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Zazu, Wise Dan the Picks in Vanity, Stephen Foster

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 6/15/2012 5:39:29 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Rock and Glory, Include Me Out, Zazu, Ellafitz, Wise Dan
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Vanity Handicap, The Stephen Foster Handicap
Where: Hollywood Park, Churchill Downs

When: Saturday, June 16th

Grade 1 events highlight the Saturday cards at Hollywood Park and Churchill Downs. Hollywood Park’s 9th Race is the 71st Running of the Vanity Handicap, featuring morning-line favorite Include Me Out (9-5), winner of three straight. She’ll face the classy Zazu (5-2), who won the Hollywood Oaks a year ago. Budding superstar Wise Dan (8-5) will be tough to beat in the Stephen Foster, carded as Race 8 on a rare night card at Churchill Downs. Let’s take a closer look at both of these prestigious events.

Include Me Out figures to get a nice stalking trip behind speed types Rock and Glory and Ellafitz. She can make no mistakes, however, because Zazu will be charging from farther back, and the multiple-Grade 1 winner is fully capable of rising to the occasion in her second start off the layoff. Also note that Include Me Out spots weight to the entire field, and failed to get the job done in her only other start under a 122-lb. impost. Zazu gets regular rider Joel Rosario back after a one-race absence. He was aboard for all of her graded scores. I’ll bet on Zazu to win at odds of 2-1 or better, and toss in a straight 3-2 exacta, Zazu over Include Me Out.

There’s plenty of quality in the Stephen Foster, but Wise Dan appears to be a cut above the rest. Nates Mineshaft possesses quality speed, having won three of his last four graded events in front-running fashion. Unfortunately, the one blemish on his recent record came at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2 Alysheba, in which he was bumped at the start and faded to 6th, beaten more than 20 lengths. Nehro is very classy, but has trouble finding the winner’s circle. Ron the Greek won the Santa Anita Handicap two back, but proved to be no match for the streaking Alternation last out. That rival is on a 4-race winning streak, but his career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 101 is well below what it will take to win this fixture. Mission Impazible, like Nehro, is a very hard hitter, but hasn’t gotten his picture taken since March of 2011. Successful Dan, stablemate of Wise Dan, is a likely scratch.

Wise Dan is in fantastic form right now, having posted a field-best Beyer of 117 last out in his 2012 debut, a 10 ½-length romp in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland. He seems to thrive on any surface…it’s a rare horse that can win graded races on dirt, polytrack and turf, as Wise Dan has done. He has trained brilliantly since his last race, and will be hard to deny. His impressive win in last year’s Clark Handicap should be duplicated in the Stephen Foster. I’ll bet on Wise Dan to win at odds of 4-5 or better.

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

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