The 44th running of the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds is the first of 16 races in the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, each with 85 all-important Derby points on the line including 50 to the winner.
Whether it’s the run up to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands or the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, there’s great racing action nearly every weekend of the year. Starting this year, America’s Best Racing is challenging some of the brightest minds in horse betting to come up with their top three picks for key races leading up to the Derby and the Breeders’ Cup.
In recent years an increasing number of tracks have offered days geared around races patterned after the Claiming Crown. In other words, they put together a card filled with races for horses that have competed in claiming races which offer purses similar to stakes races. Quite naturally, they attract a top shelf collection of claiming horses and can be quite tricky to handicap.
Yet they can also point out some intriguing horses to play – in their next race or two.
Over the last 13 years, horses from Oaklawn Park have excelled on the Triple Crown with stars like American Pharoah, Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Curlin, and Lookin At Lucky using the Hot Springs, Ark. track as a springboard to Triple Crown success.
Welcome to Los Ponies Longshots! Each week, America’s Best Racing’s Southern California correspondent Jose Contreras – Los Ponies to those who follow him on Twitter – will provide two or three longshots at 8-to-1 odds or better on the morning line that he identifies as strong value bets. Contreras also will map out a betting strategy for how to play his selections and keep track of his return on investment (ROI).