enough hours in the day.  

Aunt Rosie

Have fun friends, Turk out! 

Saturday, March 4, 2023

The Nomination Is In: The Honey Fox G3 and The Turk Hits the 700th Post Milestone

Welcome Friends to The Turk Blog. Today's post mark's a real milestone for this blogger, my 700th Post. 

 So much has changed since September 2008 when I wrote my first tentative posting. In the world that was just before Twitter, Facebook hadn't fully blown up yet, and horse racing, while damaged at that point, was not the devalued product we see now. Hollywood and Arlington, two of my favorite tracks, were there and now gone, not to mention countless synthetic racing surfaces. 

 I joined a blogging alliance, but by the time I joined it was obvious that blogging was a dinosaur medium, with long form writing being replaced by 140 characters. As Prince said, A sign of times. My blog, even in the best of days, was never highly read. My focus on handicapping pigeonholed me and limited my readership. I've stayed true to what I like to do and I've never worried about monetizing my efforts or increasing my clicks. I write what I write, and if it's read by even one person, that makes me happy.

 There have been moments when I considered quitting the blog. My love of horse racing perhaps hit a 30 year low at the beginning of COVID. It coincided with the death of both Poppa and Pops, my Father in Law and Father, in a span of weeks. The world was a dark place. Racing was turned on its head, and I just lost interest. 

It wasn't until late last year did I start to regain my love of both blogging and horse racing. My job has become very busy, as we took our business to the publicly traded market and grown it significantly. Its put a cramp on my automotive restoration activities (slowed, not stopped) but created a need for this form of mental health: the deconstruction and decoding of past performances and race charts into betting possibilities. Over time I've narrowed my focus even further, primarily focused on two things: Turf Handicapping and Exacta Bet Construction. Also over time I dropped my son, The Little Turk, from the blog title. While my not so little 23 year old will still take horse racing road trips with me (Del Mar just before COVID), he has his own sporting interests (The Buffalo Bills, Sabres and Fantasy Football) that he is pursuing.

So, The Turk remains, older, still bald, but more importantly,  a wise old handicapper who has created positive ROI over a long period of time by focusing on the fundamentals of handicapping, avoiding the parts of the conditions book I'm not good at, and decoupling handicapping from Bet Construction, with an eye towards winning battles and ignoring the war.  

Without too much fanfare, just like the last 699 posts, I present to you my thoughts on The Honey Fox, a 1 mile turf affair at Gulfstream on Fountain of Youth day.  I made a rare foray back onto dirt as well this weekend, and my thoughts on the Santa Anita Handicap can be found here as well.  

The Honey Fox G3: 1 Mile over Fast Turf at GP

I'll keep my betting simple today.  I think Chad Brown's Speak of the Devil (Fr) is a beast: 8 of 11 Distance Exacta, 9 of 16 Turf Exacta, 4 wins in last 9.  

I'll single Speak of the Devil (Fr) with some of the value horses on the board at post time.  Nothing fancy, just workmanlike betting that is rooted in fundamental math. 

If you want to really hunt for value, consider adding Faith in Humanity (Fr) to the win spot.  4 YO, also trained by Brown, will have the rail and great early speed.  White Frost will also get some attention from savvy bettors:  Last time out winner over this surface at this distance, the Mott trained Candy Ride mare is four of four in the Turf exactas lifetime.  2nd off a long layoff that included all of 2022.  

Have fun friends! Turk out.  

Friday, March 3, 2023

The Nomination Is In: The Santa Anita Handicap

Defunded: Benoit 
 Welcome Friends to The Turk Blog, and thank you to the good people at The Thorofan for having me today.  My blog primarily focuses on Turf Handicapping and Exacta Bet Construction.  I've handicapped dirt races for the better part of 35 years, so I'm capable, it's just not my blog's primary focus.  I hope you give me a read and good luck if you are playing.

