Tampa Bay Downs presents an intriguing nine-race program this Wednesday, highlighted by four turf events. My five favorite races are below, along with my recommended wagers.
Best bet: Luvisanaki (race 6)
Best value bet: Stellarator (race 9)
No. 5 Thunder Buggy (5-2, morning-line favorite) crushed slightly lesser foes in consecutive races going seven furlongs. She stretches out here but was a solid second in her most recent try at this distance – the pick while in career-best form. No. 3 Mizzen Air (3-1) has won two in a row and goes first off the claim for the third straight time. Juan Arriagada (21 percent with this move) shows confidence hiking up this 9-year-old daughter of Langfuhr. No. 4 Dancin Dee (3-1) might have ran last against tougher last time due to a negative trainer switch. If she’s able to replicate either of her prior two performances, she has a strong case for a slice nonetheless.
How I’d bet it (based on a $100 budget): $6 exacta 5/3,4, $2 exacta 3,4/5
No. 8 La Tache (8-1) has run two races capable of winning this, one sprinting on turf at Colonial last summer and one routing on dirt at Tampa just last month. Now that she puts the two together for the first time, she’s a live long shot. No. 6 She’s So Bearrish (2-1, morning-line favorite) is an obvious contender on her turf form while dropping in class. Trainer Michael Dini wins at 22 percent with the move from maiden special weight to maiden claiming. No. 2 Royal Dame (7-2) lures Pablo Morales (19 percent) while racing for a tag for the first time and trying the turf – note the addition of Lasix too.
How I’d bet it: $8 exacta box 6/8, $2 exacta 6,8/2, $4 win 8
No. 5 Luvisanaki (6-1) tired going seven panels in her dirt debut here last month, but she stands to improve shortening up to six furlongs – strong upset possibility. No. 7 Child Proof (5-2, morning-line favorite) just missed in her debut and earned a competitive speed figure – a logical alternative who adds Lasix in this spot. No. 4 Estilo Amoroso (4-1) lures Samy Camacho (24 percent) for her debut off a modest work tab for Arriagada, who wins with only 7 percent of his firsters – consider underneath.
How I’d bet it: $10 exacta 5/7, $4 exacta 5/4, $4 exacta 7/5, $2 exacta 7/4
No. 8 Ligeia (7-2) ran into a buzzsaw in her most recent attempt at this level but beat eight others. She finds a fairly weak field and could easily earn her diploma. No. 5 Guidance (2-1, morning-line favorite) checked in behind No. 4 Lizqueenfluerdelis two-back before finishing a narrowly beaten second last time out. The human connections leave something to be desired, with 0-for-31 Anthony Ferraro training, and Ronald Allen Jr. (11 percent) taking over in lieu of five-pound apprentice Madeline Rowland. Lizqueenfluerdelis (3-1) is 0-for-17 lifetime but has hit the board in each of her last two tries in similar circumstances.
How I’d bet it: $7 exacta box 5/8, $3 exacta 5,8/4
No. 9 Stellarator (10-1) relished the move to Tampa’s turf course and the switch to Daniel Centeno (21 percent) when last seen against slightly weaker. She might not appreciate scaling back a furlong, but she’s difficult to resist at this price. No. 8 Prudent Song (7-2, morning-line favorite) was a runaway winner in her most recent start on the lawn, consider. No. 5 A Ring Thing (4-1) makes sense off her latest runner-up effort on grass, but is tough to trust on top at 2-for-29 lifetime. No. 3 Ms Boombastic (6-1) is in a similar boat to A Ring Thing – she was a decent third last time out but is 2-for-26 in her career.
How I’d bet it: $4 exacta box 8/9, $2 exacta 8,9/3,5, $4 win 9
Robert Criscola is a free-lance handicapper based in New York.