Piassek's Plays: A Need for Speed at Turfway

Gambling
Horses race in the stretch on the main track at Turfway Park. (Coady 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, Dec. 18

Turfway Park, Race 5, Prairie Bayou Stakes, post time 8:14 p.m. ET

Television schedule

Friday, Dec. 17: 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Dec. 18:
12 p.m.-3 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Dec. 19:
2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

#1 Megacity: The Prairie Bayou Stakes features a field of 11 horses going 1 1/16 miles on dirt. During the first two weeks of the Turfway Park meet, speed held up well on the Tapeta all-weather surface. Although front-runners have not been as strong this week, anyone who has early speed has to be seriously considered nonetheless.

Megacity has won three of his last five races in gate-to-wire style. In a conditioned allowance race on turf at Keeneland last out, he set the early pace and held on to win by 1 1/2 lengths. In the process, he defeated two horses he'll face again here, Big Dreaming and Mr Dumas. He's trying a new surface here, as he has not competed on Tapeta before. However, as long as he takes to the surface, he should be able to lead this field gate-to-wire once again. He has a great post position and dominant speed on a track playing to his style.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$6 to win on 1

$2 exacta: 1 with 2,7 ($4 total)

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$15 to win on 1

$5 exacta: 1 with 2,7 ($10 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$30 to win on 1

$10 exacta: 1, with 2,7 ($20 total)

Turfway Park, Race 6, post time 8:46 p.m. ET

#2 Real Money: Gerardo Corrales has established himself as the top jockey at Turfway so far. Through the first two weeks of the season, he's won 13 races from 50 mounts, good for a 26% win rate. No one else won more than five races during the first two weeks.

He's got the mount on Real Money in this race, a first-level allowance optional-claiming race at 6 1/2 furlongs. This 5-year-old gelding is taking a drop in class from second-level races at Fair Grounds and Woodbine. In his last start on the Tapeta at Woodbine, he battled on the lead before tiring late. Now, he's facing an easier field and has speed toward the inside. If he can secure a spot on the lead and toward the inside, he's going to be tough to catch.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$5 to win on 2

$5 exacta: 2 with 3

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$13 to win on 2

$4 exacta: 2 with 3,4,11 ($12 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$20 to win on 2

$7 exacta: 2 with 3,4,11 ($21 total)

$1 trifecta: 2 with 3,4,11 with 3,4,9,11 ($9 total)

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