College Football Week 8 Picks

Posted October 20, 2016 by The Enthusiast
Categories: Sports

NC State at #7 Louisville -19.5, 11:00 ABC:

On the surface, this looks like an obvious spot to take the points, with the Wolfpack having just taken to overtime a team that beat Louisville outright. There is some strange line movement however, as despite 55% of public support for the underdog, the spread has risen from 18. The FPI/ Sagarin average spread agrees, seeing the fair line around 16. There’s an argument to be made that Clemson’s plethora of red zone turnovers kept that game closer than it should have been last week, but NC State is a tough defensive squad that ranks 5th nationally in rushing defense and should neutralize Louisville’s greatest strength, keeping this one closer than the number.

#10 Wisconsin -3.5 at Iowa, 11:00 ESPN:

This is an odd line on first glance, but not out of whack statistically, as the computers see it around 4. A whopping 87% of the public has thrown its support behind the Badger side, which is never a great proposition for bettors. This is a game that is a perennial grind-it-out slog as two solid defenses usually keep each other’s challenged offenses at bay, with points at a premium. Slight edge goes to Wisconsin’s defense.

#6 Texas A&M at #1 Alabama -18.5, 2:30 CBS:

Enough is enough with these Alabama spreads, right? With the public about evenly split on the game, it has exploded from its opening line of 16. The FPI/ Sagarin computer average fair spread is 13, making this the largest divergence on the card. Alabama lit Tennessee up on the ground last week but looked shaky in the passing game, and there’s reason to believe Myles Garrett and a tough Aggie defensive line can give the Tide a bit of a tougher test, especially rested off the bye week. Those looking for an additional angle might recall how Aggie QB Trevor Knight torched the Tide in the 2014 Sugar Bowl in a stunner while he was playing at Oklahoma.

TCU at #12 West Virginia -5.5, 2:30 ABC

The Mountaineers did an impressive job keeping the high powered Texas Tech passing attack at bay last week, but their overall defensive prowess may be a bit of a mirage, as they still rank just 90th nationally in passing defense. TCU presents another tough challenge, as Kenny Hill leads an offense that ranks 6th in passing. The FPI/Sagarin average fair spread here is 4, but with 66% of the public siding with West Virginia, this has driven it higher. The feeling here is that there is some small edge to be had siding with the dog.

Memphis -2.5 at #24 Navy, 2:30 CBSSN

This line certainly looks bizarre on first glance, with the ranked home underdog coming fresh off an upset of mid-major darling Houston. The computers actually see the spread as fair though, and with 64% of the public on Navy, the line has still risen from 1. This reverse line movement despite public support for the underdog leads us to smell a rat. Memphis has quietly put together an impressive season, and ranks in the Top 25 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

#19 Utah at UCLA -6.5, 3:00 FOX

Josh Rosen returns at QB in a must win spot for the Bruins. The FPI/Sagarin computer average sees the fair spread at 7.5. UCLA has disappointed thus far, losing four games, but they’ve come by an average of 6 points (including an overtime loss to Texas A&M) and none have come by double digits, and two of them came without their star QB. Utah’s record, conversely, is inflated by narrow wins over some pretty bad opponents. Expect a big performance from Rosen in this spot and for the Bruins to roll.

#17 Arkansas at #21 Auburn -9.5, 5:00 ESPN

This is the reverse line movement play of the day and maybe the most glaring of the season to date, as despite a stunning 81% of public support for the Razorbacks (by far the trendiest dog on the board), this spread has drifted two points towards Auburn. The computers seem to agree, spotting the fair spread around 11 between FPI and Sagarin, which is actually the largest spread divergence on the card for a favorite. Follow the sharp money on an Auburn team that has put together a sneaky tough campaign so far behind improving play ay QB, with its only two losses coming against teams currently undefeated and ranked in the Top 6.

#2 Ohio State -19.5 at Penn State, 7:00 ABC

Happy Valley at night can be a tough environment, but the Nittany Lions catch a tough matchup here due to their inability to stop the run (103rd nationally in rushing defense). Ohio State ranks 4th in the nation in rushing which would seem to indicate that they will be able to dictate the pace of this game and score at will. The FPI/ Sagarin average line is 18, but 72% of the public favors a Buckeye blowout.

#16 Oklahoma -13.5 at Texas Tech, 7:00 FOX

Sure, Texas Tech got embarrassed at home last week by a West Virginia team that was finally able to stop the Red Raider passing attack. Still, that passing attack is ranked 1st nationally by a wide margin even after that subpar effort, and that’s a bad matchup for an Oklahoma secondary that continues to lack answers or show improvement (107th nationally in passing defense). Expect the Sooners (who won’t have star RB Samaje Perine available) to prevail here in a road shootout but Texas Tech should be able to score enough points to cover this spread. The computers agree, as the average line between FPI and Sagarin checks in at 11. The public seems oblivious to matchup discrepancy here, as 67% of spread bets are on the Sooner side, so bettors may receive a bit of edge as the line pushes artificially higher.

#23 Ole Miss at #25 LSU -5.5, 8:00 ESPN

The return of Leonard Fournette combined with a highly susceptible Rebel rushing defense (104th nationally) at night in Baton Rouge could spell trouble for an Ole Miss squad that comes in reeling. We see reverse line movement with 58% of public support on the underdog as the line has risen from 4.5, which is also the FPI/Sagarin average fair spread. LSU seems to be hitting its stride and has been playing much better offensively since the firing of Les Miles, and this should be a re-arrival statement with the return of Fournette.

College Football Week 7 Picks

Posted October 13, 2016 by The Enthusiast
Categories: Sports

Kansas State at #19 Oklahoma -10.5, 11:00 ESPN:

The computers see this spread as being roughly fair, with the FPI/ Sagarin average coming in around 11. The Wildcats have been sneaky tough defensively, ranking 15th nationally in scoring defense and 3rd in rushing defense. Where the Sooners may be able to exploit them is in the passing game, where KSU ranks just 66th defensively. They may be able to keep OU off balance but the feeling is that this is an offense that has started to click, and that would have covered easily last week if not four careless turnovers. If they can take care of the football, a two touchdown victory seems very reachable.

NC State at #3 Clemson -17.5, 11:00 ABC:

Clemson is the strongest publicly backed side on the card, with 84% of bets falling with the Tigers. That isn’t an in incredibly attractive situation in most cases to support the favorite, especially as the line has hardly budged off the action (opened at 17). However, in this case, it is hard to argue against it. The FPI/ Sagarin average spread of 20.5 indicates a fair amount of edge at this number, and Clemson seems to be gaining momentum currently.

#1 Alabama -12.5 at #9 Tennessee, 2:30, CBS:

Nick Saban is often furious with his team after victories, and such was the case last week after his defense gave up 30 points in a road win at Arkansas. This Vols offense is better balanced and has more weapons than the Razorbacks do, and one would have to think that this is the game that Tennessee has had circled on its calendar for a long time. The FPI/ Sagarin computers see the average fair spread here to be 9, so there is a good amount of edge in siding with the home team here. 67% of the public is supporting the Tide in this spot, which has moved the line a point and provided some extra edge for those on the Tennessee side, as this seems like a lot of points on the road.

USC -8.5 at Arizona, 2:30 FOX:

We don’t have a strong read on this game, but while the computers seem to indicate some small edge in taking the home underdog (average fair spread = 6.5), it is hard to shake the notion that Arizona simply isn’t a team with identity. What do they do well? Meanwhile USC has come on in its last two games and still doesn’t have a truly bad loss on the resume. Maybe Arizona’s 88th ranked scoring defense will give the Trojans an opportunity to improve upon an offense that has underperformed to this point, ranking just 93rd in scoring. In any case, this is a game that Clay Helton and crew absolutely cannot lose.

North Carolina at #16 Miami -7.5, 2:30 ABC:

North Carolina 37- Florida State 35. Florida State 20- Miami 19. So, North Carolina wins by 3 via transitive property. The FPI/ Sagarin computers see this spread as roughly fair, so it is a matter of weighing the angles. North Carolina certainly had some excuses in its blowout home loss last week to Virginia Tech, as the field conditions played away from their game plan. Still, the somewhat surprisingly large point spread here has the public supporting the Tarheels to the tune of 61%, which makes them the trendiest underdog on the card. While the transitive property is far from an exact science for betting purposes, it is hard to go against it when it indicates a different winner than the spread does, especially when the spread is this large.

#10 Nebraska -3.5 at Indiana, 2:30 ESPN 2:

A 5-0 start has the Huskers back in the Top 10, but who have they really beaten? A 3 point home win over Oregon (in a game the Ducks went for 2-point conversions four times and missed) doesn’t hold up very well after the subsequent efforts by the Ducks. The computers see the fair line here as 8.5, which makes this the spread largest divergence for a favorite on the card. Angles are in contrast though which makes this look like a trap, as for the third straight week, we see reverse line movement with sharp money on the Hoosiers, as the spread opened at 6.5 but has fallen despite only 32% of public bets backing the underdog. They’ve covered the last two games when this has been observed. This trend has been the most successful play of the year so far and this looks like a great spot to money line the Hoosiers at home on homecoming weekend.

