Best Horse Racing Bets for Saturday, August 21, 2021

| August 20, 2021 12:50 pm PDT

I have a dozen stakes races to cover from the three tracks I chose for my Saturday picks. Del Mar Racing and Saratoga Racecourse had plenty of graded stakes races for us, including the Del Mar Oaks (Grade I) and the Pacific Classic Stakes (Grade I) at Del Mar and the Alabama Stakes (Grade I) at Saratoga.

Pimlico went a different way, offering us four ungraded stakes races that feature the best thoroughbreds Maryland breeders have to offer. All in all, a good day for wagering.

Don’t forget to check on all of Saturday’s thoroughbred races at one of our top online racebooks.

Good luck!

My Saturday Picks for Del Mar Racing

We start on the main track for race six—the Torrey Pines Stakes (Grade III), a $100,000 purse one-miler for three-year-old fillies. My money is on the second-favored (at 5/2) Forest Caraway, ridden by Juan J. Hernandez.

All of the contenders in this seven-horse field have brief but solid records, but this filly’s the best: Three money finishes in four career starts, two of them wins. That would be her maiden graduation and a recent allowance race.

In between those, she finished second in the 2020 Del Mar Debutante Stakes (Grade I). She also managed a respectable fourth after stumbling just out of the starting gate in the Anoakia Stakes (Black Type) at Santa Anita last October.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Peter Miller trains Forest Caraway for Phoenix Thoroughbred III.

For race seven, we move to the turf for the Del Mar Mile Stakes (Grade II), a $300,000 purse one-miler for three-year-olds and upward. I have to agree with the morning line and back the 8/5 favorite, Mo Forza, with Flavien Prat in the irons.

This five-year-old has posted triple-digit speed figures in the majority of his races, so it’s no surprise his record stands out: Ten money finishes in 12 career starts, with six wins.

With the exception of his maiden victory, all his wins have been in graded stakes, the most recent being the Del Mar Mile Handicap (Grade II) last August and the City of Hope Mile Stakes (Grade II) at Santa Anita last October.

Peter Miller trains Mo Forza for owners Bardy Farm and OG Boss.

Race nine is the Del Mar Oaks (Grade I), a $300,000 purse, 1-1/8 mile turf run for three-year-old fillies. I like the 5/2 second-favored Madone, with Juan J. Hernandez aboard.

This filly finished in the money five of her seven career starts, and all five were wins, including the San Clemente Stakes (Grade II) at Del Mar last month, wherein she beat the favorite in this race—Going Global—by half a length. Can she do it again? I submit that she will.

Top-ranked in earnings for the last four years, Simon Callaghan trains Madone for Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Switching to the main track for race ten, we have the Pacific Classic Stakes (Grade I), a $1,000,000 purse, 1-1/4 miles run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting on the 3/1 morning line favorite, Express Train, piloted by Juan J. Hernandez.

This four-year-old colt has finished in the money ten of his 12 career starts, winning four, including the San Pasqual Stakes (Grade II) at Santa Anita in January and the San Diego Handicap (Grade II) at Del Mar in July.

Between those two wins, he finished in the money in three other graded stakes races. He’s had a productive year.

Top-ranked John A. Shirreffs trains Express Train for C R K Stable LLC.

We’re back on the turf for race eleven—the Del Mar Handicap (Grade II), a $300,000 purse, 1-3/8 miles stakes race for three-year-olds and upward. I’m backing the 2/1 morning-line favorite, United, ridden by Flavien Prat.

This six-year-old gelding moneyed 14 of his 20 career starts, winning nine of them, including this year’s San Luis Rey Stakes (Grade III) at Santa Anita in March and the Eddie Read Stakes (Grade II) at Del Mar last month. United hasn’t posted a speed figure with fewer than three digits since February 2019. This is his race to lose.

Hall of Famer Richard E. Mandella trains United for LNJ Foxwoods.

Saturday Picks for Pimlico Race Course

Starting on the main track for race six, we have the Miss Disco Stakes, a $75,000 purse, a six-panel race for Maryland-bred or -sired three-year-old fillies. This one’s a no-brainer: Bet your two dollars on the 1/1 morning-line favorite, Street Lute, with Xavier Perez in the irons.

