Best Horse Racing Bets for Friday, June 18, 2021

| June 18, 2021 4:34 am PDT

I found myself agreeing with the morning line more often than usual while making my picks at selected races at Gulfstream Park, Monmouth Park, and Santa Anita Park.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t find plenty of underdog action there, as well. No long-odds underdogs, I’m sorry to say, but plenty of third-favored entries with realistic chances to hit the wire first. I call that a win.

Good luck!

My Friday Picks for Gulfstream Park

We’ll start with race four—a 7-1/2 furlong turf run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. If this race stays on the turf, my money is on the 2/1 morning-line favorite, Daddy’s Joy, ridden by Edgard J. Zayas.

This Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.-trained four-year-old filly finished in the money three of her six career starts, winning one.

However, if the race switches to the main track, I’m moving my bet to the also-eligible/MTO C’mon Karen at 5/2, with Rajiv Maragh in the irons.

Trained by Robert B. Hess, Jr. for owner George Dennis, the three-year-old C’Mon Karen finished in the money two of her three career starts, both of them wins.

We move back to the main track for race six, a one-mile race for Florida-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m betting my two bucks on the 4/1 underdog, Pacific Princess.

This three-year-old moneyed three of her five career starts, winning two.

Pacific Princess is owned and trained by Roger Laurin, producing winning thoroughbreds in both the U.S. and Canada since 1964. He’s tapped jockey Chantal Sutherland for this ride. Sutherland was aboard for Pacific Princess’s most recent win on May 15th at Gulfstream.

Race eight is a six-panel main track run for three-year-olds and upward, and I’m calling it for third-favored (at 4/1) Kalu, ridden by Emisael Jaramillo.

This five-year-old gelding finished in the money 15 of his 20 career starts, winning six.

While I’ll admit the favorite Front Loaded has faced greater challenges in Black Type stakes races in his career, he hasn’t been run against that level of competition for well over a year now. I think Kalu has the edge.

Ranked among the top trainers for both wins and earnings in 2020, J. Kent Sweezey trains Kalu for owner Ryan Zabrowski.

Friday Picks for Monmouth Park

We’re on the turf for race two, a five-furlong run for three-year-olds and upward. I agree with the morning line in this race, and I’m betting on the 6/5 favorite, Dugout, ridden by Nik Juarez.

This five-year-old gelding had 12 money finishes in his 16 career starts, eight of those wins, which puts him statistically far ahead of the rest of this 11-horse field.

Kelly J. Breen trains Dugout for owner Mr. Amore Stable. Some of the sport’s top horses—Firenze Fire and Ruler On Ice, for example—have Breen listed as their trainer.

Back to the main track for race four—a six-furlong run for New Jersey-bred three-year-olds and upward—two full brothers are competing in this race—Chublicious and Double Chubble (both out of Hey Chub and Sassy Broad (by Arch)).

I’m betting on the brother the morning line likes—the 3/1 favorite, Chublicious.

This ten-year-old gelding moneyed 21 of his 35 career starts, winning 11.

He may not have the chops for the stakes races that he once had, but he’s got plenty of mojo for an allowance optional claiming race like this.

Jose M. Camejo trains Chublicious for Brittlyn Stable, Inc. Camejo has tapped jockey Isaac Castillo for this ride.

Race five is a 1-1/16 mile turf run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m calling the race for the third-favored (at 7/2) Lion Charmer, with Nik Juarez in the irons.

This five-year-old moneyed 12 of his 19 career starts, winning two. Sure, he might not have quite the wins-to-starts ratio the M/L favorite has, but he has a much better ratio of money-finishes-to-starts—and you can’t win if you ain’t in the running. Or so I’ve been told.

Robert R. O’Connor II trains Lion Charmer for owners Bruce McCrae and Dennis M. Bush.

Friday’s Picks for Santa Anita Park

Starting with race four—a six-panel main track run for three-year-olds and upward—I’d have to be crazy not to bet on the 8/5 morning-line favorite, Dr. Schivel, ridden by top jockey Flavien Prat.

And I’m not crazy.

This three-year-old colt finished in the money for all four of his career starts, winning two.

Did I mention that one of those wins was in the Del Mar Futurity (Grade I)? I should probably mention that.

Regularly ranked among the top 100 trainers in North America, Mark Glatt trains Dr. Schivel for owners Red Baron’s Barn LLC, Rancho Temescal LLC, William A. Branch, and William Dean Reeves. Glatt had Flavien Prat in the irons for Dr. Schivel’s Del Mar Futurity win, as well.

Race nine is a 1-1/8 mile turf run for three-year-olds and looks to be a battle royale (with cheese) between trainers Bob Baffert and Leonard Powell.

And while Baffert’s entry, Hudson Ridge, enjoys the morning lines favor, I like Powell’s horse—Flashiest—for this race.

Flashiest won both of his career starts. Always a good start, to coin a phrase.

On the other hand, I see why the morning-line likes Baffert’s, Hudson Ridge. That colt moneyed two of his five career starts, winning one—but that one win was the Cinema Stakes (Black Type) last month here at Santa Anita.

So, a tight race, perhaps, but I believe Flashiest will prevail.

Powell trains Flashiest for owners Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, Nicolas G. Drion, and Mathilde Powell (Leonard’s wife).

We move back to the main track for race ten, a one-miler for three-year-olds and upward. I’m calling this one for Midcourt, the second-favored entry in this race at 9/5.

This six-year-old gelding has a slight edge on the M/L favorite in terms of the ratio of money-finishes to starts, and frankly, has a better record for triple-digit speed figures in those starts.

And among those 12 money finishes were one Black Type stakes race, three Grade III, two Grade II, and two Grade I stakes races.

John A. Shirreffs—who brought Giacomo to a win at the 2005 Kentucky Derby and Zenyatta to two Breeders’ Cup wins (2008 & 2009)—trains Midcourt for owner C R K Stable LLC. He’s tapped jockey Edwin A. Maldonado to saddle Midcourt for this run. Maldonado, by the way, is having a very good year.

J.W. Paine
J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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