#12 Ole Miss -7.5 at #22 Arkansas, 6:00 ESPN:

With 58% of the public on the home team here, Arkansas is one of just two publicly supported underdogs on the card this week. The teams have one common opponent in Alabama, but the scores aren’t very comparable as Ole Miss benefited from some late game luck to backdoor cover in their game. The computers see this line to be roughly fair. The hook is a tricky one in this spot but Ole Miss seems like the more well-rounded team so we will continue to fade the public underdog. The Landshark D has been highly effective on third down passing situations, limiting opponents to just a 22% conversion rate, and the passing game appears to be the Razorbacks’ bread and butter considering the extreme weakness of their offensive line.

Stanford at Notre Dame -2.5, 6:30 NBC:

Two teams that have vastly underachieved this season meet, and this looks like a strange spread. Christian McCaffery is listed as questionable, but outside of that, it is hard to imagine why Notre Dame would be giving points to anyone coming off losses to mediocre ACC teams like Duke and NC State, while the pounding they took at the hands of Michigan State continues to look worse and worse as the Spartans falter. The FPI/ Sagarin fair spread average favors Stanford by 3, and that’s enough leeway to take the points here whether McCaffery plays or not.

#2 Ohio State -10.5 at #8 Wisconsin, 7:00 ABC:

The Badger offense is still a work in progress, and it didn’t answer many questions when scoring only 7 points in a loss to Michigan. The Buckeye defense poses a similar challenge as the Wolverines did, ranking 2nd nationally in scoring. Wisconsin’s defense is no slouch itself, ranking 4th, but Ohio State’s high-powered scoring attack ranks 3rd on the offensive side of the ball. This is a tricky hook with the computers seeing the fair line around 10, with the underdog at home and coming off the bye. But, statistically speaking, it seems fair to estimate Wisconsin will score about 3-7 points in this game. Can they keep the Buckeyes under 20 points? That seems to be asking a lot…

UCLA at Washington State -5.5, 9:30, ESPN:

Washington State 42- Stanford 16. Stanford 22- UCLA 13. So Washington State wins by 35 via transitive property. The computers see WSU as just a 3 point favorite on average, but that’s assuming Josh Rosen plays at QB for the Bruins, and he’s currently listed as questionable. Even if he does play, he figures to be banged up, and the Cougars seem to have figured things out following two close losses to start the season and head home fresh off the aforementioned walloping of Stanford on the road. 84% of public bets on the home team have driven the spread higher from its opening line of 4.

Week 6 Picks

Posted October 7, 2016 by The Enthusiast
Categories: Sports

Texas vs. #20 Oklahoma -10.5, 11:00 FS1:

The underdog has shown a tendency to outperform in this game in recent years, and as a result the Longhorns have 55% of public support, although the sharp bettors appear to be on Oklahoma. (Publicly supported underdogs went 1-4 ATS on our sheet last week, with the one that did cover, Wisconsin, being very fortunate to do so). To our eyes, this has to be viewed as a really bad matchup for the Texas defense, which comes in ranked 116th nationally in scoring defense against a high-powered Sooner offense, and the FPI/ Sagarin average sees the fair spread here around 12. Oklahoma has had their fair share of issues on defense, but believe that last year’s upset loss that nearly (and probably should have) kept them out of the playoff is still fresh in their minds.

#9 Tennessee at #8 Texas A&M -6.5 2:30 CBS:

Tennessee continued their miracle season on a hail mary pass last week right after Georgia had done the same, all right after the Vols had scored on an improbable fumble recovery to take the lead. Can their luck continue on the road here? At 5-0, the Vols could just as easily be 1-4 had a few balls bounced the other direction. Texas A&M seems the more complete team here, and their stout defense led by Myles Garrett up front ranks 12th nationally in scoring defense. That could make the difference against an opponent that has shown moments of ineptitude on offense against far lesser. Aggie supporters receive the hook on the right side of the FPI/Sagarin fair spread of 7. 52% of the public support is on the underdog in this spot.

#25 Virginia Tech at #17 North Carolina -2.5, 2:30:

With 73% of the public on the Tarheels in this spot, the spread has moved down from 3, indicating some sharp players on the Hokies. Is this a potential letdown spot for UNC following an upset win at FSU, complete with a full-blown tomahawk chop celebration by the winning kicker? The computers don’t think so (FPI/ Sagarin average spread is 4), but we smell a rat here. UNC may find the passing threat they used to upset the Noles (12th nationally) neutralized by a much tougher Virginia Tech secondary (10th in passing defense vs 84th for FSU), and thanks to a horrendous rushing defense (116th), they have  had trouble stopping opponents on 3rd down (103rd nationally in rushing defense). In a tough spot between trips to FSU and Miami, UNC looks ripe for an upset here.

Indiana at #2 Ohio State -28.5, 2:30 ESPN:

There are conflicting angles here. The FPI/ Sagarin average spread is 33, marking the largest differential on the board. However, we see reverse line movement in the opposite direction, as the spread opened at 31 and has fallen despite 66% of public bets on the Buckeyes. Last week, RLM was the superior angle to computer differential, going 2-0 versus 0-2. Can IU keep this within four touchdowns? The Hoosiers currently rank 40th nationally in scoring defense with a much improved unit. The Buckeyes have looked pretty unstoppable offensively but it bears mention that in four games, the best defense they’ve faced so far ranks 83rd, and the average defense they’ve faced ranks 103rd. IU played them down to the wire last year and should enter the horseshoe confidently with a “nothing to lose” mentality off of last week’s upset win that will keep this game closer than most think. The Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS this season but we view that as contrarians, expecting mean reversion.

#21 Colorado at USC -4.5, 3:00 PAC12N

Are the Buffaloes for real? Both FPI and Sagarin see this game as a virtual pick em on a neutral field, so it depends how much stake one wants to place on the Trojan home field advantage. The USC offense finally came alive last week in a 41-20 thrashing of Arizona State that wasn’t even as close as the score indicated. 61% of public bets are on the underdog here which is the highest on the card, and as stated before, that’s a betting trend we like to fade when possible. Colorado’s improvement thus far this season has been a great storyline, but their schedule strength to this point ranks 80th nationally while USC’s ranks 4th. The Buffaloes are 5-0 ATS this season but we view that as contrarians, expecting mean reversion.

#1 Alabama -13.5 at #16 Arkansas, 6:00 ESPN

The FPI/ Sagarin computers see the Tide covering here, with an average fair spread of about 16 points. The public disagrees and supports Arkansas, with 57% of spread bets falling on the Razorback side. With the hook on the right side for Alabama supporters, this looks like a slow-burn cover for the visitors. Arkansas gave up 45 points to Texas A&M and while the nighttime home environment could help, Bama is even more formidable offensively than the Aggies. It is hard to imagine the Razorbacks scoring enough against the Tide defense to cover here if Alabama scores in the 40s, especially as their weak offensive line presents an extreme matchup problem to say the least.

#5 Washington -8.5 at Oregon, 6:30 FOX:

On first glance this line almost appears so obvious as to be a trap, and bettors agree, with a card-high 75% on the side of the Huskies. The FPI/ Sagarin average fair spread of 11 supports this assessment, however. Oregon has won the last 12 meetings and you have to assume Washington is eager to dethrone the Ducks’ reign above the Pac 12 North once and for all. It is hard to imagine the Oregon defense- which is a complete mess at 106th nationally- keeping this game close against an offense that ranks 7th, at home or not. The Ducks start a freshman quarterback and look completely disorganized currently. Take the free square…

#23 Florida State at #10 Miami -2.5, 7:00 ABC:

The Noles have won the last 6 meetings but come in as a road dog after a disappointing start to the season. Somewhat surprisingly, they aren’t a “public dog”, as 55% of spread wagers fall on the Miami side of this line. The FPI and Sagarin computers disagree on the winner, but with an average spread of Pick ‘Em, do agree that the spread is too large. Miami is off to a great start under new head coach Mark Richt, ranking 4th nationally in scoring offense and 2nd in scoring defense (only three other teams- Ohio State, Michigan and Washington- rank in the top 10 in each). The difference is the competition, as Miami’s schedule strength to date ranks 112th and Florida State’s ranks 3rd. We’ll take the points here in a game where FPI likes the Noles to win- the only game on the board where a computer favors an underdog outright.

