Dan's Double: Distaff, Classic Value Picks

Racing fans at Del Mar. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Dan’s Double of the Week, featuring handicapping analysis from America's Best Racing's New York correspondent Dan Tordjman, is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

When it comes to making money when handicapping races and betting on horse racing, it’s all about picking winners. Tordjman – DanonymousMan to those who follow him on Twitter – is one of the brightest young minds in the game.

Each Week, Tordjman will provide readers with his two best bets of the weekend and strategies for how to bet them. Tordjman will keep track of his return on investment (ROI) throughout the year and, as a bonus, he will also provide picks for a selection of the key races on the Triple Crown trail and the road to the Breeders’ Cup. Dan was able to manage a positive ROI for his plays in 2016. Come back every week and be sure to follow Tordjman on Twitter.

Friday, Nov. 3

Del Mar, Race 9, $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, 7:35 p.m. ET

#7 Paradise Woods: This filly will likely get overlooked because of her inconsistent form and the presence of bigger names like Stellar Wind, Abel Tasman and Forever Unbridled. But the key factor here is that she will likely be loose on the lead (although it’s possible that Champagne Room may make her do some work to get the lead). The two times she’s been loose on the lead — the Santa Anita Oaks and the Zenyatta Stakes last out, Paradise Woods crushed, winning by 11 3/4 and 5 3/4. While her lone race at Del Mar doesn’t look great, she had excuses as she stumbled out of the gate and was pulling to get to where she wants to be — on the lead. I’m going to also excuse her Kentucky Oaks, on account of the slop and insane speed duel with Miss Sky Warrior. Will warn that there’s been a lot of buzz around #5 Elate, who has looked great in the morning. I’m confidently going to be using her in a big exacta on Friday.

$10 Budget

$5 to win on #7 Paradise Woods ($5)

$2 exacta box 5,7 ($4)

$25 Budget

$10 to win on #7 Paradise Woods ($10)

$5 exacta box 5,7 ($10)

$2 exacta 6 over 5,7 ($4)

$50 Budget

$20 to win on #7 Paradise Woods ($20)

$10 exacta box 5,7 ($20)

$1 trifecta box 5,6,7 ($6)

$2 exacta 6 over 5,7 ($4)

Saturday, Nov. 4

Del Mar, Race 12, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, 8:35 p.m. ET

#10 Pavel: This is a horse with a much higher ceiling that then rest. By that, I mean that we pretty much know who the rest of the horses in the Classic are — and let’s get this straight, it’s a really strong group. Pavel has developed a one good race, one bad race pattern. To be fair, his bad races haven’t been all that bad; they’re just races that he hasn’t won, including his third-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last out. But look at that race and you’ll note that the winner, Diversify, was loose on the lead. Once that horse kicked for home with plenty left in the tank, most of the other horses in the field might be seen packing it in while the lead horse drew off. However, in Pavel’s case, he battled neck-and-neck with Keen Ice for the runner-up spot.

The Jim Dandy was a race you can draw a line through. It was a small field, and the race was oddly run, with Pavel moving way too early on a surface he just didn’t seem comfortable on (in what was just his second career race). His two wins have been by a combined 10.5 lengths. It looks like he can be positioned a few lengths off the leaders and if things heat up at the front he’ll be dangerous. This will be an acid test for him but I think there’s a scenario in which the bigger names in this spot all move a little earlier than expected to ensure that Collected doesn’t get loose up front; if and when that happens, Pavel can sit, wait, and pounce late.

$10 Budget

$2 win, place and show on #10 Pavel ($6)

$1 exacta 1,10 over 1,5,10 ($4)

$25 Budget

$4 win, place and show on #10 Pavel ($12)

$.50 trifecta box 1,5,8,10 ($24)

$50 Budget

$5 win, place and show on #10 Pavel ($15)

$1 trifecta box 1,5,8,10 ($24)

$1 exacta 10 over all ($10)

2017 ROI: -$349

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