Classic Distance racing always a bit of a wildcard for veteran older horses: 11 starts for this field at that distance, 2 wins and 4 Place/Shows.  Tomlinson's, always a bit murky, have Hopper 372 and next closest 50 points lower.  That's a good spread for comparing Tomlinson's but is Hopper the pick?.  Focus on the key metrics every race when building your base handicap: Class, Current Form, Early and Late Speed, Distances, Track Record, Trainer/Rider stats, In the Money and Wins over surface.  If you hit the key variables in the base handicap, it puts you in a good position to focus on the nuance during bet construction: pace, trainer intentions, post positions, tote board odds.  

Ultimately you will grade yourself on a few metrics:  Did I make a return on my betting capital? Was my handicap any good?  Does my analysis of the Past Performances justify continued betting on that surface, that age range, that track? Did I have fun?  I'm no gambling whale.  I'm just a nobody who likes horses, like's to write about race handicapping, and talks about himself in the third person.  All that said, I do this because it brings me joy and I have fun.  I think in modern times there are far easier ways to make money in sports betting, so if you are reading this, I hope you agree with me.

Let's get after it!

The Santa Anita Handicap G1: 1 1/4 Miles for 4 YO and UP

I don't want to spend too much time on video as I don't think there are many races relevant for current form with this field.

The San  Pasqual Grade 2:  1 1/8 Fast Dirt SA 28 January 2023

Pegasus World Cup G1:  1 1/8 Miles Fast Dirt GP; 28 January 2023


 The San Antonio Grade 2:  1 1/16 Miles over Fast Dirt SA:  26 December 2022

So what do we make of it? I think you could legitimately make a case for the top 7 in my base handicap to win.  

Defunded is a Grade 1 horse and gives nothing regarding class.  Good mix of early tactical and late speed.  Training well for Baffert after trip to GP in late January.  J Hernandez is up and  26% winner this meet and him and Baffert at SA over rolling year are 35% winners.   5 of 6 in the money at Santa Anita, 10 of 14 in the money over fast dirt, 9 of 14 lifetime exacta finish, one classic distance start, last year's Gold Cup G1 at SA, finishing Place to There Goes Harvard.  

Hollywood (Ha!) Gold Cup G1: 1 1/14 Miles Fast Dirt SA: 30  May 2022

A five horse field with lousy pace scenario is no reason to change thinking.  Different race, different field, different point in horse form.

Proxy is a fringe Grade 1 contender, winning the Grade 1 Clark last year.  Matches or comes close to Defunded's class level.  Solid early speed but excellent late turn of foot.  First SA start.  Only second attempt at Distance for this millionaire.    Pace, and how we feel about the pace scenario, will play a key role, but I do like his far outside start and his ability to be sitting midpack for critical part of race.  

Newgrange and Stilleto Boy form my next grouping.  Newgrange gets Dettori up (21% winner 85 starts) this meet and enters off last race win in the San Pasqual G2.  Fast Early, decent late speed. Violence colt is solid Grade 2 and gives up one rating in class to the best here.  4 YO and already $750K earnings.  5 wins in 8 starts, 3 wins in 3 starts at SA , 7 of 8 in the money over fast dirt.  Pay attention to tote board. 

Stilleto Boy is the proverbial "hanging around the hoop" colt, putting up $1.4 MM in earnings with 3 wins but 15 of 20 in the money.  Owner/Trainer Moger's not afraid to take this Shackleford colt go head to head with anyone.  Dangerous.  Fast early/solid late speed.  Kent Desormeaux up as Mike Smith jumps to Hopper.  1 win in 6 SA Starts but 5 of 6 in the money.

There Goes Harvard, a 5 YO Mike McCarthy conditioned horse had a turf to G1 dirt win  last year and tries again after going in a 1 mile Turf run at SA in early February.  Sharp work on 18 February.  2 Classic Distance starts, 2 exacta finishes.  6 starts at SA, 6 in the money finishes.  Solid, not spectacular. 

Warrant gives up two class ranks and is a solid G3 runner.  Cox and Prat are 39% winners rolling year outside of SA.  Prat's meet has been forgettable at 11%.  Place by a head in last year's race edition, a lifetime best Beyer for what that's worth.  9 of 13 lifetime starts in exacta.  

