Best Horse Racing Bets for Wednesday, July 21, 2021

| July 21, 2021 6:02 am PDT

My chosen tracks for my Wednesday racing picks are Evangeline Downs, Penn National Race Course, and Saratoga Racecourse. Those tracks yielded up a good-but-not-great mix of favorites and underdogs to tout, including a fourth-favored entry at Evangeline and a third-favored at Penn National.

And as a bonus, I’ve even picked a winner for a hurdles race at Saratoga.

Before you leap into my picks for Wednesday, be sure to check out all the races at those three tracks by visiting our best horse racing wagering sites.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s Picks for Evangeline Downs

We start on the turf course with race three, a five-furlong grass run for Louisiana-bred three-year-olds and upward. I like the 9/2 fourth-favored Little Can, ridden by Joe Stokes.

This three-year-old gelding moneyed four of his six career starts, winning two, giving him a slight statistical edge over the rest of this seven-horse field. Plus, jockey Stokes is having the best year of his career.

Incidentally, I touted Little Can (with Joe Stokes aboard) for a race back in late June when he was a 6/1 underdog. He finished second. Not quite what I was looking for, but it shows he’s definitely willing to work for his money.

Roland Patt, Jr. trains Little Can for owner Tashanam Patt.

Still on the turf for race five—a 7-1/2 furlong grass run for three-year-olds and upward. My money’s on the 2/1 morning line favorite, Old Sot, with Timothy Thornton in the irons.

This is one of those least-worst scenarios, where you keep eliminating the most-unlikely-to-win entries until you’re left with your “pick”—and that perfectly describes my process for selecting Old Sot from this eleven-horse field.

For the record: Old Sot moneyed seven of his nine career starts, finally winning one—his ninth maiden attempt—earlier this month.

Martin Gallegos trains Old Sot for owner Joe Alfredo Castillo. Gallegos had Timothy Thornton saddle Old Sot for his two most recent races, including his graduation victory.

Race seven is a five-panel turf run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting on the second-favored (at 5/2) Violent Ways, jockeyed by Pedro L. Cotto, Jr.

This six-year-old gelding moneyed eight of his 12 career starts, winning six. Additionally, he’s regularly posted high-speed figures, often into triple-digit territory, in all of his 2021 starts. He’ll do.

Owner-trainer Jeff Delhomme has put Cotto in the irons for Violent Ways’ three most recent races, resulting in one second-place and two first-place finishes.

My Wednesday Picks for Penn National Race Course

It’s turf time for race one, a five-furlong grass run for Pennsylvania-bred three-year-olds and upward. I’m calling this one for the third-favored (at 4/1) Ventriloquism, ridden by veteran jockey Angel R. Rodriguez.

This five-year-old gelding finished in the money for four of his six career starts, winning two, putting him in the statistical lead in this nine-horse race.

Regularly ranked among the top 100 in her profession, Kathleen A. DeMasi trains Ventriloquism for owners Pewter Stable and LDJ Stable.

We’re still on the turf for race four, a five-furlong grass run for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m betting my two dollars on the second-favored (at 7/2) Tarafirma, ridden by veteran jockey Julio A. Hernandez.

This seven-year-old mare moneyed ten of her 20 career starts, winning five.

Kathleen A. DeMasi trains Tarafirma for her own Pewter Stable. DeMasi has tapped Hernandez to fill the irons for Tarafirma’s two most recent races, a second and a first.

We’re back on the main track for race six, a six-furlong run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the 2/1 morning line favorite, Littlebitalily, with Dana G. Whitney aboard.

This five-year-old mare had money finishes in 19 of her 27 career starts, winning eight.

While her speed figures might not stand out in a different race, they are quite adequate to stand her against the rest of this six-horse field.

Top-ranked Brandon L. Kulp trains Littlebitalily for owners Warriors Reward, LLC and Wire to Wire Racing. Kulp also tapped Whitney to ride Littlebitalily for the mare’s most recent win at Penn National back in April.

Wednesday Picks for Saratoga Racecourse

Let’s go with something a bit different for race one: the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes, a 2-1/16 miles hurdle race for four-year-olds and upward. The purse is $75,000.

My money is on the 2/1 morning line favorite, The Mean Queen, ridden by veteran jockey Thomas Garner.

This five-year-old mare, a recent Irish import, moneyed all five of her career starts, winning three, including the Margaret Currey Henley Hurdle Stakes at Percy Warner Park in June. By the way: Garner was aboard The Mean Queen for her two most recent hurdle races—both wins.

Former jumper rider Keri Brion served as an assistant trainer to steeplechase champion and Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard before taking over The Mean Queen’s training—and posting a first for a US-born trainer by winning an Irish hurdle race. She trains The Mean Queen for Buttonwood Farm.

Race four is the Rick Violette Stakes, a six-furlong main track sprint for New York-bred two-year-olds.

This five-horse field looks to make for the tightest race of the day, but I’m going to chance it with a bet on the nose of the second-favored (at 2/1) Barese, ridden by ace jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.

This colt broke his maiden on his single career start. Irad was in the irons for that run. Also pertinent is the fact that Irad Ortiz Jr., already near the top of the jockey GOAT list, is having the best year in his career.

Longtime Breeders’ Cup competitor Michael J. Maker trains Barese for owners Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher.

For race nine—a 1-1/8 miles main track run for three-year-olds and upward—I have to agree with the morning line and bet on the 9/5 favorite, Forza Di Oro, ridden by veteran jockey Junior Alvarado.

This four-year-old colt finished in the money four of his five career starts, winning three, including the Discovery Stakes (Grade III) at Aqueduct last November.

While the third-favored West Will Power has a slight statistical edge here, he finished as an also-ran in his own graded stakes bid—a fourth in the Salvator Mile Stakes (Grade III) at Monmouth Park in June.

Hall of Famer William I. Mott trains Forza Di Oro for Don Alberto Stable. Mott put Alvarado in the irons for Forza Di Oro’s Discovery Stakes win.

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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