UCLA -9.5 at Arizona State, 9:30 ESPN2:

Again a few angles we like to play conflict with each other here in the card’s toughest call. The FPI/ Sagarin computer averages see the fair line at 6, which is the largest underdog divergence on the card. However, we see some strange spread action as the line has moved from 7.5 to as high as 10 despite 61% of public bets on the Sun Devils. This extreme reverse line movement and public underdog interest trumps the computers. On a common sense level, UCLA is probably not getting the credit they deserve, having lost just twice to highly regarded teams in games that they had every right to win- in overtime against Texas A&M and against Stanford after leading for all but three minutes. Arizona State ranks 128th (that’s last!) nationally in passing defense, so Josh Rosen and his 24th ranked Bruin passing attack figures to have its way.

College Football Week 5 Picks

Posted September 29, 2016 by The Enthusiast
Categories: Sports

This week we have two games involving teams who have played mutual opponents and two games involving reverse line movement, both of which are angles that I love!

#7 Stanford at #10 Washington -3.5, 8:00 ESPN, Friday:

Sagarin has Stanford -4 as the fair spread, which is the largest single computer divergence on the card, while FPI thinks Huskies -3.5 is dead on. This is the only game on the slate where the computers disagree on the winner. On the flip side, Stanford is taking 62% of public bets, in spite of which the line has not moved. Tough call balancing the computers vs the sharp money, but we lean towards taking the points here with the hook on the wrong side of the Huskies. Neither team looked great last week and either could have easily lost to an inferior opponent but Stanford has the bigger game-changer in their corner in what should be a close one down to the wire.

#22 Texas at Oklahoma State -2.5, 11:00 ABC:

The ND and Cal losses last weekend really took the shine off of Texas in a hurry. FPI/ Sagarin average fair line is -6 for the home team, who wasn’t disgraced against a Baylor team last week that is probably a lot better than people think at this point in time. 58% of public bets are on Texas which has moved the hook to the right side of the Cowboys.

North Carolina at #12 Florida State -11.5, 2:30 ESPN:

FSU 45-Ole Miss 34. Ole Miss 45-Georgia 14. Georgia 33- UNC 24. So FSU wins by 51 via transitive property. Line looks fair according to the computers and betting trends show some sharp bettors on UNC, but we’ll lean towards the form lines here even as the favorite takes 70% of public spread bets. As noted opening weekend, UNC’s main weakness is its rushing D, and this Noles rushing attack is statistically even stronger than Georgia’s is.

#8 Wisconsin at #4 Michigan -10.5, 2:30 ABC:

This line appears to be begging you to take Wisconsin. Wisconsin is taking 62% of spread bets but causing no line movement, so the sharps are on the Wolverines, and this is a classic “fade the trendy dog” play. For support, the FPI/ Sagarin average spread is -13.5. This seems like a lot of points in what figures to be a defensive struggle but the feeling is that Michigan, being 4th nationally in scoring offense, will have a massive edge moving the ball, as Wisconsin ranks just 63rd and still has questions at QB. Wins over LSU and Michigan State by Wisconsin don’t look as impressive following last week’s results, as LSU lost to Auburn, and MSU’s claim to fame was weakened as Notre Dame suffered an embarrassing home loss to Duke.

#11 Tennessee -3.5 at #25 Georgia, 2:30 CBS:

The week’s largest spread divergence from the computers, with the FPI/Sagarin average spread at -9. The public agrees that this is a strange spread and has moved the line hook to the Vols’ side thanks to 76% support after Vegas opened it -3. Georgia seems very unbalanced offensively and Nick Chubb is listed as questionable. Tennessee seemed to really find its groove offensively in the second half against a far better Florida defense. It is never easy on the road in between the hedges but these two teams look to be headed in different directions currently.

Oklahoma -3.5 at #21 TCU, 4:00 FOX:

Spread opened -2 which is fair by the computers, but 70% of public money on the Sooners has driven the move. With the hook now on the wrong side of the line for Sooner supporters, this is the toughest call of the day. TCU’s strength is in its passing game and although Oklahoma’s secondary has struggled thus far (82nd in passing defense), they have the talent to be a top ten unit by the end of the season. TCU’s pass defense has been even worse against lesser competition (88th), which should allow Baker Mayfield to open up the OU passing game and as a result lead the Sooners to really do some damage on the ground thanks to the balance, which was a struggle in two losses to tougher opponents than this one.

#17 Michigan State -6.5 at Indiana, 7:00 BTN:

Sparty’s win at ND doesn’t look as impressive as it once did and they just took a clobbering at home while looking completely inept offensively in a 30-6 loss to Wisconsin. FPI/ Sagarin average has the fair spread at -3.5. We see reverse line movement as well with 74% of public bets on Sparty, as the line has actually moved towards IU from -8.5, indicating sharp money on the Hoosiers. It’s fair to wonder again whether this Spartan offense might just be bad, and while Indiana’s defense is certainly a step down from Wisconsin’s, it’s actually probably a bit better than Notre Dame’s is (41st vs 101st), which is a crazy statistic.

#3 Louisville -1.5 at #5 Clemson, 7:00 ABC:

The week’s largest line move as this opened Clemson -3.5, thanks to 61% of public spread bets on Louisville. Computers see this as a Pick’Em, so there appears to be some edge in taking the home team in the day’s biggest game. Louisville’s offense has been downright scary, but Clemson’s defense, despite losing a lot from last year’s squad, will be its toughest test yet and is being underestimated by many- the Tigers rank 3rd nationally in total defense and 5th in scoring defense coming into this. Clemson’s high-powered offense should be able to score more efficiently than Florida State did in their embarrassing loss to this opponent and in truth, if you had known you could get points on Clemson at home in this game before the season started, which side would you have been on?

Arizona State at USC -9.5, 7:30 FOX:

Tons of sharp money on the USC dumpster fire. Spread opened -7.5 and we see reverse line movement as it has risen 2 points despite 72% of public bets on ASU. That makes the Sun Devils the trendiest dog on the board, and that in combination with the RLM and USC in desperation mode all in play pointing to the home favorite covering here. The reality is that while 1-3, all of the Trojans’ losses have come against ranked opponents in improved efforts, and Arizona State’s 104th ranked scoring defense offers a chance to make a statement in a prime time home game.

Arizona at UCLA -13.5, 9:30 ESPN:

UCLA 17- BYU 14. BYU 18- Arizona 16. UCLA wins by 5 via transitive property. Computers see the fair spread around -12.5, and this line has risen from -10.5 off the strength of just 51% public support for the home team, so there is some sharp interest in a Bruin blowout. Still, Arizona wasn’t disgraced in an overtime loss to Washington and while the Wildcats are a bit banged up on offense, this seems like too many points for a UCLA team that has looked challenged offensively to this point (101st in Scoring Offense).

Picks For 2 Year Old Stakes Races at Arlington

Posted September 9, 2016 by The Enthusiast
Categories: Sports

7 (4:26) 7f Arlington Lassie

1 Royalty Princess (8-1): E 75 (5f turf) Lost ground in stretch when winning maiden wire to wire over turf, bullet work over the polytrack, 31% trainer turf to AW; intriguing at these odds.

2 Princess La Quinta (30-1): P 64 (5f turf) 5th on turf in maiden debut, quick turnaround and switch to AW.

3 Richiesdreamgirl (15-1): E 77 (5f) Extended through stretch when wiring maiden debut over this track two months ago, working well since and trainer Rivelli wins with 27% of runners off a similar layoff.

4 Sister Kan (15-1): S 75 (5.5f) Off board but gained late in debut here, adds blinkers, quick turnaround.

5 Lisa’s Premier (12-1): S 75 (5.5f) Off board and gave way late in debut here, quick turnaround.

6 Que Hansen (10-1): S 66 (5.5f) Far back in dirt debut, switches to AW for Maker barn.

7 Diadura (3-1): S 81 (5f) Closed ground winning maiden debut with field high figure over AW here, two straight bullet works since, BRIS Prime Power selection seems logical winner with added pace expected.

8 Hidenseeksally (30-1): E 75 (5f dirt) Broke maiden last out but took four tries to get there, switches to AW, will see more contested pace this time.

9 Spirituality (7-2): E 81 (6f dirt) Extended through stretch winning maiden debut, fig there competitive for win but came on dirt, enters off bullet work elsewhere and switches to AW with pedigree to suit surface, tough read.

10 Mo’s MVP (20-1): S 71 (5.5f) Well back in debut here but enters off bullet work, quick turnaround.

11 R Naja (8-1): S 76 (5.5f) Closed evenly when 2nd in debut over this track, quick turnaround.

12 Benner Island (5-1): P 74 (5.5f dirt) Came on late to win debut over dirt with slow fig, switches to AW with no works over it and although pedigree suits surface switch, draws widest of all.


1) Diadura (3-1)

2) Royalty Princess (8-1)

3) Richiesdreamgirl (15-1)

4) Spirituality (7-2)

8 (4:56) 7f Arlington Futurity

1 Ptolemy (20-1): E 63 (8f turf) 2nd over turf in debut with slow fig at longer distance, 28% trainer turf to AW, average works.

