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Time to get some back after a poverty-inducing week in America

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup was the former Racing Correspondent of various BBC regional radio stations and was the gossip columnist on the now-defunct Odds On magazine. He now runs Nick Boyd's large, privately owned reputation, which is widely regarded as a sporting, not-for-profit endeavour.
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I thought that by the time you read this, my fate would be sealed and I’d have done some big biscuits on the US Presidential Election. Indeed, a steady stream of “concerned” citizens has been calling me to deliver snippets they thought I needed to know.

One such was from a distinguished CFO, who’s concerned yet strangely smug, “Betfair’s gone 1.29” was almost my favourite, but it was Peter who, feigning an illogical moment of stupidy said; “So when they say on the BBC that Biden is 5/2 on to win, does that mean you would get a fiver if you put two pounds on? Can you explain how I could make money out of a Biden victory?” This was at 10:00 am on Wednesday.

My form problems and misinterpretations were many.

I had believed there were a large number of Trump supporters who had told the pollsters what they wanted to hear. I thought Trump would have a greater handle on The Hispanic vote and thus a counter to the Black,  largely Democratic vote. That Biden was considered too liberal or not centrist enough to win voters in States like  Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina. That he had made too many verbal slips, gaffes and possibly age-related comments that would highlight his age. But overarching all this supposition was this fundamental fact. Biden’s votes were largely and literally in the post because Democrats are too sensible to queue in the midst of a pandemic – and postal votes are always counted last. So while I could have greened up at 7:30 UK time, in the USA that was about the time they started actually counting the postal votes. It ain’t all over til the Fat POTUS sings, but I think I’m going to have to face facts. An object lesson in truly understanding your bet.

Hey Ho. such is life, and we live to fight another day and besides – with Breeders Cup Saturday hoving into view, (and as it is not finishing as late as I feared), we have a fighting chance of getting full reparation and a few extra tamales besides.

Just by the by, you can bet into the US pool through Betfair. It is quite hard to find but go to the Betfair Exchange. On the left-hand panel Click on Horseracing. Scroll down the panel until you find USA. Click on that and you get a drop-down US Tote. Click that. Alternatively, this is the LINK HERE

The problem is that they don’t offer the full range of bets such as Win Place or Show – rather offering either Win or WPS which is a 3 line bet So you cannot weight your selections.

I think you can also bet into the US Tote pools with Coral.

The main US bets are

Win: Wins – Place: Finish in the first 2 – Show: finish in the first 3
Single Exotics
Exacta: Predict which horses will finish 1st and 2nd in the correct order.
Quinella: What we would call a Reverse Forecast or RFC. “Boxing” (means perming) your Exacta – betting the first two finishers in either order.
Trifecta: Predict the 1st, 2nd and 3rd horses in the correct order. Boxed would be in any order
Superfecta Predict the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th horses in the correct order. Boxed in any order
Multi-Race Exotic Bets
Daily Double Predict the winners of two consecutive races to win.
Pick 3 Predict the winners of three consecutive races.
Pick 4 Predict the winners of four consecutive races.
Pick 5 Predict the winners of five consecutive races.
Pick 6 Predict the winners of six consecutive races.

So eyes down for some exotic forecasts and maybe even a couple of Superfectas!

5:02 BC Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Dirt) 7f

I haven’t mentioned this either yesterday or today, but this is the first BC where NO two-year-olds are allowed to run on Lasix. By next year or maybe the year after, I expect it to apply to all horses, in all races, across all US racing jurisdictions. HUZZAH!

On the subject of drugs, Bob Baffert has had a dreadful run of unlucky incidents which have led to positive tests and some fines. GAMINE the favourite in this race, tested positive twice now, the last time for a tiny amount of some legal corticosteroid, of which some minuscule residue had remained four days after the two weeks period where the legally-administrated treatment might reasonably have been expected to void the system. The test was after her run in The Kentucky Oaks where she came third and patently didn’t get 9f. She had a tough race and has been given a two months break. Frankly to offer me 7/4 about her winning this is about as believable as Trump winning the Booker prize for literature. Make no mistake, she is very good… IF she has forgotten her last race; IF she has forgotten why she was taking the medication that got her fit enough to run in the tough race; IF she can handle the likely blasting pace; IF I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring… No, I actually think she is a Lay. Instead, I suggest BELL’S THE ONE, who has some decent form, is improving – enough to handle the 3lbs benefit she had with SERENGETI EXPRESS last time they met and she beat SERENGETI by a nose. I suspect that SERENGETI will blast off, forcing GAMINE to compete and to blow themselves apart over the fractions, as BELL’S THE ONE arrives in the last 200 yards. SPEECH is also capable of a place and at around 11/1 might interest a few.

