Arlington Park stakes plays for Saturday, July 13

Four stakes races highlight an excellent nine-race card at Arlington Park on Saturday. A trio of graded events top Arlington Million Preview Day, and I have some horses of interest with attractive prices attached to them in the featured contests.

RACE 7 – Arlington Handicap (G3)

EL PICARO (#5) (9-2) is a multiple Group 1 victor on the turf who will make his second run since importing from South America. The Lookin at Lucky colt had a decent tightener at Churchill Downs in the Wise Dan Stakes (G2) and figures to show big improvement with more ground to work with on Saturday for trainer Ignacio Correas IV. The move to leading local pilot Jose Valdivia Jr. was a smart one, as well.

RACE 8 – American Derby (G3)

A baker’s dozen of sophomores will vie in a well-matched field going 1 1/16 grassy miles. The Steve Asmussen-trained WAR FILM (#2) (12-1) might finally receive the swift and contested pace that aids his robust late kick. The son of the hot Declaration of War comes in fresh with good morning drills, and the colt out of the classy Film Maker lands in a field with a good measure of early speed. The three-year-old also gets a rider change to Miguel Mena.

RACE 6 – Modesty Handicap (G3)

Fillies and mares will compete on the lawn going 1 3/16 miles in a solid cast. Juddmonte homebred JULIET FOXTROT (#2) (3-1) is perfect from a pair of runs since coming to the United States and seems poised to make it three in a row on Saturday. Trained by Brad Cox, the bay was super impressive at Churchill Downs last time in a powerful allowance score when she relaxed early and flew home late. Her tactical speed should allow jockey Florent Geroux to get first run turning for home.

RACE 5 – Hatoof Stakes

Three-year-old fillies will vie in this 1 1/16-mile turf affair with nine going postward. Mike Maker’s BE NIMBLE (#3) (10-1) could be dangerous at a healthy price while making her stakes debut. The daughter of rising turf sire The Factor was a close fourth at Keeneland last time in a key race where multiple foes came back to win next out, including race winner Desert Ride, who bagged the Woodbine Oaks. Be Nimble could sit a perfect trip in the stretch with local leader Jose Valdivia Jr. inheriting the mount.

Good luck!

PHOTO: War Film (c) Coady Photography/Keeneland

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Exacta Bet of the Day for Saturday, July 13 at Arlington

This Saturday at Arlington is “Ride to the Million” Day, the preview for Arlington Million Day featuring four stakes races worth a total of $525,000, including graded preps for next month’s Arlington Million (G1), Beverly D. (G1) and Secretariat Stakes (G1).

Race 6 on the nine-race card will be the prep for the Beverly D., the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (G3) for fillies and mares, three-years-old and up going 1 3/16 miles on the Arlington turf course. The Modesty drew a diverse nine-horse field coming from the East, West and Midwest, and the winner of this race and possibly other top finishers could move on to face Grade 1 competition in the Beverly D.

The Modesty field looks like a wide-open handicapping scramble that will be well-suited to betting the exacta boxes. Here is a recommended four-horse exacta box play in the Modesty.

Good luck and enjoy!

RACE 6 – Modesty Handicap (G3) Exacta Box Picks

JULIET FOXTROT (#2) (3-1) is a perfect two-for-two since coming to the United States from England, winning back-to-back turf starts at Keeneland and Churchill Downs for trainer Brad Cox. This represents a big step up into graded company, but her BRIS Speed figures in her two wins indicate she fits versus these and she is one of the few in the field who could possibly muster enough tactical speed to stay within range with first run on projected pacesetter, Remember Daisy. Florent Geroux, who was aboard her for her allowance win at Keeneland, is in for the ride. Gets four pounds from Simply Breathless.

SIMPLY BREATHLESS (#3) (9-5) is the likely favorite and horse to beat. Trainer Neil Drysdale ships her from her Santa Anita base with two California starts under her belt since arriving from England, having won both in the Golden Poppy Stakes at Golden Gate and then in the Wilshire Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita. Regular rider Flavien Prat is here to ride and Simply Breathless is the class of the field. Her vulnerability in this spot has to do with the distance of 1 3/16 miles, because she has spent the vast majority of her career at one mile. She did win at 1 1/16 miles at Golden Gate, however, and has a stretch-running style that indicates she can get this distance. If you four-horse box her in the exactas, you’re hoping the distance turns into her Achilles heel.

REMEMBER DAISY (#6) (8-1) is a speedy horse in a 1 3/16-mile turf race without much, if any, early pace. That makes her dangerous in this spot, even though this is a big step up into graded company on the turf for the first time. A stakes winner on turf versus Louisiana-breds and placed in an open company $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes last out, she could get out front and steal this, or at least hold on in the exactas, if able to get away with murder on the lead. Gets four pounds from Simply Breathless.

VEXATIOUS (#9) (6-1) exits a midpack finish in the New York Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park behind a pair of tough Chad Brown trainees including turf monster and possible Beverly D. favorite Homerique, who beat her by less than four lengths. That was her first start for her new barn of trainer Jack Sisterson, and it seemed to be an indication her form is heading in the right direction. Earned a big BRIS Speed figure in the New York Stakes and was only a neck behind third-place finisher Semper Sententiae, who came back to win the River Memories stakes at Belmont in her next race.

WAGERING STRATEGY

Box the above four horses in the exacta boxes, and you will be covering both the Speed (Remember Daisy) and Class (Simply Breathless) of the field, along with a pair of potential up-and-comers (Juliet Foxtrot and Vexatious).

If the favorite gets beat and you still have the exacta box with the other three, you’ll have a nice ticket in your hands. Best of luck!

FOUR-HORSE EXACTA BOX WAGER

$2 Exacta Box: 2, 3, 6, 9 = $24

PHOTO: Arlington Park (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

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