Saturday plays: Single these horses in Regret, Arlington

Saturday plays: Single these horses in Regret, Arlington
Photo: Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire

Playing against the favorite makes sense when an obvious shortcoming exists. But there are situations where it does make sense to trust the favorite, such as in the Grade 3, $225,000 Regret and Grade 3, $225,000 Arlington on the Blame card at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Down below is analysis and an exacta wheel for the Regret, followed by short analysis and a double connecting the Arlington and Blame.

Churchill Downs Race 5: Regret Stakes (G3)

The vulnerable filly in this race looks like morning line second choice Papillo, who is no guarantee to handle the stretchout to nine furlongs after stalling in the stretch of the Edgewood Stakes (G2) last month and settling for fourth.

In contrast, Mission of Joy looks like a solid favorite. Mission of Joy’s closing third last time in the Edgewood is forgivable because she could not find room to tip outside until it became too late in the stretch. Once she did get clear, Mission of Joy began to pass fillies quickly and ran out of time.

If Mission of Joy receives a better trip this time, she wins. The value is in beating 2-1 Papillo for second and putting one or two other fillies in that slot.

Mrs. Astor may pick up the pieces late for the runner-up position. Two starts ago on April 14, she made a nice closing bid from seventh to finish second and lose by only half a length in a nine-furlong Keeneland allowance race.

Girl Named Charlie is another underneath option after also experiencing traffic problems while traveling on the rail in the Edgewood.

Win: 3 (at even money or higher)

Exacta wheel: 3 / 2,4

Churchill Downs Race 9: Arlington Stakes (G3)

Set Piece stands out as the class of the field, which makes sense given his 8/5 morning line odds. In his only start of this year, the 7-year-old gelding made a closing bid from 11th to finish third in the local Opening Verse Stakes last month. The loss is forgivable given that the sluggish 24.29- and 49.33-second early fractions probably hurt Set Piece's closing run.

Last year, Set Piece won two stakes races including the Dinner Party Stakes (G2) and the Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes (G3). Although both of those races were run at Pimlico, Set Piece did capture three races in a row on this course back in 2021, with the third win of the streak coming in the Wise Dan Stakes (G2). He does not need Pimlico for his best.

As long as the main speed horses Get Smokin and Classic Causeway remain entered, Set Piece should receive enough pace to get the job done here.

Win: 7 (at even money or higher)

Double: 7 / 2,4

Churchill Downs Race 10: Blame Stakes

Call Me Fast deserves another chance from bettors in this spot after finishing second to Rattle N Roll in the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.

He had a legitimate excuse for running second. Call Me Fast lost the race on the backside when Brian Hernandez Jr. on Rattle N Roll made an early move on the rail and passed an unsuspecting Call Me Fast by the half-mile fraction.  

From there, Rattle N Roll swung out easily to the outside on the far turn and set up a clear run, while Call Me Fast needed to wait behind horses.

When completely clear, Call Me Fast did start to make up some ground towards the end and only lost by 1 1/4 lengths after Rattle N Roll got the head start on his run and came into the top of the stretch with all the momentum.

Call Me Fast can turn the tables with a better trip.

Also consider Masqueparade, who stretches back out to nine furlongs following a failed comeback in the local one-mile Knicks Go Stakes. In the Knicks Go, Masqueparade never appeared comfortable down on the rail.

Last year, Masqueparade ran a strong second to Art Collector in the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga. Masqueparade only lost by two lengths to the future Pegasus World Cup winner, and he also had 7 1/2 lengths on Chess Chief.

In his second start off the layoff, Masqueparade might show the real version of himself. He gets a spot alongside Call Me Fast as the two options to use in this leg of the double.

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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