Top Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, May 28, 2022

| May 27, 2022 1:43 pm PDT

I went to Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, and Santa Anita for my Saturday horse racing picks.

 While they all had stakes-level competitions to offer, Santa Anita led the pack with five state-bred stakes races full of ambitious underdogs for our wagering pleasure.

I’ll let you get to it, but don’t forget to check out the full race cards for each of the three tracks at our top horse racing betting sites.

Good luck!

Saturday’s Horse Racing Picks for Churchill Downs

Let’s start on the turf course with race four, a 5-1/2 furlong allowance optional claiming race for three-year-olds and upward.

If Tyler Gaffalione rides the MTO/also-eligible Special Reserve into the starting gate, then bet them to win.

This six-year-old gelding has the clearly superior record in this race, finishing in the money for 17 of his 23 career starts, winning eight.

Those wins include the Maryland Sprint Match Series Stakes (Grade III) a year ago in May at Pimlico, the Iowa Sprint Stakes (Black Type) at Prairie Meadows last July, and the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (Grade II) last October at Keeneland.

That Phoenix win earned him a starting post in the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade I) at Del Mar in November, but he finished fourth in that race–one of the few races he’s failed to money. Still, his speed figures haven’t been under three digits in over a year.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Michael J. Maker trains Special Reserve for owners Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher.

If Special Reserve isn’t in this race, then buy a win ticket on the 5/1 underdog, County Final, with Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. in the irons.

This four-year-old gelding moneyed nine of his 15 career starts, winning three.

Steven M. Asmussen trains Special Reserve for owners West Point Thoroughbreds, William Sandbrook, and Anna Marie Shannon.

We’re back on the dirt track for race nine, a seven-furlong allowance optional claiming race for three-year-olds and upward. I’m not as impressed with the favorite in this race as the morning-line is, so I’m betting my two dollars on the 5/2 underdog, Dennis’ Moment, ridden by Corey J. Lanerie.

This five-year-old finished seven of his 13 career starts in the money, winning three, including the Iroquois Stakes (Grade III) in 2019 here at Churchill Downs.

Since then, he notably finished third in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (Grade III) last December at Gulfstream Park. Versus the rest of this six-horse field, he’s the standout.

Dale L. Romans trains Dennis’ Moment for Albaugh Family Stables LLC.

Race ten puts us back on the turf for the Keertana Overnight Stakes, a $160,000 purse grass run for fillies and mares four years old and upward. I like the second-favored (at 7/2) entry—Luck Money, piloted by Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.

This five-year-old mare moneyed 14 of her 18 career starts, winning three—which makes her the statistical start in this nine-horse field.

Her victories include a win in the Zagora Stakes (Black Type) at Belmont in 2020. More recently, she finished second in both the Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes (Grade III) at Keeneland last October and the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (Grade II) at Belmont Park earlier this month. She’ll do.

Ranked among the top 100 in earnings, wins, or both for the past seven years, Arnaud Delacour trains Luck Money for owner-breeder Dr. Catherine Wills.

Horse Racing Picks for Gulfstream Park

Race six is a five-furlong turf handicap for three-year-olds and upward. I’ll go along with the morning line for this race: Bet the 3/1 favorite, Warrior’s Pride, with Chantal Sutherland aboard.

This all-or-nothing four-year-old colt finished in the money five of his 13 career starts, winning all five, including the Texas Glitter Stakes (Black Type) a year ago March, and the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Stakes (Black Type) last July—both here at Gulfstream.

Let’s hope for this race Warrior’s Pride brings his “All” game.

Antonio Cioffi trains Warrior’s Pride for owner-breeder Just For Fun Stable, Inc.

Race ten is a five-furlong allowance optional claiming race on the turf course for three-year-olds and upward. I like the 2/1 favorite, Sayyaaf, ridden by top jockey Emisael Jaramillo.

This six-year-old is a real standout in this talented field of eight, with 13 money finishes in 20 career starts, eight of those wins.

