Top Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, April 23, 2022

| April 22, 2022 3:03 pm PDT

For our Saturday wagering pleasure, we have a slew of stakes matches among our selected horse races from Keeneland Race Course, Laurel Park, and Oaklawn Park.

Laurel Park takes the prize with five stakes races, but Oaklawn Park offers the biggest purses, including a couple of million-dollar races—the Apple Blossom Handicap and the Oaklawn Handicap.

Don’t forget you can find the full race-cards and all the wagering options for all three tracks at our best horse racing betting sites.

Good luck!

My Saturday Picks for Keeneland Race Course

Let’s start on the turf course with race seven, a 1-1/16 miles allowance horse race for fillies and mares four years old and upward. I’ll go along with the morning line here and bet on the 3/1 favorite, Gam’s Mission, ridden by Adam Beschizza.

This four-year-old bay filly has the best of it as far as stats are concerned, finishing in the money five of her eight career starts, winning three, including the Regret Stakes (Grade III) last May at Churchill Downs.

While there are a couple of others in this 12-horse field that have similar stats, Gam’s Mission has faced tougher competition successfully. She’s got this.

Cherie DeVaux trains Gam’s Mission for owner-breeder Lazy F Ranch (Corbett). She put Beschizza in the irons for Gam’s Mission’s Regret Stakes victory.

We switch to the dirt track for race eight—the Ben Ali Stakes (Grade III), a $300,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles run for four-year-olds and upward.

I’m backing the 9/2 fourth favored Mighty Heart, with veteran jockey James Graham aboard.

In this field of eight, this five-year-old stands out with eleven money finishes in his 16 career starts, six of them wins. Those victories include the Blame Stakes (Black Type) last May at Churchill Downs and the Autumn Stakes (Grade II) at Woodbine last November.

Mighty Heart has moneyed seven of his last eight races, and three of those were wins. He’ll do.

Longtime horse racing veteran Josie Carroll trains Mighty Heart for owner Lawrence Cordes.

Back on the turf for race nine, we’ve got the Elkhorn Stakes (Grade II), a $350,000 purse, 1-1/2 miles grass run for four-year-olds and upward. I’m betting my two dollars on the third favored (at 4/1) Phantom Currency, piloted by top jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.

This six-year-old bay gelding finished in the money seven of his 15 career starts, winning six, including the Mac Diarmida Stakes (Grade II) in February, and the Kitten’s Joy Appleton Stakes (Gr. III) earlier this month–both at Gulfstream Park.

In fact, Phantom Currency has won four of his last five starts.

Ranked among the top 100 in earnings every year since 2008, Brian A. Lynch trains Phantom Currency for owners Jim and Susan Hill.

Saturday Horse Racing Picks for Laurel Park

We’ll start here with race six, the King T. Leatherbury Stakes, a $100,000 purse, 5-1/2 furlong turf run for three-year-olds and upward. My money’s on the 5/2 second-favorite, Grateful Bred, with Jevian Toledo in the irons.

This six-year-old dark bay gelding finished seven of his eleven career starts in the money, five of those wins. Those wins include the Maryland Million Turf Sprint Stakes (Black Type) in October here at Laurel Park. He’s won three of his last five races.

Madison F. Meyers trains Grateful Bred for owner-breeder Gordon C. Keys. Grateful Bred gave Meyers her first pro flat-track win two years ago here at Laurel Park.

Race seven is the Primonetta Stakes, a $100,000 purse, six-furlong dirt track race for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the 9/5 morning-line favorite for this race—Princess Kokachin, ridden by Xavier Perez.

Finishing in the money 13 of her 16 career starts, this four-year-old dark bay filly has won ten of those 13. More importantly, she’s won seven of her last nine races, finishing second and third in the two she didn’t ace.

Her most recent stakes victory was the Politely Stakes (Black Type) here at Laurel Park last November.

Longtime horseracing veteran John J. Robb trains Princess Kokachin for owner Eric A. Rizer. Incidentally, jockey Xavier Perez is currently experiencing the winningest year of his career.