And finally Hopper, a 4 YO in 5th start, is very very fast early but seems to be in deep waters here.  Started on rail in San Pasqual and yielded late presumably after shortest run.    A huge wildcard, does he rabbit or does Smith, up for first time on him, wait?  

6 YO Heywoods Beach will be back early and can close fast late.  Really comes down to how this one plays out.  

I don't think this will be a race that the best horses can't manage the pace. Defunded and Proxy can both manage the speed tactics, as well as Newgrange and Stilleto Boy.  I do think Baffert will send Hopper early for Defunded to target later.  Some other late speed to consider is the 5 YO Curlin trained by Joe Sharp, Scarlet Fusion.  

I'll be paying attention to the tote board and looking for value in my exacta.  I may look at Defunded and/or Proxy OVER Value: There Goes Harvard, Warrant, Haywoods Beach, Scarlet Fusion, possibly Proxy.

If I single Defunded it's a $2 bet for $10 and if I hedge Proxy in both spots its a $18 bet.  I'll be clear and place the $10 bet. 

Have fun friends, Turk Out!

Saturday, February 18, 2023

The Nomination Is In: The Fairgrounds Stakes G3


Gentle Soul:  Hodges Photography
 Welcome Friends to The Turk Blog, where I focus on Turf handicapping and exacta bet construction.  That handsome six year old is Gentle Soul, my chalk in today's handicapping exercise, The Fairgrounds Stakes G3.  

My handicapping has been a bit cool lately. It happens.  Don't judge success over a short sample size, positive or negative.  When you handicap, you are preparing who you think has the best opportunity to win, setting win odds for the field.  Horses don't read spreadsheets.  The base handicap is just that, a pace neutral view of the race on firm turf.  Pace is clearly a significant factor and I capture those thoughts in my bet construction.  What does that mean?  The best horse over a route of grass is still the best horse and the Base Handicap will reflect that, but pace, post position, turf conditions, field size, recent form or trips,  expected odds as set by the public (and not the Morning Line), these factors seep into bet construction. Two sides of a coin.  So when I say my handicapping has been cool, when I review the results, I see that my bet construction more often than not is what was faulty, my failing or flukes, that matters not.  

I've been handicapping for just short of 37 years.  I know I can handicap.  I seen just about every sort of pace, trip, angle that can present itself.  ROI is really the only measure of one's betting philosophy and general competence. Do the things you do as a bettor return you money over a long period of time?  Do anyone reading this blog, the answer is generally no, for the simple reason that the best bettors are focused on what works for them, the angles they work and their own investment strategy.   Develop what works for you.  I didn't land on Turf/Exacta out of thin air, I'm good at it.  My ROI was the best at it.  I know my ROI with Dirt 3 YOs trends negative and I know certain tracks where I slay it (Kentucky Downs, Santa Anita, Arlington (RIP)) and where I'm atrocious (Saratoga dirt).  Do what works.

Let's get after this!

I just want to look at The Col. E.R. Bradley Stakes video to see Gentle Soul late kick Two Emmys.

Col. Bradley 99K; FG 1 1/16 Miles Firm Turf, 21 Jan 2023 (best video I could find truncates the race to the stretch.) 

The 4 YO Tiz the Bomb may ultimately be the most talented turf runner in this field, but the focus as a 3 YO was dirt glory, including an uninspired Kentucky Derby at 31-1. McPeek's runner showed great turf promise as a 2 YO Winning the Grade 2 Bourbon at KEE and Place in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Hernandez was up that day at Del Mar as he is today.  

Breeders' Cup J. Turf G1;  1 Mile on Firm Turf;  5 Nov 2021 Del Mar

So what to do with this?

Experienced turf runners like Two Emmys deserve the chalk and the bettor's support.  The reality is he wins this race 1-2 times every five times its run all things equal. 8 of 10 in the money at FG, 3 of 4 in the money at the distance, 14 of 19 in the money over turf.  I consider him class neutral.  His tactical early speed and his inside post should position him well.  

6 YO gelded Gentle Soul makes only his 11th start and 6th on turf where he has 3 wins in 5 tries.  Good early speed and the second best late speed of the group.  A great late kick won him his career best Beyer over the Fairgrounds turf.  

