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Travers, Pacific Classic Highlight Weekend Stakes Action

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 8/24/2012 6:32:08 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Alpha, Neck ‘n Neck, Nonios, Amani, Richard’s Kid, Game On Dude
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Travers, The Pacific Classic
Where: Saratoga, Del Mar
When: Saturday and Sunday, August 25th and 26th

The classic distance of 1 ¼ miles is on display this weekend at Saratoga and Del Mar. Saratoga features the 143rd Running of The Travers for three-year-olds on Saturday, and on Sunday at Del Mar, older horses will line up to contest the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. Let’s take a brief look at these prestigious events below.

The Travers shapes up as a contentious affair, will many of the starters sporting recent Beyer Speed Figures in the high 90’s to low 100’s. #5-Street Life (5-1) is a stone closer, and should be rolling late. He has yet to capture a graded event, however. #8-Neck ‘n Neck (9-2) finished a game second last out in the sloppy Jim Dandy despite a wide trip. He’s done his best running at Churchill Downs, but may improve with added distance and a fast track. #10-Nonios (4-1) couldn’t catch the speedy Paynter in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park, which is certainly no disgrace. He’ll be forwardly placed from the outside and gets Hall-of-Famer John Velazquez aboard for the first time. I’ll stick with morning-line favorite #6-Alpha (5-2). He returned from a freshening to win the Jim Dandy with plenty left in the tank. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin notes that Alpha has gained 100 lbs. of muscle recently, and is ready for a career-best effort. Offspring of Bernardini tend to get better with age, so Alpha may be ready to launch a huge fall campaign, beginning with what is known as the Midsummer Derby. I’ll bet on Alpha to win at odds of 2-1 or better.

In the Pacific Classic, #9-Game On Dude (5-2) and #3-Richard’s Kid (7-2) have obvious merits. Game On Dude is arguably the top older horse in training, and is a multiple-Grade 1 winner at the distance. He could dominate this race on the front end. My main concern with him is that he ran one of his poorer races in last year’s edition of the Classic. Perhaps this is not his favorite surface. Richard’s Kid won a relatively slow edition of this race two years ago and recently changed hands. I’ll look elsewhere for value. The horse that intrigues me is the filly, #2-Amani (5-1). This 4YO Chilean import is in the expert hands of Neil Drysdale, and Garrett Gomez gets the return call. Amani was a Group 1 win machine in her native country, defeating males in the process. She’ll relish the distance and gets Lasix for the first time in the Classic, under a relatively light impost of 119 lbs. She doesn’t have to come from out of it either. With a better start, I’m expecting her to launch her rally from mid-pack on the far turn and come flying through the short Del Mar stretch to get the money. I’ll bet on #2-Amani across the board at odds of 9-2 or better.

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

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