Best Horse Racing Bets for Saturday, April 24, 2021

| April 24, 2021 3:54 am PDT

I’ve got stakes races to tout and assess at three tracks for Saturday: Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, and Santa Anita.

Before we barrel in, remember that the online horse racing betting sites feature info and wagering options on all the races I assess and quite a few more.

Good luck!

Saturday’s Picks at Belmont Park

The morning line says race three at Belmont will be very tight, and I agree. The odds ratchet up from 5/2 for the favorite to 6/1 on my pick, Thin White Duke. That’s right; I like the least-likely horse in this seven-furlong main track run to win.

Maybe it’s because top jockey Manny Franco is in the irons. Maybe it’s because Philip A. Gleaves is the three-year-old gelding’s trainer.

Maybe it’s the fact that Thin White Duke has moneyed every one of his seven starts, with his two career wins being the Funny Cide Stakes (Black Type) at Saratoga last September and the Aspirant Stakes (Black Type) at Finger Lakes in October.

Yeah, maybe.

On the other hand, in race seven – another seven-panel run – I commend the morning line for its thoughtful choices. My money is on the 2/1 favorite, Looking At Bikinis. This five-year-old’s record isn’t the stuff of legends. He’s moneyed four of his eight starts, three of those wins. But, in this field, that record puts him at the top of the list.

Having Javier Castellano aboard and Breeders’ Cup legend Chad C. Brown for a trainer certainly doesn’t hurt.

Incidentally, the Ortiz brothers are riding the two longest-odds entries (15/1) in race seven. More interesting is that Jose Ortiz’s mount, T Loves a Fight, looks good for a value show wager.

The Elusive Quality Stakes, otherwise known as race eight, is a seven-furlong turf run for four-year-olds and upward, and it promises the biggest piece of the $100,000 purse to the horse that finishes first.

Top trainer Chad C. Brown has three horses in this stakes race. Mark Casse has two. Yet it’s trainer Christophe Clement’s single entry, Therapist, that gets my vote for the win. Morning line has Therapist third-favored at 7/2.

This six-year-old gelding will be ridden by Eric Cancel, who’s having his best year as a jockey.

Therapist has the best record in this eight-horse field: 16 money finishes in 22 starts, with nine of those wins.

My Saturday Picks for Churchill Downs

Regardless of whether race seven stays on the grass or moves to the main track, my pick for winner of this one-mile turf battle is the third-favored (at 7/2) Fortuity. With veteran trainer Michael J. Maker behind the scenes and top jockey Tyler Gaffalione in the irons, Fortuity’s record of six money finishes in eight starts (he graduated with his first maiden run) is just icing on the cake.

Race nine is the William Walker Stakes; a five-and-a-half furlong turf run worth $150,000 in purse money. This stakes run is the first of Churchill Downs’s 2021 Spring Meet.

My money’s on the second-favored (at 3/1) entry, Field Day. This three-year-old gelding moneyed all six of his career starts, winning two of them. His most recent finish was second-place in the Texas Glitter Stakes (Black Type) at Gulfstream Park in March.

Field Day is under training with Brad H. Cox, who was ranked among the top ten trainers for both wins and earnings in 2020. Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard for this stake run.

And for race ten, I like the second-favored (at 4/1) Bayerness for the win. This four-year-old filly moneyed four of her six career starts, winning two. For this run, veteran Luis Saez will be in the irons.

I know that doesn’t quite match the favorite’s record of four money finishes out of five starts. Still, trainer Cherie DeVaux has been pitting Bayerness against much tougher competitors, including those in four graded stakes runs in 2020, two of which were money finishes for Bayorness.

Saturday Picks for Santa Anita Park

For the ungraded Crystal Water Stakes one-mile turf run (race one), I’m sticking by the morning line’s 6/5 top favorite, North County Guy. Trained by Richard Baltas, who was among 2020’s top 50 trainers in both wins and earnings, North County Guy will be ridden by veteran jockey Mario Gutierrez.

For the record, this six-year-old gelding finished in the money 19 of his 29 starts, winning seven. He will see some serious competition from the 8/2 second-favored Acclimate, ridden by Flavien Prat, but I expect North County Guy to prevail.

In race four, I’m buying a win ticket for the third-favored (at 4/1) entry, Carmelita’s Man.

This four-year-old colt has what I consider a winning combination of advantages: Veteran trainer Dean Pederson, jockey Abel Cedillo, and a consistently fast set of speed figures.

The Santa Margarita Stakes (Grade II) – race eight on your racing form – is a main track run of a mile and an eighth for fillies and mares at least four years old. The race has been around since 1935, and for most of its existence, it was a Grade I stakes race (just like the Kentucky Derby) but was downgraded in 2019 to a Grade II.

Be that as it may, this short field of five promises to deliver all the excitement we can ask for, with a tight competition between the three-morning line favorites.

While the 3/5 morning line favorite, As Time Goes By, finished an impressive second in last month’s Beholder Mile Stakes (Grade 1) at Santa Anita, that is the only stakes match on her record. I say that because my choice for this stakes match is the second-favored (at 2/1) entry, Harvest Moon.

Sure, Harvest Moon finished fourth in the Beholder Mile. Still, this filly’s speed figures are consistently higher than the favorite’s, and her trainer, Simon Callaghan, has put her into far more challenging competitions. This includes the Zenyatta Stakes (Grade II) at Santa Anita and the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar. By the way, Harvest Moon won both of those.

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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