Best Horse Racing Bets for Friday, May 14, 2021

| May 14, 2021 5:35 am PDT

I’m going with Belmont Park, Charles Town Races, and Churchill Downs for my three tracks for Friday’s wagering opportunities. While there are plenty of morning line favorites I felt compelled to tout, I also found a few underdogs — including a 10/1 surprise at Belmont Park.

The preponderance of morning line favorites among my choices reflects a significant number of horses that have been racing in higher classes, such as ungraded and graded stakes races. They also are now running against horses with good records, but that’s nothing to suggest they’re stakes-race material.

Remember to check out all the races at one of our recommended online racebooks.

Good luck!

My Friday Picks for Belmont Park

We start with race three, a seven-furlong turf run for four-year-olds and upward. This one boils down to which horse Kendrick Cartouche is riding. If he’s aboard the MTO also-eligible American Power (at 8/5), then bet him to win.

If not, then you want to buy a win ticket on the 2/1 morning line turf favorite, Maxwell Esquire, ridden by Trevor McCarthy.

American Power is a Rob Atras-trained six-year-old that finished in the money 20 of his 31 career starts, winning eleven.

The four-year-old colt, Maxwell Esquire, was trained by Christophe Clement and had nine money finishes in 12 starts, winning five.

Race seven moves back to the main track for a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. I’m sticking with the morning line on this one — bet the 8/5 favorite Awesome Debate. The five-year-old mare moneyed nine of her 12 career starts, winning six.

Her trainer-owner Charles Baker has tapped top jockey, Manny Franco, to ride in this race.

Race eight is a one-miler for three-year-olds and upward. My money is on the 10/1 underdog, Civil War.

His record of two money finishes in six starts (both wins) doesn’t tell the whole story here:

This three-year-old colt campaigned in the last year in three graded stakes races. While he proved to be an also-ran in those, he’s won two of his three regular races, including his maiden and his most recent run, an allowance race at Aqueduct in March.

Trainer Thomas Albertrani — who has taken horses to the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes — has chosen Benjamin Hernandez to pilot Civil War for this run. Hernandez was aboard for Civil War’s March win at Aqueduct.

Friday’s Picks for Charles Town Races

Race three at Charles Town is a seven-panel sprint for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares. I like the 8/5 morning line favorite in this very tight six-horse field, Jamestown Road. This three-year-old filly finished in the money seven of her nine career starts, winning one.

Trainer James W. Casey has tagged jockey Denis Araujo to ride in this race. Araujo was in the irons for Jamestown Road’s maiden win.

In race four — a 4-1/2 furlong run for fillies and mares — I’m betting on the second-favored (at 3/1) Sonde of Music.

Trained by owner-breeder Lee Couchenour, this seven-year-old mare finished in the money for nine of her ten career starts, winning five.  Couchenour has tapped Carlos Marrero to ride in this race. Marrero went to the winner’s circle with Sonde of Music for three of her five wins.

Race seven is a seven-furlong run for three-year-olds and upward, and I like the fourth-favored (at 5/1) Another Victory. This five-year-old ridgling moneyed nine of his 12 career starts, winning four.

Another Victory is under training to Jeff C. Runco for New Farm.

Runco has ranked in the top 100 trainers in both wins and earnings every year since 2006.

For this run, he has ace jockey Arnaldo Bocachica in the irons.

Friday Picks for Churchill Downs

We’ll start with race three, a 1-1/16 mile race for three-year-olds. I have to agree with the morning line here and bet on the 2/1 favorite, Moon Swag.

This Brendan Walsh-trained filly finished in the money four of her six career starts, winning two. Three of those four money finishes were stakes races, including a first in the Manzano Stakes (Black Type) at Albuquerque last September, and third-place finishes at Fair Grounds in the Silverbulletday Stakes (Listed) in January, and the Rachel Alexandria Stakes (Grade II) in February.

Adam Beschizza, who’s been aboard Moon Swag for her latest three starts, will be in the irons for this run.

Race four moves us to the turf course for a 1-1/16 mile race for fillies and mares. My money will be on the second-favored (at 4/1) entry, Sister Otoole.

H. Graham Motion, who took Animal Kingdom to a win in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, trained this four-year-old filly for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

For the record, Sister Otoole finished in the money five of her six career starts, winning one.

While a couple in this field have run (unproductively) in stakes races, I find this filly’s competitive consistency and high-speed figures convincing.

Motion has tapped veteran jockey James Graham for this race.

Race seven is also on turf — it’s a one-mile run for fillies and mares. I’m betting on the 3/1 morning-line favorite to win: Hendy Woods. While the second-favored Toffen has a slightly better record, Hendy Woods has made her mark earning money almost entirely in stakes races.

Hendy Woods moneyed in four of her six career starts, winning three. She graduated from the maiden class in her first career start (at Fair Grounds) and then won the Indiana Grand Stakes (Listed) last August. In September, she placed second in the Edgewood Stakes (Grade II) at Churchill Downs.

Hall of fame trainer Mark Casse has selected Tyler Gaffalione to fill the irons aboard Hendy Woods for this race.

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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