2 Brave Benny (10-1) E 81 (4.5f) Rough trip over dirt last out, but broke maiden here at a much shorter distance before that, only runner with a 5f bullet over the track since last start and he has two of them; live at a price.

3 Romeo O Romeo (6-1) E 81 (5.5f) Rated off pace and extended in stretch to win maiden bow over the Arlington polytrack, working well.

4 Seven Forty Seven (8-1) P 66 (6f dirt) Bad trip when well-beaten in debut over dirt, well bred grandson of Tiznow switches to AW, where he posted two 3f bullets in July over this track.

5 St. Louie Guy (10-1) E 85 (5.5f) Broke maiden last out here in 3rd try, has ascending figs over those efforts, including field high Bris Late Pace last out which should suit given expected pace as well as field high fig beyond 5f on AW, working very well here.

6 Stand And Cheer (12-1) E/P 84 (5.5f) Still a maiden in 4th try, beaten by three of these foes already but has been well supported at the windows previously and is working well.

7 Wellabled (5-2) E 92 (5f) BRIS Prime Power selection and heavy favorite here off his romping, extending 5f maiden debut win over this track; held lead and faded when 2nd on turf last out at 5.5f, was it the surface or the added distance that got him? Shows a 3f bullet work recently and trainer Rivelli is 29% turf to AW, but is far from a sure thing at these odds in a 12 horse field with so much other early speed; defensive use.

8 Birdsnest Party (15-1): P 76 (5.5f) Off board here in debut, beaten by two of these, did make up late ground though and working evenly since.

9 Star Empire (5-1): E/P 82 (6.5f) Undefeated in two career starts, only two time winner in the field was extending in both for 30% AW trainer Wesley Ward, now switches tracks from Keeneland without working here, but has experience advantage as the only entrant to have won on AW beyond 6f and should work out a nice stalking trip behind the speed. Top selection simply has the least question marks and boasts the strongest resume.

10 Oso Ready (10-1): E 87 (5.5f dirt) Won maiden debut over dirt with quick fig but lost ground in stretch, poor trainer dirt to AW record (0 for 15).

11 Maxus (30-1): P 66 (8f turf) Won maiden bow over turf with a slow fig at longer distance, 30% turf to AW trainer has longshot working evenly for cutback try.

12 En Hanse (12-1): P 73 (5.5f turf) 3rd in debut but lost ground late, switches to AW for Maker barn.


1) Star Empire 5-1

2) Wellabled 5-2

3) Brave Benny 10-1

4) St. Louie Guy 10-1

Travers Day Pick 6 Analysis

Posted August 26, 2016 by The Enthusiast
Categories: Sports

6- PERSONAL ENSIGN, 9f, 1:23

1- I’M A CHATTERBOX (4-1): We are not sure what the oddsmaker is seeing here to make her the fourth choice in this highly competitive five horse field; to our eyes she looms the horse to beat off two straight wins. She gets a cutback from her last, where she won the 10f Delaware Handicap and posted field high and career high speed figures (98 Beyer, 105 BRIS). Her back form shows three wins over today’s foe and morning line favorite Curalina and four over Forever Unbridled from last season. Appears the clear horse to beat here going third off the lay with Flourent Geroux aboard; we will see if that morning line holds for BRIS Prime Power selection (+4.3).

2- CURALINA (9-5): Favored here presumably off her romp in the 8.5f La Troienne three starts back on Derby day (100 Beyer, 103 BRIS), but she lost to two of these foes two back at the same distance in the Ogden Phipps, finishing a disappointing 4th. Still, her Saratoga form (4-2-1-1) looks strong, and her 3rd place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff makes her a strong contender at this distance. We prefer the horses that have beaten her head to head at double the odds, however.

3- FOREVER UNBRIDLED (7-2): The feeling with her is that this is a filly that is due after her rough trip in the Ogden Phipps, and she deserves a long look at these odds. She had won three straight before that race, and we like that she has several sharp workouts over the local track leading up to this. She lost four straight to the top choice last year, so it is hard to see how she will turn the tables on that one while the other is in top form, but the price may be right to find out, as she could be overlooked off a tough luck 2nd last out.

4- PAID UP SUBSCRIBER (10-1): Somewhat of an outsider among these but not impossible to make a case for, finishing just 2.25 lengths off the top selection at 10f in her last among Grade 1 company. She cuts back for this and does show a Grade 2 win at this distance two back in the Fleur de Lis. In a short field, we can’t use everyone, but don’t see a lot to dislike either.

5- CAVORTING (2-1): A perfect 3/3 at Saratoga, but one has to wonder if she is in the wrong race today, as she was undefeated at 7f heading into the BC Filly & Mare Sprint last year. She impressed when winning the 8f Ruffian at Belmont two starts back in somewhat of a shocking effort (97 Beyer, 98 BRIS), and got the best of the trip when victorious in the 8.5f Ogden Phipps last out (102 Beyer,103 BRIS). Still, this is a filly seems a one turn type and has never been this distance before and given that, 2-1 seems a bit short.


  1. I’m A Chatterbox 4-1
  2. Forever Unbridled 7-2
  3. Curalina 9-5
  4. Cavorting 2-1 


7- BALLERINA, 7f, 1:59

 1- BIRDATTHEWIRE (15-1): Looks a cut below the best here, having tried this distance three times this year and hitting the board just once. Does show a Grade 1 win over this distance from last year at Santa Anita but mid-pack runner lands a tough post.

2- BY THE MOON (6-1): Was impressive in winning her last start, which came over this distance and over today’s foe and Breeders’ Cup champion Wavell Avenue (96 Beyer, 97 BRIS). She enters of a layoff of nine weeks and gets Javier Castellano aboard, but looks light on figures and may have caught today’s favorite on an off day last time.

3- PAULASSILVERLINING (4-1): Front-running type stretches out here from her last, where she was nosed at the wire by today’s foe Haveyougoneaway at 6f, but put up impressive figures in defeat (96 Beyer, 105 BRIS). She actually holds the field high Beyer from an optional claiming race back in February (107), but that came at 6f as well, and she may again struggle to carry her speed the extra panel, although she does have a Grade 3 win at this distance over the highly regarded Cavorting; consistent type has been no worse than 2nd in all five starts this year and may not face a lot of pressure up front.

4- SHEER DRAMA (5-1): Accomplished Distaffer knocked off two Breeders’ Cup winners in one race when she surprised three back in the 7f Madison (100 Beyer, 102 BRIS). She must be respected off that effort, but now cuts back from two sub-par 8.5f outings after an eleven week layoff, and we wonder if she isn’t entered in the wrong race today.

5- SARAH SIS (20-1): Inconsistent type has shown speed at times but has been well off the board in all of her four 2016 graded dirt starts, and her only graded win came over synthetic against lesser quality foes. Pass.

6- LINDA LINDA (30-1): Chilean runner goes second off the lay here following a well-beaten 3rd in her first US start over this track and distance. Would need a massive figure improvement to factor.

7- SPELLING AGAIN (12-1): Finally earned a graded win in her last, a career best effort at this distance in the Princess Rooney at Gulfstream (97 Beyer, 102 BRIS). Offers some value off that race, but meets tougher here.

8- WAVELL AVENUE (3-1): Defending Breeders’ Cup champion and morning line favorite appears to have lost a step this year amongst graded company, although she did finally get a win on the board in her last when taking a step down in class (96 Beyer, 101 BRIS). This distance fits her like a glove, but she’s always done her best running with some pace to run into, and we don’t see that today. Likely to be battling for the minor awards and an underlay at the windows.

9- CARINA MIA (7-2): Best career race came at this distance when winning the Eight Belles three back (93 Beyer, 104 BRIS), and cuts back from 9f where she was 2nd in her last to the unbeatable Songbird. Joel Rosario jumps off Morning Line Favorite and Breeders’ Cup winner Wavell Avenue to ride her here, which is a large statement to make, and makes her worthy of consideration as a single as she starts against elders for the first time. Rosario should work out a great stalking trip just behind the limited speed here.

10-HAVEYOUGONEAWAY (10-1): Five year old mare looms an intriguing prospect as she stretches out an extra furlong here following her win in the Honorable Miss, closing forcefully after a trip just off the pace and earning a field best BRIS Last Race figure (105). One could logically conclude she will benefit from the added ground here, and as she doesn’t come from the clouds should be able to stay in touch with the leaders throughout what would appear to be a moderate to slow pace up front; could be the biggest threat to the top selection, and at a price.


  1. Carina Mia 7-2
  2. Haveyougoneaway 10-1
  3. Paulassilverlining 4-1
  4. Sheer Drama 5-1


8- KINGS’ BISHOP, 7f, 2:35

1- ECONOMIC MODEL (6-1): Chad Brown runner cuts back to a shorter distance and while he could get a decent setup to close into from the rail, there are other closers who pack a bit more punch, and considering he gets blinkers here (why?), may be closer to the pace anyway. It is difficult to elevate him over the top selection having just lost to him by over a length in his last, although he does receive an exchange of 6 pounds from that race. His best effort to date came at 8.5f (101 Beyer, 101 BRIS) but it is worth wondering whether this cutback is too severe, and this post isn’t ideal with so much speed drawn outside. It is worth mention that for all his success, Brown does not have a graded stakes winner at Saratoga in 28 tries.

