Best Horse Racing Bets for Saturday, September 18, 2021

| September 17, 2021 1:34 pm PDT

All three of my Saturday tracks featured stakes races for our wagering pleasure—Evangeline Downs gave us the D. S. Shine Young Futurity, while Monmouth Park presented the Pinot Grigio Handicap. Not to be outdone, Gulfstream Park featured two—the Armed Forces Stakes and the Our Dear Peggy Stakes.

Even better: All three tracks offered up some surprise moneymakers that should keep our bankrolls happy. Speaking of which, don’t forget to check our top online racebooks for the full race cards of all three featured tracks.

Good luck!

Saturday’s Picks for Evangeline Downs

We’ll start with race eight, a one-mile allowance run on the main track for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the 9/5 morning-line favorite, Boerne, ridden by Timothy Thornton.

This four-year-old filly had ten money finishes in 15 career starts, six of them wins. She’s had some real success at the stakes level, with wins in the Azalea Stakes (Listed) at Gulfstream Park back in July 2020 and the Lane’s End Danny Shifflett Scholarship Stakes (Black Type) at Lone Star this past June.

Regularly ranked among the top 100 for both wins and earnings, Robertino Diodoro trains Boerne for De Luca and Sons Stable.

Moving to the turf course for race nine, we have a 7-1/2 furlong allowance optional claiming run for three-year-olds and upward.

If Diego Saenz rides the 5/1 fourth-favored October Surprise into the starting gate, bet them to win.

In the first half of the 2/2B coupled entry, this four-year-old gelding moneyed seven of his 13 career starts, winning three, which gives him a statistical lead on the morning-line favorite.

Eduardo Ramirez trains October Surprise for Red Rose Racing.

If October Surprise is not in this race, go ahead and bet the 5/2 favorite, Freedom Factor, with Pedro L. Cotto, Jr. aboard. This six-year-old gelding finished in the money for 18 of his 39 career starts, winning eight.

Longtime racing veteran Keith G. Bourgeois trains Freedom Factor for owner Matthew Bellard.

Race ten is the D. S. Shine Young Futurity, a $60,000 purse, 5-1/2 furlong main track run for Louisiana-bred two-year-olds.

The top three contenders in this stakes race are coincidentally the top three finishers in last month’s Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes (Black Type) at Louisiana Downs. I’m sticking with the winner of that run and the morning-line’s 5/2 favorite here: True Deal, with Joe Stokes in the irons.

This colt moneyed all three of his career starts, winning two. And yes, Stokes was aboard for that Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes victory.

Lonnie Briley, having the winningest year of his career, trains True Deal for owner Robert A. Norman.

My Saturday Picks for Gulfstream Park

We start on the turf course with race five, the Armed Forces Stakes—a $75,000 purse, one-mile run for two-year-olds.

This is going to be a tight race. Still, if Jesus M. Rios rides the fourth-favored also-eligible/MTO entry, Golden Juan, into the starting gate, bet them to win. This colt won both of his career starts.

Rafael Ramos trains Golden Juan for R.T Racing Stable.

If Golden Juan isn’t in the race, however, go ahead and buy a win ticket on the 2/1 morning-line favorite, Eldon’s Prince, piloted by top jockey Edgard J. Zayas.

This colt moneyed both of his career starts, placing second in his initial maiden attempt and then winning the Proud Man Stakes (Black Type) last month.

Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. trains Eldon’s Prince for Gentry Farms (A.P. Gentry).

Race nine is the Our Dear Peggy Stakes, a $75,000 purse, one-mile turf run for two-year-old fillies. My bet’s on the second-favored (at 5/2) Saturday Nite Girl, ridden by veteran jockey Emisael Jaramillo.

This filly moneyed one of her two career starts, placing finishing fourth in her initial maiden attempt and graduating from the maiden class on her second attempt. She posted superior speed figures on both of those runs.

Thomas F. Proctor trains Saturday Nite Girl for Glen Hill Farm. Proctor put Jaramillo in the irons for Saturday Nite Girl’s maiden victory.

We’re back on the main track for race ten, a $60,000 purse, seven-furlong handicap run for three-year-olds. I’m betting both of my dollars on the third-favored (at 7/2) Poppy’s Pride, with Jesus M. Rios aboard.

This gelding finished in the money for six of his seven career starts, winning four, including the Armed Forces Stakes (Black Type) last September, the Juvenile Sprint Stakes (Black Type) in November, and the Inaugural Stakes (Black Type) in December.

Michael Yates trains Poppy’s Pride for owner-breeder Stonehedge LLC.

Saturday Picks for Monmouth Park

We’re on the main track for race four, a one-mile allowance optional claiming run for three-year-olds and upward. I agree with the morning line on this one, and I’m betting on the 4/5 favorite, Top Gun Tommy, ridden by ace jockey Paco Lopez.

This colt finished in the money for six of his seven career starts, winning two, which gives him the statistical lead in this six-horse field.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Kelly J. Breen trains Top Gun Tommy for owners John Martino and M and W Stables, LLC.

Moving to the turf course for race five, we have the Pinot Grigio Handicap, an $85,000 purse, five-furlong stakes run for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the third-favored (at 4/1) Jersey Jewel, with Jomar Torres in the irons.

This three-year-old filly moneyed four of her six career starts, winning two—which gives her a solid statistical advantage over the morning-line favorite. More importantly, most of her successes have been in 2021.

J. Kent Sweezey trains Jersey Jewel for Fano Racing. Sweezey has tapped Jomar Torres to saddle Jersey Jewel for all six of her races.

We’re back on the main track for race six, a six-panel allowance optional claiming run for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the 6/1 underdog, Wildly Good Lookin, ridden by Jomar Torres.

This nine-year-old mare moneyed 43 of her 84 career starts, winning 13. More importantly, her 2021 stats put her far ahead of the rest of this seven-horse field: Six money finishes in ten starts, three of those wins. That’s right: She’s performed better in 2021 alone than most of her competition has in their entire careers.

Top-ranked Claudio A. Gonzalez trains Wildly Good Lookin for MCA Racing Stable LLC.

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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