Top Horse Racing Bets for Saturday, July 17, 2021

| July 17, 2021 2:11 am PDT

Talk about high-dollar races—all three of the tracks I chose for my Saturday picks are featuring graded stakes races. Even better, I found plenty of underdogs to bet on, including that 15/1 longshot in the Sanford Stakes…

Oops, I guess I should probably tell you which tracks I’m selecting my picks from: Arlington International Racecourse, Gulfstream Park, and Saratoga Racecourse.

Don’t forget that you can check out all the races at these tracks with a quick visit to our recommended online racebooks.

Good luck!

My Saturday Picks for Arlington International Racecourse

We start with race four, the Hatoof Stakes (Listed)—a $75,000 purse, 1-1/16 mile turf run for three-year-old fillies. I have to agree with the morning line for this race, so my money is on the 7/5 favorite, Flown, with Adam Beschizza in the irons.

This filly moneyed five of her six career starts, winning one. She finished second in the Mint Juvenile Fillies Stakes (Listed) last September at Kentucky Downs and later finished third in the Regret Stakes (Grade III) this past May at Churchill Downs.

A top-ranked earner for the past five years, Brendan P. Walsh trains Flown for Heider Family Stables LLC.

Race six is the Arlington Stakes (Grade III), a $100,000 purse, 1-3/16 miles turf run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting my two dollars on the 6/1 underdog, Captivating Moon, ridden by Declan Carroll.

Unlike the 6/5 favorite, this six-year-old has raced in 2021—and successfully: Captivating Moon has finished in the money 18 of his 32 career starts, winning five. In 2020, he finished second in the New Orleans Classic Stakes (Grade II) at Fair Grounds Race Course, and more recently, he won the Fair Grounds Stakes (Grade III).

He’s been in top form so far this year, posting triple-digit speed figures for his latest four races.

Chris M. Block trains Captivating Moon for Lothenbach Stables, Inc. (Bob Lothenbach).

In race seven—the American Derby (Listed), a $100,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles turf run for three-year-olds—my money is on the 3/1 morning-line favorite, King of Miami, with Jareth Loveberry aboard.

This three-year-old gelding finished in the money three of his five career starts, winning two—his third maiden attempt and his most recent start, the Mystic Lake Derby (Listed) at Canterbury Park in June. His record makes him a standout in this 11-horse field.

Larry Rivelli, who’s been ranked in the top 100 in wins, earnings, or both every year since 2009—trains King of Miami for Patricia’s Hope LLC.

Race eight is the Modesty Stakes (Grade III), a $100,000 purse, 1-3/16 miles run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. While the morning-line favorite performed well in Argentina back in 2019, he’s done little of import here in the U.S.—unlike my pick for this race, the 9/2 second-favored Family Way, ridden by Adam Beschizza.

A Kentucky-bred four-year-old filly, Family Way also spent her earlier fledgling career abroad– France, specifically—where she picked up two wins and a third.

Since she’s returned to the U.S., she’s finished second in an allowance run at Keeneland Race Course and won her most recent race, an allowance optional claiming at Churchill Downs.

Brendan P. Walsh trains Family Way for owners Hunter Valley Farm, Debra L. O’Connor, and Marc Detampel.

Saturday’s Picks for Gulfstream Park

We’ll start on the turf course for race five, a 7-1/2 furlong grass run for three-year-olds and upward. My money’s on the 7/2 second-favored Kicks On Sixty Six, piloted by veteran jockey Samy Camacho.

This three-year-old gelding finished in the money five of his 13 career starts, winning one.

Joseph F. Orseno trains Kicks On Sixty Six for Ironhorse Racing Stable LLC.

We stay on the turf for race seven—the Mr. Steele Stakes, a $75,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles grass run for three-year-olds and upward. My win ticket is on the second-favored (at 3/1) Vow Me Now, with Samy Camacho in the irons.

This five-year-old gelding had nine money finishes in his 16 career starts, with seven of those wins. In this nine-horse field, he’s the boss.

Edward Plesa, Jr., a longtime top-ranked trainer who has taken horses to the Preakness and Breeders’ Cup races, trains Vow Me Now for owners David Melin, Leon Ellman, and Laurie Plesa.

Race eleven is a five-furlong grass run for three-year-olds and upward, and my money is on the morning line’s 3/1 turf favorite, Kaufy Bean, with top jockey Edgard J. Zayas aboard.

This four-year-old colt moneyed seven of his 16 career starts, winning four. His two most recent races have both resulted in posting triple-digit speed figures. In this ten-horse field, he’ll do.

Armando De La Cerda trains Kaufy Bean for Marco Thoroughbred Corp.

Saturday Picks for Saratoga Racecourse

We’re on the main track for race eight, a seven-panel sprint for three-year-olds and upward. This will almost certainly be the day’s most hotly contested race, with graded stakes winners galore all vying for a trip to the winner’s circle.

Me? I’m betting all two of my dollars on the third-favored (4/1) on Crowded Trade, ridden by Javier Castellano.

This three-year-old colt moneyed three of his four career starts, winning one. He finished second in the Gotham Stakes (Grade III) back in March and third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (Grade II) in April.

Trainer Chad C. Brown has taken horses—including Crowded Trade—to all Triple Crown competitions. He trains Crowded Trade for Klaravich Stables, Inc. Incidentally, Javier Castellano was aboard for Crowded Trade’s Preakness run.

Race nine is the Sanford Stakes (Grade III), a six-panel main track run for two-year-olds. I’m betting on the 15/1 underdog, Trust Our Journey, with Eric Cancel aboard.

Why? Glad you asked. Virtually every other member of this 12-horse field has this record: One start, one win.

Not so with Trust Our Journey, which has something better: Two starts, two money finishes, one win. The win was the colt’s maiden graduation at Gulfstream Park in May, and the third-place finish was in the Tremont Stakes (Listed) at Belmont Park in June.

Oh, and jockey Eric Cancel is having a very, very good year.

Newer trainer Carlos A. David has already ranked among the top in his profession for both wins and earnings in 2020. He trains Trust Our Journey for Palm Beach Racing.

We’re on the turf course for race ten, the Diana Stakes (Grade I), a $500,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles grass run for fillies and mares four years old and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on one of the second-favored entries (two at 3/1) in this race—Althiqa, ridden by Manny Franco.

This four-year-old filly moneyed all ten of her career starts, with five wins, including the Qatar Prix Amandine (Listed) at Deauville-La Touques Racecourse in France last July, the Cape Verdi Stakes (Grade II) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai in January 2021, and—most recently—the Just a Game Stakes (Grade I) at Belmont in June.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Charles Appleby trains Althiqa for owner-breeder Godolphin, 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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