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2016 haskell invitational stakes preview entries and odds


´╗┐Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey will be the scene of the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes on Sunday, July 21. Some of the best three year olds in the land will take to Monmouth's dirt track and race 1 1/8 miles searching for the winner's share of the $1 million purse.

A strong field of six will take to the track in the Haskell Invitational - a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win & You're In" race to the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic. It is race 12 on Monmouth Park's stacked Sunday card with a post time pf 5:47 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all six entries or this intriguing and lucrative Grade 1 stakes - including the top 3 finishers from the Kentucky Derby.

2016 Haskell Invitational Stakes Race Preview at Monmouth Park

Nyquist 6-5 - The runaway winner of the Eclipse Award for 2-year-old-male looked unstoppable for trainer Doug O'Neill - his realistic Triple Crown aspirations were derailed last time out with a third behind Exaggerator in the Preakness Stakes May 21 - he sat out the Belmont Stakes. In 2015 Nyquist won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the FrontRunner at Santa Anita and the Del Mar Futurity to go along with the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes. Nyquist had three starts in 2016 before his third last time out and they produced three more very impressive wins - the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/4 lengths, by 1 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita February 15 and the Grade 1 Florida Derby April 2. He has now won eight starts nine handily and is the one to catch again Sunday with Mario Gutierrez aboard the obvious morning line favorite from the rail.

Exaggerator 5-2 - Keith Desormeaux trained colt has five wins, three runner-ups and a third place finish in 12 career starts. He arrives off a disappointing career-worst effort - an eleventh as favorite in the Belmont Stakes June 11 which followed a terrific win - by 3 1/4 lengths in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes May 21. Before that was a good second behind Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby, a nice win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby April 9, an OK third in the competitive Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes March 12 and a runner-up finish behind Nyquist in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes February 15. He's also posted a good win with a 103 Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 3 $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot November 21, a fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, a respectable second in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in October and a nice win in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in August. Exaggerator had been uber-competitive before last time out and will be out to avenge an ugly outing with Kent Desormeaux in the irons from the outside gate 6 as the morning line second choice.

Bet Monmouth Park Horse Racing with OffTrackBetting.com

American Freedom 3-1 - has won three of four career starts for trainer Bob Baffert. He made a splash last time out with a win in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadow July 1 which followed another win in the minor LARC Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico May 21, an uncharacteristic sixth in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs May 7 and win his debut at Santa Anita in April. American Freedom, outside of one bad outing has been terrific in his young career so far. He tries to make a huge name for himself Sunday with Rafael Bejarano aboard the morning line third choice from post 5.

Gun Runner 4-1 - Steve Asmussen trained colt was tops in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Standings. He had five career starts prior to the Run for the Roses with four wins - two straight ahead of the Derby - in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby March 26 and the Risen Star Stakes February 2- both results at Fair Grounds. He finished a respectable third in the Derby but bounced back last time out and won the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs June 16. His only other blemish was a fourth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November. Gun Runner now has five wins and a third place finish in six career starts and looks like one of the best three year olds in the land again. Florent Geroux will be in the saddle Sunday from gate 4 as an intriguing fourth choice.

Awesome Slew 15-1 - Edward Plesa trained colt has four career starts with two nice wins and a third place finish. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park June 19 which followed one of his wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming on that track May 21. Before that was an OK fourth in his only other stakes action - the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga last July and a maiden score at first asking on June, 2015. Awesome Slew will be after his first stakes win from post 3. Paco Lopez rides.

Sunny Ridge 20-1 - Jason Servis trained gelding finished seventh in the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga last July - in his second career start. He was last seen running a slightly disappointing fourth in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in March after an impressive win in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes on that track January 30, a second behind Exaggerator in the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot November 21, another second in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in August and a win in the minor $100,000 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park September 6. Sunny Ridge has looked good in his first five starts and will be out to avenge a poor outing when he leaves from gate w with Nik Juarez guiding him.

Arsenal v watford road to victory may not be one way traffic for gunners


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Arsenal v Watford

Tuesday 31 January, 19:45


Arsenal

The Gunners are the new chief rivals to Chelsea, having moved into second place in the Premier League table, and they stretched their winning run to four in all competitions with Saturday's 5-0 thrashing of Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round.

The most exciting aspect of the cup win was the scoring form of Danny Welbeck (two goals) and Theo Walcott (hat-trick) on their returns to the starting line-up after injury. Walcott has a good record at the Emirates this season, having scored in five of his eight league appearances, and the injection of pace in attack is a major positive for Arsenal.


Watford

The Hornets' slump continued on Sunday when they were dumped out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 defeat at Millwall of League One and their only win in their last nine matches was in the previous round at home to Championship side Burton Albion.

Walter Mazzarri's side are still eight points clear of the relegation zone in 14th place but they need to improve their form soon and this is not an easy place to start.


Match Odds

Arsenal are heavy favourites and the first thing to assess is their effectiveness against this type of opposition. The answer is that it is extremely good, as their overall record against bottom-half teams is W10 D3 L0 and at home it is W5 D1 L0 (their only failure in that category was a goalless draw against Middlesbrough in October).

Correspondingly, Watford have struggled against the better sides in the Premier League with eight defeats in 11 against current top-half teams. The other three results were all wins but one was against a struggling side (West Ham early in the season) and arguably the 3-2 home victory over Everton (their last league win on December 10) fell into that category too.


Half Time/Full Time

Having established from the figures on both sides that Arsenal are highly likely to win, the manner of victory is the next step towards finding a bet with some juice.

One popular option will be Arsenal win/win on the Half Time/Full Time, but it should be noted that only three of their eight home wins have come in that fashion this season (and two of those three victories were against teams currently in the bottom four).

The stats are the same for the Arsenal win to nil (three out of eight at home this season).

Even beating the Asian handicap line of -1.5 - which is odds-on at [1.68] - is not guaranteed. Four of Arsenal's eight home wins have been by two or more goals but four were by a single goal.


Over/Under 2.5 Goals

This is another market where Arsenal's form superiority has a strong bearing and over 2.5 goals is very short at [1.55]. Seven of Arsenal's 11 home games have had over 2.5 goals (the away side failed to score in three of the exceptions) and so have nine of their 13 games overall against bottom-half teams.

Watford are towards the lower end of the scoring charts overall (seven out of 11 under 2.5 goals on the road) but it is notable that five of their six games against big-six sides have gone over 2.5 goals.


Match Result and Both Teams To Score

At decent odds of 2/1 with Betfair Sportsbook for Arsenal to win and both teams to score, this looks worth a punt. Watford have scored in five of their six games against big-six sides, while Arsenal have conceded in eight of their 13 games against bottom-half teams.

Arsenal have conceded in 10 of their 14 wins this season, including the 3-1 away victory at Watford, and there is a reasonable chance of this match going the same way.


Ref Watch

Andre Marriner tends towards the higher end of the card count and this season nine of his 16 Premier League games have had 40+ bookings points - the ratio has been made more even by four of his last five games having had 20pts or fewer.


Recommended Bet

Back Arsenal win and both teams to score at 2/1 with Betfair Sportsbook


Opta Stat

Arsenal have won their last seven league matches against Watford, netting 19 goals in the process (2.7 per game). Arsenal win and over 2.5 goals is [1.6].

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