Tiz the Bomb again is only 4 and has shown exceptional promise on Turf and not so much on dirt.  It makes sense for McPeek to bring him back to grass and be patient with him.  His third start on grass since July, I toss the first effort and his last back in August was an improvement.  Sent to the farm to freshen and then consistent training at FG since mid July.  McPeek's numbers off this layoff are only 6% on 18 tries and his only 7% in 71 Graded Stakes starts.  You can't watch that ride in Breeders' Cup and not think he'll find his turf form again.  

Pixelate, Bay Street Money and Corelli are the only other considerations for the exacta.  Corelli has the best late speed and his outside post should position him well.  Both Pixelate and Bay Street Money are veterans, with 27 and 16 careers starts.  Pixelate has the biggest bank account in the field but not much more than Tiz the Bomb and requiring many more races and 2 more years.  All are making slight jumps in class.  

I'm discounting last year's winner 35-1 Calvary Charge who hasn't won since.  

I'm going to single Tiz the Bomb and put Gentle Soul, Two Emmys, Pixelate, Bay Street Money and Corelli in the Place spot, a $2 bet for $10.  Maybe I'll trim it to $8 but we'll see.

I'd be remiss to not remember my first cousin, Joe Toarmino, who passed away this week.  Joe was born to my dear Aunt Rose, the woman who first introduced horses to me.  Joe was a horse player and loved his annual trips to Saratoga. I only saw him once a year, but every conversation involved horse racing.  Joe leaves behind a devoted wife, Colleen and three wonderful daughters, Alicia, Elizabeth and Andrea,  brothers Russ, Michael and Christopher and sisters Kara, Peggy, Patty and Jane and others.

Rest in Peace in Joe.  Cash those tickets.

Turk Out

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Nomination Is In: The San Marcos Grade 3 at Santa Anita


Welcome Friends to The Turk Blog, where we focus on handicapping and exacta betting of Turf Horse Races.  

Every year, when I'm mentally engaged, and that engagement has returned for me, I enjoy the progression of races , and the horse athletes.  It helps your handicapping tremendously to follow the flow of the Conditions Book  and where the Trainers bring their runners next.  Getting second and third looks at these horses really allows you to project ahead and find those overlays that every horse player needs to make up for the inevitable misses.  One I've been tracking is that beautiful Grey/Roan pictured, The Grey Wizard (Ire).  Motion and Velazquez have a lot of horse, only 2 races into the geldings 4 YO campaign, and already the resume is impressive:  A Place in a G3 and G2 and a very impressive  1 1/4 Turf Allowance win last time out here at Santa Anita (video below).  If you play the horses long enough you get to watch 3-4 year careers at best, and that's one reason I like turf racing as they tend to race longer.  My favorite part of the sport is watching horses like Dicey Mo Chara succeed, and horses like The Grey Wizard to emerge.  Each race is an opportunity for that, and the progression these horses will take through the calendar, across the meets, just adds to it.  It's a great sport if it can ever be managed in a more unified fashion.  Anyways, I leave those sorts of topics for more professional writers, and I stick to my thing.  Let's get after it!

The San Marcos Grade 3: 1 1/4 Miles on Downhill Turf Course for 4 YO and Up


I've added a new column to my analysis beginning with this race.  As I've always done, I adjust the Morning Line to percentage which includes track takeout, the ever increasing tack takeout, and from there I adjust the ML to 100% by lowering each horse by the 33% takeout that the ML's add to the win odds.  I'm trying to find apples and apples with the fair line, and while this method isn't perfect, it's helpful to me to make this conversion and look for the inconsistencies. Expect the Turf to be firm and the weather good.  I don't see any threat to turf conditions degrading. 

Let's take a look at some relevant recent video.

John Henry Turf Cup G2:  SA 1 1/14 Miles Firm;  1 Oct 2022

San Gabriel G2; SA  1 1/8 Firm; 26 December 2022

Allowance $73K N1X;  SA 1 1/4 Miles good turf;  20 January 23

Hollywood Turf Cup G2;  Del Mar 1 1/2 Miles Firm Turf; 25 November 2022

Masteroffoxhounds is my chalk, albeit light.  The win on this course at this distance in the John Henry Turf Cup gives him credentials.  Conditioner D'Mato and Rispoli, Up combine for 31% win rate at SA and Risoli was up for the John Henry.  2 wins last 13 starts.  7 of 7 in the money at SA, 4 of 5 in the money at the distance.

