PODCAST: With Newsday's Handicapper Steve Matthews

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Newsday's Horse Racing Handicapper, Steve Matthews, joins the show to talk about what he's learned during his 40-years wagering on horses.

Steve, Terry, Shawn, Tom and Rich make their picks for some of Saturday's biggest races at Belmont Park and Parx Racetrack, including:

Belmont Park Race 4 - $300,000 KELSO HANDICAP – GRADE III
Belmont Park Race 10 - $200,000 ATHENIA STAKES – GRADE III
Parx Race 12 – $1,000,000 PENNSYLVANIA DERBY – GRADE I

Some big names hit the track like HOT ROD CHARLIE and LIFE IS GOOD.




Terry "Hollywood" Hay's Handicapping

Belmont Park Race 4 - $300,000 KELSO HANDICAP – GRADE III

Race Scenario: Life Is Good will go for the lead. Chance It will be close and to try and catch Life Is Good at the finish, but I think Life Is Good will hold on and win.

#2 - Life Is Good has won three out of four races in his career, only losing one by a neck to Jackie's Warrior. He has the highest last race speed rating, and his best dirt speed is fastest among today's starters. Todd Pletcher wins 26% of the time when bringing Beaten favorite back to the races.

#3 - Chance It ran 3rd in his last race at Saratoga - 7 furlongs and now stretches out to a mile. The trainer wins 25% of his dirt starts.

#1 - Fort Peck won in his last race at Saratoga easily and has a great workout on Sep 18 at Belmont 4f ft :46.3 B 1/92.

Belmont Park Race 10 - $200,000 ATHENIA STAKES – GRADE III

Race Scenario: Made In Italy may try lead to go all the way. Miss Teheran and Pocket Square will close in the stretch and try to win, I think Miss Teheran will be the successful one.

#2– Miss Teheran is a closer and will be coming down the stretch. She has finished in the money five out of six races this year, winning two of the races.

#4– Pocket Square won her last race easily and will be closing from deep to try and win. She has a good ˜ 5f on the turf 1:01.2 B.

#3 – Made In Italy had trouble her first two races since coming over from Europe especially the last one where she was blocked at the ¼ and checked at the 1/16. She has a decent workout in preparation for this race- 5f ft 1:02.1 B 2/7.

PARX Racing

Parx Race 12 – $1,000,000 PENNSYLVANIA DERBY – GRADE I

Race Scenario: Weyburn and Midnight Bourbon will go to the lead. I think most of the rest of the horses will close from mid-pack or deep to try and win the race in the end. I think Midnight Bourbon will be the winner.

#8 – Midnight Bourbon ran second in the grade 1 Travelers only beaten a neck by Essential Quality. He has the highest last race speed rating and Early speed running style helps chances. The shorter distance is another plus.

#1 – Fulsome likes the track and distance. He has finished 77% of the time in the money during his career, winning 56% of the races. He has a good 5F workout on Sep-18 at Belmont 1:00.2 B 3/22 and the rail position is winning at 20% clip.

#7 – Hot Rod Charlie won the Haskell, a grade 1 at Monmouth, but was disqualified and placed 7th. His best dirt speed is fastest among today's starters. He can either lead or close from off the pace.

#5 – I Am Redeemed has won three out four races in his career, running second in the fourth race in June. He has a good Trainer/Jockey combo in last 14 days has done the following (9 3-1-3).


Race 4:
$10.00 Exacta 2/1,3

Race 10:
$10.00 Exacta 2/3,4
$2.00 Exacta Box 2,3,4

PARX Racing:

Race 12: $4.00
Exacta Box 1,5,7,8

Swiss Army Shawn's Selections

Belmont Park Race 4 - $300,000 KELSO HANDICAP – GRADE III

PACE PROJECTION:  #2 Life is Good is going to get the lead and be tough to catch. #3 Chance it and #5 Doubly Blessed will be next trying to pressure #2 Life is Good. The two in the back will be #1 Fort Peck and #4 Informative.

#2 Life is Good- This horse might go off at 1/5 or 1/9.  I don't see enough other speed in this race that can keep up, so this could be over quickly. You never know when you switch something if it could mess things up, but this will be the first race Mike Smith is not aboard. The plus is you get Irad Ortiz Jr. which should be nothing but a positive.

#5 Doubly Blessed- The only horse in this field with prior success at Belmont. Has a win and a second in 2 starts.  He is also 3 for 3 at this distance. Throw out the last race after a 3-month layoff and this horse should be ready to go.

#3 Chance It- Has finished in the exacta 8 of 10 career races. Should be close to the pace chasing Life is Good. Does like the distance winning the 1 race he had at a mile.

$20 ex 2/5
$10 PK 3 2/4/8

Belmont Park Race 10 - $200,000 ATHENIA STAKES – GRADE III

PACE PROJECTION:  Hardly any speed in this race at all. Maybe the #5 Stand for the Flag goes for the lead. It feels like whichever horse and jockey wants the lead can get it.

