Weekend Plays: Instilled Regard can outrun Fort Lauderdale odds

December 13, 2019 12:50pm
Weekend Plays: Instilled Regard can outrun Fort Lauderdale odds
Photo: Hodges Photography
Finding value in horse racing means a search for the horse who offers more than the odds suggest. It does not mean the horse is definitely going to win, but there are subtle factors that make him likely to outrun his odds.

In the case of Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Instilled Regard is probably an overlay at 8-1 given his consistency and past races against a couple of these opponents. He leads off the five selections for Saturday.

Gulfstream Park Race 9: Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (G2)

Instilled Regard
is making his second start off a layoff. He returned from a 190-day vacation to finish a closing third in a Nov. 9 Aqueduct turf optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles, only losing by half a length in his first race back.

Instilled Regard crossed the wire 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Flavius in that race. Yet, Flavius is 6-1 on the morning line here, while Instilled Regard is 8-1.

Also, Instilled Regard finished second by a neck to Admission Office in a Keeneland turf allowance back in April. Yet, Admission Office is 9/2 on the morning line, despite entering this race with a four-race losing streak.

While turf margins are more compressed, a neck remains a tight finish regardless of surface.

Instilled Regard is probably equal to Admission Office and performed better than Flavius. The main concern in this event is Channel Cat, who obviously brings class to this race after finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Turf in a season when he won Saratoga's Bowling Green (G2).

But Channel Cat is projected to come from way back, while Instilled Regard can settle a bit closer if needed. In fact, TimeformUS' Pace Projector puts him first.

At 8-1, Instilled Regard is a worthwhile play at a value price.

Gulfstream Park Race 6: Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3)

A Bit of Both is an ultra-consistent filly for trainer Jason Servis, and her running lines reflect this with the amount of 1s, 2s and 3s seen right off the bat. Overall, she owns seven wins from nine starts, with one second and one third.

Also, A Bit of Both loves Gulfstream with a 5: 4-1-0 record.

In her two most recent starts, she won an allowance race at Parx Racing and the OBS Filly and Mare Sprint Stakes at the Ocala Training Center.

A Bit of Both laid one length off the pacesetter Royally Cool at Parx before drawing clear by 5 ¾ lengths. Then at Ocala, she contested the pace with Saint Moon before putting her away and winning by 3 ½ lengths.

This filly is not a fragile speed horse. She is capable of contesting the lead or allowing another speed horse to get a small advantage before taking over.

As for numbers, A Bit of Both earned a 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure in the Parx win, and a 114 TimeformUS figure back in April when she won the Game Face Stakes. While those figures only put her on par with the top horses here, the fact A Bit of Both loves to win makes her the selection.

Gulfstream Park Race 8: Rampart Stakes (G3)

With Cookie Dough and Tweeting in this race, a fast pace is brewing.

Molto Bella owns early speed too. But she is probably not fast enough to secure the lead or contest the pace with a filly such as Cookie Dough. In all likelihood, Molto Bella will find herself stalking close in third or fourth early.

Sitting right off the pace will give Molto Bella the chance to strike first.

As for one-turn mile experience, Molto Bella finished a good second in the Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs last fall.

After an off-the-board finish in the two-turn Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct, Molto Bella bounced back in the Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and won by 6 ½ lengths. She then turned in another clunker around two turns in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) before going on the shelf.

The layoff helped Molto Bella, as she won a six-furlong Nov. 17 optional claimer at Churchill Downs by 2 ¼ lengths with a career-high 107 TimeformUS Speed Figure, adjusted down from a raw 111.

Consider that most horses improve in their second start off the layoff. If Molto Bella moves forward, she fits right in as an exacta player.

Aqueduct Race 2: Allowance Optional Claimer

According to TimeformUS Pace Projector, Cruise and Danze is projected to lead this field uncontested through a slow pace.

Cruise and Danze's fade to fifth in the Warriors Reward Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park is understandable, as she contested a fast pace. Before that, she broke her maiden on the same track with a 93 on TimeformUS.

Her 93 is the high TimeformUS figure in this field. While Laurel speed figures are difficult to trust at times, Cruise and Danze gets a chance.

Considering the pace scenario, she is a worthy inclusion on top.

Fair Grounds Race 8: Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes

Chimney Rock is the favorite at 8/5. However, those odds do not sound realistic given he ran second by half a length to Kimari in the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland and another close second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, losing by ¾ of a length to Four Wheel Drive.

Needless to say, bettors will flock to Chimney Rock.

A good alternative is Binding Agreement, who broke his maiden locally by 7 ¾ lengths. The only knock is that he faced Louisiana-breds. But he ran a 97 on TimeformUS, while Chimney Rock's best figure is a 97 on turf.

Most horses improve in their second career start, giving bettors another reason to back Binding Agreement. He is likely capable of breaking 100.

Plus, there is a reliable trainer behind Binding Agreement in Al Stall Jr.

In the case of a duel, the No. 2 draw for Binding Agreement is a negative. But he does not need the lead, as he sat two lengths off the pace in his last start. With Chimney Rock present, Binding Agreement is the value play.


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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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