The My Dear Stakes Saturday at Woodbine presents an interesting puzzle to handicappers and bettors with four of the seven entrants coming into the race off their debut and the other three 2-year-old fillies making the first start of their respective careers.
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Two of the four experienced fillies posted debut wins, but I wouldn’t say either was a smashing victory that made you take notice, so the question is – do you value the experience over the potential upside with a first-time starter?
Ordinarily, I side with the experience in a 2-year-old race, especially a stakes, but in this spot I favor an unraced filly in Emmeline (#3) for several reasons.
First, the 15-1 odds on the morning line are very appealing for a filly with a win-early pedigree (by Violence, the leading first-crop sire of 2017, out of the Uncle Mo mare Babcock). Violence clicks at a strong 20% with 2-year-old first-time starters and Babcock is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to 2012 Canadian Horse of the Year Uncaptured.
Second, Emmeline has been working consistently since May 23 with seven workouts on the all-weather surface at Woodbine between June 5 and July 19. She should have a nice foundation for trainer John Mattine and jockey David Moran, who have teamed for one win and four top-three finishes when partnering with five starters this year for a $3.94 ROI (return on investment).
Finally, while I respect debut winners Joy’s Rocket (#1) and Silent Mamba (#5), it’s hard to take 6-5 morning-line odds on the former after an 83 Equibase Speed Figure and a 60 Beyer Speed Figure for a win on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs June 28. The 9-2 odds on Silent Mamba are a bit more enticing, but the filly earned a 75 Equibase Speed Figure and a 50 Beyer Speed Figure for her debut July 4 on the synthetic surface at Woodbine. I do like that she has a win on this track and overcame adversity to do so.
Of the other entrants, the one I’m most attracted to is Rotary (#4), a well-bred Orb filly who missed the break in her debut but showed some fight while passing several horses and making up five lengths late on this main track July 11. I could see her taking a step forward in here and the 10-1 morning-line odds add some appeal.
Strategy on a $20 Budget
$10 to win, place on 3 ($20)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, third race, $10 to win and place on #3
Exacta Strategy on a $20 Budget
$6 exacta 3 with 4,5 ($12)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, third race, $6 exacta 3 with 4,5
$4 exacta 4,5 with 3 ($8)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, third race, $4 exacta 4,5 with 3
Trifecta Strategy on a $30 Budget
$3 trifecta 3 with 1,4,5 with 1,4,5 ($18)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, third race, $3 trifecta 3 with 1,4,5 with 1,4,5
$2 trifecta 1,4,5 with 3 with 1,4,5 ($12)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, third race, $2 trifecta 1,4,5 with 3 with 1,4,5