Dicey Mo Chara (GB) is one of the Turk's favorite runners in training currently.  $6,800  price tag with $430,000 in career earnings.  5 of 8 in the money at SA.   Powell and Hernandez, up, win 39% of the time together at SA. Hernandez is a 29% winner in 94 mounts this meet. Loved his last out San Gabriel which I broke down in this blog post.  

I already fan boy'd The Grey Wizard (Ire).  At 4 YO we could be looking at a star, but I'm not ready to crown him yet.  I think he's a legitimate win candidate here and will legitimately be overlooked by betting public in the top two spots.  That's a value proposition that I like to take a swing at when I see it.  Compare his allowance time (2:01 3/5s) over good turf to Masteroffoxhounds sub 2 min classic distance on firm turf and that equates to multiple lengths back.  

Avenue, Say the Word and Cash Equity (Fr) round out my potential Exacta players. 

 I'm shading down Prince Abama (Ire) at my own peril.  0 wins in 6 SA starts, no starts at the distance, but training sharper lately. I just don't put alot of stock in the Hollywood (why do they do this?) Turf Cup at marathon distance. One thing to note is the D'Amato/Prat 25% wins in 53 starts at SA but also Prat's current meet 7%.  

What to do with this:

I'm leaning towards not overthinking this  and going with $2 Exact with 4 OVER 7-9-10-8-6 for $10.
I think that's a mid probable, high reward value proposition especially if someone can shock for Place.  

Have fun friends, Turk Out! 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Nomination Is In: The Pegasus World Cup Turf International G1 at GP

Ivar: Photo Bloodhorse
 Welcome back to The Turk Blog, where I previously handicapped Race 11, the Pegasus World Cup  Filly and Mare Turf G3 and today we target Race 12, the Pegasus World Cup Turf Cup G1.  

 So much nuance on the past performances, especially for older runners over routes of grass.  My base handicap tries to ignore the pace scenario and focus on ranking who the best horses are, in order, and then a fair line is set.  The fair line is set to 100% while the Morning Line is calibrated to track takeout, ever increasing track takeout.  I don't get hung up on the percentages too much, but the ordering of the horses and where I think they may finish relative to an exacta bet, the focal point of this blog.  So much nuance with this group.  That handsome fella to the left is Ivar, the b7 year old son of Agnes Gold (JPN) from Sunday Silence.  They really can bred the turf runners in South America.  

I am just going to post my base handicap for now.  I spent so much time building it I ran out of time to prattle on about the video I pulled on many of them.

The Pegasus World Cup Turf International G1; 1 1/8 Miles on expected Firm Turf for 4 YO and Up

I'm going to go deep with this one, taking my Win and Place horses into the exacta:  My initial thoughts just to memorialize it is:  $2 Exacta: 10/12 OVER 10-12-6-2-7-9 for $20.

Enjoy the racing friends!

Turk Out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Nomination Is In: The $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf G3 at Gulfstream Park


Welcome friends to The Turk blog, where we focus on turf racing, handicapping and exacta building.  My focus is narrow by choice.  I've handicapped for decades, high volume, and after all those years, turf racing emerged as my passion, and I especially like the 4 YO and Up group.  Perhaps it my European roots.  I love analyzing lots of data and big fields, unlocking the handicap into actionable information and occasionally finding gems that are undervalued by the betting public.  

