Best Horse Racing Bets for Saturday, May 29, 2021

| May 29, 2021 12:31 am PDT

All three of the tracks I chose for Saturday’s picks—Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Santa Anita Park—have one thing in common.

If you guessed “they all have the same last name,” then I’m afraid that’s not the answer our judges were looking for. But thanks for playing.

No, seriously, each of the tracks features at least one stakes race, and Santa Anita has three. Big purses bring serious contenders to the tracks, and Saturday’s stakes fare is no exception.

But before we charge on to my picks, don’t forget you can get full info and wagering options for all of the races with a visit to one of the best online racebooks.

Good luck!

Saturday Picks for Belmont Park

Starting with race three—a one-mile main track run for three-year-olds and upward—I’m betting on one of the second-favored entries (there are two at 5/2) in this race: Yankee Division.

The five-year-old gelding is in training to co-owner Rudy R. Rodriguez for himself and his partners Michael Imperio and Andrew Gurdon. His record is solid: ten money finishes in 17 career starts, five of them wins. His recent speed figures have been in the triple digits.

Veteran jockey Joel Rosario will saddle Yankee Division for this race.

Race eight is a 1-1/16 mile allowance optional claiming race for three-year-olds and upward. My money is on one of the fourth-favored horses here—Superfecto, ridden by veteran jockey John R. Velazquez.

This four-year-old colt finished in the money three of his six starts, winning two. One of his most recent money finishes was a third-place in the Ghostzapper Stakes (Grade III) at Gulfstream Park in March. His speed figures are regularly in the three-digit territory.

Ralph E. Nicks trains Superfecto for owner/breeder Irving Cowan.

Switching to the turf for race nine, we have the Pennine Ridge Stakes (Grade II), a 1-1/8 mile grass run for three-year-olds. I’m buying a win ticket on the 9/5 morning-line favorite, Hard Love.

This ridgling moneyed all three of his career starts, winning two.

To say that in a more meaningful way (for our purposes), Hard Love won his initial maiden last October, placed second in the Central Park Stakes (Black Type) at Aqueduct in November, then won the Woodhaven Stakes (Black Type) there last month.

Hard Love is trained by Jonathan Thomas–who worked for legends Christophe Clement and Todd Pletcher before venturing out on his own—for owners Robert V. LaPenta, Augustin Stable, and Madaket Stables LLC.

Thomas has tapped jockey Javier Castellano, who rode Hard Love to victory in the Woodhaven Stakes, for this run.

Saturday’s Picks for Monmouth Park

In race five—a six-furlong sprint for New Jersey-bred three-year-olds and upward—I’m going with the third-favored (at 4/1) Stefano, ridden by Hector Rafael Diaz, Jr.

This four-year-old gelding moneyed five of his seven starts, winning one, giving him the best statistical record in this nine-horse field.

Stefano is trained by New Jersey-based Rory K. Huston for owner/breeder Colonial Farms.

Race nine is the Mr. Prospector Stakes (Black Type), a six-furlong sprint for three-year-olds and upward. My money is on the second-favored (at 3/1) Always Sunshine, with veteran jockey Jose C. Ferrer in the irons.

This nine-year-old gelding finished in the money 23 of his 33 career starts, winning 12. His speed figures have remained consistently in the triple digits since 2016.

Trainer Edward T. Allard trains Always Sunshine for owner Stonehedge LLC.

Incidentally, the Mr. Prospector Stakes held at Monmouth is not the same as the Grade III stakes race of the same name held every year at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

We move to the turf for race ten—a 5-1/2 furlong grass run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting on the 5/1 underdog, Ziggy Mon, with Jomar Torres in the irons. Fun Fact: Ziggy Mon’s maternal granddad is Smarty Jones.

This five-year-old gelding moneyed 13 of his 17 career starts, winning four. Claudio A. Gonzalez, who’s been among the top 100 trainers in both wins and earnings since 2016, works with Ziggy Mon for owner Rising Sun Stables, Inc.

My Saturday Picks for Santa Anita Park

We start with race five—the Daytona Stakes (Grade III), a 6-1/2 furlong turf run for four-year-olds and upward. My money is on the 6/5 morning line favorite, Bombard, with top jockey Flavien Prat aboard.

This eight-year-old gelding has the best record in this five-horse field: 13 money finishes in 17 career starts and five wins. His speed figures throughout his career have been superlative, and he’s moneyed in four stakes races—most recently, the Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (Grade III) at Kentucky Downs last September.

Hall of Famer Richard E. Mandella trains Bombard for owners Perry R. Bass II, Ramona S. Bass, Adele B. Dilschneider, and Waddell W. Hancock II.

We stay on the turf for race seven, the Charles Whittingham Stakes (Grade II), a 1-1/4 mile grass run for three-year-olds and upward. In this four-horse field, I’m putting my money on the 3/5 morning line favorite, United, ridden by Flavien Prat.

This six-year-old gelding finished in the money 13 of his 18 career starts, winning eight.

He hasn’t posted a speed figure under 100 in more than two years.

He was victorious in his most recent race, the San Luis Rey Stakes (Grade III) at Santa Anita in March, with Prat aboard for that run, by the way.

Richard E. Mandella trains United for LNJ Foxwoods.

Race eight is the Triple Bend Stakes (Grade II), a $200,000 seven-furlong main track run for four-year-olds and upward. I’m betting on the second-favored (5/2) entry, Lambeau, with Edwin A. Maldonado in the irons.

John A. Shirreffs—who took Giacomo to a win in the 2005 Kentucky Derby (and a third-place finish at that year’s Preakness)—trains Lambeau for owner Jerome S. Moss.

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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