Race eight is the Dahlia Stakes, a $100,000 purse, one-mile grass run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. In an unimpressive 12-horse field like this one, the competition not to finish last will be fierce, but futile.

Still, the 2/1 morning-line favorite looks mildly encouraging, so let’s bet on In a Hurry, piloted by Forest Boyce.

This five-year-old bay mare moneyed eight of her 13 career starts, winning three. She notably finished third in the Suwannee River Stakes (Grade III) at Gulfstream Park in December.

Horseracing Hall of Famer Claude R. McGaughey III trains In a Hurray for owner-breeder Stuart S. Janney, III.

Race nine is the Native Dancer Stakes, a $100,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles dirt track race for three-year-olds and upward. Looks like I’m in agreement with the morning line. My money’s on the 2/1 favorite, Forewarned, with Dexter Haddock in the irons.

This seven-year-old moneyed 23 of his 48 career starts, winning eleven. His wins include the Best of Ohio Endurance Stakes (Black Type) last October, the Queens County Stakes (Listed) in December, and the Excelsior Stakes (Listed) at Aqueduct earlier this month.

With more than three decades in the horse racing business, Uriah St. Lewis trains Forewarned for Trin-Brook Stables, Inc.

Race ten is the Henry S. Clark Stakes, a $100,000 purse, one-mile turf race for three-year-olds and upward. This is going to be a much tighter race than the morning-line odds suggest, but I’m going to call it for the 1/1 favorite, Field Pass, ridden by top jockey Victor R. Carrasco.

This five-year-old gray roan finished in the money 14 of his 24 career starts, winning eight. His most recent wins were the Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes (Grade III) last July and the Seabiscuit Handicap (Grade II) in November.

While Field Pass’s best earnings heyday was back in 2020, he’s still winning stakes races and posting triple digit speed figures like a boss.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Michael J. Maker trains Field Pass for Three Diamonds Farm.

Saturday’s Picks for Oaklawn Park

We begin with race five, the Apple Blossom Handicap (Grade I), a $1,000,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles dirt run for fillies and mares four years old and upward.

This is my no-brainer pick of the day: 7/5 morning-line favorite Letruska, piloted by Jose L. Ortiz.

This six-year-old bay mare finished 20 of her 24 career starts in the money, winning 18. In her latest six races she aced five—four of which were Grade I, and one of which was last year’s edition of the Apple Blossom Handicap.

Does Letruska have this? Magic 8-Ball says “duh.”

A dominant force in horse racing in Mexico before coming to the States to compete, Fausto Gutierrez trains Letruska for St. George Stable LLC.

Race eight is the Oaklawn Stakes, a $150,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles dirt run for three-year-olds. The winning horse automatically receives entrance to the 2022 Preakness Stakes on May 21, provided that horse is already nominated for the Triple Crown.

None of the entries in this seven-horse field have moneyed in a stakes-level race, so I’m backing the horse that has performed well otherwise: the second-favored (at 3/1) Home Brew, with Jose L. Ortiz in the irons.

This bay colt finished three of his four career starts in the money, winning two. His speed figures are superior to those of the favorite.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Brad H. Cox—who has also taken three horses to Triple Crown races—trains Home Brew for owners Gary and Mary West.

Race eleven is the Oaklawn Handicap (Grade II), a $1,000,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles dirt track race for four-year-olds and upward. Winning horse has a guaranteed post for the Pimlico Special and will have all start and entry fees waived for that race.

I was really hoping for a longshot here, but the 9/5 favorite has all the right answers. So, let’s bet our two dollars on Fearless, piloted by Jose L. Ortiz.

This six-year-old bay gelding finished in the money 12 of his 14 career starts, winning six. Those six include the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (Grade III) in December, and the Ghostzapper Stakes (Grade III) earlier this month.

Thoroughbred horse racing Hall of Famer Todd A. Pletcher trains Fearless for Repole Stable.

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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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