Burgart Blog: Bank of America Pocatello Championship Challenge
Get handicapping tips to succeed while betting the Bank of America Pocatello Championship Challenge.

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Burgart Blog: Bank of America Pocatello Championship Challenge

By Ed Burgart

Q-RACING—JULY 9, 2021—Although I don't have access to the most recent videotape replay for the seven runners entered in Friday's $46,900 Bank of America Pocatello Championship Challenge at Pocatello Downs, I can clearly see that Dr Tool is a standout, based on overall class and recent solid performances versus much stronger fields.

The winner of this regional stakes earns a berth to the Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) final to be conducted at The Downs at Albuquerque on October 23.

Dr Tool starts from Post 6 in the 440-yard Bank of America Pocatello Championship Challenge and easily leads the field in career earnings at $122,945. I will now analyze each of the entrants while looking at class and company lines as two key handicapping ingredients. I have also included the track's morning-line odds.

  1. Thrill Of The Cartel (3-1) is certain to attract attention based on a 1 1/2-length allowance win at Pocatello Downs two weeks ago. But he only competed against three entrants in his last win over a runner-up who had previously finished fifth for a $7,500 claiming price at SunRay Park. In addition, Thrill Of The Cartel's four lifetime wins have been at 350 yards or less.

  2. JT Easy Bug (7-2) is a gelding whom I think has the best chance to upset Dr Tool. He has won 13 of his 32 lifetime starts and most recently defeated Maximo II by a neck in a 350-yard Jerome Fair allowance victory. Maximo II was a 2020 allowance winner at Los Alamitos. Also, JT Easy Bug won a 440-yard Bank of America Challenge trial at Pocatello Downs last year.

  3. Fantastic Minion (8-1) has won 33 percent of his 21 starts and most recently finished third against Staubauch in a Wyoming Downs allowance race June 20. Staubauch showed his talent last year when capturing the John Ward Overnight Handicap at Los Alamitos. But Fantastic Minion appears best suited at shorter distances based on his three victories at 300 yards or less over the past 18 months.

  4. FDD Swingin Dynasty (9-2) is another whose best races have been at shorter distances. But she was a respectable fourth in her last Laurel Brown stakes outing six weeks ago versus a good field that included runnerup Staubauch, who since beat allowance foes at Wyoming Downs.

  5. Awesomer (12-1) is the field's least likely contender. The 8-year-old gelding is winless over the past two years and has only earned $7,511 in 18 lifetime starts.

  6. Dr Tool (4-1) is a 4-year-old gelding whom I can see winning without a photo finish. He was third behind the talented Mental Effort in the Kaweah Bar Handicap at Los Alamitos two races back.

    Last year, Mental Effort ran second in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby. Three outs back, Dr Tool was second versus Redneck Ryan, who recently finished third in the Vessels Maturity (G1). And last year, Dr Tool was second in the Adequan® Derby Challenge Championship (G3) finals at Albuquerque.

  7. Sables Dashin (5-2) is the other major threat for Dr Tool, but has been facing much easier company over his past four starts. Most recently, six weeks ago, he was fourth at 400 yards against distance specialist Mahoney N Tackleberry, who recently won an 870-yard stakes at Wyoming Downs.

But Sables Dashin's sharp runner-up effort versus Zoom On Jess in last year's Bitterroot Derby at Pocatello Downs is hard to ignore. Zoom On Jess went on to capture the Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap at Los Alamitos.

Thus, my top three selections are No. 6 Dr Tool, No. 2 JT Easy Bug and No. 7 Sables Dashin.

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