Top Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, March 19, 2022

| March 18, 2022 12:00 pm PDT

I visited Golden Gate Fields, Oaklawn Park, and Sam Houston Race Park for my Saturday horse racing picks. Along with a healthy selection of underdog moneymakers, the tracks yielded up a few stakes races, including an Arabian match, the Grade III Darley Sprint Stakes at Sam Houston.

Before you head on down to the meat and potatoes—don’t forget to review your wagering options at one of our recommended online racebooks.

Good luck!

Saturday’s Picks for Golden Gate Fields

We’ll begin on the all-weather track for race one, a 5-1/2 furlong starter allowance run for four year-olds and upward. My money’s on the second-favored (at 2/1) Exceed Speed Limit, piloted by veteran jockey Pedro M. Terrero.

This four-year-old gelding moneyed six of his eight career starts, winning two, including his most recent, a claiming race here at Golden Gate last month.

Owner and 15-year horse racing veteran Steve M. Sherman trains Exceed Speed Limit for co-owners Jimmy Rex Robinson Family Trust, Tom Mayo, and himself.

Race five is a one-mile allowance optional claiming race on the all-weather track for three-year-olds. I’m backing the 9/5 morning-line favorite, Anthonys Cleopatra, with Frank T. Alvarado in the irons.

In a six-horse field split evenly between the sexes, this filly takes the spotlight with wins in both of her career starts. She’ll see some real competition from some of her more experienced competitors—particularly from the 5/1 underdog Ellamira—but I believe she’ll prevail.

Forty-year horse racing veteran Tim McCanna trains Anthonys Cleopatra for owner-breeder Cacchiotti Ranch.

Race eight is a one-mile starter allowance race for three-year-old fillies. I’m betting my two dollars on the second-favored Sacred Beauty, ridden by Julien Couton.

In this virtual replay of a February starter allowance race, this filly has the stats: Four money finishes in six career starts, two of those wins—including that earlier starter I mentioned way back at the beginning of this sentence.

That’s right: Sacred Beauty already vanquished three of her current rivals in a race of equal distance just a few weeks ago.

Victor M. Trujillo trains Sacred Beauty for owners Jose Paredes and  Isidro Ruvalcaba.

Saturday Horse Racing Picks for Oaklawn Park

We’re on the dirt track for race seven—the Whitmore Stakes (Grade III), a $200,000 purse, six-furlong run for four-year-olds and upward. I’m calling this nine-horse race for the third-favored (at 4/1) Greeley and Ben, with top jockey David Cabrera aboard.

Personally, I don’t know why this eight-year-old gelding isn’t the M/L favorite: he finished in the money 25 of his 30 career starts, winning 19, including the Sam’s Town Stakes (Black Type) at Delta Downs and the Stonerside Sprint Stakes (Black Type) at Sam Houston, both in January.

More impressive, Greeley and Ben won 12 of his last 13 races, posting triple-digit speed figures in the vast majority of them. The answer to the question “Will he win this one?” is “Duh.”

Karl Broberg trains Greeley and Ben for End Zone Athletics, Inc.

Race nine is the Essex Handicap (Grade III), a $500,00 purse, 1-1/16 mile stakes race for four-year-olds and upward. I agree with the morning line on this race: Bet on Plainsman, piloted by top jockey Joel Rosario.

This seven-year-old moneyed 20 of his 28 career starts, winning nine, including his most recent, the Razorback Handicap (Grade III) here at Oaklawn Park in February.

He also won the Ack Ack Stakes (Grade III) at Churchill Downs last October, and notably, he finished third in the Cigar Mile Handicap (Grade I) in December at Aqueduct. Even in this talented eight-horse field, he owns the spotlight.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Brad H. Cox trains Plainsman for Shortleaf Stable, Inc.

Race ten is a one-mile allowance race for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the third-favored Guana Cay, with top jockey Francisco Arrieta in the irons.

This four-year-old filly finished six of her eleven career starts in the money, three of those wins, including her most recent race, another starter allowance run here at Oaklawn in late February.

She notably finished fifth in the Spinaway Stakes (Grade I) at Saratoga in late 2020.

Cipriano Contreras trains Guana Cay for his own Contreras Stable Inc.

My Saturday Picks for Sam Houston Race Park

Race one offers a us change of pace with the Darley Sprint Stakes (Grade III), a $30,000 purse, seven-furlong stakes race for Arabians four years old and upward. I’m going to bet my two dollars on the 8/5 morning-line favorite, Paddys Day, ridden by Stewart Elliott.

This eleven-year-old moneyed 44 of his 53 career starts, winning 30. Those wins include the UAE President Cup Stakes (Grade I) at Pimlico last May as well as last year’s Darley Sprint Stakes here at Oaklawn.

Incidentally, the record of the second-favored Burn Em Joey is a real standout, with the seven-year-old winning seven of his eight career starts. Unfortunately, he hasn’t raced since 2019, so I’m sticking with Paddys Day.

Rhonda Tuley trains Paddys Day for owner-breeder Jane R. Teutsch.

Race seven is a seven-furlong allowance optional claiming race on the dirt track for three-year-old fillies. My bet’s on the second-favored Half Page, piloted by jockey Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez.

This filly moneyed all three of her career starts, winning her initial maiden attempt in December at Remington Park, then finishing second and third, respectively, in her two allowance optional claiming races here at Sam Houston.

Versus this ten-horse field, I like her chances.

Thirty-year horse racing veteran Jaime Castellanos trains Half Page for owner Darrell W. Bravenec.

Race eight is a 1-1/16 miles allowance race on the dirt track for three-year-olds and upward that have never won three races. I’m calling this one for the 3/1 second-favored Philo Beddoe, ridden by Ry Eikleberry.

In this fairly evenly-matched seven-horse field, this three-year-old gelding has the statistical edge. For the record: four money finishes in four career starts, two of those wins, including his initial maiden attempt in November at Remington Park.

His second win was an allowance optional claiming race in January here at Sam Houston. Both of his other starts were allowance races that ended in second-place finishes.

Longtime horse racing veteran Clinton C. Stuart trains Philo Beddoe for owner Tyree J. Wolesensky.

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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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