#8 Afleet Ascent – minimum win betting odds 5/2
#7 Cashanova – minimum win betting odds 5/2
#6 Sugoi – minimum win betting odds 7/2
Also: 6,7,8 over 3,5,6,7,8
(#3 is Easy Shot, #5 is Lost in Limbo)
Cashanova won his most recent start nicely on the Churchill Downs turf on 6/18 and wheels right back for the top trainer/jockey tandem of Brad Cox and Florent Geroux. He put together back-to-back wins in dirt routes last spring and certainly is capable of another “A” effort good enough to win here, particularly as he’s on a pattern for improvement in his third grass start in a row.
Afleet Ascent has the best record on turf of any horse in the field of eight scheduled to run on grass. Four of the other seven have never won on the turf. Of the other three, one has three wins the same as Afleet Ascent, one has one grass win around two turns and the other has only a turf sprint win to his credit. Not only that but in using the lifetime PP display function of STATS Race Lens (one of the tools I use to handicap) I could see way back to the summer of 2018 Afleet Ascent almost won the Del Mar opening day feature, the Oceanside Stakes on the turf. He’s bounced around with trainers since then but almost every race he’s run in has been allowance or stakes so he’s got a good deal of value for his owner. As a matter of fact, the only time he was ever entered for a claiming price was in an identical race to this one, an allowance/optional claiming race, in January at Fair Grounds. In that race, a turf sprint, Afleet Ascent rallied from next-to-last to finish second at 22 to 1. After a poor effort in a stakes in March he was given three months off and transferred to the barn of a solid trainer on the Kentucky circuit in Rey Hernandez, who goes to his #1 jockey in Abel Lezcano (23% wins together on over 100 starts in the past 18 months). Adding blinkers for this start, I fully expect Afleet Ascent to go for the lead from the gate and in a field with NO true “need the lead” type, he could run back to his excellent effort last October on the Keeneland grass when he led from the start and held on very well for third at the end. That effort, repeated here, with a field high 99 Equibase Speed Figure, could help Afleet Ascent to post the upset as he opens at 10/1 odds.
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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