Top-Tier Racing Heads 1/ST Saturday Slate

Written By Dave Bontempo on March 3, 2022 - Last Updated on March 20, 2022
Horses come out of the gate at Gulfstream Park.

We have reached a new age of customer interaction. Nationwide bettors can observe a cutting-edge partnership between sister tracks Gulfstream Park in Florida and Santa Anita in California called 1/ST Saturday.

It blends the enticement of big purses, the dynamic of large racing pools and the thrill of competition into a sophisticated event.

The daylong competition, accessible to bettors via TVG, includes two 50-point Kentucky Derby preps. The Fountain of Youth headlines the Gulfstream card, and the San Felipe Stakes is part of a big day at Santa Anita. Aqueduct also offers the Gotham, another 50-point showcase available on TVG.

The festivities also feature the richest race of the day, the $650,000 Santa Anita Handicap.

Take a look at this synergy:

  • 15 stakes races
  • 14 graded stakes
  • Coast-to-coast Pick Five wagers on dirt and turf with a low, 12% takeout
  • The chance to win a $5 million sweepstakes
  • An Ultimate Betting Challenge

1/ST Saturday will include nine stakes races from Gulfstream (eight graded) and six graded races from Santa Anita. These will feature many of the world’s top jockeys and trainers. The afternoon will include three Grade 1 races and seven Grade 2 events.

The $5 million contest will pay out the grand prize to anyone who selects all 15 winners. Multiple winners will share the money. Short of selecting all 15 winners, the person with the most winners on 1/ST Saturday will win a VIP trip to the 2022 Preakness Stakes.

1/ST Ultimate Betting Challenge

The 1/ST Ultimate Betting Challenge boasts a $3,500 buy-in and a $25,000 seeded prize pool.

Players can wager at Santa Anita and Gulfstream, or online at Xpressbet. Even if you don’t enter that competition, handicapping will provide insight on races within both special Pick Five sequences.

The races for the Coast-to-Coast All-Turf Stakes Pick Five

Leg 1: $125,000 Palm Beach – Gulfstream, Race 7

Leg 2: $150,000 Honey Fox (G3) – Gulfstream, Race 9

Leg 3: $200,000 Buena Vista (G2) – Santa Anita, Race 5

Leg 4: $125,000 Herecomesthebride (G3) – Gulfstream, Race 13

Leg 5: $500,000 Frank Kilroe Mile (G1) – Santa Anita, Race 10

The races for the Coast-to-Coast All-Dirt Stakes Pick Five

Leg 1$200,000 San Carlos (G2) – Santa Anita, Race 4

Leg 2: $200,000 Gulfstream Mile (G2) – Gulfstream, Race 10

Leg 3: $400,000 San Felipe (G2) – Santa Anita, Race 6

Leg 4: $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) – Gulfstream, Race 12

Leg 5: $650,000 Santa Anita Handicap (G1) – Santa Anita, Race 11

Gulfstream’s 1/ST Saturday card kicks off at 12:10 p.m. EST. Santa Anita’s first race is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST (12 p.m. local time).

A tip for financial navigation

Bettors will want to pick their spots, applying the most money to the races that provide the highest confidence level. Pick the 1/ST Saturday races that make sense for your handicapping comfort zone.

Do you like big fields that are tough to hit but may offer sizable payouts? The 12-horse Fountain of Youth, 11-horse Honey Fox and 11-horse Mac Diarmida fit that profile at Gulfstream. The 12-horse Frank Kilroe Mile, meanwhile, provides that at Santa Anita.

Do you want to hone in on one win bet and exacta combination, possibly to slam it? Consider the seven-horse Davona Dale and Canadian Turf races at Gulfstream and the seven-horse San Felipe at Santa Anita.

Aqueduct, incidentally, offers six-horse fields for the $200,000 Tom Fool and the $250,000 Busher. There are 10 horses set to go in the $300,000 Gotham.

Others in the Saturday Six-Figure Roundup:

  • Oaklawn presents the $150,000 Downthedustyroad and the $150,000 No Double Stakes.
  • Turfway Park has the $125,000 John Battaglia with a 12-horse field (price potential!). It also presents the $125,000 Cincinnati Trophy.

Many Saturday races carry six-figure purses or better. That appeals to bigger-money players who place more handicapping trust, and thus their dollars, in higher-quality performers.

Bombs Away: A salute to long shots

This is our regular feature on the telephone-number payouts, which sell the charm of the sport. This one may have been life-changing, too.

Unlike past salutes, we don’t have to find a low-level claiming race with a large field. This was a Kentucky Derby prep, the $1 million Rebel Stakes from Oaklawn.

Crank up the fireworks for this one: Un Ojo captured the race at 75-1 odds. Ethereal Road was second at 15-1, Barber Road finished third at 6-1 and Kavod came in fourth at 19-1.

The $2 exacta paid $1,416. The $1 trifecta paid $5,072. The $2 superfecta paid $141,698 ($70,849 for a dollar, $14,169 for a dime).

And … it sort of made sense.

What happened?

Newgrange, the favorite, became the darling of the Saturday afternoon betting crowd. They slammed him down to 4-5, thus inflating the odds of other horses, especially Un Ojo. Coming for home, the race set up perfectly for Newgrange. He was in ideal striking position, prepared to run past them the way he had in the Southwest Stakes one month earlier.

But this time, he didn’t, and he finished out of the money. That’s what launched an unforgettable payday.

Un Ojo, originally listed 12-1, had shot up to an incredible 75-1. Him winning and Newgrange running off board combined to form a launching pad for the big price.

Barber Road, at 6-1, made sense. Kavod, at 19-1, made sense to possibly get the early lead and hang on for a piece of it. While the payout was shocking, the order of finish wasn’t necessarily so.

How I nearly wound up on a psychiatrist’s couch

I had handicapped the race and made the following observations on Playfecta last week.

“Un Ojo secured second in the $250,000 Withers behind Early Voting at Aqueduct. He’s a strong finisher and will be considered a viable attraction for trifecta and superfecta wagering …

“Say what? Ethereal Road made up roughly 20 lengths to win his last race, albeit in cheaper company. A better break could put him in the superfecta picture, perhaps at a price.”

At a price indeed. And these bombs ran 1-2.

On race day, I had decided to key Barber Road. I was going to put him first and second in 10-cent superfectas with the 1, 2, 4, 10 and 11. That included the favorite Newgrange (2) and Dash Attack (11). The ticket cost $12.

But I was catering to another deadline and didn’t get to play.

Thank goodness, from that perspective, the race finished 4-10-9-1. It would have been a losing ticket.

Barber Road went past Ethereal Road one step after the finish line. Otherwise, this mammoth payout would have come in, and I would have missed it.

But for those who did get it, congratulations. The angle that paid was getting the right combo to finish ahead of a chalk who took a large portion of the betting pool.

And the lesson for yours truly? No matter what, get to the window.

Dave Bontempo Avatar
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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