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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Maryland's Own GQ

Rolling the "Dice" with a Price in El Camino Real Derby

During this 3-day President’s Day weekend the national horse racing spotlight will be on California and Arkansas as Kentucky Derby prep graded stakes races are on tap Saturday at Golden Gate Fields (Albany,CA) and on Monday at Oaklawn Park (Hot Springs, AR). These two races are the final ones of the first (Prep Season) of two series of the Derby Point System races. Races in the first series were worth 10 points to the winner, 4 to runner-up, 2 to third and 1 point to fourth place finishers. The second (Championship Season) series consist of two legs. There are 8 races in the first leg, worth 50-20-10-5 while the second leg has 7 races worth 100-50-20-10 points.

First up will be the $200k G3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, race 8 (Post Time 4:40pm PST) on the card at 1 1/8 miles over the main synthetic Tapeta surface. In 31 runnings (1982-2012) the El Camino Real Derby has produced just one Kentucky Derby winner (Charismatic-1999) and two Kentucky Derby runners-up (Cavonnier-1996 and Casual Lies-1992).


The Morning Line favorite is #3 - Manando (9-5) one of two Bob Baffert runners, finished 3rd in the G3 Sham Stakes behind Goldencents, a top Derby contender. His main rival is #5 - Zeewat (5-2) who goes for a GG stakes race natural hat trick having previously won the Cal Derby and Gold Rush Stakes here. There is plenty of early speed among this field of nine (9), which sets up nicely for one who can possesses the ability to come off the pace as well as the pedigree to “get” 9 furlongs.


HOW I SEE IT: There will be a mad dash to the first turn from #1 - Wildcat Moon (6-1), #2 – Rush In (12-1), #3 – Counting Days (30-1) and #4 – Manando, all wanting to be on the lead. #5 – Zeewat (5-2), #6 – Nina’s Dragon (12-1), #7 – North Pacific (30-1) and #8 – Carving (3-1) will be content to stalk the leaders while longshot #9 – DiceFlavor (20-1) will likely be the trailer throughout the early stages. Based on what should be a very fast first quarter, half and three-quarter fractions, most will be getting leg weary as they enter the stretch. The one who will have plenty left in the tank for a big stretch run we be #9 – Dice Flavor. Though all four of his starts have been on turf, the southern CA shipper has improved in each of those starts even when encountering trouble in his last two, breaking his maiden then 3rd in a $80k optional claimer.


El Camino Real Derby PLAY: #9 - $5 WIN, $10 PLACE, $20 SHOW; $2 Exacta Box 4-8-9          


Due to entries for the Southwest Stakes not being drawn until Saturday afternoon, analysis and selection for this race cannot be published at this time.


Recapping the previously posted selections at Laurel Park from Saturday, Feb. 2nd had 7 winners from 9 races (2 Top Selection; pay-offs shown in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $7.80 (1st race), $4.80 (2nd), $3.20 (3rd), $14.60 (4th), $3.60 (6th), $5.40 (8th) and $2.80 (9th).


The BEST BET of the Day (6 1-0-0) Walkwithapurpose (8-5 PT; 5-2 M/L) dominated this field with a noice stalking trip then took over at the 1/8th pole to win in convincing fashion returning $5.40 to WIN, $3.00 to PLACE and $2.40 to SHOW. 


The LONGSHOT PICK (6 0-0-1) Dino Dinosaur (4-1 PT; 10-1 M/L) was bet down early in the wagering, but failed to demonstrate the ability in which his backers showed at the betting windows. He disputed the early pace, but quickly packed it in after 4 furlongs of the 6 furlong sprint, finishing 5th, 9 lengths behind the winner.


For Saturday races the weather forecast calls for a chance of mixed precipitation (snow & rain), meaning there’s strong possibility the track will be OFF (i.e SLOPPY or MUDDY) at Laurel Park on Saturday Feb. 16th. Selections for all races posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.




1st race – $25,000 Maiden Claiming for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs     

#1 – Turnout  (6-5)

#4 – Mindfulness  (4-1) 

#2 – J.P.’s Friend  (15-1)   


2nd race – $7,500 Claiming for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs     

#5 – Banner Elk Lady (9-5)

#1 – Needadrink (6-1)

#2 – Cat Wiesel (2-1)


3rd race – $15,000 Claiming for 4 y.o. or N3L 5 y.o. & up – One mile

#4 – Color Cam (6-1)

#5 – War Fleet (9-2)   

#3 – Power Emblem (2-1) 


4th race – $7,500 Claiming N2L for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs

#3 – Pique Out (3-1)  

#8 – Badon (7-2) 

#6 – Count On Hope  (9-5)      


5th race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 miles

#7 – Tyler’s Smile (6-1)    $$$ LONGSHOT $$$

#3 – Financier (4-1)

#9 – Thunder Feet (5-1)    


6th race – $125,000 John B. Campbell Hcp. for 3 y.o. & up – 1 1/8 miles     

#3 – Adirondack King (3-1)  *** BEST BET ***

#4 – Service for Ten (6-5)

#2 – Concealed Identity (8-1)    


7th race – $50,000 Allowance Optional Claiming N1X for 3 y.o. – 5½ furlongs

#5 – Silver Morgan (7-5)

#6 – Hurler (5-2)

#1 – Why Me (10-1)


8th race – $250,000 G2 Barbara Fritchie Hcp. for 3 y.o.& up – 7 furlongs     

#3 – Onepointthreekarats (5-1)

#1 – My Wandy's Girl (7-2)

#5 – Nicole H (8-5)  


9th race – $5,000 Claiming N2Y for 4 y.o. & up – 1 1/8 miles     

#4 – Today’s Man (8-5)

#1 – Silent Shot  (20-1) 

#5 – Not Too Tacky (5-1)




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Older Comments about Rolling the "Dice" with a Price in El Camino Real Derby...

is that net or with your wager?
Way to nail a nice winner, GQ and BZ,
Very nice pick.... #9 - $5 WIN, $10 PLACE, $20 SHOW earned me 218.50 yeaterday at the track....
Nice handicapping, Gary!
Nice pick bro!
Same cheer goes out for you, GQ!!!! Nice pick.
Nice pick, Brian. You ought to do this for a living, you guru, you.
Zeewat, Nina's Castle, Dice Flavor.
Dice Flavor is also my top pick, GQ ... Good luck!

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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to “The Sport of Kings”. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, I’ve had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t tout “chalk”. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections for Maryland tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) at TheRacingBiz, see "The GQ Approach".

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post “GQ’s Derby Double Dozen” in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.


"I lost $2 at Santa Anita and I've spent $3 million trying to get it back." - Mickey Rooney

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