Piassek’s Plays: Pegasus Undercard Selections

Gambling
Horses race through the stretch at Gulfstream Park. (Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photo)

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 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, Jan. 23

weekend TV schedule

Friday, Jan. 22: 1 p.m.-5 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Jan. 23: 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m. ET on FS1; 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Jan. 24: 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. ET on FS2; 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Gulfstream Park, Race 6, post time 2:04 p.m. ET

#5 Quantum Leap: This race is loaded with first-time starters. Out of the 12 horses in the main body of the field, eight have never raced before. This includes likely post-time favorite #3 Ghazaaly, who was purchased for more than $1 million at the Keeneland yearling sale in September 2019.

Because of all the first-timers in here, I’m looking for a horse with experience. Oftentimes, horses who have at least one start under their belt have an edge in maiden races over their inexperienced rivals. 

Quantum Leap is the kind of horse I like to play in these races. He made his debut at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22, in a race where he was one of eight first-time starters. He was well behind early on trailing a relatively slow pace, while racing wide the entire way. Despite those obstacles, he closed heroically in the stretch to win a photo for third. The two horses who finished ahead of him, Bob’s Edge and Macron, were promising horses who had experience, and they never got tired on the lead. Finishing third to them on debut is nothing to be ashamed of.

Since that debut, Quantum Leap has had some very fast workouts, and looks primed for a big effort second time out. While most bettors will gravitate towards the flashy first-timers, Quantum Leap may sneak through the cracks and go off at a good price.

Strategy on a $10 budget

$2 to win, $2 to place on 5 ($4 total)

$3 exacta, 5 with 1,3 ($6 total)

Strategy on a $25 budget

$6 to win, $5 to place on 5 ($11 total)

$2 exacta key box, 5 with 1, 3 ($8 total)

$1 trifecta, 5 with 1, 3 with 1, 3, 9, 11 ($6 total)

Strategy on a $50 budget

$12 to win, $10 to place on 5 ($22  total)

$4 exacta key box, 5 with 1, 3 ($16 total)

$1 trifecta, 3, 5 with 1, 3, 5 with 1, 3, 5, 9, 11 ($12 total)


Gulfstream Park, Race 9, $200,000 Inside Information Stakes, post time 3:40 p.m. ET

#4 Thissmytime: This just might be the time for this Florida-bred to make her presence felt on the national scene. Gulfstream racing fans have become well acquainted with her as of late, as all but one of her nine career starts have come in south Florida.

She’s been in fine form as of late, winning three of her last five. Her only poor effort came in an allowance race going two turns, when she was fractious before the race, never got involved early, and was eased up. She was given a brief break after that race, and has won her two starts since impressively. Last out, she ran a solid allowance field off their feet, winning in gate-to-wire style while going a one-turn mile. She has the most early speed of anyone in the race, plenty of experience over the track, and a form cycle that suggests she’s peaking at the right time.

Strategy on a $10 budget

$5 to win on 4

$5 exacta, 4 with 3

Strategy on a $25 budget

$10 to win on 4

$5 exacta, 4 with 2, 3, 6 ($15 total)

Strategy on a $50 budget

$21 to win on 4

$5 exacta key box, 4 with 3, 6 ($20 total)

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

50-cent trifecta, 2, 3, 6 with 4 with 2, 3, 6 ($3 total)

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