Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Keeping it real by playing against favourites, even these ones...

I've just finished my Hints From Horace column for Friday night's card at Western Fair and felt the need to immediately blog about a few of the particulars.

Stakes races aren't usually good betting races but as far as I can tell, many of Friday's ten are. Mother Hen, Western Silk and Foiled Again are standouts in their respective races and are very hard to play against but there are beatable favourites in many of the other events, including two of the three Molson Pace eliminations.

Whether it's a $4500 claiming race at Flamboro or the North America Cup Final at Woodbine, my betting principles don't change -- I don't want favourites. Keep It Real is the 7-5 Morning Line favourite in the first elimination and I can't help but be dubious of him. The old version of Keep It Real wouldn't be as heavily favoured in here as the new, Lou Pena version is going to be. Pena has been making headlines in the U.S. for the last few years, winning at a high rate by getting horses to do things that they just can't seem to do for other trainers. No Pena for this start. One cause for pause. Another is the projected trip that he seems destined to have. Legal Litigator's drawn the rail and Mark MacDonald has to want the lead with him. Factor in that the other inside starters, Stonebridge Terror and Primary Purpose, will both be leaving to protect their positions and I'm left with the strong belief that Keep It Real will have to win from first-over while the very capable Southwind Lynx follows his cover. With all of these projections in mind, who can bet Keep It Real, let alone at a short price? I can't and I'm cautiously optimistic that Southwind Lynx, who was an absolute gorilla in his last start at M1, will be the winner.

Bigtime Ball is a great horse. Bigtime Ball wins more often than he loses. Bigtime Ball can certainly win Friday night's second elimination, but it makes more sense to me to bet against such happening. What's he going to be, 2-5,
3-5? Even if he wins by 20 you don't make any money. Don't get me wrong -- the horses that he's been beating in the Open class on the WEG circuit are nice horses, one's I'd love to own -- but they look like also rans compared to his two main rivals tonight, Won The West and Mr Wiggles. The latter is hindered by Friday's outside draw, but Won The West is as talented an older pacer as there is in North America and I'm relatively confident that if he and Bigtime Ball were to match race ten times, Won The West would win more often than he'd lose. Even rail-starter, Blueridge Western, is of above average talent and his need-to-lead-to-win preference should be satisfied thanks to having the rail and Jamieson. All things considered, I think Friday's race is as good a night as any to play against Bigtime Ball.

Post time for Friday's card is 7:05pm. Live video streaming and all sorts of free, downloadable information is available

The next available edition of THE PETE SHEETS features Thursday's card from Woodbine. If you aren't already a subscriber and wish to be added to the mailing list, send an email request to

Enjoy the sun...

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