These Saturday races at Oaklawn meet the criteria I’ve established for using the superfecta-key betting strategy. All races are contested on the dirt, the only surface at Oaklawn.
Click here for Oaklawn entries and results.
This 1 1/16-mile allowance race for 3-year-olds and up attracted a field of 10.
All runners exit dirt races, including nine at Oaklawn and one at Sam Houston with two runners coming in off the claim. The field has combined for an in-the-money record of 1 in 2 starts overall and 2 of 3 at the distance.
These runners have combined for a lead at the second call 1 of 6 times for races that show. I anticipate a solid pace with the advantage to runners coming from off the pace.
No. 6 Icarus is on his third trainer in nine lifetime starts, three each on dirt, turf and synthetic, and shows one win from the dirt tries. He has the right running style to close into fast fractions based upon two of those dirt tries and is your key runner at 8-1.
No. 7 Charter Oak shows eight in-the-money finishes in 10 dirt tries across four different tracks while being saddled by three different trainers. He is a closer making his second start off a substantial layoff and looks like an overlay at 20-1.
Coty Rosin saddles No. 3 Jolly Tommy off the claim. This runner has a closing style, has been in the money in two of every three tries and is two for three at Oaklawn. His odds are 6-1.
Jerry Hollendorfer trains No. 4 Greatheart, who has two wins and a second at the distance in three starts along with four in-the-money finishes in five tries at Oaklawn. He is one of the lower priced runners and looks quite fast here as another off-pace runner.
Meet leading trainer Robertino Diodoro saddles No. 8 Saqeel who sports a solid eight of 11 in-the-money record at the distance. The combination of Diodoro and his record makes him a solid factor coming from off the pace at low odds.
The play: 10-cent superfecta key using 6 with 3, 4, 7 and 8. Total wager: $9.60.
The Carousel Stakes for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up contested at six furlongs attracted a field of 11, including two trained by Peter Miller.
All runners exit dirt races, including eight at Oaklawn, two at Santa Anita and one at Fair Grounds.
The field has combined for an in-the-money record of 2 in 3 starts overall and 4 of 5 at the distance.
These runners have combined for a lead at the second call one in three starts for races that show. The pace should be pressured with the advantage to mid-pack runners and closers.
No. 1 Hazy Command makes her third start for Tom Amoss, who has saddled her to two straight easy, off-the-pace wins, both at Oaklawn. Coupled with her 8 of 9 in-the-money record at the distance make her your key runner at odds of 10-1.
Miller saddles No. 2 American Lily, the runner with the fewest starts in the field with three wins and a third in four dirt sprints. She looks like an overlay here at 20-1.
No. 4 Portilla, who employs a grinding running style, has an overall 6 of 10 in-the-money record. She is a solid overlay and should be a factor late at odds of 20-1.
Miller also saddles No. 11 Samurai Charm, a filly who shows 12 of 15 in-the-money finishes and ran well across four different dirt surfaces in her last 10 tries. She comes out of two consecutive graded stakes showing a fourth- and third-place finish. She is 3-1.
Rodolphe Brisset trains the probable favorite, No. 5 Yuugiri, whose only poor performance was in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). She has two wins in two tries at the distance and is 6 of 7 in the money overall.
The play: 10-cent superfecta key using 1 with 2, 4, 5 and 11. Total wager: $9.60.
The Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles attracted a full field of 12.
All runners come out of dirt races, nine at Oaklawn and one each at Keeneland, Aqueduct and Remington. One runner will saddled by a new trainer, and another entrant will be trying a route of ground for the first time.
The field has combined for an in-the-money record of 2 in 3 starts overall and 1 in 2 at the distance.
These runners have combined for a lead at the second call one in three times. The pace should be very fast with the advantage to closers.
The Ken McPeek-trained No. 8 Defining Purpose has run routes exclusively in her five-race career, with two wins, one third and two fifth- place finishes. She looks like she will inherit a placing from just off the pace and is your key horse at 9-2.