BELLS THE ONE Win

5:39 BC Turf Sprint (G1) (3yo+) (Turf) 5½f

When you look at the stats, the one that catches the eye is that this race has an average win payout of $24.93 – the highest of all the BC races. One that attracts me is BOMBARD who doesn’t appear to be on anyone’s radar. He and FRONT RUN THE FED finished in a dead heat for a close second-place finish behind the favourite for this IMPRIMIS at Kentucky Downs. 66% of BOMBARD’S 15 races have been top-two finishes on the grass and the blips have been over an inadequate 6f. There is also something to be said for experience, and trainer Peter Miller runs TEXAS WEDGE. I mention this only because his Win record in this is Stormy Liberal (2017, 2018) and Belvoir Bay (2019). There is however nothing I can see in his form to suggest he could play a role here. I can’t be having the Europeans – the bend is a stranger to them.

BOMBARD e/w – FRONT RUN THE FED e/w – Quinellas with IMPRIMIS

6:18 Big Ass Fans BC Dirt Mile (G1) (3yo+) (Dirt) 1m

ART COLLECTOR’s 4th in the Preakness Stakes after some minor injuries that kept him out of the Kentucky Derby didn’t really advertise his claims here, but there is plenty on his form to suggest that a price around 8/1 wouldn’t be ungenerous. KNICKS GO has a decent draw in stall 5, and he won both his races for his new trainer Brad Cox. He has set some blistering times in his races and I would suggest dutching the two.

ART COLLECTOR Win – KNICKS GO Win (dutched)

6:57 Maker’s Mark BC Filly & Mare Turf (G1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Turf) 1m1½f

I strongly believe that TEREBELLUM will probably offer bigger value in the US pools than on the industry boards here. She might set the pace with MEAN MARY, MUCHO UNUSUAL and RUSHING FALL, and one is relying on the four of them controlling the pace so that they don’t end up burning each other off or leaving it open for a closer. The presence of Dettori in the saddle, and his ability to keep a horse balanced, when they’re not used to tight bends, will I think put her into the No 1 slot. the only other one to consider is CIVIL UNION who is the wrong price in the UK for a horse with her closing speed. She clocked 22.77 in The Flower Bowl Stakes. I’d have a pop at anything above 16s.

TEREBELLUM Win – Quinellas with all those mentioned.

7:36 BC Sprint (G1) (3yo+) (Main Track) (Dirt) 6f

If Bill MMott told me that Steptoe’s old carter, Hercules could win this, I’d have a quid on him for the sport. So when he decides to stick FRANK’S ROCKETTE in here, rather than against her own sex in the F&M Sprint, you sit up and have a look. She’s here because this is an ideal 6f rather than 7f. Secondly, as I suggested earlier, the two betting front-runners are quite capable of setting a damagingly crazy pace and leaving the field open to almost anything else to take it – or not. Then, of course, she gets a 3ln sex allowance PLUS a further 2lbs for her age as a 3yo. I reckon that’s worth about 2l over this distance. Of the others, you’d fancy for places C Z ROCKET, FIRENZE FIRE and YAUPON

FRANK’S ROCKETTE e/w – Quinellas with the three mentioned.

8:15 FanDuel BC Mile presented by Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (G1) (3yo+) (Turf) 1m

In many respects, this might be the race of the evening. Eight USA milers vs Six Anglo-Irish invaders (or Europeans as President Biden likes to call them!). The current score in the BC Mile is USA 22 Europe 14, and starting with the favourite, the markets are widely disparate.

IVAR who won the Shadwell Turf Mile last month is the 4/1 favourite in the US and 7s and longer in the UK. Where possible I’ll show this thus [4/1 : 7/1]. He is fast and he might be improving after his trainer worked out the blinkers/pace formula that saw a marked improvement. CIRCUS MAXIMUS [12 : 12] finished 4th in this in 2019 but at the very different track of Santa Anita. He does not have the same level of form this year, and Aiden O’Brien has thrown dozens of horses at this and has yet to win it. His second charge is LOPE Y FERNANDEZ [30/1 : 20/1]who sounds like a brace of Del Mar work riders, is given Frankie to ease his passage, which he’ll need as two turns at speed will be a new and troubling experience. However, he has a couple of rarely seen hidden gears and his arrival at the front of the Irish 2000 Gns field from the back was pretty startling, albeit he could not hold the finish of SISKIN [15/1 : 8/1]. Ger Lyon’s charge was a decent 3rd in the Sussex Stakes, (Circus Maximus 2nd) and 4th in the Moulin. Ger used to work at the track, and he has had this race in mind for the colt all year. A decent draw, a good rep having won the Irish 2000 Gns, and he’ll happily sit and be waited with and then given the chance show his tactical speed. My only fear is him getting wound up, as he did at Leopardstown, but perhaps the escort pony will keep his mind focused rather than overboiled, which he did in the Moulin, and in a 2yo race where he had to be WD.

