Another top weekend greets horse-racing bettors, as the industry continues roaring back to life without spectators.

Stakes races, large fields, and the full-throttle presence of signature tracks greet New Jersey sports betting fans. Garden State patrons can access the horse betting action via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.

Here is a sample of the wagering menu (all times Eastern):

  • Santa Anita runs Friday-Sunday and has a major stakes race Saturday and Sunday. The first post is 3:30 p.m.
  • Gulfstream Park has a large card, big fields and its popular 20-cent Rainbow Six Promotion, which began the week with a $1.35 million carryover. The first post is 1 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, 12:45 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Churchill Downs, running at 1 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, has a loaded Saturday card that includes the $100,000 Old Forrester Mint Julep and Winning Colors stakes races.
  • Golden Gate Fields starts at 3:45 p.m. Friday-Sunday. It features the Camilla Urso Stakes on Saturday and California Oaks on Sunday.
  • Charles Town operates Thursday-Saturday at 7 p.m.

Not sure where to plan your horse betting for the weekend? We found a few good races to keep an eye on at a couple of tracks.

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Santa Anita: Watch out for the top horse

Santa Anita has been clearing $1 million handle (from multiple betting jurisdictions) on single races. It has offered large fields, strong payouts, and good quality racing.

This weekend, it adds some high-level purse money.

The California track showcases the $100,000 Honeymoon Stakes on Saturday and the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes on Sunday.

Santa Anita has enjoyed a blazing start for its meet, which operates until June 21.

Who is hot individually? Keep your eyes on Flavien Prat. The jockey tied a track record of six wins in one day on May 17 and notched more over the weekend.

Prat has reached the point where he’s usually placed on a contending horse, so he merits extra betting consideration.

Santa Anita is usually speed-favoring, meaning horses in good early position often finish in the top three slots.

There was Undeniable Proof of that last weekend. In a 5 1-2-furlong Sunday race, Undeniable Proof, at 70-1, gained an early jump on the field. The horse hung on for second and teamed with winning Canby for a $2 exacta of $582. Canby was 3-1.

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Weekend horse betting options at Churchill Downs

Exceeding half a million dollars handle on most races and seven figures on some, the famed Kentucky track Churchill Downs makes the most of its entire program.

Additional spice unfolds with a pair of notable stakes events.

Graded stakes winners Break Even, Bell’s the One, Mia Mischief and Spiced Perfection top an extremely-competitive nine-horse affair in Saturday’s 17th running of the Grade III, $100,000 Winning Colors.

The six-furlong Winning Colors is the co-featured event on Saturday’s card along with the $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep (GIII) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

The Winning Colors will go as Race 7 while the Mint Julep is carded as Race 11.

Multiple graded stakes winner Beau Recall (IRE) is set for her 2020 campaign along with Grade III-winning stablemate Juliet Foxtrot (GB) as they face 12 rivals, including six other graded stakes winners for the Mint Julep race.

Beau Recall had a stellar five-year-old campaign with victories in the $400,000 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (GII) and $200,000 Yellow Ribbon (GII).

Juddmonte Farms’ Juliet Foxtrot reached graded stakes glory in the $150,000 Modesty (GIII) prior to a heartbreaking runner-up effort in the $200,000 John C. Mabee (GII).

Juliet Foxtrot concluded her 2019 campaign with a second-place finish in the $400,000 First Lady (GI)Florent Geroux has the call on Juliet Foxtrot.

Gulfstream Park is chock full of horse betting surprises

Gulfstream Park continues rewarding bettors with exceptional weekend payouts. Large, competitive fields, top jockeys, and turf racing have made Gulfstream a payout playground.

Granted, these races are tough to hit. But the 10th race Saturday produced another significant return, even with favorites running well.

My Ty One On, the 3-1 second favorite, won the race. Pay Any Price, the 3-2 favorite was third. Splitting them was 40-1 longshot Kristo Skye in second.

The $1 trifecta paid $517.90 with the two favorites in the top three slots. The key was the longshot running second. If the two favorites ran 1-2 and the 40-1 shot was third, this would have returned a much smaller price.

Bettors who feel certain that two of the hot favorites will finish in the top three sometimes nail these tickets by “stabbing” at a longshot to finish in the mix with the two favorites. Each $1 trifecta box with three horses costs $6.

Longshots finishing in the money, even winning at this Florida track, is a tradition.

Don’t forget the Rainbow Pick 6

Another is the 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6, which requires selecting winners in the final six races of the day. Extremely difficult to hit, but not expensive to play.

After Monday’s race, the Pick 6 carryover was $1.35 million. This is an interesting promotion because it’s both attainable — Memorial Day bettors picking six straight races each got $26,210.08 pm — and lucrative.

Unless a single unique ticket has all six winners, 30% of the pool is carried over into the following day.

There are occasional mandatory payouts of the entire pot, including the final weekend of the season.

The finish line? Not yet for Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs marks the end of one extension Saturday, and the beginning of another on Monday.

The track will run in June on Mondays and Wednesdays, a special new schedule.

The update follows the first extension, granting Tampa Bay the option to run from May 3-30.

Industry officials and gamblers are grateful to the facility, which provided a much-needed lift in May by extending its season.

The 12 additional cards gave bettors options beyond Gulfstream Park, Remington Park in Oklahoma, and Los Alamitos in California. That helped keep the wagering flames lit until mid-May, when Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, and Golden Gate Fields returned, en masse.

Kathleen O’Connell, the two-time leading trainer at Tampa, considered the extension a lifeline. It allowed trainers and jockeys, denied their expected moves to tracks like Monmouth Park, Presque Isle, Keeneland, and Indiana Grand because of COVID-19 postponements, another month to earn money in Florida.

Now it is two months.

Sneak peek: Monmouth Park plans for July 4 opening

Just around the corner, Belmont Park is scheduled to resume racing June 3.

Delaware Park has slated to come back on June 17. Monmouth Park hopes to open July 4 weekend

And Saratoga has a July 16 opening planned.

Dave Bontempo

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.