Piassek’s Plays: Capitalizing on Suspect Favorite at Keeneland

The horses race into the first turn on the main track at Keeneland. (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.

Saturday, April 10

Keeneland Race Course, Race 9, Stonestreet Lexington Stakes, 5:30 p.m. ET

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, April 8: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, April 9:
1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, April 10:
1 p.m.-3 p.m. on FS1; 3 p.m.-8 p.m. on FS2; 7 p.m.-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, April 11:
1 p.m.-4 p.m. on FS2; 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

#3 Bezos: Many of the favorites in the field of 10 look vulnerable on paper. The probable favorite is Proxy, who will get attention off two graded stakes placings at Fair Grounds. However, he’s had trouble passing horses in the stretch. As such, betting him at low odds could prove to be a very frustrating endeavor.

I’ll go looking for a bit of a price in this race, and I’ll take a horse who will, hopefully, fall through the cracks. Prior to his career debut on Feb. 7, the hype surrounding Bob Baffert-trained Bezos was inescapable. He was considered so talented that he was 26-1 in the future wagering for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve before he even raced. However, he was very disappointing in his first start, finishing fifth as the 3-5 favorite.

He broke his maiden next out to much less fanfare on March 26, winning a one-mile race by 4 ½ lengths. It was a much-improved effort, with his Equibase Speed Figure improving almost 40 points from his debut. He set an honest pace early, and never got tired while drawing away in the stretch impressively. He looks like the kind of horse who is improving at the right time. If he takes another step forward here, he’s very likely to make a major impact on this race, and it will serve as a good launching pad for bigger targets later in the year.


$4 to win on 3

$3 exacta box, 3 with 6 ($6 total)


$9 to win on 3

$5 exacta, 3 with 6, 7 ($10 total)

$1 trifecta box, 3, 6, 7 ($6 total)


$15 to win on 3

$10 exacta, 3 with 6, 7 ($20 total)

$1 trifecta, with 3 with 1, 6, 7 with 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 ($15 total)

Keeneland Race Course, Race 11, 6:38 p.m. ET

#7 Stage Raider: This Chad Brown-trained colt made his debut on Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park, in a highly competitive maiden special weight race. He got lots of wagering action, going off at 3.70-1, and ran a big race to finish second. However, he had the misfortune to run into a buzzsaw in Prevalence. That one crushed the field by 8 ½ lengths. Stage Raider still ran very well, even if his performance was obscured by the dominant winner.

He was close to the pace in the early stages, battling for command with three other horses. One of them was Prevalence. The other two, Marching and Rabdan, both backed up badly through the field, suggesting that the early fractions were tiring. Ghazaaly, who finished third, rated just off the four early leaders, and made a move after the runner-up spot in the stretch. However, Stage Raider showed enough determination to hold him off and maintain the second-place spot. That performance was further validated when Ghazaaly came back to win at Keeneland last Saturday. If Stage Raider can improve off that big effort here, he’ll be tough to beat.


$8 to win on 7

$2 exacta, 7 with 8


$15 to win on 7

$5 exacta, 7 with 8, 11 ($10 total)


$30 to win on 7

$5 exacta key box, 7 with 8, 11 ($20 total)

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