Tepin is a leading contender for Saturday’s Diana Stakes at Saratoga and the Just A Game Stakes winner at Belmont Park looks a worthy favourite. Seven runners look like going to post for a race that takes place at 6:07 PM local time. Bayern and Hoppertunity are vying for favouritism in the San Diego Handicap run at 5:40 local time on the same afternoon. Both races look reasonably open and the minimum odds for any parlay are about 12/1. There are several online facilities that provide handicapping and form guides for two of the biggest events of the season at their respective tracks.
The Diana Stakes is a race for fillies and mares aged three and older and run over 9 furlongs at Saratoga race course. The winner of this race will be automatically eligible for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf race. The race was formerly run on dirt and has been split in three years due to being oversubscribed. Seven horses have won the race twice, the Rokeby Stable are the most successful owners with seven wins and three jockeys have won four renewals including Jerry Bailey between 1989 and 2002. J Elliott Burch is the most winning trainer with 5 successes from 1967 to 1983.
Saratoga Race Track
Saratoga can accommodate 50,000 spectators and is located in the Saratoga Springs area of New York. It is the third oldest course in the United States and there are records of the sport taking place there as early as 1847. The first owner to introduce thoroughbred racing was a casino operator. The main meeting now extends over 40 days in July and August with racing on six days each week and culminating on Labor Day. The turf track on which the Diana Stakes is run is oval and one mile in distance.
San Diego Handicap
The San Diego Handicap takes place at Del Mar racetrack in California. It is a Grade 11 contest for which horses aged three and older are eligible. It is run over one furlong and one half furlong on dirt, though in the past the distance has been six furlongs. Native Diver is the only triple winner, successful three times in the 1960’s. Chris McCarron won six San Diego Handicaps between 1993 and 1999 which is a record. Two trainers have five wins and two owners have won the race three times.
Del Mar Race Track
Del Mar is located in a coastal town 20 miles north of San Diego. It is owned by the state and leased to the local racing club. Bing Crosby was part of the partnership that built the track due to the fact that Del Mar was a popular resort for Hollywood actors. The demise of Hollywood Park has benefited Del Mar with more meetings from July to September and during November and December. A synthetic surface was replaced and the San Diego Handicap is again run on traditional dirt. Seven Grade 1 races are held at Del Mar and this weekend’s big race is one 10 Grade 2 contests at the track.
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Sportsbook.ag also has a comprehensive race book with a similar range of racing nations and meetings covered. This company also offers odds on harness racing at the major meetings in the States. For each meeting there is a stats guide showing trainer records such as win percentages and returns on investment from backing certain trainer’s horses. There is weekly race calendar and a guide to future meetings. Customers can bet Win, Place and Show, across the board and in several more complex types of bet, including Exacta, Quinella and Trifecta. A racing rules section highlights odds and limits and terms and conditions that apply to betting on racing.
At the time of writing neither site had a futures market for these two races but no doubt the will be a morning line as thy should generate plenty of betting interest. Racing in the States is not in a good place at the moment but turnover holds up well for the big races even though the bread and butter meetings are suffering from poor attendances and reduced wagering interest. However, the public will get behind a superstar and American Pharoah boosted the sport by winning the Triple Crown. After completing the treble in the Preakness Stakes the horse received a tumultuous reception at the track and no doubt in the betting parlours.
Tepin’s Form Guide
Tepin’s main rival in the Diana Stakes will be Hard No to Like. Both horses arrive at Saratoga on the back of grade 1 wins in their latest races. The favourite has won her last three races most recently at Grade 1 level. The horse is trained by Mark Casse who comments: “We’ve always thought she was on the special side. She trained as good as any 2-year-old we’ve ever had and ran well, and then she had a few setbacks as a 3-year-old. The key this year is that we’ve been able to run her without interruption.” One concern is that the horse has failed twice over nine furlongs.
Hard Not to Like did not win by much in her last race but the horse was trapped on the inside. The winning distance did not reflect her superiority but is now racing against older fillies and mares carrying top weight. Hard Not to Like looks vulnerable at the weights and Tepin is the horse that can take advantage carrying two pounds less as long as she settles early in the race.
Bayern and Hoppertunity are both trained by Bob Baffert so he looks to have a strong hand in the San Diego Handicap. The odds makers favour the latter but that horse has not won since January though has run some great races in defeat. This Saturday’s race is generally used as a prep for the TVG Pacific Classic but is still a decent prize in its own right. Baffert should have a fair idea of his horse’s relative abilities but the betting markets do not give much away. The new dirt track is another unknown but both horses have worked well on the surface.
Bayern won the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year but has not raced up to that level in two starts this season. In fact the 4-year-old was last of ten in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park in June after finishing sixth at Churchill Downs on seasonal debut. There are some potential contenders lurking at the bottom end of the weights. However, Bayern may be able to overcome carrying two pounds more than Hoppertunity and higher weight disadvantages with rest of the field and win the San Diego Handicap to get his career back on track.
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European odds can be found at British bookmakers William Hill
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