Norm Casse, who has been on fire at Oaklawn, saddles the only runner trying a route of ground for the first time, No. 1 Effortlesslyelgant. This filly has demonstrated both front-end speed and closing ability in her two tries, a fourth on debut and a victory to break her maiden in her second try. Her odds are 20-1.
The Todd Pletcher trained No. 4 Gambling Girl never has finished out of the top four in seven lifetime tries. She will be passing horses late at odds of 12-1.
Steve Asmussen saddles No. 3 Grand Love, who is making her first start since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 4 at Keeneland. She faded to sixth in that race after a maiden-breaking score on debut followed by a third-place finish in a graded stakes. She should take them as far as she can go in her first start as a 3-year-old. Her odds are 3-1.
The Brad Cox trained No. 7 Wet Paint started out on turf but has logged two wins and a second since moving to dirt and synthetic. She will have pace to run at and should be passing horses late at 7-2.
The play: 10-cent superfecta key using 8 with 1, 3, 4 and 7. Total wager: $9.60.
The Rebel Stakes (G2) contested at 1 1/16 miles attracted a field of 11, including three trained by Steve Asmussen and two by Brad Cox. One entrant will be saddled by a new trainer.
One runner comes out of a synthetic race at Turfway with all others exiting dirt races, six at Oaklawn and one each at Churchill, Remington, Fair Grounds and Santa Anita.
The field has combined for an in-the-money record of nearly 3 in 4 starts overall and 1 in 2 at the distance.
These runners have combined for a lead at the second call 1 in 4 starts. I anticipate a fast pace with the advantage to off-pace runners.
No. 3 Red Route One, who has four top-four finishes in six starts, figures to improve for Asmussen. He will be passing horses from off the anticipated fast pace and is your key runner at odds of 10-1.
A wild card in the field who looks underrated is No. 9 Event Detail, whose debut was at the tough 6 1/2-furlong distance at Churchill. He was not far off the pace early in that and followed with two solid synthetic runs at a mile at Turfway, where he was close to the pace and finished first and second. He is a huge overlay who should be passing horses late at 30-1.
The Tim Yakteen barn takes over the training duties of No. 6 Reincarnate, who never has finished worse than second in five starts on turf and dirt. He has a pace-pressing style and looks tractable at odds of 7-2.
Cox sends out No. 5 Giant Mischief, a true closer who won on debut and in his second start before a solid second in the Springboard Mile at Remington. He tries this distance for the first time and should be a huge factor late at 5-2.
The other Cox runner, No. 1 Verifying, looks to be the tougher of the two Cox trainees and should be forwardly placed in the early running. He comes into this event with a solid, optional-claimer Oaklawn win at the distance after a troubled run in the Breeders Futurity (G1) last fall. He will short priced.
The play: The 10-cent superfecta key using 3 with 1, 5, 6 and 9. Total wager: $9.60.
Why play superfectas?
For me, one main attraction to superfectas is that a superfecta probable payout pool is not displayed making this bet an unknown endeavor relative to an exacta and even trifectas in some circumstances where the probable payouts are available. However, if you observe the pool results over a long period of time, you will come to realize the heavily wagered upon runners tend to be over bet in the superfecta pool and when outsiders come in especially in the top two positions, explosive payouts might result.
This is why a 10 cent superfecta is a great leveraged wager if you select one runner you strongly believe will land in any one of the top four positions.
The table below summarizes the reduction in your outlays for superfecta wagers when you key one runner essentially boxing it with four to seven other runners.
Superfecta key wagering savings
There are books out there and it is common logic that the box wager makes no sense unless all horses are valued equally by the handicapper. Without getting too technical here, it is obvious if you have an opinion on a race, a straight box of any sort makes little sense.
The superfecta key strategy illustrated above requires you to ensure that your keyed horse finish in one of those top four positions. To maximize return, I am looking for three conditions to create potential for a high payoff.
The conditions are:
Betting interests of at least nine entries but not more than 12.
The ability to confidently key a horse that is not an odds-on or a heavily bet favorite.
Field that has runners seemingly ignored in the pool that would be at very high odds at post time but could be in the top four randomly.