Four Value-Seeking Questions for the Curlin Stakes

The Curlin Stakes, run at 9f at Saratoga, is ungraded and has a purse of $100K. Along with the Jim Dandy on Saturday, it is a prelude to the Travers Stakes, and the Curlin is especially attractive for late-developing three year olds. To preview, I present four questions that may help you to find a value selection by looking at horses that are morning line of 8-1 or greater that may still have a chance. These questions are designed to help you assess that chance. In fact, it’s not so much the answer that’s important, but the question. Questions typically equal uncertainty, which can then be priced for value.

  1. What kind of horse will the regally-bred Charge Now (#5, 10-1) be? Overhyped coming into the Iowa Derby, he still ran a relatively productive race after that strangely slow Belmont allowance. Even if you don’t toss that race, he still has every chance to be great. But always demand a price if you’re betting on improvement, especially solely on pedigree. It’s dangerous territory, and typically priced well by the public.
  2. Do you trust the speed of Joint Custody (#9, 6-1)? It was earned at a different track, but under relatively similar purse conditions. Yet, as with the public, I tend to find that mid-atlantic speed carries quite poorly to these events. Is there any reason to think that Joint Custody will bring his speed north?
  3. Will Viva Majorca (#2, 12-1) appreciate the added distance, or is he merely a closing sprinter? Pace players may be enticed, and it could very well fall apart. But, beware, it’s not always a given that the style will translate over from sprints to routes. Most, but not all, stretch-outs are built into the price.
  4. V.E. Day (#7, 20-1) had a terrific comeback last time over the turf and has done very little wrong in his two attempts this year. How will he take to the Saratoga dirt? Certainly have to trust the sharp Jerkins, but he may not know, either. Indeed, it’s a great spot to try something new, especially with the Travers just a few weeks away. He certainly has a competitive chance in here, but make sure you get at least a double-digit price.

Good luck, and I’ll be covering the race live on twitter @alldayracing. Image: Banamine, “Curlin.” Copyright 2007. Creative Commons 2.0.

The Iowa Derby (Grade III)

You can often find value in these late season three-year-old stakes races, often simply by betting against horses that ran in the Triple Crown.  The public recognizes the name and overbets on this reason alone.  This strategy, however, still requires finding either a late developing three-year old.  Often, you can find them in horses that may have missed the Triple Crown due to injury, but usually you can find them in stamina horses that are now beginning to fully develop.  I like to demand recent form and speed, however.  Betting simply on the hope of improvement is a recipe for losses.


  • Vicar’s in Trouble (#8, 3/1) is certainly the most accomplished of the field, but will be overbet, given the Derby experience and past speed.   Will try to do it on the front end.  Needs to be sharp off the layoff.
  • Charge Now (#5, 8-1) emerged out of a Belmont allowance that I previewed and recapped.  He was much the best on paper in that race, but didn’t have to do too much.  The speed figure came back low, and even if that wasn’t a top effort, he’d still have to improve to win here.
  • Embellishing Bob (#1, 7-2) is my pick.  He’s been plenty fast sprinting and beat (by legitimate DQ) hot horse Bayern in the Derby Trial before being trounced by him in the Woody Stephens.  I like the stretch out and the mile work.
  • Russelin (#2, 10/1) goes for conditioner Chris Hartman.  Old Fashioned is an emerging sire and this one has nice speed and style. Still seems like a bit much to find his way to the top.
  • Six Spot (#3, 5-1) should be moved up if the track is wet – a possibility with thunderstorms likely tomorrow — but not otherwise


What I’m thinking of betting:

I like Embellishing Bob at anywhere over 3-1.  I expect that you’ll get this price on the likely second choice as Vicar’s in Trouble will likely get tons of action.  Six Spot deserves a look if the track is wet.   I haven’t seen enough speed from Charge Now to support him here.  I’ve heard Travers for him, but I’ll wait to see more.

Tune in on Twitter at 10:00 ET on Saturday night for coverage of the full slate of Stakes races from Prairie Meadows.  See you then!

All Day Racing Schedule for Week of June 23 – June 28

Here’s the schedule for the week of June 23- June 28 at All Day Racing:

Monday, June 23:  Delaware Park, Race 6, Maiden Claiming $30K, 1 mile 70 yards, Fillies and Mares, 3 and up, Purse: $24K. Coverage begins at 3:15 P.M. ET

Wednesday, June 25: Race of the Day, Belmont Park,  Race 7, 1 Mile. 1st Level Allowance, plus claiming. 3 year old only. Purse: Purse $77K.   Coverage begins at 4:10 P.M. ET.

Thursday, June 26:  Race of the Day, Charles Town Races, Race 6, Allowance for non-winners of three lifetime, 4½ Furlongs. State-bred. Purse: $27K. Coverage begins at 9:00 P.M. ET

Friday, June 27: Race of the Day, Belmont Park, Race 7, 1st level Allowance, 6½ Furlongs. 3 and Up.  State-bred. Purse: $62K. Coverage begins at 5:50 P.M. ET

Saturday, June 28:  IOWA DERBY, Prairie Meadows.  Details to follow later in week.  Let’s kick off the second-half of the season for 3-year olds!  Check out detailed preview available Friday!  Let’s pick up where the Triple Crown left off!  Full coverage of all Stakes on the Prairie Meadows card live on Saturday evening on Twitter.  Don’t make other plans — this is always an exciting night — or at least, bring your smartphone with you!

And, of course, a bunch of other handicapping and racing content on the site and on twitter at @alldayracing!