Horse Racing Picks for Thursday, May 14: Best Bets for Golden Gate Fields
Cody Glenn/Getty Images.
Thursday marks the return of thoroughbred racing to California as Golden Gate Fields opens up for business with a solid card that should draw some decent action.
For those of you that might be new to horse racing, the wagering pools are pari-mutuel which means that, unlike in sports betting, you aren’t trying to beat the house but rather the public at large. The key to long-term success in betting the ponies is being disciplined in identifying value in the pools.
How often do favorites win in horse racing?
Generally speaking, the favorite in horse racing wins at about a 35% rate but that number varies depending on the number of horses in the field. Armed with that knowledge you might want to just pick the favorites, frequently known as the chalk, but a closer look at the implied odds shows that you’d need average odds of 2-1 or better to break even on “win” bets.
So, in order to profit horseplayers must pick and choose the horses that they feel have a better chance to win than their implied odds, which is known as positive expected value (+EV). Expected value is not unique to horse racing and something that all bettors should get familiar with if they want to succeed.
Horse Racing Picks for Thursday, May 14
Now that we have covered our strategy, I will take a deep dive into some races that show some +EV based on my model. There are different ways to use this information — or any research you do — to approach races. Sometimes I will target a horse that I believe is a good value play, and other times I may simply highlight races that are likely to feature a vulnerable favorite and try to beat that horse with some bigger prices.
Let’s take a look:
Race No. 1
- Surface: Turf
- Distance: 1 1/16 Mile
- Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
This is a fun filly and mare turf race to start the day. This field features No. 4 Buyback (7-2), who will be trying turf for the first time but she’s out of Mucho Macho Man and North Light (IRE), so I have no reason to question her ability to run on the grass.
She’s also been in really good form, finishing no more than a nose behind in her last three efforts down the road at Santa Anita (SA). The questions will be if that form can translate onto the turf, if she can run a fourth good race in a row and if she can handle the extra 1/16 of a mile.
No. 3 Shanghai Truffles (5-2) is the morning-line favorite and looks to fit in with the best of this group based on her effort two back, where she posted a 94 Speed Rating over the turf at Santa Anita.
The No. 6 Mulhima (3-1) comes in off a win on the dirt at Golden Gate (GG), and boasts the top average class (94), but she had to drop down to a race with a class of 83 to get that win. This horse absolutely could win but hasn’t been closer than 5 lengths during her last two efforts on turf, so I’m against her.
The No. 5 Posh Holly (4-1) has very similar figures to Buyback but seems to be a one-run kind of horse. I like her in this spot, since she’s getting back onto turf and I see her moving forward in her second race off the layoff. Unlike most of the others in this field she’s already proven she can handle the surface and the distance and these may actually be her preferred conditions.
No. 1 Dreaming About You (5-1) has never tried the turf but put in a solid effort at the distance on dirt last time out. She’s likely to be outclassed and the surface is such an unknown that I’d avoid using her.
|No. 3 Shanghai Truffles (2-1)||17%|
|No. 4 Buyback (7-2)||17%|
|No. 2 Lady of Perception (10-1)||7%|
|No. 6 Mulhima (3-1)||7%|
Bets: 2,3,4 Exacta Box; 4 to win at 4-1 or better
Race No. 3
- Surface: Dirt
- Distance: 6 Furlongs
- Time: 4:42 p.m. ET
Low class race here but the system has identified a legitimate favorite in the No. 4 Sassy and Hot (2-1). She got nosed out in her last effort posting a solid 73 SR in a slightly tougher race (class: 74). Her jockey, Julien Couton, and trainer, Leonard Powell, are winning at a 27% clip and Powell is 2-for-2 in the last 30 days.
Bets: No. 4 Sassy and Hot at 2-1 or better
Race No. 5
- Surface: Turf
- Distance: 1 1/16 Mile
- Time: 5:42 p.m. ET
This is the second-highest rated field on the card and features some interesting maiden horses.
No. 4 Cape Point (9-5) boasts the highest average class and speed rating in this field but has seemingly gotten progressively worse. He went off at 55-1 in a race that was only slightly tougher than this one, so I don’t like this horse as a favorite at all. If he can find his late 2019 form at Del Mar than he might have a shot, but this is a vulnerable favorite and I’ll try and beat him.
No. 3 Linfield (20-1) will be a huge price if the morning line is any indicator and his past performances are nothing to write home about, but this horse is way better than his results indicate. Posting a 5f work of 1:00.4 (ranked 10th of 72 for the day) on May 2nd shows that he’s got some ability and he definitely has the bloodlines to handle the turf. This is bit of a hail mary but if you can get 15/1 or better I like the value here.
Both the No. 7 Constitutionaffair (3-1) and No. 8 Strugar (2-1) offer a much more traditional handicapping angle for success. The No. 7 has been seriously improving and he’s got a world-class trainer in Simon Callaghan flipping him over to turf.
Strugar, meanwhile, has a very traditional built-in excuse of both weight and surface being detrimental to his performances. He won’t get much relief on the weight side but if he can get a fast track there’s no reason to think he can’t return to his debut form and take the top prize.
Bets: 3,7,8 Exacta Box
Race No. 9
- Surface: Turf
- Distance: 1 Mile
- Time: 7:42 p.m. ET
This is the highest-rated field of the card and features a horse that my system considers a viable value play, No. 8 King Eddie (6-1).
King Eddie has a lifetime record of four wins, six places and three shows across 16 starts at Golden Gate, so this is a horse for the course.
He’s struggled outside of Golden Gate but fortunately this race is back on his home turf and you can likely expect a solid performance from a very consistent runner.
The public might very well miss the fact that this horse has been really good on the GG turf and I can make excuses for the last two races (1/19/20 was a comeback race and 9/19/19 the horse looked to be getting worn out and out of form after a long campaign).
He scores well in my model:
|No, 8 King Eddie (6-1)||17%|
|No. 1 Conquest Sabre Cat (8-1)||17%|
|No. 4 Eldritch (3-1)||7%|
|No. 5 Wilshire Dude (4-1)||7%|
Bets: If No. 8 King Eddie comes in around the morning line of 6-1 then this feels like a no-brainer value play.
Gulfstream Park Best Bet
The system absolutely loves No. 7 Sea Lover (4-1) in the Race No. 3 (2:07 p.m. ET). He’s got quite an edge on the competition and comes in with back-to-back wins on different surfaces and has a sire in Midshipman who has produced some of the best sprinters of a generation. I’ll use him in some Pick 3’s and Pick 4’s in addition to playing him in single-race wagers.
Bets: No. 7 Win / Place / Show; 7, 10 Exacta (1u); 10, 7 exacta (0.5 unit)