Best Races Around North America for California Simulcast Horse Bettors – Sept. 3

Talk about an abundance of riches. California horse betting enthusiasts have not one, or two, but three $1 million races to wager into on Saturday.

The big one in California is the TVG Pacific Classic, live at Del Mar Racetrack.

The East Coast version is the Jockey Gold Club Cup unfolding at Saratoga Race Course in New York.

The third is a pleasant surprise, the $1 million WinStar Mint Million at Kentucky Downs, a little-known track which features turf racing and an abbreviated September meet.

What a Saturday.

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California horse bettors accessing the action via the TVG app (recently re-branded as FanDuel TV) will see a loaded card on Saratoga’s final Saturday. Many races carry six-figure purses and an abundant field size, a recipe for some nice payoffs.

And then there are the big ones:

  • The $1 million Jockey Gold Club
  • The $600,000 Flower Bowl Stakes
  • The $200,000 Saranac Stakes

Saratoga has more than $2.7 million in purses on Saturday.

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Jockey Gold Club Cup, Saratoga

This is a field of eight going 1 1/4 miles on the dirt at 2:45 p.m.

Dynamic One, First Captain, and Untreated finished close together in the 1 1/4-mile Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park in July. There was nothing to really separate them in that $700,000 race. Dynamic One poked ahead in front close to the wire in a thrilling finish. The three pounded through the homestretch together and must be considered of equal ability.

Olympiad and American Revolution will garner betting respect. They finished 1-2 in the $750,000 Stephen Foster Stakes, the second richest race (behind the Kentucky Derby) on the Churchill Downs schedule.

Olympiad had the jump on American Revolution around the turn. American Revolution gave a spirited effort in an attempt to overtake Olympiad in vain. Two good horses, but they must stretch out. Neither has gone 1 1/4 miles.

Keepmeinmind does just enough that bettors do keep him in mind. He was fourth in the Preakness Stakes and the Travers Stakes last year. Doesn’t seem like the winner, but bettors may use him in exotics.

Chess Chief was a distant third to Art Collector in the $135,000 Alydar Stakes at Saratoga. Wasn’t played at 29-to-1 and needed a photo to get third.

Art Collector did come back and win the $1 million Charles Town Classic three weeks later. That’s the type of horse who could win here. Chess Chief looks over his head.

Tax dropped down to the $100,000 Battery Stakes at Delaware Park after a 532-day layoff. He did enough to win, in the slop, but takes several steps back up here.

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WinStar Mint Million, Kentucky Downs

Quick, California horse bettors: Which track in America will pay out the most amount of purse money on Saturday?

No one would expect you to get it.

It’s Kentucky Downs, a little-known track on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. This facility pays out more than $3.4 million on Saturday. None of its 11 races pays out less than $150,000. All have big fields.

First post for California bettors is 9:25 a.m.

The facility is a surprise to most in the horse-racing industry. It unfurls a seven-day program sprinkled across the first two weeks of September. The abbreviated meet features exquisite turf racing, big fields, and monster events like its $1 million Saturday headliner, and then it vanishes. 

Gamblers love turf racing, because the events often feature large, competitive fields. Horses can make up ground quickly on turf, even if stuck behind horses, provided an opening occurs somewhere in the homestretch.

Saturday features a lineup that will appeal to turf-racing purists and longshot players.

The first six races on the card all feature 12 horses. Swing forward to a pair of $500,000 races, the Aristocrat Gaming Juvenile Filly Stakes and the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile. And topping it all is the $1 million WinStar Mint Million, at 2:30 p.m.

Opportunity knocks for gamblers.

Neither of the two favorites in the WinStar Mint Million, 5-to-2 shot Pixelate and 7-to-2 shot Atone, won their last race.

This event strongly hints at a mid-priced or longshot coming in first. The exotics combos connected with that should provide an excellent payout. Granted, this will be exceptionally difficult to hit. But it should pay off if you can.

How to give yourself an edge: Watch some of the earlier races. Not only are they must-see, but can provide insight as to how the track is playing regarding speed horses or closers winning the event. You can handicap via the Daily Racing Form, often available for purchase and sometimes made available for free online.

This is worth taking in. The track will continue its meet next week with a couple of programs.

Salute to Last Weekend’s Longshots at Gulfstream Park

Here’s a chance to commemorate some tremendous payouts from last week.

They occurred in a familiar breeding ground: the first race of the weekend card at Gulfstream Park in Florida, with big fields and a low level for racing, maiden-claiming $19,000. That means none of the horses had ever won and that gamblers should be suspicious of favorites in these situations.

Did that ever play out here.

On Saturday, J P Cornetta at 25-to-1 outlasted Poetic Code at 3-to-1 to comprise a $232 exacta box. Third went to Voice of Now at 5-to-2 and King D was fourth at 6-to-1.

Because the 25-to-1 shot finished first, the $1 trifecta paid $442.70, while the $1 super returned an impressive $3,575.

How it materialized: A bettor needed an inkling to key Poetic Code, who had similar odds to Voice of Now. Had the bettor landed on Poetic Code as the key and put a longshot in the ticket, he/she could have “backed into” the payout. For $24 invested into a $1 trifecta key, the gambler could have put Poetic Code in the first and second slot with four other horses.

Naturally, any inclination on J P Cornetta made the win bet the way to go, for anybody who foresaw that. But here, in a 12-horse field, the horse that logically figured to run well was part of a monster payday.

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On Sunday, Gulfstream kicked off with another maiden-claiming $19,000 with a field of 12.

And another bombs away.

Kudos to anyone who came anywhere close to this ticket. Olympic Fencer finished first at 15-to-1, Patsy’s Girl was second at 10-to-1, Amore Moon came in third at 9-to-2, and Uncaptured Grace was fourth at 9-to-2.

Why it paid: Besides the long odds of the winners, 6-to-5 chalk What to Know ran off the board.

The $2 superfecta paid a whopping $18,312, or $915 for the 10-cent wager. The $2 exacta paid $335.60 and the $1 trifecta returned $1,359.

How some bettors may have backed into it: a larger investment, based on complete uncertainty about the race. A 10-cent superfecta box with six horses cost $36. You would avoid it if you think the favorite is going to run well. But in a six-horse box, a gambler takes half the field, looking for four spots. As a hedge, one could even throw the favorite in, still leaving room for five other longshots.

Gulfstream opens this weekend’s Saturday card with another maiden $19,000 race, although the nine-horse field makes the huge payout a little less likely.

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is a writer for California Casinos, and has covered the horse racing and boxing industry extensively since the 1980s. He was an award-winning writer at the Press of Atlantic City. As a broadcaster, he has won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting, issued by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has called major fights for HBO, ESPN, Showtime, and other networks since the 1980s. He is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Dave shifted gears to cover the emerging legalized sports-betting industry in 2018.