2- FISH TRAPPE ROAD (8-1): Cuts back in distance off his 8f Dwyer win (97 Beyer, 98 BRIS) and has been working sharply during his seven week layoff since then, posting two best of 75 works at 4f over this track on 8/12 and 8/19. Looks primed to move forward for a career best effort from an advantageous post and appears the speed to stick around longest based on his BRIS Late Pace figures. May have been best in the 7f Woody Stephens two back, when hanging on for 2nd while running just off a wicked hot pace (:21.3/ :44.2). The pick.

3- SUMMER REVOLUTION (6-1): Enters lightly raced off of just two career starts, both wins at 7f, the most recent over this dirt track. Shows field high speed figures at the distance (105 Beyer, 104 BRIS) and gets a jockey switch to Javier Castellano. Takes a class leap here, but dangerous as the fastest colt in the race and without any real distance questions. A bounce candidate, but still a must use on top.

4- TALE OF S’AVALL (30-1): Finished 3rd to the top selection in his last and now cuts back a furlong. The last time he ran at this distance, he finished 6th beaten by several of these, so he would need to improve quite a bit to hit the board here.

5- BIRD SONG (30-1): Has shown four consecutive ascending speed figures but takes a big class leap coming off a maiden win and an allowance win in his last two, both at 6f. His workout patterns don’t suggest that he will be competitive in this bunch.

6- MOHAYMEN (5-1):  A big question mark at this distance. The feeling here is that this is a colt who simply can’t find the right race. Winless since February at 8.5f, he really is better suited to races longer than this one but wouldn’t have found a good spot in the Travers either, although isn’t changing course after a respectable 4th at the distance in the Kentucky Derby akin to waving a white flag? He doesn’t appear to have the pure speed of the top contenders here, although did he post a bullet move over the Saratoga track, the fastest of 75 at the 4f distance, which is worth consideration. There are prices in here we like better relative to their chances, however, and as we have played against him all year, will continue to do so until he proves us wrong.

7- STAR HILL (20-1): Broke his maiden at this distance but hasn’t won since then. This is probably his ideal spot as he is well-suited to one turn races and cuts back from 8.5f, but picks a tough group here as he doesn’t stack up with the best of these on figures. He did turn in a solid effort when 3rd in the Woody Stephens two back at this distance in a similar cutback spot (97 BRIS, 91 Beyer) behind two colts we like here, but he can’t be elevated above them. He does get blinkers which should help him stay in contact with the field, but we wonder if that takes him out of his game a bit, as he would need to improve to hit the board anyway and seems best making one run late.

8- MIND YOUR BISCUITS (15-1): Closing type has won two straight at shorter distances, including the Grade 2 Amsterdam at 6.5f (94 Beyer, 94 BRIS). He should benefit from the added distance, but there are other closers in here that show higher Average BRIS Late Pace numbers.

9- JAZZY TIMES (8-1): The lesser regarded Baffert entry stretches out to 7f for the first time off an impressive win in optional claiming company in his last at 6.5f (101 Beyer, 102 Beyer). Speedy runner goes blinkers off here and meets graded company for the first time; looking elsewhere as a pace duel seems imminent.

10- RATED R SUPERSTAR (20-1): Has benefited from a change in tactics in winning his last two races from off the pace, and that style should suit well here. He won at this distance last out in the Grade 3 Carry Back (97 Beyer, 103 BRIS), posting a field high BRIS Late Pace Figure (110). Recent works have left something to be desired off the eight week layoff but at these odds he is certainly worth including in case the race falls apart up front, as he would be a logical candidate to pick up the pieces.

11- NOHOLDINGBACKBEAR (10-1): Need-the-lead type has put up eye-catching speed figures on synthetic at Woodbine at shorter distances (101 Beyer, 105 BRIS) but has not duplicated that form on dirt. Combined with the pace duel that is likely to unfold, he seems a rather obvious play against.

12- TOM’S READY (12-1): Starts off a field high eleven week layoff but turned in a career best race in his last, closing into a manic pace to defeat the top selection at this distance in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens (95 Beyer, 100 BRIS). Has been working forwardly enough to be right there at the end again and should see plenty of pace to close into with his field high BRIS Average Late Pace figure (108), but freshness and back form remain questions.

13- DREFONG (4-1): Speedster from the Baffert barn takes a class leap off a 6.5f win in optional claiming company out west (103 Beyer, 103 BRIS). The speed figures are competitive, but he will be involved in the early pace from the widest post of all and although he has shown extension in his wins, has never run beyond 6.5f. Baffert hasn’t won in graded company at Saratoga in a while (four years) and without any works over the local track, we wonder whether Del Mar shipper will take to the deeper dirt here.


  1. Fish Trappe Road 8-1
  2. Summer Revolution 6-1
  3. Tom’s Ready 12-1
  4. Rated R Superstar 20-1


9- FOREGO- 7f, 3:12

1- CATALINA RED (8-1): Competitive at a price here from the rail stretching back out to his ideal distance where he is 3/3 lifetime after two straight 6f races. Figures to drop back, save ground and make a late move into a pace that should be lively so the post isn’t a huge concern; stacks up well on figures (105 Beyer, 105 BRIS). The price is right for a horse that has yet to lose at 7f, and since the favorite boasts the same accolade, something will have to give.

2-CHIEF LION (10-1): Speed type has on the board finishes in his last two races at shorter (6f), finishing behind two different foes here, Stallwalkin’ Duke and Limousine Liberal. He’s done his better running at shorter distances but does stack up on figures, holding a field high BRIS Speed Figure (106). That came at 6f of course, and given the likely pace scenario here, asking him to stretch out beyond that is asking a lot.

3- LIMOUSINE LIBERAL (15-1): Second in this race to the world-beater Runhappy a year ago, he is a speed type that seems to have a lot of bettors on his bandwagon off that single effort, a mentality that has never resonated with us. He’s still not won beyond the 6.5f distance and was no match for the second choice at this distance the last time he attempted it. He does get a good post and a jockey switch to Javier Castellano here.

4- THE TRUTH OR ELSE (30-1): Finished well behind two of today’s foes in his last, and neither will be in our plays. Two back, he did post a career high BRIS Speed Figure (102) at 6f, but that came over a muddy track, which he is unlikely to see today. Pass.

5- ANCHOR DOWN (10-1): Toss his last, where he was bumped at the break and taken completely out of his game, which is to go straight to the lead. Still, his best effort when winning the Grade 3 Westchester (105 Beyer, 107 BRIS) came at a longer distance and over a sloppy track. This distance looks a bit more to his liking, but it is hard to overlook that his only win in his last 10 starts came over the off-going.

6- TAMARKUZ (15-1): Off the board in all four starts since returning from Dubai, where he had actually won four straight races. That dates back to July of last year, and he only has one 2016 start, beaten 26 lengths in the Met Mile. Hard to support off that effort.

7- SCHIVARELLI (20-1): Enters off a win at this distance in optional claiming company (98 BRIS) but takes a decisive step up in class here; speed figures are a cut below the best and do not appear to be ascending.

8- STALLWALKIN’ DUDE (8-1): Looking over his last five starts, he has won two of them, and the other three were all on muddy tracks, so he should see a surface to his liking here. Six-year old gelding turned in a career best effort in his last when winning a 6f stakes over a fast track and extending through the stretch (103 BRIS). He does have some back form with a win at this distance from last December, but has generally been more of a 6f runner. Seems logical underneath in exotics but hard to endorse on top.

9- READY FOR RYE (10-1): Colt has been switched back and forth so often between surfaces that he seems to have lost the edge he had as a three-year-old, when he was ferocious as pure speed. These days, he has taken to laying further back off the pace, possibly due to sheer confusion, which plays against his greatest asset. He turned in a respectable 3rd, beaten 4.25 lengths by the top selection in his last, but poor management of his talent has rendered him a confused horse that we won’t support in this spot despite his undeniable talent.

10- DANNIE’S DECEIVER (30-1): Has raced well enough in his last three against optional claimers, averaging a BRIS Speed Figure of 100 and delivering two places and one win over that span. In deeper here, though.

11- A.P. INDIAN (5-2): Undefeated on the year and at this distance over his career, having defeated four of these foes in his last two races. Was gritty in winning an scintillating stretch duel last out against today’s foe Marking, and also showed ability to rate in that effort, which could be beneficial as he draws wide here. Shows the highest speed figures in the field (107 Beyer, 106 BRIS) and tops the east coast sprinting division by a mile coming into this; will take a lot of beating.

