How to bet with (or against) the Ogden Phipps favorite

June 4th, 2021

I suppose you’re wondering how you should bet Saturday’s $500,000 Ogden Phipps S. (G1) at Belmont Park. That’s a tricky question.

The rich 1 1/16-mile prize for fillies and mares has drawn seven entries, but two of the most accomplished contenders—#1 Swiss Skydiver (5-2) and #2 Valiance (4-1)—will scratch after coming down with temperatures. The remaining five starters present a tricky handicapping challenge.

How to bet the favorite

The simplest approach to betting the Ogden Phipps might be to key #3 Letruska (9-5) on top. The morning-line favorite is an obvious choice; she’s won three of her last four starts in front-running fashion, most recently outdueling two-time champion Monomoy Girl to win the Apple Blossom H. (G1) by a nose.

If you’re a fan of Letruska’s abundant speed and hot form, playing her in the trifecta over 2020 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner #5 Shedaresthedevil (5-2) and recent Doubledogdare S. (G3) winner #7 Bonny South (10-1) is surely the way to go. It’s a chalky ticket, true, but perhaps the most likely path to catching a decent payday with the favorite on top.

$15 Trifecta: 3 with 5,7 with 5,7 ($30)

How to bet against the favorite

But what if you believe Letruska is vulnerable to an upset? This is actually the direction I’m leaning. Letruska enjoyed a perfect trip in the Apple Blossom, securing an easy lead through a modest pace before digging down deep in the homestretch.

Two starts back, Letruska was beaten to the lead in the Azeri S. (G2) and came up a head short of catching Shedaresthedevil. In general, Letruska is best when allowed to secure the early advantage, so the returning presence of fellow frontrunner Shedaresthedevil—fresh off a victory in the La Troienne S. (G1)—could be problematic for the favorite.

If Letruska and Shedaresthedevil hook up on the front end, this could set the stage for a big effort from Bonny South. The daughter of Munnings has long shown talent and actually defeated Shedaresthedevil in a Feb. 2020 allowance race at Oaklawn Park. A pure stretch runner, Bonny South finished second in the Alabama (G1) as a sophomore and showed great determination to kick off 2021 with a gutsy victory in the Doubledogdare. If Bonny South takes a step forward in her second start back, she can spring a surprise.

If we’re going to view Letruska as a vulnerable favorite, let’s go all the way, playing Bonny South and Shedaresthedevil on top of exacta and trifecta tickets while adding longshots #4 Queen Nekia (30-1) and #6 Water White (30-1) for third place. This way, if Letruska finishes out of the money, we'll still have a chance to cash.

$10 Exacta box: 5,7 ($20)
$3 Trifecta: 5,7 with 5,7 with 3 ($6)
$1 Trifecta: 5,7 with 5,7 with 4,6 ($4)
Total: $30

Good luck!