#6 Harper – minimum win betting odds 3/1
#4 Zapper Van Winkle – minimum win betting odds 3/1
#1 Sagaponack – minimum win betting odds 3/1
Box 1, 4, 6
Harper has only finished worse than third once sprinting in six races. He’s won only one but ran very well in a number of those other starts, particularly in the first two starts of his career when running into freaks which won by 12 and 14 lengths, respectively. He broke his maiden one before last in mid-June then when changing trainers between that race and his next start on 7/21, Harper was entered in a Nw2X allowance, race, ONE LEVEL ABOVE the condition he was eligible for. It’s like going from the AA league in baseball to the major leagues and skipping the AAA level. He finished a respectable third in that race and didn’t run that much slower (83 Equibase figure) then he did when winning (87) figure. Dropping a level in class, this colt who is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Amy’s Challenge ($550K in earnings) can post the upset opening at 10/1.
Zapper Van Winkle is another horse that opens at double digit odds (12/1) who has a better chance to win then is suggested by those odds. He’s been first or second in four straight, the most recent of those his first win on 7/17. The win came over the track after stalking in third in the early stages. It was a very mature effort and although it only earned a 77 figure he had earned 86 and 83 figures previously so has every right to be in the thick of the action on the wire.
Sagaponack opens as the 9/5 favorite and although he’s a contender, his odds are too low to consider for a win bet as he has just one lifetime win the same as the others. Sagaponackearned his first win last September in his second career start last and when stretching out to two turns. He was off for 10 months and when coming back on 7/17, he ran well here at Ellis Park and at a mile when he stalked in third, then moved, perhaps prematurely, to lead with a quarter mile to go. He tired a bit to third but that is to be expected running a mile after 10 months off so he could be stronger today and could be the one Harper and Zapper Van Winkle have to run down to win. Sagaponack also has exceptional breeding as he’s a full brother to Blofeld, who earned almost three-quarters of a million dollars and was a multiple stakes winner.
Ellis Starr, a.k.a. “Ubercapper,” has been a racing fan for 50 years and understands all aspects of handicapping as well as betting. More than 25 years ago, Ellis was one of the first handicappers to publish his selections on the Internet and to share his knowledge on a daily basis.
Ellis is the National Racing Analyst for Equibase, the Thoroughbred industry’s official source for Racing Information, writing a widely distributed “Race of the Week” story analyzing top races in North America, which also appears on the web site America’s Best Racing. Ellis also publishes insights, analysis and selections for other races around the country as blogs and as a podcast which may be found at Amwager and Keeneland Select, as well as via twitter @ubercapper and on the web sites of top racetracks such as Del Mar, Ellis Park, Keeneland, Santa Anita and Woodbine.
Ellis also participates in handicapping tournaments, winning the Belmont Shootout a few years back and the National Handicapping Championship Charity Challenge in 2017. He is among the few that participate annually in the Keeneland Tournament of Champions.
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