12- MARKING (3-1): Was just a head from beating the top selection at this distance at Belmont in his last (102 Beyer, 101 BRIS), so he merits inclusion logically off that effort in his third start since shipping back from Dubai, especially receiving six pounds from that one and losing by just a head. We are willing to overlook his Met Mile, where he finished a distant 4th while playing rabbit for Frosted, who turned in arguably the performance of the year that day.


  1. A.P. Indian 5-2
  2. Catalina Red 8-1
  3. Marking 3-1
  4. Anchor Down 10-1


10- SWORD DANCER, 12f, 3:49

6- FLINTSHIRE (1-5): Simply towers over this field, and there is no need to waste time discussing the other six runners, as there are no attractive outright wagers here. Nearly all Pick 6 and Pick 4 wagers will have him singled, and if he somehow loses the payoff will be astronomical, but there are no angles to play here aside from him falling down. This essentially turns both pools into Pick 5 and Pick 3 wagers, but there are enough prices on the board to be content to take the free square here.


11- TRAVERS, 10f, 4:44

1- ARROGATE (10-1): Baffert runner ships east and takes a big class leap here off optional claiming win where he put up a big figure two starts back in a wire to wire win (103 Beyer, 100 BRIS). Baffert hasn’t won a Grade I race at Saratoga in a long while and this is not the spot to side with that trend being broken with the combination of his post and running style on the stretchout.

2- AMERICAN FREEDOM (6-1): Goes blinkers off here, which is somewhat puzzling given that his best races have come near the lead, but perhaps Baffert wants to conserve energy as he stretches out to 10f. For all the talk about Exaggerator being a slop specialist, it bears mention that his best races have also come on muddy tracks, which he won’t get here, and he’s also yet to win beyond 8.5f. While he ran a solid 2nd in the 9f Haskell, it is concerning that he led through the stretch and then faded; is this really a colt that wants a furlong longer here? He stacks up on figures for his win in the 8.5f Iowa Derby, where he showed extension, (96 Beyer, 103 BRIS) but meets tougher in this spot.

3- MY MAN SAM (20-1): Was a longshot play of ours in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished a middling 11th in his fifth career race. He came back to disappoint after a layoff in a 9f allowance, and doesn’t stack up on figures here. He will be one that will be coming from the clouds in a race that should set up with plenty of pace, but it is hard to be too inspired to support him any further than the bottom of exotics.

4- GOVERNOR MALIBU (12-1): There seems to be a great deal of wise guy support for this Christophe Clement trainee, who comes off a 4th place finish in the 12f Belmont Stakes (94 Beyer, 100 BRIS) and a 2nd place finish last out in the 9f Jim Dandy (99 Beyer, 99 BRIS), where he turned the tables on today’s foe Destin and was at a disadvantage due to sitting back off a crawling pace. Joel Rosario retains the mount and figures to place him in the second flight of horses, but he is still unplaced beyond 9f and his speed figures look middling in this group. Still, the feeling here is that this is a colt that has been pointing to this race and may have the most room for improvement of the price horses; useable on top, but needs a step forward figure-wise.

5- FOREVER D’ORO (30-1): Easily beaten by four of today’s foes and difficult to support unless the race completely falls apart, as he is one who will drop far back early and make one late run. Bombs away for the bottom of your superfecta, but not ours.

6- ANAXIMANDROS (50-1): Closed well to get 4th in a pretty weak West Virginia Derby last out, and looks way in over his head in terms of figures. Pass.

7- EXAGGERATOR (3-1): Perhaps we missed something, but the Kentucky Derby was run at 10f on a dry track, correct? Well, this race will be run under identical conditions and should play out into a similar pace scenario, and this son of Curlin closed well for 2nd that day, and still owns the fastest speed figures at the distance in the field (101 Beyer, 103 BRIS). Experts will be jumping off of the classiest, most accomplished colt in the field on a dry track, and we expect to get better than 3-1 on him in this spot, and for him make it two in a row for sons of Curlin in this race regardless of track condition.

8-DESTIN (10-1): Todd Pletcher trainee enters off a somewhat flat effort when 3rd last out in the 9f Jim Dandy (99 Beyer, 99 BRIS). His running style should allow him to work out a somewhat ideal trip behind the speed from the middle of the field, but the feeling here is that he simply hasn’t shown that much improvement since the winter compared to some of these and may have leveled off. He did turn in a respectable effort when 6th in the Kentucky Derby (93 Beyer, 97 BRIS), so does technically own the third best speed figure at the distance, but it is difficult to elevate him above the two foes that defeated him last out and seem to be improving more rapidly, especially as he ran closer to the slow pace that day and therefore had less of an excuse to not overcome it.

9- GIFT BOX (12-1): Turned in a decent effort when beaten a length as favorite in the 9f Curlin Stakes last out (99 Beyer, 96 BRIS). He takes a step up in class here, and pedigree wise, looks more like a 9f horse than a 10f one; looking elsewhere.

10- CONNECT (4-1): Son of Curlin won his sire’s namesake 9f race in his last, showing a half length extension from the field through the stretch (101 Beyer, 97 BRIS). On paper, it wouldn’t appear that 10f would be a stretch for him, being out of a Holy Bull mare. However, he does take a step up in class here as he attempts to run longer than he ever has before, and it’s worrisome that he appears likely to get locked up early in a speed duel. He has potential, but as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line, is not for us against more experienced runners.

11- MAJESTO (30-1): Adds blinkers today to re-focus after finishing off the board and beaten a combined 46 lengths in his last two races by nearly half of this field. Would require a great leap of faith; not usable.

12- CREATOR (15-1): Turned in a horrendous performance in his last, where he didn’t run a lick when finishing 6th in the 9f Jim Dandy. He closed like a freight train to win the 12f Belmont before that though, and didn’t really get any pace to run into in his last; he should here. Looking over his form line, he appears to alternate between really bad races and really good ones, and would be in line for the latter in this spot. In any case, we expect an improved effort as the added distance should only help for the strongest closer in the field.

13- LAOBAN (15-1): Front-running type turned in a career best effort in his last when wiring the 9f Jim Dandy and posting field high last out speed figures (101 Beyer, 101 BRIS). He got a perfect setup that day as he was allowed to lop along on the lead through easy fractions (:49.0) and we don’t anticipate a similar scenario here, especially as he will be forced to clear the entire field to make the lead from his wide post. He did post a bullet 5f work leading up to this, the fastest of 32 workers that day, but it is difficult to see him carrying his speed the extra furlong in this spot.

14- GUN RUNNER (10-1): The bronze medalist in the Kentucky Derby turned in a sub-par effort in his last when 5th over a sloppy track in the Haskell. We’ll draw a line through that race, as his only two career off the board finishes have come on sloppy tracks. The wide post does him no favors, but he has proved rateable and professional in the past, and still does have the second fastest speed figures at this distance off his Derby effort (96 Beyer, 99 BRIS), where he was the only runner near that blazing pace besides the winner to stick around for awards. The distance is probably a touch beyond his best but he should be able to put himself in position to make an impact late; we’ll go with the same three on top that we did on the first Saturday in May, and in the same order.



  1. Exaggerator 3-1
  2. Gun Runner 10-1
  3. Creator 15-1
  4. Governor Malibu 12-1



Pick 6:

I’m A Chatterbox/

Carina Mia/

Fish Trappe Road, Summer Revolution/

A.P. Indian, Catalina Red


Exaggerator, Gun Runner


Pick 4:

Fish Trappe Road, Summer Revolution, Tom’s Ready, Rated R Superstar/

A.P. Indian, Catalina Red, Marking


Exaggerator, Gun Runner, Creator, Governor Malibu

Arlington Million Festival Races Picks and Analysis

Posted August 12, 2016 by The Enthusiast
Categories: Sports

6- American St. Leger, 13.5f, 3:05

1- GENEROUS KITTEN (6-1, 97): Shows the second highest BRIS Last Race Speed Figure (97) in the field off his last, a close 4th place finish in the Grade 3 Singspiel at 12f. That was his first graded start, but he did defeat foe O’Prado Ole two back at 11f. He has made up ground in the stretch in all of his last four distance races and should benefit from the additional ground here for the Ramsey connections.

2-MONTCLAIR (15-1, 112): This will be a class jump based on recent form, although he is a Group 3 winner in France in the distant past and boasts the highest Racing Post Rating in the field (tie). Still, his last three races have come in optional claiming company, and he hasn’t contested a graded race since May of last year. Against today’s foes, he defeated O’Prado Ole three races back at a shorter distance, but lost to Billabong at 12f over a soft track at Longchamp.

3- HART HILLS ROAD (30-1, N/A): Looks overmatched as he stretches out to a marathon distance with only 1 win in 20 career starts in allowance and claiming company.

4- TOBIAS (30-1, 98): With only 1 win in 26 career starts, it is difficult to support him here, especially with a combination of slow recent speed figures and having been beaten handily by a few of today’s foes (Da Big Hoss, Generous Kitten, O’Prado Ole).

