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HomeHorse RacingLouie’s Look Ahead: Stephen Foster Day at Ellis Park

Louie’s Look Ahead: Stephen Foster Day at Ellis Park

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Something I hope to never write again: here’s a look at the Stephen Foster card at Ellis park!


After all the scratches in the Fleur de Lis – we’ll look at the late Pick 3 and find a play.


Race 9   Grade 2 Wise Dan.  1 1/16M, turf.  4+up.  $400k.


Here’s the race where you can truly make money.  8 Set Piece is back to do what he do: win route races on the grass by closing at an absurd rate of speed.  4-for-7 lifetime at the distance in grass route races is an absurd rate, and there’s no reason he won’t make it 5 on Saturday.  


I do like a longshot here, 5 Play Action Pass, an Ellis alum who is 2-for-2 at the track.  Second off the layoff here, was stalking last out at Churchill before faltering late.  I’ll blame that on the layoff, and look for him to run much bigger here under jockey Tyler Gaffalione.  12/1 is a great number.


4 Get Smokin had to think he had the G3 Arlington locked up last out at Churchill, only to have Set Piece pass him in the final furlong and open up by a length.  Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. has done a great job with this gelding, and should give him another good shot on Saturday.


My philosophy in turf route races is pretty simple: pick your favorite front-runner, and pick your favorite closer.  That’s Get Smokin and Set Piece.  But Play Action Pass in that stalker role might best them all.


Top Selections: 8, 5, 4


Race 10   Grade 1 Stephen Foster   1 1/8M, dirt.  4+up.  $1,000,000.


And we get to the feature, and it’s a doozy- the Grade 1 Stephen Foster.  In any other year, I’d gather up the kids and head down to Churchill for this one.  Alas, the four hour roundtrip to Ellis isn’t in the cards this year, so I’ll be watching on TV like many of you.  Multiple Grade 1 winners in here, and seven of the eight runners have won a graded stakes.


Who hasn’t?  3 Speed Bias, who missed the wire in the G3 Pimlico Special last out.  His works at Churchill recently have been blazing fast, and I’m wondering if this 4YO son of Uncle Mo hasn’t figured it out.  At 12/1 on the ML, he could blow this sequence up.


As you can tell, I think this is fairly wide open.  Let’s do this a different way: most likely winner, possible winners, unlikely winners.


Most likely:  1 Proxy, 5 Smile Happy, 4 Rattle N Roll, 6 West Will Power, 2 Stilleto Boy.

Possible: 3 Speed Bias, Last Samurai

Unlikely: 8 Happy American


Woof.  This borders on an ‘all’ in longer sequences, so I’ll go ahead and give 3 Speed Bias as a value play, WP(S) type.  I think 1 Proxy, if he can stay close to the pace today (as Ellis has been favoring front-runners and stalkers), is the best of the group here.


Top selections: 1, 5, 4, 6, 2, 3, 7


Race 11  The Tepin 1M, turf 3YO Fillies $225k.


We have a pair of favorites in this turf route race for 3 year-old fillies, and deserved ones: 5 Xigera, coming out of a ‘wow’ last race at Churchill, besting an allowance field by more than 3 lengths, a field which included older fillies and mares, too.  Was a very good 2YO, and came back in that one showing no rust at all.  A worthy favorite.  Negative angle: trainer Phil Bauer is 0-for-12 second off this type of layoff recently.  Xigera feels different, but that angle is out there.


You know people think a lot of Xigera when 3 Heavenly Sunday is trained by Brad Cox, won a Grade 2 last out, and is second-favorite. A favorite angle of mine: she’s carrying 123 lbs; everyone else is carrying 118.  There’s always a reason entrants in a restricted race are carrying extra weight, and hers is due to results.  Must-use.


With younger horses, early speed is a common trait.  In this race, we have a runner with late speed: 4 Wonderful Lady, Brendan Walsh and Tyler Gaffalione.  I doubt we’ll get 8/1, but maybe the two favorite will attract so much money we get a long price on her.  Improving type, and the connections scream serious shot.


If we’re following connections, jockey Luis Saez is aboard the 2 Safeen, who most recently won a $150k stakes race at Horseshoe Indianapolis.  5 runs, never missed the board.  Her speed figure has improved in her last 4 starts.  Could be an upset candidate.


Top selections: 5, 3, 4, 2


Late Pick 3 leaning on class:

Favorites 8 / 1, 5 / 3, 5 $5 Pick 3 is $20.


The Pick 6, starting with race 6: 2, 7 / 6, 11 / 5, 6 / 8 / 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 / 2,3,4,5

$.20 ticket is $44.80.


Good luck today!

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