Best Horse Racing Bets for Thursday, August 26, 2021

| August 25, 2021 12:33 pm PDT

I’ll admit it: I spent a little more time in Pennsylvania for Thursday’s picks than I should have, but in my defense, I was rewarded with some solid surprise prospects—including an 8/1 sleeper and a couple of fourth-favored underdogs–at Presque Isle Downs and Penn National Race Course.

And over on the left side of the country, I found some likely underdogs at Del Mar Racing to give us something to bet on.

Before you head off to see what crazy picks I made this time, be sure to check out the full race cards for all three tracks at our recommended horseracing wagering sites.

Good luck!

Thursday’s Picks for Del Mar Racing

Let’s get these picks rolling with race six, a five-furlong allowance optional claiming race on the turf course for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the second-favored (at 5/2) Raymundos Secret, with Flavien Prat in the irons.

Campaigned heavily at the graded stakes level, this five-year-old mare moneyed five of her ten career starts, winning all five, including the John C. Mabee Stakes (Grade II) at Del Mar last September. Although she was an also-ran in the majority of her other graded stakes runs, she has maintained her speed figures in the high two- and three-digit range.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Philip D’Amato trains Raymundos Secret for owners Little Red Feather Racing and Sterling Stables, LLC.

Let’s switch to the main track for race seven, a one-mile allowance optional claiming race for California-bred or -sired three-year-olds and upward. My money’s on the 5/2 morning-line favorite, Wilson Monk, ridden by Ricardo Gonzalez.

This five-year-old gelding finished in the money both of his two career starts, winning his initial maiden attempt and then finishing third in a subsequent claiming race.

What’s remarkable is that his speed figures for both were near or above 100. Against the rest of this nine-horse field, he’s a real standout.

Philip D’Amato trains Wilson Monk for owner-breeder Nicholas B. Alexander. D’Amato put Ricardo Gonzalez in the irons for both of Wilson Monk’s races.

We’re back on the turf for race eight, a one-mile claiming race for three-year-old fillies. I’m betting on the third-favored (at 4/1) Lady Emily, with Umberto Rispoli aboard.

It’s not that I find Lady Emily’s brief record all that impressive, but that I find the records of the two horses the morning-line fancies more to be even less impressive. For the record, Lady Emily moneyed one of her three career starts, winning her initial maiden bid at Gulfstream Park in May.

Top-ranked trainer for both wins and earnings since 2007, Michael J. Maker trains Lady Emily for owner-breeder Donald R. Dizney LLC.

Thursday Picks for Penn National Race Course

We’re on the turf course for race one, a 1-1/16 miles allowance run for Pennsylvania-bred three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting my two dollars on the 5/2 second-favored Prized Merry, piloted by Andrew Wolfsont.

I agree that this race could be very tight between Prized Merry and You Must Chill, the morning-line favorite, but I like Prized Merry’s numbers: The seven-year-old gelding finished seven of his 14 career starts in the money, winning five of them.

Kathleen A. DeMasi trains Prized Merry for owner-breeder Pewter Stable.

Race three is a one-mile allowance run on the turf for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. My money’s on the 8/1 sleeper, Maldives Model, ridden by veteran jockey Tyler Conner.

This three-year-old filly finished four of her six career starts in the money, winning her initial maiden race, and more notably, finishing second in the Malvern Rose Stakes (Black Type) at Presque Isle Downs in July. And yes, Tyler Conner was in the irons for that stakes victory.

Erin C. McClellan trains Maldives Model for Tom Coulter.

We’re still on the grass for race six, a one-mile-and-70-yards allowance run for Pennsylvania-bred three-year-olds and upward. I agree with the morning-line’s choice here, so my bet’s on the 5/2 favorite, Jayjaydee, with Julio A. Hernandez in the irons.

This four-year-old gelding moneyed nine of his 17 career starts, winning five, including his two most recent—one at Parx Racing last month and the other at Penn National this month. His stats put him in the statistical lead in this eight-horse field.

Ranked among the top 100 trainers for wins, earnings, or both every year for the past decade, Timothy C. Kreiser trains Jayjaydee for Bush Racing Stable.

My Thursday Picks for Presque Isle Downs

We’re starting on the all-weather track for race three, a one-mile starter optional claiming run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I don’t have as much faith in the 6/5 favorite as the morning line appears to have, so I’m betting my two dollars on the second-favored (at 9/5): Dance the Day Away, ridden by veteran jockey Huber Villa-Gomez.

This five-year-old mare moneyed 14 of her 27 career starts, winning eight, including her three most recent races. In this short field of five, she’ll do.

Co-owner Daniel E. Sanner trains Dance the Day Away for Scott Abbott and himself.

For race six, a one-mile claiming race on the all-weather track for three-year-olds and upward, I’m buying a win ticket on the fourth-favored (at 6/1) A Cotswold Village, with Willie Martinez aboard.

This four-year-old gelding stands out in this six-horse field because he hasn’t had to start dozens of races in order to acquire two wins. For the record, A Cotswold Village finished in the money four of his five career starts, winning two, breaking his maiden in April in his first professional race.

Cassondra Weaver trains A Cotswold Village for owner Carly Fleischmann. Weaver has tapped Martinez to saddle A Cotswold Village for his most recent three races.

Race seven is a six-furlong allowance optional claiming race on the all-weather track for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m calling this one for the 6/1 fourth-favored underdog, Baby Dragon, ridden by Alexis Valdes.

While this four-year-old filly’s record is nothing remarkable, it is far and away better than those of the rest of this six-horse field. For the record, Baby Dragon moneyed 12 of her 19 career starts, winning one.

For the sake of perspective, Mused—the UK export that’s the 8/5 morning-line favorite—moneyed two of her six career starts, winning one. Mused has been a perennial also-ran since she arrived stateside.

James L. Hogue trains Baby Dragon for Briar Lane Farm.

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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