Friday 5: Homerique offers best value in Diana Stakes

July 13, 2019 12:19pm

When entries came out for the Diana Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Saratoga, the race initially received criticism for the short field. But what is there is actually filled with quality, as the race contains a Breeders’ Cup champion, a multiple Grade 1 winner and three other graded stakes winners.

The Diana offers value too from a betting standpoint, and this post will begin with that race.

Saratoga Race 9: Diana Stakes

[Related: Free Diana PPs - courtesy of DRF]

With three quality Chad Brown entries and one hopeless speed from the same barn, it makes sense to choose the highest price that can win.

Sistercharlie and Rushing Fall are two of those Brown entries, meaning there is almost no chance Homerique can start as the favorite. Furthermore, Rushing Fall has only started higher than 9-5 once in her career, while Sistercharlie comes into this race as the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf champion, making her an almost certain low price.

Therefore, the right filly to pick is Homerique, who goes for her third straight victory in North America after impressive wins in the Beaugay Stakes (G3) and New York Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. In both cases, she overcame a slow pace to win by a small margin over Competitionofideas.

[Master Saratoga with DRF PPs, Clocker Reports & Expert Picks]

Given Rushing Fall, Mitchell Road and the fourth Brown entry Thais are set to contest the lead, Homerique is supposed to get enough pace too.

If Thais scratches, then give Mitchell Road more credit.

But otherwise, Homerique is the choice.

Indiana Grand Race 4: Michael G. Shaefer Memorial S.

Because the mega-popular Kukulkan is entered in this race, it might give the other contenders a better price, or at least help them hold their value.

While Silver Dust only finished fourth by a distant nine lengths in the Alysheba Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, Seeking the Soul finished a half-length ahead in third place and he won the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2).

Earlier in the year, Silver Dust also finished a close second in the New Orleans Handicap (G2) and won the Mineshaft Handicap (G3) by 2 ½ lengths too. Flameaway is entered in this race, and in the Mineshaft he had faded to third, while fellow Shaefer Memorial entrant Third Day also finished fourth in the same race.  

Even though TimeformUS Pace Projector calls for a slow pace, it should not pose a problem with the gutless Flameaway leading the field.

Silver Dust is listed at 3-1 on the morning line, and those are fair odds.

Indiana Grand Race 6: Warrior Veterans Stakes

At least three horses are scheduled to show speed in this race, including the probable pacesetter Real Story, Lamartine and Fact Finding. Right behind those three on TimeformUS Pace Projector are All Right and Dot Matrix.

This blog prefers All Right, the runner-up in the Wise Dan Stakes (G2) last month. At one point in the stretch, he inched clear, but March to the Arch caught him late.

In this spot, there is no March to the Arch. Plus, All Right also gains the services of Corey Lanerie, a jockey reliable for saving ground.

At 9-2, All Right is the choice to sit in the pocket and kick in at the right moment.

Arlington Park Race 5: Hatoof Stakes

In three career turf starts, the rail filly Winning Envelope has done little wrong.

Last September at Churchill Downs, she broke her maiden on turf by 4 ¾ lengths. After a failed dirt attempt, she then finished sixth in the Florida Oaks. But Winning Envelope only lost by 1 ½ lengths, and the winner Concrete Rose went on to capture the Edgewood Stakes (G3) and Belmont Oaks (G1) over a stellar field.

Winning Envelope then finished fifth by 4 ¾ lengths in the Appalachian Stakes (G2). But even though TimeformUS does not mark the pace as slow, the pace was slow. Notice how The Mackem Bullet got away with pressing 24.14 and 49.21 fractions, while the runner-up Regal Glory, Princesa Carolina and Hard Legacy all won next time out.

Princesa Carolina is in this race too, but at 9-2 Winning Envelope will offer better value.

Arlington Park Race 8: American Derby

It is hard to imagine the pace not heating up with Strong Will, High Crime and The Last Zip, giving late closer War Film a better chance.  

Although he finished fifth by nine lengths in the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico, he got no pace to work with after Real News opened in 24.65.

Two starts ago, he finished fifth by 1 ¾ lengths in the American Turf Stakes (G2) on Derby Day. Given the winner Digital Age, War Film ran a fine race.

Three starts ago, he finished fourth by 1 ¼ lengths in the Transylvania Stakes (G3) to Avie’s Flatter and Henley’s Joy. The latter horse eventually won the Belmont Derby (G1), while the former ran a good second in a pace-less Queen’s Plate.

War Film only needs some pace to show his ability. At 12-1, he is worth a shot.


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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