Making money betting Elate in the Spinster Stakes

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The $500,000, Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes on Oct. 6 at Keeneland drew a small, but superb field of five fillies and mares.

While the small field could make it challenging to cash a big ticket, from a sporting perspective, you’d be hard-pressed to find a higher-quality race anywhere in the country this weekend.

Four Grade 1 winners plus a Grade 3 winner will contest the 1 1/8-mile Spinster, which offers a “Win and You’re In” qualifying berth to the Nov. 2 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita.

With so much on the line, the Spinster will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 4:30 p.m. ET — be sure to tune in and watch!

At first glance, you can make a case for every horse in the Spinster field. Dunbar Road (#1) is a rising star among 3-year-old fillies, decisively winning the Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes and Grade 1 Alabama Stakes during a productive summer campaign. In the Alabama, she easily defeated Street Band, who came back to win the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes in her next start.

Then there’s Blue Prize (#2), who prevailed in the 2018 Spinster despite ducking out sharply in the homestretch. A consistent 6-year-old daughter of Pure Prize, Blue Prize remains in sharp form this year and enters off a victory in the 1 1/8-mile Summer Colony Stakes at Saratoga.

Vexatious (#3), runner-up by a neck in the Summer Colony, has been campaigned primarily on turf, but the switch to dirt for the Summer Colony enabled her to post a career-best 103 Brisnet Speed Figure. That shouldn’t be surprising since Vexatious is a full-sister to 2016 Grade 1 Belmont Stakes runner-up Destin and 2014 Preakness Stakes third-place finisher Creative Cause — Vexatious has plenty of dirt breeding.

Even She’s a Julie (#4) has her merits. Although she lost three straight races over the summer, She’s a Julie hit the board on every occasion and easily defeated Blue Prize in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs during the spring.

But despite the presence of all these high-quality fillies and mares, I’m confident Elate (#5) will have no difficulty reaching the winner’s circle on Sunday. On her best day, this daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is simply at another level compared with her four Spinster opponents. When finishing second by a nose to Midnight Bisou in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes on Aug. 24 at Saratoga, Elate pulled 8 ¾ lengths clear of She’s a Julie. And when romping to victory in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap on July 13 at Delaware Park, Elate left Blue Prize 4 ½ lengths behind while coasting to the finish.

As I noted earlier this week when using history to handicap the Spinster Stakes, Elate perfectly matches the historical profile of a typical Spinster winner. And as well as Elate performed in the Personal Ensign, coming up a nose short against division leader Midnight Bisou, I believe Elate’s effort was even more impressive than it appears.

On the day of the Personal Ensign, the inside portion of the main track at Saratoga was decidedly “dead” — slow and tiring compared with the rest of the track. When Elate seized a clear lead coming off the far turn, she unfortunately drifted down toward the rail, and racing over the slower part of the track very likely contributed to her weakening in the final strides to be caught by Midnight Bisou.

Assuming Elate encounters a fair track on Sunday, I expect her to score a convincing victory in the Spinster. That would be good news for racing fans, because trainer Bill Mott has indicated Elate could face males in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic if she runs well in the Spinster, an exciting proposition that would add a great deal of intrigue to the Breeders’ Cup.

So let’s key Elate on top in our wagers, requiring her to win in order to cash a ticket. If you want to keep your wagers inexpensive and simple, a win bet is an obvious choice, though not a particularly rewarding one since Elate will be the favorite. If you want to shoot for a bigger score, I suggest playing a trifecta with Elate on top and Blue Prize and Dunbar Road underneath.

Wagering Strategy A

$20 to win on #5 Elate

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $20 to win on 5

Wagering Strategy B

$10 trifecta: 5 with 1,2 with 1,2 ($20)

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $10 trifecta 5 with 1,2 with 1,2

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series continues on NBC Sports with Fall Stars Weekend from Keeneland on October 5 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and October 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1


Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.


Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.


The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)


Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)


Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook