Turfway Park Picks: Daughter of Lope De Vega the Key for December 23

Turfway Park has large fields and a challenging set of 'race shapes' to decipher. Have a look ...
Turfway Park has large fields and a challenging set of "race shapes" to decipher. Have a look ...

Turfway Park, owned by Churchill Downs Inc., is back for more winter racing on its Tapeta track. Full fields and a tough handicapping nut to crack are in order for each race they card! Have a go ...

At Horseracing.net/us we have you covered, including all of the action! It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned! 

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Thursday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Most Likely Winner: (Race 2: Junior Bug #3, 3/1):

I have been espousing the abilities of former jockey-turned-trainer Brittany Vanden Berg for some time. At Arlington, she always had well-backed runners at the window, and she earned the respect of her fellow conditioners. Those folks are not a cadre that is easily impressed. I like the record, and form of this gelding by Tapiture. He can add to his 2 wins in 13 career starts by relying on speed and stamina late in the game. He already has a win over the track, and a nice speed gig to boot. Since 2020, this one has shipped from Delaware to Laurel to the Fair Grounds to Canterbury to Arlington to Hawthrone, and then he landed at Turfway. I feel like Howard Dean … I think a win is coming as Chris Landeros, a superb rider, gets the call.

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #3


Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 5: Betterlookout #10, 15/1):

The day’s value play is this 2-yr-old filly that is destined to be a 3-yr-old filly very soon. This is her 1st time out, and for that reason many will shy away. I am after a different angle though. She has 3 points in her favor … John Ortiz … Rey Gutierrez … Distorted Humor. The trainer-jockey team has worked well in the past, and with Oaklawn/Fair Grounds dark, it gives Gutierrez a place to hone his trade. He is aggressive, and Ortiz, when he is not wowing the crowds in Hot Springs, is an accomplished conditioner elsewhere. I like Distorted Humor as a sire, and this one has some good blood running through her veins. The price will be more than adequate, especially considering this field. I think there could be some major upside. Let’s roll …

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager WPS #10 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 7: AW, 1 Mile, ALLW63k, F&M 3+):

The Kentucky-based trainers are out in force for this ALLW Co. contest (only 3-yr-old fillies are drawn). It looks like a good bunch, and includes Kenny McPeek, Brad Cox, and Dale Romans. Plus, we also have Ben Colebrook, Mark Casse (HOF-er), and Paulo Lobo ready to play. With a 12-horse field, this is a Turfway constant … betting options aplenty. Let’s break it down … My sense is that Brad Cox has the inside track with a pair of very different runners. Dreamful #5 is brand new to his stable (joined in Oct.), but Cox is strong when it comes to finding the right spot, 1st out. He must see this as a race to put her in because she has “turf” lines through Kitten’s Joy (AW is similar), and her class rating looks promising. She came to the US for Michael Dubb from running on the AW in Ireland, so that could be a plus. The able-bodied Gerardo Corrales is up (leading jock). As for the other half of the uncoupled entry, Color of Dawn #11, this filly by Exaggerator was just out of her league last time at Churchill Downs. She is way more talented than the result—7th, 16-lengths back. Dropping in class, and switching surfaces to Turfway’s rubberized road, could do the trick with Rey Gutierrez in the irons. As for those that will oppose this Cox pair, I would not count out McPeek’s Surrelist #4, who although did not paint much of a picture back at Churchill, was certainly competitive in MSW Co. dating back to Sept-Oct (i.e KEE/CD/KD). Ferrin Peterson has not had a very good start, but this one might be a game-changer. As for Romans’ entry, Temper Time #6 looks formidable, especially after she won impressively in Louisville by a whopping 13-lengths going a 1 Mile on the MT. If she can switch to this ground, and run like that with Joe Talmo back aboard, then she wins easily. The class hike will not be easy, and she is facing a tougher field here. One other router that looks inviting is from the Dickinson Barn … how about the lightly-raced Belle Belisa #1? Out of super turf sire Lope De Vega, I like her trainer’s numbers in a spot like this one. She is 3rd off-the-bench, and she was up against some tough AQU turfers in Evie Jets and Sport Model last time. Her show placement in that race was promising. In the end, she is going to be my “key” horse, with Joe Rocco in the saddle, and then I am going to roll the rest that I already mentioned (including Colebrook’s Ice Queen #7, Casse’s Alydiva #9, and Lobo’s Poca Mucha #10) underneath for a tasty Superfecta. That should get the job done, and cash us a great ticket!

Wagering Recommendation: .10 Superfecta Wheel, 1 w 4/5/6/7/9/10/11 w 4/5/6/7/9/10/11 w 4/5/6/7/9/10/11


Enjoy the hospitality that Northern KY has to offer! Best of luck at Turfway Park!

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