Michael J. Maker trains Sayyaaf for Eccentric Club Racing Stable.

We’re on the dirt track for race eleven—the Big Drama Stakes, a $65,000 purse, seven-furlong run for Florida-bred three-year-olds and upward. My money’s on the 8/1 sleeper, Sir Ollie, with Leonel Reyes in the irons.

This four-year-old dark bay colt has a solid record: Seven money finishes in seven career starts, three of those wins. While the favorite is no slouch in the running department, no entry in this nine-horse filed can better Sir Ollie’s determination to  win.

I like Sir Ollie’s chances. A lot.

Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. trains Sir Ollie for owner Peter Vegso.

My Saturday Picks for Santa Anita Park

Race three — Crystal Water Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse, one-mile grass run for California-bred or California-sired three-year-olds and upward. While I think the 5/1 underdog Hail Freedom stands a chance, I’m backing the morning-line favorite, Jimmy Blue Jeans, ridden by veteran jockey Kyle Frey.

This four-year-old gray roan gelding moneyed six of his eleven career starts, five of them wins. He hasn’t performed particularly well at the graded stakes level, but he did win the Snow Chief Stakes (Black Type) last June here at Santa Anita.

With two decades in the horse racing business, Andy Mathis trains Jimmy Blue Jeans for owners Perry Bruno, John Gezon, and Robert M. Jones.

Race four — Thor’s Echo Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse, six-furlong dirt track run for California-bred or California-sired three-year-olds and upward. Despite this five-horse field being full of serious competitors, I’m going to go along with the morning line and bet on the 8/5 favorite, Tigre Di Slugo, with Kyle Frey aboard.

This seven-year-old gelding finished in the money seven of his nine career starts, winning three. He notably finished second in last year’s San Carlos Stakes (Grade II) and last month’s Kona Gold Stakes (Grade III)—both here at Santa Anita.

Co-owner Mike Puype trains Tigre di Slugo for Slugo Racing, Tiger Racing, Inc., and himself.

Race five — Snow Chief Stakes

This is a $150,000 purse, 1-1/8 mile turf run for California-bred or California-sired three-year-olds. I’m backing the 4/1 underdog in this race—Royal ‘n Rando, piloted by veteran jockey Frank T. Alvarado.

This three-year-old gelding finished six of his eleven career starts in the money, winning four.

Not a bad record, but let’s look just at 2022: Six money finishes in seven starts, four of those wins.

His most recent win was the Silky Sullivan Stakes (Black Type) earlier this month at Golden Gate Fields. Yeah. He’s got this.

With more than 45 years in horse racing business, Steven Specht trains Royal ‘n Rando for owners Larry D. Williams and Marianne Williams.

Race eight — Melair Stakes

This is a $150,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles dirt track race for California-bred or California-sired three-year-old fillies. While the favorite in five-horse field is the only filly with a stakes win, I’m hard-pressed to find anything else to recommend her.

That’s why I’m buying a win ticket on the 4/1 underdog, Youteyourhonor, piloted by Tyler Baze.

This dark bay filly moneyed five of her seven career starts, winning four.

Horse racing veteran Clifford W. Sise, Jr. trains Youteyourhonor for owners Theodore Aroney, Betrand Hug, Philip R. Henry, and Kathleen L. Henry.

Race nine — Fran’s Valentine Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse, one-mile turf run for California-bred or California-sired fillies and mares three-years-old and upward. I’m agreeing with the morning-line on this one: Bet the 4/5 favorite, Alice Marble, with top jockey Juan J. Hernandez in the irons.

Five-year-old dark bay mare finished seven of her ten career starts in the money, winning four, including the Wishing Well Stakes (Black Type) in here at Santa Anita in February.

She also finished second in both the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint Stakes (Black Type) in January and the Monrovia Stakes (Grade II) last month.

Philip D’Amato trains Alice Marble for owner-breeder Nicholas B. Alexander.

Eager to get started with your own handicapping of the Belmont Stakes? Take a look at our early look at the competition here:

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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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