Best Bets of the Weekend
Grade II San Diego Handicap – Del Mar Race 9 – Saturday 7/23/16
It’s the opening weekend at Saratoga but instead we’re headed west to Del Mar for our best thoroughbred bet of the weekend. The San Diego Handicap is the race and it features some of the top west coast horses in the sport today. This will probably be the highlight of the weekend as it features the best racehorse in the world right now, California Chrome. You might remember California Chrome and his Triple Crown bid back in 2014. He’s off to a fantastic campaign as a 5-year old and looks to add to his impressive resume. Last year this race was won by Catch a Flight who beat a Chrome nemesis, Bayern. Bayern beat California Chrome in the Breeder’s Cup Classic back in 2014. It’s a stacked field so let’s get into it.
#1 Hard Aces 8/1 ML – Hard Aces is always an interesting horse just because of his class and he’s always in the mix. This horse has been in the money 19 times in 32 races, mostly stakes races. But as I mentioned on a previous post on here, he’s only won 6 times in those 32 races. He’s sort of a plodder and doesn’t have the instinct to win so I don’t give him a chance in this race but I could see him getting into exacta’s or trifecta’s.
#2 Dortmund 2/1 ML – The danger to California Chrome. This horse is a beast and I’m a huge fan. Dortmund was my pick for the 2015 Kentucky Derby won by American Pharoah and ran a game 3rd place in that one. Trained by Bob Baffert, this horse has won 8 of his 10 career races, finishing out of the money only once. He’s lightly raced and actually this is his first start of 2016. Expect him to be fresh and right up there either setting the pace or tracking the leader closely.
#3 Soi Phet 12/1 ML – The oldest horse in the field at 8 years old, this guy seems to be winding down in his career. Winner of 9 races in 45 career starts, he hasn’t finished in the money in a stakes race since 2014. He was in this same race 2 years ago and finished a distant 7th. Can’t really make a case for him in this field. At best, you might be thinking super’s for Soi Phet.
#4 Crittenden 20/1 ML – Former Stakes winner just doesn’t have the class against this competition. He’s been trending downward since winning the Let It Ride Stakes last year, having not finished better than 6th in a race. That race as actually last time out and it was an Allowance race. Something is up with this guy and it’s not a good spot for him. Not sure if he’ll finish last but expect him out of the money.
#5 Follow Me Crev 20/1 ML – This horse is a beast when he’s not racing in stakes races. Recently won 3 races in a row, all Allowances, before finishing 5th in the Californian Stakes. He’s actually a little interesting here…I could see him finishing somewhere in the money. At 20/1 odds, you could get a good price if you include him in your exotics.
#6 California Chrome 4/5 ML – What can we say about California Chrome. It looked like maybe he was washed up and finished, riddled by injuries last year. The 2014 Kentucky Derby winner came back in 2016 with a bang, winning the Dubai World Cup impressively against a very impressive field of competitors. I mentioned it above but in my opinion, best horse in the world. He’s going to be up close tracking the leaders so will he have enough to get by Dortmund and hold off an late runners? We’ll see.
#7 Win The Space 8/1 ML – He’s pretty interesting. Win the Space ran a credible 2nd last time out in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita after previously having not done well in those types of races. I could see a scenario where he gets a piece of the money if things go his way. He’s not a good bet on top but I think you could include him in exotics.
Pick: #6 California Chrome 4/5 ML odds
If we get anything close to even money on Chrome, it’s a good bet. He’s in great form and I’m not sure anybody is going to be able to beat him anytime soon. He’s had a bit of a layoff since the Dubai World Cup and back on his home soil so I expect him to be fresh and ready to go. Dortmund is the one horse you can make a case for but he’s a frontrunner, and you know somebody is going to be up challenging him on the pace. This would set it up beautifully for California Chrome to go right on by in the stretch. We should expect Chrome to sit either 3rd or 4th, tracking the leaders, and prove to be best when they hit the wire.
- #6 California Chrome
- #2 Dortmund
- #1 Hard Aces
- #5 Follow Me Crev
San Francisco Giants at New York Yankees – Friday 7/22/16
Our baseball bet takes us to Yankee Stadium where the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka host the San Francisco Giants and ace Madison Bumgarner. This is the first of a 3 game series as the Giants try to close out their AL East visit on a high note. The Giants have hit a bit of a rough patch, losing 5 straight coming into this one. Other than Wednesday night’s effort against the Sox, the bats haven’t been there and early runs have hurt San Fran. It’s tough to constantly come from behind. The best way to end any losing streak? Behind your ace. Madison Bumgarner is slightly worse on the road but he has strong numbers against opponents seeing him for the first time. If his start against the Red Sox is any indicator, he should be poised for another strong outing. The Yankees are battling back in the AL East, just a game above .500 and sitting 4th. They’ve won 4 of their last 5, winning a 4 game series against the then AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles. Masahiro Tanaka is the Yankees best starter but the numbers aren’t great at home. At Yankee Stadium, he has a 4.71 ERA and hitters are batting about .250 off him compared to .225 on the road. The Giants can get to him.
Pick: San Francisco Giants +105
I love contrarian picks when it comes to baseball. Yes, the Giants have struggled and the Yankees have been hot…but the Giants aren’t going to lose forever. I love for them to right the ship tonight behind Madison Bumgarner. Judging by the splits I mentioned above, I think the Giants are going to get some runs off of Tanaka and a few runs is enough runs when you have your ace on the hill. I predict the Giants to win a low scoring game.
WTA Bastad Semifinal: Laura Siegemund vs. Julia Goerges – Saturday 7/22/16
The battle of the Germans in a semifinal match at the SkiStar Swedish Open. Laura Siegemund, the world 40, takes on Julia Goerges, the world 73. This is the second meeting between them but the first meeting happened all the way back in 2006. We can almost throw that result out completely due to the length of time between matches. This is the second week in a row I’m making a play of Siegemund. She failed us last time but I’m still a big believer in her. She’s proved to be one of the best clay court players on the women’s tour this year and I’m not going to let one result suede me. Siegemund has very good ball placement which is why the surface helps her so much. She might not be the best mover on faster surface so when she has time to get in position to swing, she’s dangerous. Julia Goerges is an interesting player. She’s tall at 6’11 and has I’d say more of a power style than Goerges. She’s been solid on the surface this year though I believe her game is probably better suited on a faster surface.
Pick: Laura Siegemund -180
As I mentioned earlier, not going to waiver just because she burned us once. She’s turned herself into a very good player this season and she’s been pretty reliable too. Now if she loses her, that’s a different story but I don’t think she will. Goerges is pretty one dimensional and doesn’t have a ton of weapons in my opinion. I think Siegemund can push her around the court as long as she’s on her game and her heads straight. Though it’s usually Goerges who we have to worry about mentally. The odds are good enough at under -200 for me to make this my best tennis bet of the weekend.