Piassek's Plays: Ready to Go at Golden Gate

Turning for home at Golden Gate Fields. (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, Apr. 30

Golden Gate Fields, Race 8, $75,000 California Oaks, post time 7:49 p.m. ET

Television schedule

Friday, April 29: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, April 30: 1 p.m.-11 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, May 1: 1 p.m.-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

#6 Sparka: Nine 3-year-old fillies will do battle at 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather Tapeta Footings surface. A few of them have not yet raced around two turns on this track. As such, anyone who has shown promise going a route of ground at Golden Gate has an edge.

Sparka made her American debut last out at Golden Gate in a one-mile maiden race, after starting her career in England. She made a solid, wide move from off the pace and struck the lead as they entered the stretch. She had to work a bit to get by Run For My Honey, who had about a two-length jump start on her up the backstretch, but she pulled clear late to win with a very respectable Brisnet speed figure of 80. She's already proven she can handle two turns, and if she improves a bit in her second start in the United States, she should handle these with ease. Look for her to rate toward the back of the field early and make a sweeping move to the lead on the final turn.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$5 to win on 6

$5 exacta: 6 with 9

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$13 to win on 6

$6 exacta: 6 with 7,9 ($12 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$18 to win on 6

$12 exacta: 6 with, 7,9 ($24 total)

$1 trifecta: 6 with 7,9 with 1,2,3,7,9 ($8 total)

Golden Gate Fields, Race 10, $75,000 Lost in the Fog Stakes, post time 8:52 p.m. ET

#3 Murphy's Tiger: This race features a field of 10 older sprinters going six furlongs. I'll try another local horse at a decent morning-line price. Murphy's Tiger has never raced anywhere besides Golden Gate in his five-race career, and has won three times while consistently running Brisnet speed figures in the 80s. In his most recent start, he withstood pace pressure and drew off to win by 3 1/2 lengths. He's not a need-the-lead type; he broke his miaden three races back when rating just off the lead. The two horses drawn to his direct inside and outside, respectively, are Anyportinastorm and Bettor Trip Nick, both of whom have abundant early speed. If the two of them get hooked up in a duel, Murphy's Tiger can rate just off them and easily take the lead if they flatten out. He's a great bet if he stays near his 8-1 morning line. 

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$4 to win on 3

$1 exacta box: 3,5,6 ($6 total)

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$13 to win on 3

$2 exacta box: 3,5,6 ($12 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$24 to win on 3

$4 exacta box: 3,5,6 ($24 total)

Year-To-Date Statistics

32 starts: 7 wins, 6 seconds, 6 thirds

$10 Budget Plays: $320 bet, $339.20 returned

$25 Budget Plays: $800 bet, $972.95 returned

$50 Budget Plays: $1,600 bet, $1,928.14 returned 

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