Best Horse Racing Bets for Friday, June 25, 2021

| June 25, 2021 4:45 am PDT

My track choices were Gulfstream Park, Monmouth  Park, and Pimlico Race Course for Friday’s picks, and while I got swamped by the morning-line’s logic at Gulfstream, I nevertheless prevailed at the other two tracks, finding underdogs and sleepers at every hand.

Let’s not waste any more time. Read on—just as soon as you’ve taken a look at the full race-cards of all three tracks at one of our best online racebooks.

Good luck!

Friday’s Picks for Gulfstream Park

We’re starting with race two here—a one-mile turf run for four-year-olds and upward. I’m agreeing with the morning line on this one and betting on the 6/5 favorite, Vow Me Now, with top jockey Edwin Gonzalez in the irons.

This five-year-old gelding finished in the money nine of his 15 career starts, winning seven. Gonzalez was aboard for Vow Me Now’s two most recent runs: a starter allowance (first-place) and a handicap (second-place), achieving triple-digit speed figures for both.

Eddie Plesa, Jr., who’s taken horses to money finishes in the Preakness as well as numerous Breeders’ Cup stakes races, trains Vow Me Now for owners David Melin, Leon Ellman, and Laurie Plesa.

Race seven is a one-mile turf run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m calling this one for the 5/2 morning line turf favorite, Holy Meister, ridden by J.C. Diaz, Jr.

This five-year-old gelding moneyed six of his seven career starts, winning one, which puts him at the top of the list in this 13-horse field.

Bobby S. Dibona trains Holy Meister for Love Unlimited Thoroughbreds LLC.

In race eight—a one-mile main track run for three-year-olds and upward—I’m buying a win ticket on the 2/1 morning-line favorite, Malibu Max.

This eight-year-old finished in the money 22 of his 34 career starts, winning nine. He’s currently on a three-win streak.

Marcial Navarro, who’s on a bit of a winning streak himself, trains Malibu Max for owner Ron Hendrickson. Navarro has tapped Angel S. Arroyo to saddle Malibu Max for this run.

Friday Picks for Monmouth Park

Starting with race two, a six-furlong main track run for three-year-olds and upward, I’m betting on the second-favored (at 3/1) High Five Cotton, ridden by Ferrin Peterson.

This seven-year-old gelding had 36 money finishes in 57 career starts, 16 of them wins. He has maintained consistently high speed figures throughout his career.

Ranked among the top 100 trainers of 2020, Jose H. Delgado trains High Five Cotton for Carole Star Stables.

Incidentally, yes, I do see that the morning line has two entries at 3/1 in this race. The other entry—Coach Adams, had four wins in 43 starts. You ever made a dumb mistake? Now you know how the morning line feels.

Moving to the turf course for race three—a 1-1/16 miles grass run for fillies and mares three years old and upward—I like one of two entries, depending on whether the race stays on the grass or not.

If Paco Lopez rides the also-eligible/MTO Musetta (at 5/2), then bet Musetta to win.

This three-year-old filly moneyed three of her four career starts, winning one. She’s trained by Jose H. Delgado for Carole Star Stables.

If that doesn’t happen (Lopez aboard Musetta), then bet the second-favored (at 3/1) Donya’s Magic, ridden by Albin Jimenez.

Trained by co-owner Tony Wilson—he’s partnered with Henry Davis—the three-year-old filly has finished in the money four of her ten career starts, winning one.

Race five is the inaugural running of the Goldwood Stakes, a five-furlong stakes race on turf for fillies and mares three years old and upward.

I’m buying a win ticket on Caravel, ridden by top jockey Pablo Morales. Despite the tight spread between the top five entrants, this is Caravel’s race to lose.

The four-year-old filly finished in the money for all seven of her career starts, winning five. Her wins include the Lady Erie Stakes (Black Type) and the Malvern Rose Stakes (Black Type) in 2020 at Presque Isle Downs, and The Very One Stakes (Listed) at Pimlico last month.

Breeder-owner-trainer Elizabeth M. Merryman put Pablo Morales in the irons for Caravel’s wins in both the Lady Erie Stakes and the Malvern Rose Stakes.

My Friday Picks for Pimlico Race Course

We’ll start with race five—a one-mile turf run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the second-favored (9/2) Dundalk, ridden by veteran jockey Daniel Centeno.

Why am I not calling this one for the Irish import (and 7/2 favorite) King Bubble? Because despite winning a few listed stakes races at the Marseille Borely Racecourse in France, King Bubble has only run a single race since September 2018.

Now, back to Dundalk. This seven-year-old moneyed 18 of his 29 career starts, winning five.

Regularly ranked among the top trainers in North America since the year 2000, Kathleen O’Connell trains Dundalk for owner-breeder Robert Gerczak.

Switching back to the main track for race six—a 1-1/16 miles run for three-year-olds and upward—I’m betting on the 8/1 sleeper, V.I.P. Ticket, with veteran jockey J.D. Acosta aboard.

This five-year-old finished in the money 23 of his 30 career starts, winning eight—giving him statistics superior to those of the M/L favorite. Additionally, two of his most recent wins were the Confucius Say Stakes (Black Type) in May and the A Huevo Stakes (Black Type) last December, both at Charles Town Races.

Among the top trainers in earning for 2020, Jeremiah O’Dwyer trains V.I.P. Ticket for A.R.D. Racing Stables.

Race seven takes us back to the turf for a 1-1/16 miles grass run for three-year-olds and upward. My money is on one of the third-favored entries (there are two at 6/1) in this race—Audacious Quality, ridden by John Hiraldo.

This four-year-old gelding has the statistical edge in 13-horse field: Eight money finishes in 16 career starts, three of those wins. In this race, he has the additional advantage of John Hiraldo’s apprentice allowance.

Audacious Quality is owned and trained by Amy E. Cortez, who has also tapped John Hiraldo to saddle Audacious Quality for his two most recent races.

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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