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Betting with Ellis Starr - Penn Mile Day

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Key Bets & Races for Saturday, June 3


Penn Oaks Stakes - Race #6 at Penn National – Post Time 6:10 PM ET

Viva Vegas can post the upset, opening at 15/1, as going from a maiden winner to stakes winner as she's trying to do is something Diadura did last year, with Noble Ready going from maiden winner to stakes placed last summer. Viva Vegas came back from four and one-half months off on March 15 and won as she pleased by 6 in her first turf race and first two turn race, with an 88 Equibase figure higher than the maiden figure of most of these including recent stakes winners Party Boat and Adorable Miss. With Paco Lopez riding and likely to run even better than last out in her second start of the year, I'll key on Viva Vegas for profit here. Party Boat and Adorable Miss both should run well as both are coming off stakes wins on turf with 97 and 93 figures, respectively. Noble Ready finished second to Adorable Miss in her most recent start and should be considered for exactas, as should Spanish Harlem, who ran big in her only try on turf in her debut last December and who dominated in her most recent race, but in a three horse field. 

Bet Viva Vegas to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more. Add a place bet at 6 to 1 or more. 

Play an exacta consisting of Viva Vegas and Party Boat over Viva Vegas, Party Boat, Spanish Harlem, Adorable Miss and Noble Ready. 

Play an exacta of Viva Vegas, Party Boat, Spanish Harlem, Adorable Miss and Noble Ready over Viva Vegas and Party Boat.

All-Stakes Pick 4

Race 6 – Party Boat, Adorable Miss, Viva Vegas

Race 7 – Richard's Boy, Take Cover, Rainbow Heir

Race 8 – Virtual Machine, Discreet Lover, Matt King Coal, Page McKenney

Race 9 – Time to Travel, Big Score, Frostmourne

Cost at $0.50 is $54

Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Stakes - Race #87 at Penn National – Post Time 6:40 PM ET

Take Cover finished fourth to Richard's Boy in the Turf Sprint on May 19 but ran better than it looked as he broke 9thof 14 and although six paths wide into the stretch was beaten just a nose for 3rd and a length and one-half for the win. He won this race last year at 9 to 2 odds yet opens at 8 to 1 here and all three of his career wins have come in turf sprints like this one. Richard's Boy has won 4 of 5 races at this short 5 furlong turf trip in his career including the race last month and should be right there at the wire again. Rainbow Heir has won two of his last three stakes tries at this distance and with Castellano taking over for the injured McCarthy is the other contender to win or to be part of the exacta. 

Bet Take Cover to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more and add a place bet if 6 to 1 or higher.

Play an exacta box consisting of Take Cover, Richard's Boy and Rainbow Heir

Mountainview Stakes - Race #8 at Penn National – Post Time 7:10 PM ET

Virtual Machine returned from eight months off in February, as a new four year old, and in a new trainer's care, proceeding to win his next two races with the greatest of ease with 102 Equibase figures in each. Next out in the Westchester Stakes, although no match for Connect, he was clearly second by almost nine lengths over the next horse with a 107 figure. Having run big to miss by a head the only time he ran at this 9 furlong trip previously and likely to improve as he stretches back out to two turns, Virtual Machine gets top billing among four win contenders. Matt King Coal led late and came up a neck short in the Charles Town Classic when last seen and won a stakes at this distance before that so fits on all counts, while veteran Page McKenney enters the race off a win at 7 furlongs that sets him up potentially to win for the 19th time in his career. Discreet Lover ran poorly in the Pimlico Special last month but before that ran a career best effort with a 112 Equibase figure that would make him competitive if repeated. He accomplished that win leading from start to finish and could potentially get the early lead here and relax so must be considered a contender. Madefromlucky is NOT a contender as far as I'm concerned as he hasn't won since August, 205 and hasn't threatened to win in any race this year. Pletcher is "trying" blinkers as a last resort in my opinion as he really doesn't know what to do with this horse at this stage of his career.

Bet Virtual Machine towin at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

Play an exacta of Virtual Machine over Discreet Lover, Matt King Coal and Page McKenney

Play the opposite of that exacta as well, which is Discreet Lover, Matt King Coal and Page McKenney over Virtual Machine

Penn Mile Stakes - Race #9 at Penn National – Post Time 7:45 PM ET

Time to Travel earned a stakes quality 102 Equibase Figure in only the second start of his career when winning by nearly five lengths on April 1 in a sprint. Two weeks later he stretched to two turns in the Lexington Stakes, making the lead with about a quarter mile to go but tiring a bit to fourth at the end. In his most recent race, the Sir Barton Stakes, Time to Travel once again stalked the pacesetter to take the lead, this time with an eighth of a mile to go, but was outfinished and ended up second. Being a full brother to multiple graded stakes winner (on turf) Hard Not to Like, I am expecting Time to Travel to take to turf like a duck takes to water and to run the best race of his career to post the upset in the Penn Mile. Frostmourne has four races under his belt to date, all on turf, with two wins and a runner-up finish. The runner-up effort came in his most recent race and was his best yet, earning a 102 Figure in the Woodhaven Stakes to Secretary of War, who is running in the Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont today. Considering Frostmourne was making his three year old debut and first start following six months off in that race we can expect significant improvement in the Penn Mile, making this colt a strong contender. Big Score is another horse that has proven a liking for the turf, with three wins in six starts including the Zuma Beach Stakes in October and the Transylvania Stakes in April. His Transylvania victory followed five months off and resulted in a career best 107figure, followed by a new career best 108 figure when third in the American Turf Stakes last month when beaten a head for second. Likely to run as well or better in the Penn Mile in his third start of his 2017 campaign, Big Score rounds out a strong trio of win contenders.

Bet Time to Travel to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more

Play an exacta box consisting of Time to Travel, Big Score and Frostmourne 

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