Piassek's Plays: A Golden Opportunity in Bay Area

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Horses race through the stretch at Golden Gate Fields in this file photo. (Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography)

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, Sept. 11

Golden Gate Fields, Race 7, post time 7:45 p.m. ET

weekend TV schedule

Friday, Sept. 10: post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Sept. 11: 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Sept. 12: post time varies on TVG

#3 Sen Sen: No matter what the distance, breaking from an extreme outside post position often puts horses at a major disadvantage. The only way they'll avoid trouble is if they're super fast out of the gate and cross to the lead immeadiately after breaking or they're a closer who drops to the back right after the break. Otherwise, they run the risk of getting hung wide and losing ground.

Sen Sen had the misfortune to draw the far outside post position in her career debut last out, breaking from post 11 in a six-furlong contest. Despite that impediment, she was well-bet. Even though almost everyone else in the field had at least one start under their belt, she went off as the 9-2 third choice. She broke well and was used aggressively, but still got stuck four wide along the backstretch. She remained wide on the turn, but had plenty left in the stretch and briefly took the lead. In the last sixteenth of a mile, she got outfinished by a rival who sat a great trip saving ground on the inside. Even so, her second-place finish is very impressive given the circumstances. She's drawn to the inside here, so I'm expecting a much better trip and an improved performance.

STRATEGY ON A $10 BUDGET

$8 to win on 3

$2 exacta: 3 with 4

STRATEGY ON A $25 BUDGET

$15 to win on 3

$5 exacta box: 3,4 ($10 total)

STRATEGY ON A $50 BUDGET

$30 to win on 3

$10 exacta box: 3,4 ($20 total)

Golden Gate Fields Race 9, post time 8:43 p.m. ET

#6 R M C Hook'em: This six-furlong first-level allowance dash features several horses with loads of early speed. Irrefutable, War Games, and Prince de Prince all enjoy going to the lead right out of the starting gate and trying to go as fast as they can for as far as they can. This would be fine if they weren't all in the same race, but with three of them all vying for the lead, it looks like something will have to give.

I'm counting on R M C Hook'em to pick up the pieces from a potential duel. He's got some of the best late pace figures in the race and has closed well in all of his recent races. Three races back, he won a claiming race at Pleasanton with a strong late bid. He may have been outclassed two back at Del Mar, although he did make some ground late. Last out, he came back to Golden Gate and recovered from a bad break to rally wide and get third. If the pace here is very fast, R M C Hook'em looks primed to take advantage, and roll by his embattled rivals en route to victory.

STRATEGY ON A $10 BUDGET

$6 to win on 6

$1 exacta key box: 6 with 2,5 ($4 total)

STRATEGY ON A $25 BUDGET

$11 to win on 6

$2 exacta key box: 6 with 2,5 ($8 total)

$1 trifecta: 6 with 2,4,5 with 2,4,5 ($6 total)

STRATEGY ON A $50 BUDGET

$11 to win on 6

$3 exacta key box: 6 with 2,5 ($12 total)

$3 trifecta: 6, with 2,4,5, with 1,2,4,5 ($27 total)

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