#4 Pocket Square- She just outclasses this field and should be really close to this slow pace. 5 horse races are typically a jockey race so not only are you getting potentially the best horse in the field, but you also get the best jockey in this race Irad Ortiz Jr.  She has won half her turf starts 4 for 8.

#2 Miss Teheran- Has been in the exacta in the last 4 races. Three of them lost by less than a half a length. Has the next best Beyer numbers behind #4 Pocket Square.

#5 Stand for the Flag-  First time on turf and might find herself on the lead.

$10 Ex 4/2

Parx Race 12 – $1,000,000 PENNSYLVANIA DERBY – GRADE I

PACE PROJECTION:   There is speed in this race with as many as 4 horses you could try and get the lead. None of them really need to have the lead they just need to be close. Those horses are # 4 Weyburn, #5 I am Redeemed, #7 Hot Rod Charlie, #8 Midnight Bourbon, and #10 Americanrevolution. #2 Keepmeinmind and #6 Bourbonic will take their place in the back of the field and make their run late.

#8 Midnight Bourbon – Last race ran a career best race with a Beyer of 107 and lost by a half a length to Essential Quality. That was the first race Ricardo Santana Jr. was on him. I think he's a great rider for this horse as he is really good with speed horses and will get good position in this race.

#7 Hot Rod Charlie- Will be close to the front if not on the lead from the very beginning and always there to battle it out. Goes from Monmouth last race without the whip where he won but got DQ'd to here where he will get the whip again.

#2 Keepmeinmind- Always closing at the end and he is getting closer and closer. Last few races actually not getting as far behind which is helping him. There is enough speed in this race for the pace to fall apart and this horse to be the one to capitalize.

$20 win #8
$10 Ex 7,8/2,7,8

22 to 1 Tom's Tips

Belmont Park Race 4 - $300,000 KELSO HANDICAP – GRADE III

2 – Life is Good

•            Good, great effort in last at 7f vs a good three-year-old in first start since injury

•            Won every start before last race

•            Needed race

•            Faces older horses here

•            1 mile shouldn't be a problem again

3 – Chance It

•            Good run in the Forego to get third behind the "fighter/biter"

•            1 for 1 at the 1-mile distance around one turn

•            He's a grinder and will be near at the finish

•            Not out of the money this year

1 – Fort Peck

•            Claimed 2 starts back for $62,500

•            Won next start and was geared down at the end

•            Robertino Diodoro magic with good claim to good next out

•            Will continue to show improvement in this start

•            One question for me is, why the layoff of greater than 30 days?

Belmont Park Race 10 - $200,000 ATHENIA STAKES – GRADE III

4 – Pocket Square

•            Two good allowance races

•            Two poor grade 1 races, well they weren't that bad

•            Group 3 winner in France

•            Lightly races with 8 starts and 4 wins

•            Chad Brown and Irad Oritz, Jr team up (he rode her last time)

•            Small field means a Jockey's race

•            Favorite and looks the best in this race

2 – Miss Teheran

•            The "other" Chad Brown horse in the race

•            Been running ok with 6 starts 2 wins and 3 seconds

•            Winning efforts in Optional Claimers but at top level

•            Good effort at Tampa in grade 2, missed by a length

1 – Lake Lucerne

•            Good win at Saratoga in last, got the nod

•            All-Weather winner in England at minor track

•            Will need to step her game to be a factor in this race

•            Godolphin owned

Parx Race 12 – $1,000,000 PENNSYLVANIA DERBY – GRADE I

7 – Hot Rod Charlie

•            All the tactical speed in the world to run his race

•            In the Haskell, DQ for causing Midnight Bourbon to check hard and lose the rider

•            Layoff helps?

•            Same jockey – Flavien Prat

•            Keeps running good races (except last race adventures) since Breeder's Cup

8 – Midnight Bourbon

•            Excellent against Essential Quality in the Travers but ran second

•            Overcame issues in Haskell that didn't affect the next race out, good sign

•            Really only one bad race with issues – the Kentucky Derby

•            Slow works but that normal for this horse, he shows up in the afternoon

3 – Speaker's Corner

•            I like the win last out even though he bobbled at the start, good speed number

•            Around 2 turns for the first time but breeding says "no problem". Could be a turf horse too.

•            He hasn't gotten the best of starts in 2 of his 3 races

•            Good work coming into the race of 1:00.1breezing

•            Jose Oritz, Bill Mott and Godolphin owned (hottest owners in the world right now)

Rich's Ranks

Belmont Park Race 4 - $300,000 KELSO HANDICAP – GRADE III

2              LIFE IS GOOD
1              FORT PECK
5              DOUBLY BLESSED
3              CHANCE IT

Belmont Park Race 10 - $200,000 ATHENIA STAKES – GRADE III

1              LAKE LUCERNE
4              POCKET SQUARE
3              MADE IN ITALY
2              MISS TEHERAN

Parx Race 12 – $1,000,000 PENNSYLVANIA DERBY – GRADE I

4              WEYBURN
7              HOT ROD CHARLIE
1              FULSOME
8              MIDNIGHT BOURBON


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