Dan’s Double: Derby Horses and a Champ at Tampa

Fans at Tampa Bay Downs. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

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 but was in the red for 2017. How will he do in 2018? To find out and to play along, come back every week and be sure to follow Tordjman on Twitter.

Saturday, Feb. 10

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 10, $250,000 Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes

#6 Catholic Boy: We don't often go for favorites in smallish fields in this post but Catholic Boy looks like as strong a bet as you’ll find on Saturday (maybe the second strongest – see below). After a sparkling debut and an even more impressive win in the With Anticipation Stakes (both on the turf), he bounced back from a disappointing trip at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with an explosive score in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes (his first race over the dirt). It wasn’t as if he lucked out and caught a fast pace setup – he just simply dominated the field, which included runner-up Avery Island, who just came back to win the Withers Stakes last weekend. It looks like #2 Flameaway might get to the lead here and should be pretty tough if he can shake loose. Neither he nor Catholic Boy have run over the dirt at Tampa. It’s entirely possible that one or both of them might not take to the surface. But they’ve both been dynamic, winning at different tracks, and over the dirt and turf.

$10 Budget

$6 exacta 6 with 2 ($6)

$2 exacta 2 with 6 ($2)

$1 exacta 6 with 1,7 ($2)

$25 Budget  

$15 exacta 6 with 2 ($15)

$5 exacta 2 with 6 ($5)

$1 exacta 6 with 1,3,4,5,7 ($5)

$50 Budget

$30 exacta 6 with 2 ($30)

$10 exacta 2 with 6 ($10)

$2 exacta 6 with 1,3,4,5,7 ($10)

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 11 $175,000 Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes

#7 World Approval: I know, I know… another favorite! But realistically, how can you play against the reigning champion turf male and 2017 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner? Well, while I would advise against leaving World Approval off of your tickets – he’s your likely winner, even though he’s only making his first start of the year here – I would consider playing big exactas with #1 Doctor Mounty. The horse aced his first race over the Tampa turf a few weeks ago and has some early speed. Just look back at his races last summer, including one that was against some really tough horses at Saratoga. He gets the best local rider aboard in Antonio Gallardo, who has won with four of his five mounts for trainer Shug McGaughey over the past two years.

$10 Budget

$6 exacta 7 with 1 ($6)

$4 exacta 1 with 7 ($4)

$25 Budget

$20 exacta 7 with 1 ($20)

$5 exacta 1 with 7 ($5)

$50 Budget

$40 exacta 7 with 1 ($40)

$10 exacta 1 with 7 ($10)

2018 ROI: -$491

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