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Pete’s Picks: Bernie the Maestro in Claiming Crown Jewel, Taste Like Candy in Hollywood Starlet

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 12/6/2013 6:44:58 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Dominant Jeannes, Flatter This, Bernie the Maestro, Voodoo Storm, Concave, Taste Like Candy, Bajan, Untapable, Arethusa, Rosalind
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Claiming Crown Jewel, The Hollywood Starlet
Where: Gulfstream Park, Hollywood Park 
When: Saturday, December 7th

Former claimers don’t often get to run for $200,000, but you’ll see 10 hard-knocking horses do just that in Saturday’s Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park. This is a classic example of why hope springs eternal in the Sport of Kings. Speaking of hope, eight juvenile fillies are heading postward in The Hollywood Starlet at Hollywood Park on Saturday in search of their first Grade 1 score. Let’s take a closer look at these races below.

In The Claiming Crown Jewel, #7-Bernie the Maestro (5-2) looks like the play. The 6YO gelding has won 17 starts, 10 of which came on fast dirt surfaces, which he should get on Saturday. His top lifetime Beyer Speed Figure (102) came at Gulfstream Park in March when he wired starter allowance foes going 1 1/16th miles…just s bit shorter than the jewel’s 1 1/8th mile distance. Two races prior to that tour de force, he won a minor stakes at Gulfstream going seven furlongs, also on a track labeled “fast”. He’s on a 2-race winning streak, has trained sharply since his arrival in the “Sunshine State”, is reunited with top rider Javier Castellano, and looks like he’s primed to capture another stakes for the Ramseys, who seem to win everything in sight. The main threat appears to be #8-Voodoo Storm (3-1), who is in the best form of his life after being claimed four starts back and moving to the barn of Tim Glyshaw. A pair of dominant scores at Mountaineer Park, which earned Voodoo Storm matching Beyers of 99, represent the top recent speed figures in this field, but you’ll note that Voodoo might lose his mojo at Gulfstream, where he’s a mere 4-0-0-1, with a top Beyer of 88. #2-Dominant Jeannes (6-1) and #6-Flatter This (12-1) finished second and third respectively in last year’s edition of this race…one or both could hit the board once again. I’ll bet on #7-Bernie the Maestro to win at odds of 8-5 or better, and key him over the 2, 6 and 8 in exactas.

It’s not often that I’ll bet on a 2YO debut maiden sprint winner stepping up to a Grade 1 around two turns…and switching surfaces to boot! Call me crazy, but that’s what I’ll be doing in the Hollywood Starlet with #2-Taste Like Candy (7-2). Nothing else in this field gets the pulse pounding like this daughter of Candy Ride out of an A.P. Indy mare who should relish the stretch-out and handle the surface switch. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who clicks with 23% of his sprint-to-route runners, this filly has been given a pair of pair of 7-furlong, stamina-building moves at her Hollywood Park base recently that should have her ready for this assignment. She owns the field’s top Beyer (85) and did it easily, so a move forward would come as no surprise. Note the lofty Tomlinson Distance figure of 425…further evidence that she’ll love the added ground. I’ll bet on #2-Taste Like Candy to win at odds of 2-1 or better.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for this weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!     

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