Strong Form Lines Can Make You Money

Strong form lines are important to keep in mind especially in stakes events. Finding horses that have performed well against top rated runners and can offer you value today is a handicappers dream scenario. Such factors fell into play for me on January 11th, 2003 at Gulfstream Park. Race 10 was the Hal's Hope Stakes and there were 2 horses running with strong form lines who were going out at generous odds. The horse I respected in both horses form lines was Volponi who recently proved his quality with an impressive win in the Breeders Cup Classic. 2 horses in today's event had shown a solid finish against Volponi. Keep in mind that we are talking about a Grade:3 level event here and i would rate Volponi as a strong Grade:1 horse. 

Windsor Castle had faced Volponi in the Meadowlands cup 3 starts back and had finished a fast closing 3rd in solid time. He also showed some respect in the betting going at at just over 10-1. His next race in a Grade:3 event at Aqueduct was a close 2nd place finish where he went out as the favorite. His latest race was a bit confusing as he was fairly well beaten at a mile, however this was against Grade:1 company so this race can be excused.

Saint Verre was the other horse that caught my attention from a form line stand point as he had run against Volponi in a The Grade:3 poker Handicap which was run on turf. He set incredibly fast fractions that day and was still able to hold on to the place against a solid Grade:1 horse like Volponi. This race was a definite clue he has ability. He has a ton of early speed and is coming in fresh today. He is kind of a hit or miss horse but the odds were right as he was going out around 14-1. He also had blinkers off for the first time today which can be a positive equipment change. 

Windsor Castle going out around 9-2 looked like a bit of a more solid win chance in the race but Voploni had to be given at least a chance to beat him. I narrowed the race down to the other contenders as a 2-1 entry of American Style and Najran with P. Day And J. Bailey riding. The other horse with a place chance was the co-favored 2-1 horse Hero's Tribute who came off of a nice 3rd place finish to Lido Palace recently.

I bet my $200 on the race fairly confidently with these exacta combinations. $50 straight exacta Windsor Castle / Saint Verre. $30 exactas key Windsor Castle / The entry & Hero's Tribute. I then bet $30 straight exacta Saint Verre / Windsor castle. $25 exacta key Saint Verre / The entry & Hero's Tribute. The total cost was $190. I was pretty much assured to cash with either a Saint Verre or Windsor Castle win but the obvious score here was with both running the exacta.

After a well rated late ride by E. Coa I was happy to find Windsor Castle In front of Saint Verre by 2 lengths at the line. Saint Verre was just just able to eke out 2nd ahead of a game Najran. By reading the form lines of this race carefully and looking for value I was nicely reward with a $50 exacta which paid $116.60. This returned me $2,915 a nice return for $190 in a small stakes field.


10th race - Gulfstream Park - January 11, 2003
  Race Name: Hal's Hope H.   -   Grade: 3
  Off at: 5:05   Race Type: Stakes
  Age Restriction: Three Year Old and Upward
  Value of Race: $100,000
  Distance: One And One Sixteenth Miles
  Surface Type: Dirt Track Condition: Fast
  Winning Time: 1:42.33
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
4 Windsor Castle Eibar Coa 11.40 6.00 4.00
6 Saint Verre Jose A. Santos   11.40 5.40
1A Najran Pat Day     3.00
Also ran: 3 - Hero's Tribute , 1 - American Style , 5 - Hail The Chief (GB) , 7 - Dream Run , 2 - Speed Hunter
Wager Type Winning Numbers Payoff
$2 Pick 3 4-6-4 (3 correct) 568.40
$2 Exacta 4-6 116.60
$2 Superfecta 4-6-1-3 1,219.20
$2 Trifecta 4-6-1 422.40

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