John Quinn has bought SAFE VOYAGE, [15/1 : 12/1] who will handle a bend and arrives in super form, having a good 3rd in the Foret to One Master. Willie Haggas has to draw One Master because of persistently elevated muscle enzymes that cause “Tying Up”. It is extremely painful – as anyone who has ever had the nighttime leg cramps knows – and the condition has been going on for some days. She finished 5th at Churchill in 2018 and I suspect she is away to her American Owners’ Farm and to breeding babies. Regular readers will be aware that I fell in love with KAMEKO [6/1 : 4/1] some time ago and he won the 2000 Gns and had a fourth in the Sussex which was blighted by some dreadful positioning, which saw KAMEKO buried on the rail. Oisin Murphy rides for trainer Andrew Balding.

UNI [5/1 : 6/1] won this last year, but doesn’t have the same fire; I don’t see stablemate RAGING BULL [8/1 : 9/1] as the winner and he will need a very strong pace up front to show his late finish, besides which I fancied him for the cancelled Arlington Million over 10f. Chad Brown also runs DIGITAL AGE [8/1 – 11/1] who I also keep thinking will need further. In the G1 Old Forester Turf Classic over 9f at Churchill Downs, he beat FACTOR THIS [8/1 : 16/1]. FACTOR THIS has the USA’s top turf Beyer Speed Figure of 110 (think Timeform P) and he might try to make this a pillar-to-post affair. Which leaves the US favourite IVAR who has been racing in The Argentine and was 2yo champion in 2019.  He won the Shadwell Turf Mile doing handsprings at Keeneland and has speed. Hmmm

SISKIN e/w (US Tote) – FACTOR THIS e/w (UK Market) – SAFE VOYAGE e/w (check markets) – DIGITAL AGE for Exotics – KAMEKO for Exotics

8:54 Longines BC Distaff (G1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Main Track) (Dirt) 1m1f

The short-priced favourite is the reigning BC Distaff Champion, MONOMOY GIRL, who is aiming to be the fourth horse to ever win The BC Distaff twice. She won’t get bigger than 6/4 in the USA and she’s not much bigger in the UK. However, it is possible that  SWISS SKYDIVER might challenge for favouritism because this is one of the most popular horses in the USA. That stems from a gutsy winning performance in the Preakness against the boys and if she wins this she will be on course for Horse of the Year. It’s the obvious Exacta and if one were looking for any kind of a shock it might come from HOROLOGIST from Bill Mott.

SWISS SKYDIVER Win – HOROLOGIST e/w – Exacta SWISS SKYDIVER to beat MONOMOY GIRL

9:33 Longines BC Turf (G1) (3yo+) (Turf) 1m4f

Firstly let’s assume the Europeans and probably the Irish, will win this. We then really only need to look at the top four, perhaps starting with MOGUL. He is the only 3yo in the race (getting a WFA allowance of 4lbs) and has simply not had the time to win a similar set of laurels to his rivals. That doesn’t make him a bad horse – just a young ‘un who I believe has time on his side and is still developing. He won the G1 Grand Prix de Paris, beating Arc runner-up In Swoop and looked very capable of taking this. Dermot Weld’s TARNAWA is 3/3 this year, and in her career is 6/8. The three victories this year include the Vermeille over 12f and the Opera over 10f, but don’t forget this is the first time she’s met the boys and all the Fillies and Mares in this get 3lbs. LORD NORTH is progressive and this is the first time he has run 12f. He was impressive winning the St James’s Palace Stakes and looked to be cracking on in The Juddmonte International before a weak third to MAGICAL. They met again in the Champion Stakes where Magical was third. I am bamboozled by LORD NORTH and I’m not sure his head is on right. MAGICAL on the other hand was second in this in 2018 and has beaten the boys five times now in G1s. She was second to Enable in 2018, the rest nowhere and had it not been for Enable, MAGICAL would have probably been the best…. but Enable was and she wasn’t, just almost. The trick in this I feel is going to be finding the third/fourth for Superfecta purposes, so I suggest UNITED

MOGUL Win – to beat LORD NORTH, MAGICAL and TARNAWA boxed in Exactas and Trifectas and add UNITED to the 4th Superfecta.

10:18 Longines BC Classic (G1) (3yo+) (Main Track) (Dirt) 1m2f

Any of the first four in the betting could win this and I truly cannot pick between them. If you dutched them you’d lose money, so I’m looking for a horse the Brits won’t get – but who has sufficient form in the States to give it value as an Exotic bet rather than a power play… if you get my drift. That horse is BY MY STANDARDS whose record this season is 4w – 2p – 6r which is consistent. He is 12/1 and shortening over there and 25/1 in places here. He was second to Improbable in the G1 Whitney Stakes, delivering a new career-best speed figure, and he has enough tactical speed, which he showed in the G2 Alysheba Stakes.

BY MY STANDARDS e/w – First four in the betting boxed for a Trifecta.

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