Best Horse Racing Bets for Thursday, April 22, 2021

| April 22, 2021 3:00 am PDT

I found plenty of good horses to tout for Thursday’s racing picks at these three race parks: Belmont, Gulfstream, and Lone Star.

Before we get started, remember that you can find these races and more at any of our recommended online racebooks.

Good luck!

My Thursday Picks at Belmont Park

While Principled Stand, the 4/5 morning line favorite in race two, won his single career start and is being ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., I like the second-favored (at 9/5) Red Storm Risen for the win in this 1-1/16 mile turf run. He’s being ridden by another top jockey, Junior Alvarado, and his trainer is H. Graham Motion, who has taken moneyed four times in Triple Crown races. He’s also done so in more than a dozen Breeder’s Cup matches.

On turf, this is going to be a very tight race. Red Storm Risen has a history of campaigning, while the favorite, Principled Stand, has that single win and the turf expertise of Chad Brown to his advantage.

In race four, it’s a seven-furlong run on the main track. I like what the morning line likes, which is the 2/1 favorite, Always Sunshine, ridden by Jose L. Ortiz. Like the second-favored Square Shooter, Always Sunshine has competed well in several stakes races and has moneyed in two-thirds of his 32 career starts.

Race five is a six-panel turf run, and depending on whether the race stays on turf or moves to the main track, apprentice jockey Luis Cardenas will ride a dream or a dud. His mount on turf is the 30/1 longshot Aristocratic, while his MTO mount would be the 1/1 favorite Ryan’s Cat. On the main track, my money is on Ryan’s Cat.

On turf, however, I’m backing the morning line’s 4/5 fave, Maxwell Esquire, ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. Trainer Christophe Clement has plenty of experience taking thoroughbreds to turf wins.

Thursday Picks for Gulfstream Park

Race one is a mile-and-a-sixteenth turn run. While the morning line thinks the also-eligible (MTO) Chevelita is locked in for the win if the race moves to the main track, I have my doubts. Yes, Paco Lopez will be aboard Chevelita for a dirt run, and I agree that Lopez is one of the best jockeys working today, but that filly pulled a DNF in her most recent race. Her speed figures overall aren’t impressive, either.

We can always hope this race stays on turf—if for no other reason than to ensure Lopez doesn’t have to add a no-money run to his stats—but regardless, as long as the second-favored (at 5/2) Shadilee is in the starting gate, we’re good to go.

Shadilee moneyed four of her seven career starts, has better speed figures than the favorite and doesn’t have any “rank” baggage in her race notes. Her jockey for this run is Leonel Reyes, and her trainer, Teresa M. Pompay, has been prepping thoroughbreds for graded stakes wins for years. This turf run should be a walk in the park.

I like the morning line’s 2/1 favorite in race six. Royal Habibi, ridden by Edgard Zayas and trained by Saffie A. Joseph, has moneyed all but one of his seven career starts. He placed fifth in the Juvenile Fillies Sprint Stakes (Black Type) last November.

He’s only had one race on turf in his career, but that was another five-furlong run at Gulfstream Park last December—and he finished second (by a neck) in that race.

I’m betting on the 5/2 morning line favorite, Chuck Willis, to win in race eight. This is another turf run, this time for seven-and-a-half furlongs.

This Irish import finished second at the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Rose Bowl Stakes in Newbury in 2018. He moved to Canada and won a couple of allowances/claiming races in 2020.

Ridden by Miguel Angel Vasquez for this run, Chuck Willis is under training with Mark Casse, who was won Canada’s Sovereign Award for Outstanding Trainer for nine consecutive years (2011-2019). Casse has taken three horses to money finishes in Triple Crown matches and done the same with more than a dozen Breeders’ Cup races.

My Thursday Picks for Lone Star Park

Lone Star Park gives race one pride-of-place to the Bluebonnet Stakes (Black Type), a six-and-a-half run on the main track for Texas-bred fillies and mares. And it’s hard to disagree with the morning line’s 8/5 pick for favorite—so I’m not going to. My win ticket for race one will read Ima Discreet Lady.

This five-year-old mare moneyed 19 of her 24 career starts—nine of which were wins. She won her last two races—the Miss Bluebonnet Turf Stakes (Black Type) in February and the Yellow Rose Stakes in March, both at Sam Houston Race Park.

With a top jockey like Ry Eikleberry in the irons for this run with Ima Discreet Lady, it looks like trainer Karl Broberg will add another stakes win to his impressive regional stats.

Race five is a five-panel turf run for fillies and mares, and my money is on the morning line’s second-favored (at 5/2) Uptownblingithome.

While Alfredo Triana, Jr. was in the irons for all of Uptownblingithome’s earlier runs, it looks like trainer Carlos Padilla wanted a more thoroughbred-centric jockey since Triana’s experience has been mostly with quarter horses. He’s tapped Lane J. Luzzi for this run—a good choice since Luzzi is having the best year of his career.

I’m calling race eight for the morning line’s second-favored (at 3/1) entry, St. Louie Guy. Offsetting the relative inexperience of jockey Ezequiel Lara is this seven-year-old gelding’s record of 32 money finishes in 52 starts, nine of which were wins.

J.R. Caldwell, who has taken plenty of thoroughbreds to stakes wins over the years, is the listed trainer for St. Louie Guy, as well as another horse in this race, Jack’s Advantage (at 5/1).

He’s not the only trainer with two horses in this six-furlong run, by the way: Steve Asmussen and Karl Broberg each have two horses in contention.

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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