Playing the ponies

Saturday is Derby Day! Well, Arkansas Derby Day. And here are some plays

Getty Images

Saturday was supposed to be an epic day. The Kentucky Derby followed by a Shinedown Concert at Revention Music Center. Obviously, the Rona had other plans. Still, it has a chance to be a hell of a day. The Arkansas Derby will be run today in two divisions at Oaklawn Park, and the Oaklawn Handicap will also be run. In addition, we will be hosting the last of our charity poker tournaments.

If you are looking for some horse action, we have some plays on the three big races at Oaklawn. While there are no online sites in Texas, you can use offshore sites such as mybookie.ag and betusracing.

So if you are so inclined, here are some plays for Saturday. These are done for a fast track. The weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies but there should be no rain. If so we will update this.

Disclaimer: Nobody bats .1000 on horse racing. I look for live horses at decent prices. If we hit one of these, we're probably profiting. More than one? We will be very happy. So here we go.

ARKANSAS DERBY DIVISION 1 (Race 11 on the card)

It will be very hard to get around the probable odds-on favorite, Charlatan. He is unbeaten in two very fast starts and has all the look of the next Bob Baffert superstar. The second favorite, Gouverneur Morris, might have the best shot at an upset. He was a good fourth in the Florida Derby behind Tiz the Law, perhaps the division leader. Anneau d'Or offers some value at 6-1; his last race was an unmitigated disaster but prior to that he proved he belonged at this level. Crypto Cash and Basin are big long shots that could have an impact.

It will be hard to make much off this, especially if Charlatan is the real deal. We will play some exactas, 1 with 4-8-10-11 and hope we get one of our prices home.

If you want to take a stab against him, I would consider keying the 4 with 1-8-10-11 and 1-8-10-11 with 4 in exactas, but you are probably wasting money.

OAKLAWN HANDICAP (Race 12 on the card)

This is a wide open, competitive race, but I do like a horse with decent odds: No. 4 Mr. Freeze at 6-1. While he is probably better going a mile, he has been competitive at this distance. His losses have come against some of the best in the country in Tom's D'Etat and Mucho Gusto. Would feel better if he had a race over the Oaklawn surface, but he should get a nice trip on or near the lead and I expect him to be in the mix. Beyond that, it is a crap shoot. I will be playing at least one 4-all and all-4 exacta tickets. I will also narrow it down a little and take 4 with 2-3-5-6-8-9-12 and 2-3-5-6-8-9-12 with 4.

Another massive price horse I think has a shot in here is the 8 at 20-1 morning line. He will have to come out of the clouds, but he has been very good in two Oaklawn starts, and almost every horse his trainer sends out these days runs big. I will play weighted win/place/show wagers on him. An example would be based on a $100 bankroll: $50 to show, $30 to place, $20 to win. Obviously you can do it for $10 and go $5, $3, $2, or whatever you want based on how much you are playing. I think he has a much better chance of running third than first, hence the weighted wager.

ARKANSAS DERBY DIVISION 2 (Race 13 on the card)

Nadal is unbeaten and will be a strong favorite. However, I think we can take a shot at beating him. He will face some pace pressure from Wells Bayou, and the hope is these two hook up and battle early, setting it up for a long shot closer. The horse we will use is No. 10 Farmington Road at 12-1. We will bet him much like the eight horse in the prior race, with show/place/win bets weighted with more bet to show and place.

In addition, we will wheel him top and bottom in exactas with a few other contenders. So exactas 10 with 1-3-4-5-7-11 and 1-3-4-5-7-11 with 10. We are banking on a speed duel here, which should set it up for Farmington Road. If it doesn't develop you can probably tear your virtual tickets up on the back stretch.

STARTER ALLOWANCE (Race 14 on the card)

I added this race because it is the last of the Oaklawn meet and one of my favorite races every year; a mile and three quarters starter allowance. Not overthinking things here; I like Carlos Sixes at 4-1. He has won three races and just missed in his fourth at the meet. I will bet him across the board, and wheel him top and bottom in exactas with the field (5-all, all with 5).

Good luck!

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston pulls of the victory

Astros get comeback win over Diamondbacks to take the series

Jose Siri and Chas McCormick's back-to-back homers pushed the Astros over the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a disappointing loss in the middle game of this set, the Astros tried to end their streak of "playing down" to teams by getting a convincing win to take the series on Sunday. They would get the victory, but it would take an eighth-inning comeback to get the job done.

Final Score: Astros 7, Diamondbacks 6

Astros' Record: 88-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Peter Solomon (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandyn Sittinger (0-1)

Greinke roughed up as teams trade big innings

The Astros jumped out to a first-inning lead against Arizona, getting a leadoff walk and one-out single to set up Carlos Correa for a two-out three-run homer to make it 3-0. Zack Greinke retired the first seven batters he faced, but the Diamondbacks' first hit was a loud one, a solo homer by Pavin Smith to cut the lead to two runs in the top of the third.

Greinke ran into big trouble in the fourth, giving up a one-out single, walk, then three-straight RBI singles, the third bringing in two runs as Arizona went in front 5-3. He would get the final two outs, and his day would end short there as Houston moved to their bullpen in the fifth. His final line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 68 P.

Houston goes back in front with big eighth inning

Peter Solomon, recently recalled by Houston from Triple-A to grab a fresh arm for the bullpen, made his fourth appearance of 2021 when he took over for Greinke in the top of the fifth. He allowed Arizona to extend their lead to two runs, giving up a leadoff walk, a single, then later a sac fly to make it 6-4 before getting through the inning. He kept going for a 1-2-3 sixth, and in the seventh, erased a couple of walks with a double play to keep it a two-run game.

Houston had their first chance against Arizona's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh and threatened to do some damage by working three walks to load the bases but would strand all three runners. Jose Siri made it a new game in the bottom of the eighth, capitalizing on a leadoff walk that set him up for a game-tying homer, and Chas McCormick followed that to make it back-to-back homers to put the Astros back in front, 7-6.

Astros get the series victory

Despite having pitched the first two games of this series, Houston elected to bring in closer Ryan Pressly to try and close things out in the top of the ninth with the one-run lead. He did not look the least bit fatigued, striking out the side in order to give the Astros the series win and move them another game closer to punching their ticket to the playoffs.

Up Next: With this short homestand over, the Astros will begin their final road trip of the regular season on Monday, with the opener of four in Los Angeles against the Angels starting at 8:38 PM Central. Framber Valdez (10-5, 3.26 ERA) is expected to get back on the mound for Houston after missing a turn due to a finger cut, while the Angels should have a start by Jaime Barria (2-3, 4.93 ERA).

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome