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Weekend Turf Stakes Offer Value

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 5/25/2012 4:20:53 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds ??? Aqsaam, Hit It Rich, Arena Elvira, Draw It, Compari, Tigah, Mobilized, Mr. Commons
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips ??? The Sheepshead Bay, The American Handicap
Where: Belmont Park, Hollywood Park
When: Saturday, May 26th

With Past Performance info not yet available for Monday???s Memorial Day Grade 1 headliners like the Met Mile, Ogden Phipps, and Acorn at Belmont Park, as well as the Gamely at Hollywood Park, we???ll focus our attention on a pair of grass stakes on Saturday. The Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay may go on a soggy Belmont Park Inner Turf course, or it could be moved to the main track. We???ll also take a look at the Grade 2 American Handicap at Hollywood Park.

The well-regarded Aruna, trained by Graham Motion, is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Sheepshead Bay, and is expected to rebound from a subpar effort in her 2012 debut at Keeneland. The 5YO mare was a close-up 5th in the 1 3/8th-mile Breeders??? Cup Filly & Mare Turf to close out her 2011 campaign, so the distance fits. She???s also performed well on less-than-firm ground, but the turf condition for Saturday could be yielding or even soft, so it will be interesting to see which of these distaffers appreciates the going. Hit It Rich (7-2) got up to beat the front-running Aqsaam (4-1) last out in the Grade 3 Orchid at Gulfstream Park. Aqsaam opened up an early 12-length lead that day, so she???ll need to ration her speed a bit better in Saturday???s affair. This well-bred $440,000 weanling purchase is lightly-raced, so I???m expecting her to improve with experience. Note she won her debut on a sloppy Saratoga main track, going from last-to-first after a very slow beginning. If the race is moved to the Belmont???s main oval, she could be equally dangerous. I???ll bet on Aqsaam to win and place at odds of 4-1 or better, regardless of surface.

Mr. Commons (8-5) will no doubt go favored in the American Handicap, and is the most likely winner. That last loss at 4-5 bothers me, however, and he???ll be no bargain at the windows. I???m intrigued by the John Sadler-trained Tigah (8-1). He picks up the services of the highly-talented Joel Rosario, and gets in light at 113 lbs. This 4yo kept very solid company in France last year, and should be fully acclimated to U.S racing in this, his fourth start stateside. Perhaps he needed his last after a two-month break, so I???m expecting a career-best effort. I???ll take an across-the-board shot with this up-and-comer from a sharp barn at a juicy price of 6-1 or better.

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

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