5- DA BIG HOSS (9-5, 109): A deserving morning line favorite off his last, an impressive score in the 2 mile Belmont Gold Cup, where he posted the field high BRIS Speed Figure (106) by a mile. That was two months ago, but he’ll cut back in distance here which should only help off that effort, as he’s won two of his prior three starts at the 12f distance, and this should be right in his sweet spot with Flourent Geroux aboard. He holds the largest BRIS Prime Power advantage over the rest of the field in this sequence (+20.7) and is tempting as a potential single here; versatile runner neither needs the lead nor a pace to run at and should sit comfortably mid-pack to wait for the call.

6- WASIR (12-1, 101): Group 3 winner at the 2 mile distance in Germany two back, but he’s been of the board in the other three of his last four starts this year in everything from stakes to Group 1 company. Doesn’t look to appear the most formidable of the Euro shippers based on current form or Racing Post Rating; should be close to the pace.

7- ROCKET PROFESSOR (30-1, N/A): Ramsey rabbit is not here to win, but to provide pace for his stablemate Generous Kitten. He has never run further than 8f.

8- CLONDAW WARRIOR (9-2, 112): 9 year old gelding has lots of experience at running long distances, often beyond 2 miles, and does share the highest Racing Post Rating in the field. He cuts back here following a 3rd place finish in a 2.5 miles stakes race after a disastrous close to his 2015 campaign, and it’s hard to know what to do with him here. He’s won at 12f as recently as last summer on a cutback but has raced just once this year; at his age it is hard to know what to expect off the ship and the two month layoff.

9- MESSI (scratched)

10- BILLABONG (10-1, 107): Appears the classiest of these, having kept company with Group 1 runners in three of his last five races, and showing a 2nd place finish at 12f from last summer and a 2nd place finish in his last. Comes off a five month layoff but first time Lasix angle makes seven year old the most appealing of the Euro shippers.

11- O’PRADO OLE (12-1, 102): Early pace presence that always seems to find the board at Arlington, he was part of the blanket finish in the local prep for this, showing a competitive BRIS Speed Figure (96). He’s been beaten by three of these foes this year at shorter distances though (Da Big Hoss, Generous Kitten, Montclair), so we tend to give the form edge to those considering this distance could be beyond his limits.


1) Da Big Hoss 9-5

2) Billabong 10-1

3) Generous Kitten 6-1

4) Montclair 15-1


7- Secretariat, 10f, 3:43

1- CHERRY WINE (12-1, N/A): Preakness runner up has had trouble finding a niche for himself. He may well have been assisted by the slop in that career best effort, and since then, he has been well off the board, finishing 7th in the 12f Belmont and 9th in the 8.5f Indiana Derby. Now he lands in between distance-wise but on a new surface. He contested turf races twice as a maiden, but to no avail. Lots of questions here for a horse looking to find his form and who likely needs a bit more pace to close into than he will see here.

2- AMERICAN PATRIOT (5-1, 97): Shows a field best Brisnet Speed Figure (100) and competitive Beyer (88) for his last race, an impressive draw away win in the 9f Kent Stakes. He seems to have regrouped since a disastrous performance in the Grade 2 American Turf on Derby Day, and trainer Todd Pletcher seems to have him heading in the right direction and rapidly improving. He figures to be forwardly placed in a field with very little true speed, and given the fact that he has been pulling away from fields in the stretch of his last two wins, the added distance is of little concern here. He should receive a ground saving trip near the lead from new jockey William Buick and be right in the mix for the win.

3- SCISSORS AND TAPE (30-1, N/A): Ramsey rabbit is not here to win, but to provide pace for his stablemate Oscar Nominated.

4- ONE MEAN MAN (12-1, 97): Winner of the local prep for this showed a tactical change in that effort, sitting back off the place and closing full of run. We expect to see a similar running style utilized here, but he will need to improve on his speed figures (87 BRIS, 84 Beyer) to see the winner’s circle again.

5- CORDON (30-1, N/A): Lightly raced recent maiden winner picks a tough spot to move up in class for his third start.

6- OSCAR NOMINATED (12-1, 101): Runner-up as the favorite in the local prep for this was arguably best in that race, having to bid between horses in the stretch after being bumped and just missed the win by a ½ length. He’s bred to run all day on turf and will finally get the chance to stretch out here with Corey Lanerie retaining the mount. Mike Maker wins with 27% of his beaten favorites in their next start, and the combination of the extra distance and his ability to rate near the pace and still close powerfully could make the difference here.

7- SURGICAL STRIKE (9-2, 104): Seems a middling contender in this group in terms of figures and form. He has kept company with Oscar Nominated, Beach Patrol and One Mean Man in his last four starts, but has beaten only the latter over that span. He was gaining ground at shorter distances, however, in those losses, so maybe he will appreciate the added ground here, and he does have a win over the Arlington course from last year’s American Derby, but there are others we like better to handle the extra ground in a race that figures to be a spread bet to begin with.

8-LONG ISLAND SOUND (5-2, 104): Lightly raced Aidan O’Brien entry holds a class edge over the field, having run a well placed 3rd to Hawkbill in a Group 3 at Ascot before that one returned to defeat older horses. He was 6th in the 10f Belmont Derby in his last, but was beaten just 2.25 lengths for the win. His entire form line reminds us of another O’Brien Secretariat runner, Adelaide, who romped here after no-showing in that same race. It may be difficult to elevate him over Beach Patrol after just having finished behind that one at the same distance, but he holds a massive BRIS Prime Power advantage (+20.1) off his three 8f wins in Ireland that merits inclusion in multi-race wagers.

9- BEACH PATROL (2-1, 105): Morning line favorite is the only other non-rabbit besides American Patriot that figures to be near the lead. He should be able to track behind the rabbit and work out a relaxed trip with Florent Geroux picking up the mount for Chad Brown. He finished 3rd in his last start in the Belmont Derby (90 BRIS) beaten just 1 ½ lengths for the win at this distance, and shows the field high Racing Post Rating. Once a need-the-lead type, he has learned to rate and conserve energy for the stretch; expect a big effort here from consistent colt.


1) American Patriot 5-1

2) Beach Patrol 2-1

3) Oscar Nominated 12-1

4) Long Island Sound 5-2


8- Beverly D, 9.5f, 4:21

1- BALLYDOYLE (9-2, 115): Aidan O’Brien shipper has been off form recently; in fact, her last race, when 13th and last as the favorite in the 10f Belmont Oaks, was almost too terrible to be believed. Is the added distance or soft ground causing her recent troubles, or is she simply heading in the wrong direction? She shows the field high Racing Post Rating and has won at 8f in Group 1 company overseas, so her back class must be respected, but there are simply a lot of questions here off her last, where she seemed without excuse.

2- AL’S GAL (30-1, 99): Made a good enough account of herself when closing for second in the local prep after sitting just off a slow pace. Consistent type has posted three straight 90 Beyers, which are actually fairly competitive here in a less than spectacular edition of this race. Sure, she takes a big class leap entering Grade 1 company for the first time having never won a graded race, but these odds are too high for the runner with the highest BRIS figure in the field (107). That number came at a longer distance, and maybe she needs that to be fully effective, but she is intriguing at these odds nonetheless, especially with so many total tosses at the same morning line number.

3- MARYPOP (30-1, 106): Ran too far off a slow pace in the local prep here but never showed much response, placing an uninspiring 5th without ever improving position. She stands to run with a bit more focus this time with blinkers added and does have some form lines to fall back on, but it is asking a lot for her to improve enough upon that effort to be a factor here.

4- NO FAULT OF MINE (30-1, 95): She ran an even 4th in the local prep here. It is hard to imagine missing the board in the Modesty and then hitting it in the Beverly D with such tougher competition entering here. Her low Racing Post Rating leads us to look elsewhere.

5- TUTTIPAESI (20-1, 103): Has run well enough in her past two starts both graded stakes, at 8.5f and 9f respectively, finishing 2nd and 1st in those races. She will need to improve upon her speed figure in her most recent start (87 BRIS), where she also finished two lengths behind today’s foe Zipessa.

6- COOLMORE (6-1, 106): The other contingent of the Aidan O’Brien contingent easily bested her stablemate when 3rd in her last, the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks at 10f. Front-running type should benefit from the slight cutback in distance here, although she did back up through the stretch last time. Still, she shows the field high Beyer from that race (98) and filly is Group 3 placed in Ireland at 7f. While we don’t support her for the win here, she is preferable to her stablemate based on recent form and seems a logical inclusion underneath, as she may be the speed that stays longest.

7- LOTS O’LEX (30-1, 97): This is a puzzling spot indeed for a runner coming off a 9 month layoff that has never won a graded race. Selling with both hands.

