Race 10 at Arlington Park on Saturday, August 10 | Post Time 6:28 PM Eastern Time

Secretariat Stakes | Purse $500,000 | One Mile on Turf | Three Year Olds

 

Fog of War (6) opens as the lukewarm favorite and I really hope it stays that way because, except for Never No More (3), one of two imports from the Aiden O'Brien barn, the 3 to 1 starting odds on For of War could prove to be a gift and a fine overlay from what should be his odds (around 9 to 5) given his strong probability to win. Fog of War ran twice as a two year old in 2018, winning both races including the Grade 1 Summer Stakes at this mile trip in September. Instead of going for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, his connections gave him the winter off. He returned in a non-graded stakes at seven furlongs on grass in May and even though an awkward start may have hurt his chances a little bit, he disappointed badly when checking in fifth. However, with the addition of blinkers for the Manila Stakes on July 4, although not winning, Fog of War ran back to his two year old races. In the Manila, Fog of War stalked in third then made a quick move to grab the lead and led until the final yards. The ONLY horse to have come back from that race to date was Casa Creed, who beat Fog of War by a head for second in the Manila and who just won the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga. Making his third start off the layoff, second in blinkers, and likely to move up a ton based on how well Casa Creed improved, Fog of War looks pretty likely to get the second grade 1 stakes win of his career.

Never No More (3) is likely to run well and whether that's good enough to beat Fog of War is to be decided on the track. He's run five times winning twice, and at first glance the last win, which came in a minor stakes in Ireland, really doesn't indicate he can run at this level. Still, O'Brien (who also saddles Van Beethoven (2) ) isn't known as the "Wizard of Ballydoyle" for the heck of it, as he's especially strong placing his horses and knowing when they can step up in company. Although O'Brien's North American record isn't great at 7 for 69 in the last five years in graded stakes, he won this race in 2015 and saddled the runner-up in 2016 and in 2017. With Ryan Moore coming in to ride and with the colt getting Lasix, we could see a career-best effort good enough to post the mild upset, opening at 6 to 1.

Ry's the Guy (5) and Valid Point (7) deserve honorable mention at the least and both will be used on exacta and trifecta tickets as well as any consecutive race bets we make like the double and pick 3. Ry's The Guy tried turf for the first time in his most recent race and took to the surface like a duck takes to water, improving to a 106 Equibase Figure, which is on par with the 105 figure Fog of War earned in the Manila and superior to the best last race figures of all the others, except Van Beethoven, who earned a 110 while eighth in the Group 1 St. James Place so that figure owes more to the class of that race than the horse's performance. Ry's the Guy is two for two in routes since adding blinkers and we might not know how good he is so opening at 15/1 he deserves a look. Valid Point is from the Brown barn the same as Fog of War and that in and of itself is notable. He's a perfect two for two and improved to a strong 103 figure in his second start. He's taking the same big jump from first level allowance to stakes as Ry's the Guy and only because Brown trains is his 5/1 on the morning line instead of 15/1 as Ry's the Guy is.

 

Betting Strategies:

Win Bets:

Fog of War (6) to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more, a true low odds overlay win bet.

Smaller win bets are warranted on Never No More (3) at odds of 5 to 2 or more and perhaps just a bit smaller still but still worth the risk are win bets on Ry's the Guy (5) at odds of 9 to 2 or higher and/or Valid Point (7) at 9 to 2 or more.

Exactas:

Box Fog of War (6) and Never No More (3), Box Fog of War (6) and Ry's the Guy (5), Box Fog of War (6) and Valid Point (7).

Box Fog of War (6), Never No More (3), Ry's the Guy (5) and Valid Point (7).

Trifecta: Box Fog of War (6), Never No More (3), Ry's the Guy (5) and Valid Point (7).