Best Horse Racing Bets for Thursday, August 12, 2021

| August 12, 2021 6:21 am PDT

I found some good underdog prospects for our Thursday wagering pleasure. The races I selected come from Charles Town Races, Del Mar Racing, and Saratoga Racecourse.

While more often than not, I agreed with the morning line for these picks, I did find some third- and even fourth-favored probables to keep our bankrolls happy.

Before you skip down to the picks, remember to check out all of the Thursday races at one of the best online racebooks.

Good luck!

My Thursday Picks for Charles Town Races

Let’s start with race two, a 4-1/2 furlong allowance race on the main track for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the second-favored Juba’s House, ridden by Gerald Almodovar.

This three-year-old filly finished in the money three of her four career starts, breaking her maiden on her second attempt. Versus the rest of this six-horse field, she’ll do.

Juba’s House is trained by owner John A. Casey.

Race four is a 6-1/2 furlong allowance race on the main track for three-year-olds and upward. I agree with the morning-line in this race, so I’m buying a win ticket on New Frontier, with Gerald Almodovar in the irons.

This five-year-old gelding’s career got off to a slow start, with him spending 2019 and 2020 trying to break his maiden, finally succeeding this past January at Laurel Park. Since then, though, he’s been all business.

For the record, New Frontier moneyed 14 of his 24 career starts, winning three.

Kieron Magee trains New Frontier for owner Erhan Polat.

In race seven—a 6-1/2 furlong allowance run on the main track for West Virginia-bred three-year-olds and upward—I’m betting my two dollars on the 7/5 morning-line favorite, Freedom Rider, with top jockey Arnaldo Bocachica aboard.

This three-year-old colt moneyed six of his eight starts, graduating from the maiden class back in February. His speed figures have been consistently high, and he’s got the will to put himself in position for the win.

Jeff C. Runco—ranked among the top trainers in the business for the past 20 years—works with Freedom Rider for owner David M. Raim. Runco has had Bocachica in the irons for Freedom Rider’s most recent three races.

Thursday’s Picks for Del Mar Racing

We’re on the turf course for race two, a five-furlong claiming race for three-year-olds and upward. My bet is on the second-favored (at 5/2) Ian Glass, ridden by veteran jockey Geovanni Franco.

This five-year-old gelding moneyed 13 of his 20 career starts, winning six.

The morning-line favorite—Grit, and Curiosity—has an impressive record, but he’s run in exactly one race in the past ten months, and the results were unimpressive.

Meanwhile, Ian Glass has been busy demonstrating that 2021 is his year, with four money finishes, three of them wins.

Andy Mathis trains Ian Glass for owners Bran Jam Stable and David W. Clark.

Race six is a five-furlong allowance optional claiming race on the turf course for California-bred or -sired fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the morning-line’s 3/1 favorite, Rain Diva, with Juan J. Hernandez in the irons.

This four-year-old filly finished in the money three of her eight career starts, winning all three. Not a spectacular record, but in this particular nine-horse field, it makes her a statistical leader.

Mark Glatt trains Rain Diva for owners-breeders Al and Saundra Kirkwood.

We’re still on the turf course for race eight, a one-mile allowance optional claiming race for three-year-olds. I’m calling this one for the third-favored (at 7/2) Hockey Dad, with Mario Gutierrez aboard.

This colt moneyed four of his seven starts, winning three. Notably, he finished third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (Grade III) at Turfway Park in March.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Doug F. O’Neill trains Hockey Dad for owner-breeder Reddam Racing LLC. O’Neill had Gutierrez saddle Hockey Dad for all three of his previous wins.

Thursday Picks for Saratoga Racecourse

Let’s start with race three—the Saratoga Dew Handicap, a $100,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles main track stakes race for New York-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m betting my money on the 6/5 morning-line favorite, Mrs. Orb, ridden by Dylan Davis.

This six-year-old mare had 19 money finishes in her 25 career starts, winning seven, including La Verdad Stakes (Black Type) at Aqueduct in January and the Caesar’s Wish Stakes (Black Type) at Pimlico just last month.

While both Mrs. Orb and her most likely nemesis in this race (the second-favored Espresso Shot) have been campaigned aggressively in stakes race for their entire careers thus far, Mrs. Orb already bested Espresso Shot in La Verdad Stakes.

Michael Miceli trains Mrs. Orb for himself and co-owners Ruggeri Stable, Richard Coburn, and Script R Farm.

Race four is a one-mile allowance optional claiming race on the turf course for New York-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m calling this one for the third-favored (at 7/2) Mischievous Dream, ridden by Javier Castellano.

This three-year-old filly has been raced almost entirely at the stakes level, winning the Sorority Stakes (Black Type) at Monmouth Park last September, then finishing second in the Nownownow Stakes (Black Type) in October. Most recently, she finished third at Gulfstream Park in the Honey Ryder Stakes (Black Type) this past May.

For the record, Mischievous Dream moneyed five of her seven career starts, winning two.

Longtime Breeders’ Cup veteran Christophe Clement trains Mischievous Dream for owner-breeder Patricia A. Generazio.

We’re back on the main track for race eight, a seven-furlong allowance optional claiming race for three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting both of my American dollars on one of the fourth-favored entries (the morning line has three at 4/1) in this race: Chocolate Bar, piloted by Jose L. Ortiz.

This four-year-old colt finished nine of his 14 career starts in the money, three of those wins. His speed figures for his last four races have all been in the triple digits.

His only real competition in this six-horse field is the M/L favorite, Mihos, but that three-year-old’s record for 2021 suggests he won’t be a problem for Chocolate Bar.

Top-ranked Michael J. Maker trains Chocolate Bar for owners Michael Dubb and Michael J. Caruso.

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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