8- PERSONAL DIARY (30-1, 107): Her Racing Post Rating looks competitive, but if you are looking to play a longshot, it’s hard to ignore that she was easily beaten by two others here, Al’s Gal and Zipessa, in her last three starts. Has only 3 wins in 23 lifetime starts and is difficult to support here.

9-ZIPESSA (15-1, 99): Impressive in winning an 8.5f Grade 3 wire to wire in her last, but she stretches out beyond 9f for the first time, and has shown declining speed figures in her last four starts. Will be part of the speed, but we question her ability to carry it this far. Not for us.

10-SECRET SOMEONE (30-1, 102): Nearly stole the local prep by setting super easy fractions on the lead (:50.1), but still only managed to hold on for 3rd, and figures to see a bit more pace pressure this time around. Pass.

11- ELUSIVE MILLION (30-1, 85): Ummmm….first time Lasix and a weight break? That’s about all we can offer on a positive note for runner with the field low Racing Post Rating by a mile and who has never run beyond 8f, appears rabbit-esque for the favorite.

12- FAUFILER (6-1, 111): Was incredibly impressive and proved us wrong in winning the local prep for this (96 BRIS, 92 Beyer), closing with authority into a slow pace in her first effort at the longer distance, showing a field high BRIS Late Pace Figure (106). She shows field high Speed Last Race and Back Speed, and has proven ability to close into a race shape that plays against her running style. Maybe the extra distance is exactly what she needed, and the price is right to find out against tougher company. She should get a better set up this time to boot, with the likes of Zipessa, Coolmore and Elusive Million signed on. The pick.

13- SEA CALISI (7-5, 112): Group 2 and Grade 2 winner holds a class advantage against this field (she’s also Group 1 placed at 12f in France). She had a terrible trip when just missing the win in the 10f New York Stakes last out (92 BRIS, 95 Beyer), and still only missed the win by ¾ of a length to a pretty tough mare in Dacita. She gets a rider switch to Flourent Geroux and is a deserving favorite for Chad Brown, but dare we say, a bit short in this spot and far from a sure thing at these odds? After all, her best races have come at longer distances and on softer turf than she is likely to see here. Certainly a must-use on top in exotic and multi-race wagers, but doesn’t offer much value outright.

14- PRETTY GIRL (15-1, 109): Lightly raced Argentinian bred gets first time Lasix here as she moves up in class for her fifth career start. She won a Group 1 in her native country at 10f in her first career start, but there are lots of questions as she will try to navigate a trip against tougher company from the widest post of all. The Racing Post Rating is quite competitive and she wouldn’t be a huge surprise underneath, but you can’t use everyone.


1) Faufiler 6-1

2) Sea Calisi 7-5

3) Coolmore 6-1

4) Al’s Gal 30-1



1- DANISH DYNAFORMER (30-1, 104): Winner of the Grade 3 Singspiel at 12f cuts back in distance here (98 BRIS, 94 Beyer). Before that, he was a distant 6th behind today’s foe World Approval in a 9f Grade 1. Seems middling in this field and may have found a better spot in the longer race, so we will look elsewhere.

2- DUBAI SKY (30-1, 96): Forwardly place type takes a big class leap here for Bill Mott, having raced just once in graded company in six career starts. He’ll stretch out to 10f for the first time, which doesn’t bode well for a colt that led and faded last time out at 8.5f.

3- GREENGRASSOFYOMING (30-1, 99): Won from off the pace in a blanket, four horse photo finish in the marathon local prep for this, but connections opt for the tougher spot with this six year old gelding. Trainer Mike Maker wins with 27% of his runners third off the lay but finds a tough spot here with a deep closer that may not get quite the pace he needs here in this event. This is also a big class leap for a runner that had not previously contested a graded event before his last.

4- PUMPKIN RUMBLE (30-1, 100): Just missed the win in the blanket finish in the local prep at 12f, and cuts back here as he takes a massive class jump. He has never won a graded race and is difficult to support in this spot.

5- THE PIZZA MAN (10-1, 115): Local favorite and defending champion will be overbet as usual for this despite his seemingly declining form since last summer’s monumental win. Sure, he is third off the lay here and always brings his “A” game at Arlington, but betting against him has become somewhat of a rite of passage. And seeing as how he has failed as favorite in his last three starts, showing speed figures at variety of distances that leave something to be desired (92-96 BRIS, 8.5f-12f), and meets a deeper, tougher field than he did last year, now seems the time to do that again.

6- KASAQUI (20-1, 106): Draw away winner of the local prep for this (98 BRIS, 97 Beyer) fits this race perfectly from a tactical standpoint, as he is able to sit near the pace but is clearly not compromised by the distance, having won at this distance twice in Argentina. He takes a class jump here but at these odds, deserves a look for the minor awards. We know he likes the track, and he showed a field high BRIS Late Pace Last Race (102) over it, so we know he doesn’t mind the distance. Price might be right to find out how much improvement he can make against a tougher field.

7- TAKE THE STAND (15-1, 113): Impressive wire to wire winner of the 9f Muniz (96 BRIS, 100 Beyer) in his last, where he beat today’s foe World Approval and was flattered by that one’s subsequent efforts. That was over four months ago though, and he’s never run beyond 9f before. There are reasons for concern here considering he’s shown a propensity to fade on the lead at shorter distances. That combined with the layoff is enough for us to stay away.

8- DECORATED KNIGHT (10-1, 112): Stakes winner at 10f in England three back, he won a 9f Group 3 in Ireland in his last and enters with sharp recent form. He may prefer the turf a bit softer than he will see here, but does top the field in BRIS Current Class. There are others here that look a bit more impressive in terms of Racing Post Ratings, but we won’t dismiss him for the bottom of exotics and will give him a shot in multi-race wagers as a value play. He has the look of a colt that is improving at the right time and that has been pointed to this.

9-MONDIALISTE (8-1, 118): Classy son of Galileo boasts the field high Racing Post Rating. Though his best races have come at 8f, he has showcased an incredible turn of foot at that distance that appears to begging for more ground, and that notion was proven correct in his last, where he finished a close 2nd at 10f, beaten just ¾ of a length for the win in a Group 2 in England. His 2nd place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (104 BRIS, 104 Beyer) behind the other-wordly Tepin has been highly flattered since that event, and the feeling here is that he finds a great spot to unleash that closing kick in a race where he should get a decent setup to do so. Trainer David O’Meara has shown ability to ship and win before, as Mondialiste won the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile coming in from York just as he does today, and why worry about the distance with this pedigree? (10.4/9.4 AWD). The pick.

10- WAKE FOREST (5-1, 112): He has always seemed a middling runner to this space, and he proved us correct last year, finishing 6th in this race against a weaker group. He did recently close to win the 11f Man O’War (95 BRIS, 101 Beyer), but that may have been more a result of his competition in that race. He was fairly easily beaten when third in his last to today’s foe World Approval. He’s a deep closer cutting back in distance here and figures to be overbet; looking elsewhere.

11- WORLD APPROVAL (4-1, 114): The concern with him has always been distance related, but he blew that notion away in his last after winning the 11f United Nations from just off the pace, posting a field high last out Bris (99) and Beyer (105) figure. He faded after leading the Grade 1 Manhattan (98 BRIS, 105 Beyer) at 10f two starts back, but faced tougher foes that day, as none the likes of Flintshire or Ironicus are signed on today. Florent Geroux retains the mount, and it doesn’t hurt that colt won the 9f American Derby over this turf course a year ago. On speed figures alone, he appears the one to beat as he has duplicated the field high Beyer at the distance. His recent ability to rate makes him a must use on top.

12- TRYSTER (7-2, 117): Morning line favorite certainly has the back class to support such, as he’s the only multiple Group 1 winner (Dubai) in the field. However, he’s the rare Euro shipper that may prefer firmer ground, so beware if it comes up softer than expected today; his last two starts (after winning his previous three) were lackluster and came over soft turf. While he’s won a Group 3 at this distance, his Group 1 wins have been at shorter, so it’s fair to wonder, at this price and off the ship, whether this race is a bit beyond ideal. Is his talent enough to overcome that? It wouldn’t be a surprise, but there are enough questions to try to beat him outright, while using him defensively in multi-race wagers.

13- DEAUVILLE (6-1, 114): Aidan O’Brien trainee was the winner of the 3 year old restricted 10f Belmont Derby (92 BRIS, 94 Beyer) in his last, but connections opt to try the tougher spot here instead of the Secretariat. In doing so, he’ll attempt to become the first 3 year old to ever win the Arlington Million, and if he does, he’ll do it from the widest post of all, and at our expense. Figure wise, he doesn’t really stack up against the top contenders here, and the fact that he only beat Secretariat favorite Beach Patrol by 1.5 lengths after that one had the worst of it trip-wise leads us to play against and conclude he is in the wrong spot here.


1) Mondialiste 8-1

2) World Approval 4-1

3) Tryster 7-2

4) Decorated Knight 10-1