Expert: How to bet Improbable in the Los Alamitos Futurity

In assessing the top stakes races each week, Mike Shutty, author of Horse Racing Nation's Super Screener handicapping system, assigns races a "playability score" measured between 1 (pass) and 10 (super value potential).

While Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity comes in at just a 2, understandably a number of horse players and fans will want some action on the afternoon's featured race. So Shutty has a simple suggestion...

What's offered here is a small sample of the full Super Screener, which this week includes full-field analysis of the Starlet Stakes, plus races at Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park and Fair Grounds.

As for Shutty's thoughts on the Futurity...

"While Bob Baffert’s charge, Improbable, has yet to run two turns, he does have route experience in that last race," Shutty said of the Street Sense Stakes. "He just simply dominated a good field with a win now over the Churchill Downs surface. Improbable projects to move forward off that effort on this way to a new lifetime top. Works leading up to this race have been fantastic. While he may not ultimately get the Kentucky Derby distance, he is the 'now' horse and clearly the one to beat here."

Shutty expects Improbable to track stablemate Mucho Gusto through moderate fractions, then break away in the long Los Alamitos stretch. But Improbable is 6-5 on the morning line. How should we play him knowing Baffert has won all four editions of this race since its move to Los Al, and the streak appears likely to continue?

"Savagery gets the blinkers off here," Shutty said, "so look for connections to take this one off the pace. He’ll follow Improbable and is your most likely second-place finisher at decent odds.  He is one of the few horses in this field that will really appreciate going the two-turn route distance."

With Savagery at 8-1 on the morning line, Shutty suggests a cold exacta with him under Improbable.

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