Best Horse Racing Bets for Thursday, September 23, 2021

| September 22, 2021 12:28 pm PDT

I have a good mix of favorites, underdogs, and sleepers to tout for the three tracks I reviewed for my Thursday picks: Arlington International Racecourse, Belmont Park, and Churchill Downs.

Belmont Park was the most forthcoming with the longer-odds entries, yielding up four moneymakers in three races for our wagering enjoyment.

Don’t forget to check out the other races for all three of these tracks on Thursday at our best horseracing wagering sites.

Good luck!

Thursday Picks for Arlington International Racecourse

We’re starting with race three; a 1-1/16 miles allowance optional claiming race on the all-weather track for three-year-olds and upward. I like the 2/1 morning-line favorite, P H Factor, with E. T. Baird in the irons.

This five-year-old gelding finished in the money 16 of his 25 career starts, winning ten, giving him the statistical edge in this nine-horse field. His record for 2021 sharpens that edge: Nine money finishes in eleven starts, six of those wins. He’ll do.

Larry Rivelli—who’s been listed among the top 100 for wins, earning, or both every year since 2009—trains P H Factor for Patricia’s Hope LLC.

Let’s move to the turf course for race four, a 5-1/2 furlong allowance optional claiming run for three-year-olds.

While I’m not impressed with the morning-line favorite in this race, I’m even less impressed with the rest of this seven-horse field.

So I’m betting on the 7/5 favorite, City Drifter, ridden by Jose E. Lopez. This three-year-old colt moneyed five of his 12 career starts, all five of those wins. Yeah, I know, but that’s actually better than any of his competitors have to show for their efforts.

Christopher Davis trains City Drifter for owner-breeder Nelson McMakin. Davis put Lopez in the irons for City Drifter’s two most recent wins.

Race seven is a 1-1/6 miles allowance optional claiming run on the turf for three-year-olds and upward.

If the also-eligible/MTO Christian C, ridden by Constantino Roman, starts this race, then bet him to win—the morning-line has him at 7/2. This eight-year-old gelding moneyed 24 of his 32 career starts, winning 12.

Co-owner Michael L. Reavis trains Christian C for Barry Corban and himself.

If that doesn’t happen, go with the second-favored (at 7/2) Duchossois, piloted by Christopher A. Emigh. This six-year-old gelding finished in the money for seven of his 14 career starts, winning four. He’s trained by Brittany A. Vanden Berg for RSR Racing Services, LLC (Robert S. Rhoads).

Thursday’s Picks for Belmont Park

We’re on the main track for race three, a one-mile allowance run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the 8/1 sleeper, Full Court Press, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons.

This three-year-old court is one of the two standouts in this race with five money finishes out of seven career starts, three of those wins.

Horacio DePaz trains Full Court Press for owners Take a Shot Stables, Liberty House Racing, and Twenty-Two Stable.

And that other standout I alluded to earlier? That’s the 15/1 Chowda, piloted by Eric Cancel. This four-year-old gelding moneyed six of his nine career starts, winning three—but he is the only entry in this six-horse field with experience and success at the stakes level.

His most recent win was the Gander Stakes (Black Type) in 2020 at Aqueduct, and he finished second in the Genesee Valley Breeders’ Stakes (Black Type) at Finger Lakes just last month. He’s worth at least a show ticket, if not an across-the-board wager.

Longtime racing veteran Gary Sciacca trains Chowda for Eddie F’s Racing.

We switch to the turf for race four, a one-mile claiming run for three-year-olds and upward.

If Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides the also-eligible/MTO Cantrell Hill (at 4/1) into the starting gate, bet them to win. This five-year-old gelding moneyed 15 of his 22 career starts, winning four.

Linda Rice trains Cantrell Hill for Bruce Golden Racing.

If Cantrell Hill isn’t in this race, however, then my money’s on the 8/1 sleeper, Rocking the Boat, with Eric Cancel aboard. This seven-year-old gelding finished in the money 15 of his 23 career starts, winning four—but it’s his 2021 record that really makes him a standout in this 13-horse field: four money finishes in five starts, one of those a win.

Multiple graded stakes winner Carlos F. Martin trains Rocking the Boat for M and A Racing LTD.

Race eight is a six-furlong allowance run on the grass for New York-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the 6/1 underdog Highway Queen, ridden by John R. Velazquez.

This three-year-old filly moneyed four of her five career starts, winning one.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Steve Klesaris trains Highway Queen for Hibiscus Stables LLC.

My Thursday Picks for Churchill Downs

Let’s start on the main track with race two, a 5-1/2 furlong claiming run for three-year-olds and upward that have never won three races.

While this one looks like a tightly contested run, I’m betting my two dollars on the 3/1 underdog Carbon Stryker, piloted by Reylu Gutierrez.

This three-year-old gelding not only has a solid record of eleven money finishes in 14 career starts, two of them wins but has competed more—and successfully—at the stakes level. Aside from his graduation victory, Carbon Stryker also won the My Dandy Division of the Clarence Scharbauer, Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes (Black Type) back in January at Sam Houston Race Park. He’ll do.

Carbon Stryker is trained by owner Karl Broberg.

Race five is a 1-1/16 miles claiming race on the main track for three-year-olds and upward that have never won three races. I’m betting on the 6/1 underdog Cave Hill, piloted by veteran jockey Mitchell Murrill.

This three-year-old gelding finished in the money four of his eight career starts, winning three, including the Rushaway Stakes (Black Type) at Fairway Park in March.

The regularly top-ranked Chris A. Hartman trains Cave Hill for owner Larry J. Romero.

For race seven—a six-panel allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares three years old and upward—I’m betting on the second-favored (at 5/2) Reagan’s Edge, with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons.

This four-year-old filly finished in the money for seven of her nine career starts, winning two. Notably, she finished second in the Victory Ride Stakes (Grade III) at Belmont a year ago in July, the Prioress Stakes (Grade II) at Saratoga a year ago in September, and the Safely Kept Stakes last November at Laurel Park.

Cherie DeVaux trains Reagan’s Edge for Lael Stables.

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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