This filly finished in the money ten of her 12 career starts, winning eight. This year alone, she’s won three: the Xtra Heat Stakes (Black Type) and the Wide Country Stakes (Black Type) at Laurel Park, and the Stormy Blues Stakes (Black Type) at Pimlico.

John J. Robb trains Street Lute for Lucky 7 Stables. Robb has tapped Perez to saddle Street Lute for all of her 2021 races.

We switch to the turf for race seven—the All Brandy Stakes, a $75,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles grass run for Maryland-bred or -sired fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the third-favored (at 9/2) Kiss the Girl, with veteran jockey Victor R. Carrasco in the irons.

Unlike the morning-line’s favorite in this ten-horse field, Kiss the Girl was campaigned aggressively—and successfully—in both ungraded and graded stakes races throughout her brief career.

For the record, the four-year-old filly moneyed eight of her 15 career starts, winning four, including the Conniver Stakes (Black Type) at Laurel Park in March.

She also finished second in the 2019 Schuylerville Stakes (Grade III) shortly after her maiden graduation. She’ll do.

Regularly ranked among the top 50 in his profession in both earnings and sales, Michael J. Trombetta trains Kiss the Girl for Three Diamonds Farm.

Let’s hop back on the main track for race eight, the Star De Naskra Stakes, a $75,000 purse, six-furlong run for Maryland-bred or -sired three-year-olds. I’m going with the 6/5 morning-line favorite, Jaxon Traveler, with Sheldon Russell aboard.

This colt moneyed all eight of his career starts, winning four, including the Maryland Juvenile Futurity (Black Type) at Laurel Park last December and the Bachelor Stakes (Listed) at Oaklawn Park this past April.

Hall of Famer (2016) Steven M. Asmussen trains Jaxon Traveler for owners West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner.

It’s the turf course again for race nine, the Find Stakes—a $75,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles run for Maryland-bred or -sired three-year-olds and upward. If Victor Carrasco rides also-eligible/MTO favorite Cordmaker into the starting gate, bet them to win.

This six-year-old gelding moneyed 20 of his 30 career starts, winning nine, including the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes (Black Type) at Laurel Park in March. Rodney Jenkins trains Cordmaker for Hillwood Stable LLC.

If that doesn’t happen, then buy a win ticket on the fourth-favored (at 5/1) Nick Papagiorgio, piloted by J. D. Acosta.

This five-year-old gelding finished in the money 20 of his 28 career starts, winning nine. Michael A. LeCesse trains Nick Papagiorgio for owner Louis A. Bisso, Jr.

Saturday’s Picks for Saratoga Racecourse

We’ll start on the turf course with race three, the Smart N Fancy Stakes—a $120,000 purse, 5-1/2 furlong run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I have to agree with the morning line—the 1/1 favorite, Robin Sparkles, with Jose L. Ortiz in the irons, is going to win this race.

This four-year-old finished in the money nine of her ten career starts, winning six, including the Mount Vernon Stakes (Black Type) at Belmont Park in May. Additionally, she finished second in the Caress Stakes (Grade III) at Saratoga last month.

Bruce R. Brown trains Robin Sparkles for owner Michael Schrader. Brown has tapped Ortiz to saddle Robin Sparkles for her three most recent starts.

Race nine is the Lake Placid Stakes (Grade II), a $200,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles turf run for three-year-old fillies. I’m betting my two dollars on the third-favored (at 7/2) Runaway Rumour, with veteran jockey Jose Lezcano aboard.

This filly finished in the money three of her four career starts, all three of them wins, including the Wild Applause Stakes (Listed) at Belmont Park in June.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Jorge R. Abreu trains Runaway Rumour for owner-breeder Lawrence Goichman.

We’re back on the main track for race ten, the Alabama Stakes (Grade I), a $600,000 purse, 1-1/4 miles run for three-year-old fillies. I like the morning-line’s way of thinking, so I’m buying a win ticket on the 1/1 favorite, Malathaat, ridden by John R. Velazquez.

This filly has moneyed all six of her six career starts, winning five, including this year’s Central Bank Ashland Stakes (Grade I) at Keeneland and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs. Her single non-victory was a second-place finish in the Coaching Club American Oaks (Grade I) in July here at Saratoga.

One of the nation’s top ten trainers in both earnings and wins every year since 2003, Todd A. Pletcher trains Malathaat for Shadwell Stable.

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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