Piassek's Plays: Pair of Promising Value Picks at Parx

Fans enjoy the action at Parx Racing. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

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. 25

Parx Racing, Race 6, Plum Pretty Stakes, post time 2:22 p.m. ET

weekend TV schedule

Friday, Sept. 24: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Sept. 25: 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Sept. 26: 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

#1 Vault: The first stakes race of the day is the Plum Pretty Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. The biggest name in the field is Chub Wagon, who has been nearly perfect so far this year. She's won five stakes races this year, and is 7-for-8 overall. Last out, she crushed the field in the Roamin Rachel Stakes at this track. However, all of those wins came in sprints. This will mark the first two-turn start of Chub Wagon's career. It's a bit of an unusual move, considering there are some major sprint stakes for fillies and mares coming up soon that Chub Wagon would be competitive in. This is not a soft field, either, as some of these fillies and mares have serious two-turn credentials. Because of her name value, Chub Wagon is certain to take tons of money despite her lack of two-turn experience. She's going to be a very vulnerable favorite and will inflate the odds on the other contenders.

I'll take a shot with the classy Vault, who, although she may not be a big price, will certainly be an overlay compared with Chub Wagon. She won the Grade 2 Ruffian Stakes at Belmont Park earlier this year and has won or placed in four other stakes races in her career. Most recently, she was second in the Mrs. Penny Stakes on this track, finishing behind Precious, who also resurfaces here. In that spot, Precious got away with a very easy trip on the front end, setting slow fractions and having enough left late to fend off Vault. This time, with the speedy Chub Wagon setting the fractions, the tempo should be much quicker. That will help out Vault as she can rate off the leaders and roll by them once they tire. If Chub Wagon gets bet the way I think she will, Vault will be a fantastic value play.


$5 to win on 1

$5 exacta: 1 with 7


$15 to win on 1

$7 exacta: 1 with 7

$3 exacta: 7 with 1


$25 to win on 1

$15 exacta: 1 with 7

$5 exacta: 1 with 5

$5 exacta: 7 with 1

Parx Racing, Race 8, Grade 3 Greenwood Cup, post time 3:33 p.m. ET

#5 Shooger Ray Too: The 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup drew a competitive field of nine. The long distance throws a wrench into this race. Not all horses can go 12 furlongs and not many horses in here have recent experience at this distance or similar. Finding a horse who you know can handle the distance is key.

Shooger Ray Too stretched out to 1 3/4 miles last out for the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga. He was no match for graded stakes winner Lone Rock in that race but held on to finish second. He finished ahead of Moretti, who is also in this race and is very likely to go off at a lower price. Earlier in the year, he ran a huge race in the 1 3/8-mile Stud Muffin Stakes at Aqueduct, where he closed for third off a very slow pace. He's also shown an affinity for Parx, having finished in the top two in five of his six starts here. His jockey, Kendrick Carmouche, was one of the top riders here for many years, and has hit at a sharp 26% in select mounts since returning from an ankle injury earlier in the month. This horse looks ready to run a big race, and should go off at a very bettable price. 


$4 to win on 5

$2 exacta: 5 with 2, 4, 7 ($6 total)


$10 to win on 5

$3 exacta: 5 with 2, 4, 7 ($9 total)

$1 trifecta: 5 with 2, 4, 7 with 2, 4, 7 ($6 total)


$14 to win on 5

$6 exacta: 5 with 2, 4, 7 ($18 total)

$1 trifecta: 4, 5 with 2, 4, 5, 7 with 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 ($18 total)

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