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HRN Original Blog:
Handicapper's Corner

Iowa Festival of Racing Kicks Off Friday Night

Friday night kicks off the biggest weekend of racing at Prairie Meadows. The Iowa Festival of Racing contains of a six-pack of 6-figure stakes, highlighted by Saturday’s Grade 3 $250,000 Iowa Derby, featuring 2011 2-year-old champion Hansen and the Grade 3 $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap, featuring multiple-graded-stakes winners Successful Dan, Awesome Gem and Headache (last year’s winner). Friday’s 3 stakes are included within 2 separate pick-4 sequences (races 6,7,8 & 9 and races 7,8,9 & 10). Let’s take a look Friday’s featured races and layout wagers for both pick-4’s.


Race 7 $100,000 Saylorville Stakes, 6 furlongs, F/M 3 & up

The top-3 finishers in the local prep for this (Prairie Rose Stakes), #1 Yournotthebossofme, #4 Starlite Starbrite & #8 Salty Strike all return here.  In the Prairie Rose, Starlite Starbrite set an uncontested but swift early pace, only to be caught in the last stride by Salty Strike. With the presence of #2 Sakakawea, it appears a hot speed dual will develop. If that comes to fruition, look for Salty Strike return to the winner’s circle and Yournotthebossofme to be a factor in the stretch. Similar to Salty Strike, #3 Speedacious is a Kentucky invader who possesses beneficial tactical speed. She comes in for high-percentage trainer, Bret Calhoun and regular jockey, Miguel Mena. Owner Jerry Jamgotchian is employing the strength in numbers technique with the entries of #5 Street Mate, #6 Dontbeshy I’ll Buy & #7 Elle Special. Though none look like serious win contenders, Dontbeshy I’ll Buy appears to be best of the trio.

Selections 8-3-6-1

Race 8 $100,000 Iowa Distaff, 1 1/16 miles, 3yo fillies

#4 Sterling Madame returns to Iowa after a quick trip to Churchill Downs to tussle with Royal Delta in the Fleur De Lis Handicap on 6/16. She’s a “need the lead” type who may be quicker early on than other runners, such as #1 Someplace Else and #3 Bella Road, but at 7/5 on the morning like Sterling Madame looks to be even lower at post time and is no cinch. #5 Another World and #6 Brushed By A Star look to be the only other win contenders in the Iowa Distaff, and I’ll lean toward the latter as my top pick. Brushed By A Star comes off a front-running allowance score at Churchill Downs against males, but shows the capability of rating off the pace as well. Another World is more of a deep closer, and since the Prairie Meadows strip usually plays towards early speed, her late rally could fall just short.

Selections 6-4-5-1

Race 9 $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap, 6 furlongs, 3 & up

#3 Rothko is undefeated in 3 tries at 6 furlongs, including a victory in the Grade 3 Aristides at Churchill Downs last out. In that effort, he had the disadvantageous #1 post and soundly defeated #1 Noble’s Promise.  Since breaking his maiden, Rothko is 3-for-5 with both defeats coming at the hands of The Factor. Trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Satish Sanan's Padua Stable are trying to team up for their second Iowa Sprint after winning in 2010 with Majesticperfection. #2 Warning Song dominated a group of optional claimer here on 5/24. He was claimed for $35,000 out of that race by Jon Arnett, who is 33% off the claim. It appears Warning Song has found his best game with the cut back to 1-turn dirt races. #1 Noble’s Promise is multiple-graded-stakes winner who appears to have lost a step, but still fits with group, other than Rothko. Another runner that poses some questions is #5 Capt. Bullet Bob. He hails from the same owner/trainer combo that won the local prep for this race (Prairie Express Stakes) with River Bear. It makes me wonder why they chose Capt. Bullet Bob for this spot and not River Bear. Is Capt. Bullet Bob in better form, or is there something wrong with River Bear and this is Plan B? I don’t think he is a candidate to win, but Capt. Bullet Bob should be used in exotics. #7 Wiredfortwotwenty ran third in the Prairie Express after dueling through a ½ mile in 44 2/5 seconds. It looks like he could shake loose early and hang on for a piece at a price.

Selections 3-2-1-7

Pick-4 Plays & Good luck!

Race 6 (middle pick 4)
$2.50 P4 5/3,4/4,5,6/3=$15
$2.50 P4 5/3,4/4/3=$5
$1.00 P4 4,7,8,9,11/3,4/4,5,6/3=$30
$1.00 P4 5/3,4/4,5,6/2=$6
$0.50 P4 4,7,8,9,11/3,4/4,5,6/2=$15
$0.50 P4 2,6,12/3,4/4,5,6/3=$9
Total bets=$80

Race 7 (late pick 4)
$2.00 P4 3,4/4,5,6/3/8,11=$24
$1.00 P4 3,4/4,5,6/2/8,11=$12
$1.00 P4 3,4/4,5,6/3/5,10=$12
$0.50 P4 3,4/4,5,6/2/5,10=$6
$0.50 P4 3,4/4,5,6/3/4,6,9,12=$12
Total Bets=$66


Please be sure to follow me on Twitter-@Cappercorner and/or friend me on facebook.com to continue the horse racing conversation!



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Older Comments about Iowa Festival of Racing Kicks Off Friday Night...

let's get that 7 in the 1st leg 20-1 M/L!
I went with the old: 4,5,7/3,4/4,5,6,/3,7 in the 6th through 9th Pick 4 ... Let's hit another one, Jasen!
Due to late scratches changes have been made to suggested pick-4 plays.
Rothko looks like the best bet of the trio to me as well ... looks like you have a solid strategy here, Jasen ... good luck!

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Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, NE.  From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10.  Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for handicapping the races has risen to a new level.  Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.


My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch.   My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping pick-4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.


The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do.  From week to week, I’ll explain angles I think are important to locate winners.  I encourage others to post picks they like too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions.  That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal.-Best of luck, Jasen Mangrum

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