I think it also fits my introverted personality to gravitate to a sport that has seen much better times, and gravitate within that sport to less popular athletes and less popular races.  I do this for me.  I'm humbled and appreciate when what I do is read and someone appreciates it, but I do this for the love of older horses with a great late turn of foot, running over a route of grass.  That simple.   It'd hard to believe but sometime in the next month I will reach 700 total blog posts since my first on 21 September 2008.  The milestone post to me is just a testament to my dedication to a sport that lets me down regularly: Hollywood and Arlington Park's closing, the throttling of race dates for Kentucky Downs, the drug controversies, it saps me.  I was an enormous Tour de France fan but the sport killed my love.  I've never let horse racing kill horse racing for me, but it's tried.  Luckily I'm an optimist who doesn't believe that Twitter is real life, that political differences shouldn't divide us and that race relations and opportunities for historically discriminated people have improved greatly since I was born in the 60's.  A $500,000 Grade 3 turf race.  These are the fun days in racing, let's get after this!

The Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Cup G3; 1 1/16 Miles at Gulfstream Park


I would have liked this one with a full 11 horse field, but you get what you get.  These 8 I have broken into a top heavy top three, a middle three with at least two that could get to the Place spot in my exacta, and and two I'm tossing and I feel pretty safe about that.  That gives me a base handicap that lines up pretty close with the Morning Line (which I don't look at until my handicap is done).  That's not a good thing.  If this was a N3X or OC60K early race I'd most likely not spend the time on bet construction, but the handle will be big and its worth a shot at it.  

Boxing my top 4 for a $2 bet would cost $24.  Simple, except it offers a really good chance to take $24 and turn it into $24 or worse.  The risk-reward isn't great.  I do like the idea of betting my Top 3 and singling Lady Rockstar in the Place spot, a $2 bet for $6.   I like that and I like the value.  Do I ignore Lady Goddess? Hard decision when you are hunting for big value.  Hmmm.  Let's dive in.

First of all the Turf was listed today, Wednesday 25 January, as FirmLooking at the weather, I don't see that much precipitation that could change that.  

Shantisara (Ire), Chad Brown's 5 YO Mare , is in my top spot in light chalk. Her best efforts, Grade 1's at KEE two and three races back, represented best Beyers but was over yielding to good turf.  Last time out over firm, was so-so as the betting favorite at 1 mile over firm KEE turf, but very mixed messages on what sort of turf she may like and in France she ran over synthetic mostly. I gave her the nod because I like her late turn of foot from an outside spot. 

The QE II Cup G1; 16 Oct 2021 1 1/8 over Yielding Turf at KEE

Only two starts in 2022.Vanned off after the Jenny Wiley G1 at KEE where she Placed. 

This is second race back since that and she's been training consistent 4f since just before XMAS. 

I like Dalika (Ger) quite a bit and can see her wiring this race. Inside post, early speed.  She has wired 7 and 9 horse fields in her last three races.  Beautiful Gr/Ro for Trainer Albert Stall Jr.

The Cardinal Stakes G3:  1 1/8 Miles over Firm Turf; 24 Nov 2022 CD.

Wakanaka (Ire) comes into GP for Trainer Mott, 5 out of 7 in the money in 2022 as a 4 YO with a G2 Win and a G1 Place.  13 of 15 in the money over turf.  Late Speed.  Tactical.  

Fall Harvest Stakes $317K; 1 Mile over Firm Turf, Breeders' Cup Saturday  5 Nov 2022.  

Of my top three, I could make a strong case for any of them.  Dalika and Wakanaka deserve top billing, but if Shantisara (Ire) returns to form, wow.  

I really only value down to Lady Rockstar (GB) and Queen Goddess for the exacta.  Lady Rockstar has big late speed and should get a nice outside look  late. Jumping in class, 11 starts and onbly $133,000 in earnings.  Last win was OC62K in June but did get Place a 1 Mile at GP on 31 Dec.

Suwannee River Stakes G3; 1 Mile Firm Turf

Queen Goddess is a 5 YO Empire Maker mare, comes in off win for Trainer Michael McCarthy.  

The Robert J Frankel G3:  1 1/8 Miles over Good Turf, SA 31 Dec; An embarrassingly easy trip.  Training sharply.  

I already tipped my hand to what I'm thinking about, but it's Wednesday and a lot can happen between now and race time.  Look for updates here or at my newly created Twitter handle, @TheTurk_Blog

Have fun friends.  I'll be back by Friday night with my thoughts on Race 12, the $1.0 Million Dollar Pegasus World Cup Turf International.

Turk Out!