Piassek's Plays: Action On the West Coast

Horses race down the stretch at Santa Anita Park. (Eclipse Sportswire)

In his regular gambling blog, John Piassek presents his top picks for the upcoming weekend in horse racing, offering betting options at different budget levels. Piassek’s Plays 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.

Piassek has contributed to the horse racing sites The Racing Biz and Danonymous Racing and worked at Tioga Downs, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga Race Course. He joined America’s Best Racing in January 2021.

weekend Television schedule

Thursday, June 17: 3 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, June 18: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN; 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, June 19: 9 a.m.-11 a.m. ET on NBC; 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET on CNBC; 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, June 20: 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, June 19

Santa Anita Park, Race 7, post time 7:17 p.m. ET

#11 Constitutionaffair: This first-level allowance race on the grass features a full field of twelve, but doesn't have a lot of early speed. Only two horses in the race are usually on or near the lead, and of the two, Constitutionaffair has the most proven grass ability. He's won three of his last four races on grass, while improving each time out. After a second-place finish in a non-winners of two claiming race in June, he got some time off, and returned to the races in March. He got right back into top form, winning two in a row while sitting on or near the pace both times.

His last race offers a clue as to how this race might play out. He broke from the far outside post, sat just off the pace early on, then pounced on the leader and got clear in the stretch. He's once again drawn to the outside, and the only serious front-end competition, Robber Baron, is drawn a few spots to his inside. As such, Constitutionaffair can sit right off his rival while applying pressure, then pounce and kick clear of the others. This is a bit of a class hike, as he's never competed at this level before, but based on his speed figures and pace advantage, I'm confident he can handle it.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$5 to win on 11

$5 exacta, 11 with 1

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$9 to win on 11

$4 exacta key box, 11 with 1, 2 ($16 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$21 to win on 11

$5 exacta key box, 11 with 1, 2 ($20 total)

$1 trifecta, 11 with 1, 2, 3 with 1, 2, 3, 8 ($9 total)

Santa Anita Park, Race 9, $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes, post time 8:23 p.m. ET

#2 None Above the Law: A two-time stakes winner this year, he made his grass debut last out in the Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields. He came storming from behind for a 1 1/2-length win. He's won two stakes races in a row, having taken the Silky Sullivan Stakes on the Tapeta at Golden Gate two races ago.

In this stakes race against California-breds, he goes out for the trainer/jockey combination of Peter Miller and Flavien Prat. The two hit at 25% when they team up. There's lots of speed in here, so this closer should get an honest pace to run into. If he shows the same closing kick he did last time, the rest will have a hard time holding him off.


$5 to win on 2

$5 exacta, 2 with 1


$9 to win on 2

$5 exacta, 2 with 1, 4 ($10 total)

$3 exacta, 1, 4 with 2 ($6 total)


$10 to win on 2

$10 exacta, 2 with 1, 4 ($20 total)

$6 exacta, 1, 4 with 2 ($12 total)

$1 trifecta, 2 with 1, 4 with 1, 3, 4, 8, 9 ($8 total)

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