• Miss Sunset (3-1) grinds out the win over Chalon in the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes.Posted 1 day ago
  • Bonus Points (3-1) swings wide and draws clear to win the Maryland Million Classic.Posted 1 day ago
  • La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 8 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 8 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 8 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 11 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 14 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 14 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 14 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 14 days ago
Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Saturday Value Plays

Suntracer 615 X 400
Photo: Four Footed Fotos


8th Race Gulfstream Park - The Very One (G3)


In a race devoid of any true speed, I always give an extra look to the horse who figures to be on the early lead. In the case of Viva Rafaela, I really like what I see. Not only do I expect her to be at least the 8-1 which she’s listed on the morning line, but I also see some excellent distance form back in her native Brazil. There is also class to be found from the winner of the Brazilian Oaks, at ten furlongs, a little more than a year ago. The daughter of Know Heights is only 1-for-4 since arriving to the United States, but that’s why we are going to see some nice odds. Keep in mind, all of those U.S. races came at middle distances that I don’t believe to be her game. Look for some nice slow fractions early as the field waits patiently in the early part of this eleven furlong marathon, with Viva Rafaela out winging on the lead. By the time the rest of the field is ready to make their move, she could well prove surprisingly brave at a distance that should be right up her alley. Excellent pace rider, John Velazquez sitting on her back just makes the whole proposition all the more enticing.

9th Race Laurel Park - Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2)

We go from an almost paceless race, to a race with too much early speed. I can see why mares like La Verdad, Winning Image, Centrique, and Villette will garner strong support from the bettors; they are all good sprinters. But here’s the problem, not only are they all speed types, but they are running at the extended sprint distance of seven furlongs. That distance is fine if they have things their own way early, but there will be absolutely no chance for a breather in this grade 2 affair. It should be the perfect storm for a closer, and of those, I like Flattering Bea, and at 20-1 on the morning line, she could be a taxman special. A confirmed late runner, she has already demonstrated the ability to run with good horses, as pointed out by her big performance in last spring’s Ms. Preakness. She gets a favorable rider to switch to Sheldon Russel, and when you throw out her sloppy track race two starts back, she shows a lot of good form. Hopefully, good enough to pick up all the pieces as this early pace implodes.

10th Race Gulfstream Park - Mac Diarmida (G2)

He’s only listed at 6-1 on the morning line, but I have a sneaky suspicion that you will get better odds than that on Suntracer. Or at least I’m hoping we do. Throw that last one completely out, as the Illinois-bred son on Kitten’s Joy does not want dirt, so the ugly looking result should only serve to beef up his odds. The consistent rallier always makes his run on turf for trainer Chris Block, and while he is nice enough in shorter races, I believe him to be best at the longer distances like he will see tomorrow. He is also that rare come from behind runner who does not seem to require fast early fractions to kick it in late. Having said that, if the first-time turfer, Alpha, can keep the horse to beat, Twilight Eclipse, busy for the first mile or more, all the better for Suntracer’s chances to not only rally into the picture, but run right by to pull off the upset.

8th Race Golden Gate Fields - El Camino Real Derby (G3)

I’ve seen in several places where the signature three-year-old event in the Bay Area boils down to the three favorites; Tamarando, Enterprising, and Dance With Fate; I’m not buying what they are selling. My top pick instead, will be the Irish import, Craftsman. A well-bred son of Mastercraftsman, he had an excellent juvenile year in Europe highlighted by a group 3 score at Leopardstown. His one race in America did not go well, as he dropped to last early off slow early fractions, and his late run could only get him within 4 ¼ lengths at the finish. Look for things to be markedly different in his second U.S. start. He’s working well for trainer Simon Callaghan, he’s bred to enjoy his first try on a synthetic surface, and he is getting blinkers for the first time. That all should point to him showing much more speed this time, which should suit him well in a race with very little early speed. Note that he was successful in Ireland while on or near the early lead. As no better than the fourth choice in here, I look for him to give the big three all they can handle.



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Older Comments about Saturday Value Plays...

OK, bad day for me....but there is always tomorrow:)
Ended up no value there anyway
Warbird, one of the horses that Craftsman lost to ran 4th to Giovanni Boldini (2nd in the BC Juvy turf)
Sorry, no concrete reason to support Craftsman...I'll put him in the tri though.
1/2 length losses to horses no one else in this field would probably even get a sniff of at the finish line if they went to Ireland. We're handicapping aka giving our best guesses
But his losses in Ireland vs wins are still very suspect. What was the difference there?
Comparing times on a soft course in island to the rock hard surface at SA is the epitomy of comparing apples to oranges, roses. We're looking at his works on dirt and poly (surfaces he hasn't yet raced), and the addition of blinkers which should keep him focused and closer to the pace so he doesn't have so much ground to make up on Enterprising this time around.
Okay, not buying what the top 3 are selling is fine but what exactly are you buying from Craftsman? The hunch he will improve? I'm serious,someone enlighten me before post time.
at that distance on that surface who would expect speed to do anything
Not familiar with the Ireland tracks and I understand the reasons behind different tracks clocked times but 10 sec? His winning time at 7f comparable to his loss at a mile to Enterprising
contenders: 7 Anjaz 1 Aigue Marine (GB) 5 Preferential (GB) 4 Dame Marie
Agreed about Craftsman being the only potential competition for the favs in the El Camino Real. Also wanted to point out his nice work at BHP on 12/7. Combine it with everything else you pointed out like first time on the surface, blinks on, and he's definitely worth taking a stab at if the odds are right.
Thank you, Brian for explaining your picks. Now, I completely understand, and I will be using them.
After last weekend you better listen to Zipse. I did and went straight to the bank $$$$.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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