5-10. We remain the top public handicapper covering the Spa this summer. Our hit rate with winners on top is 50%. A $2 win bet on each of our top selections would have cost $188.00 and would have returned $299.50 -- an ROI of about 60%.
And Saturday was a superb day. Having the high hit-rate with winners is thrilling because it's a very visible yard-stick that demonstrates our handicapping skills -- but we like the gimmicks, and Saturday offered the best of both worlds. More winners on top than any other public handicapper -- but a gorgeous mix of gimmick plays throughout the card.
Winners in the 1st (4.40), 5th (9.10), 6th (2.60), 9th (3.60), and 10th (11.00). In that "gimmick dept", we had four cold exactas (1st, $13.40/$2; 5th, $50.00; 6th, $9.70; 9th, $8.10). In the third our top two flip-flopped for the $14.00 exacta, and our third pick completed the $27.80 tri. In the 4th our third pick won, top pick followed and second choice ran third (quin, $19.80; exacta, $40.60; tri, $251.50). In the 8th -- if you saw our fourth choice, Great Notion, going off as the 21-1 rank outsider -- you could have grabbed a nice exacta ($127.00) and tri ($719.00) boxing the picks as it was our second pick, over fourth choice, over third pick. In the nightcap it was a similar scenario -- although our top choice won, but boxing our top four picks would have sent you home happy. Our top pick won, fourth choice completed the exacta ($84.00), second choice next for the tri ($345.00), and third choice completed the super ($1331.00).
Also, the picks could have helped Best Bets readers in the Pick Six ($2375.00) as it was comprised of four top choices and two second choices. And with eight races being won by one of our top two and the other two races being won by our third choice, the picks also could have guided readers to any number of DDs, P3s and the P4.
It was a very good day.
On-track, a bang-up crowd of 38,671 attended and enjoyed a sunny day -- as the predicted afternoon t-storms thankfully never arrived. Jerry Bailey won five on the card, including both stakes. Zavata looked very impressive in the Amsterdam and M d'Oro made a nice comeback off the layoff by taking the Whitney by a length over Volponi. The crowd gave M d'Oro and Jerry Bailey a rousing round of applause on their return to the winner's circle. Spotted in the paddock prior to the Whitney, NYRA exec Barry Schwartz chatting with Guardian Angel Curtis Sliwa (in his red beret and satin Angel jacket).
Off-track, next-door watering hole Siro's had a jam-packed crowd. Spotted among the revelers, NHL great Bobby Hull and Adam Oates. Downtown later in the evening it was a party atmosphere into the wee hours of the morning. Things got even more exciting when a poor, tipsy soul proceeded to drive his pickup the wrong way up Caroline St, where four police cars were already parked. He was lead away in handcuffs.
A Native Dancer T-shirt is the giveaway today. Free with each paid admission while supplies last.
And of course the highlight is the return of Empire Maker in the Jim Dandy.And on the simulcast monitors Funny Cide will return in the Haskell at Monmouth. Good runs by both will set things up for a wild rematch later this month in the Travers.
On turf today as of this writing. However, showers are still possible during the day.
Storm Prospect...Cruised when last spotted at this level.
Unbridled Cyclone..Improving sort broke his maiden nicely last time.
Cry Of The Cat...Delaware shipper drops looking for a spot.
Seeking The Glory...Debut here on opening day and just missed on sloppy track at 3-5. Adds blinkers. Bailey stays. Graduation day.
One Last Chance...Also had a pretty good looking debut. Ran second despite troubles.
Trading Hours...Has thrown in some nice works.
My Salute To You.
Contessa entry...Prefer Sophisticated Man and this is a little bit of a stretch -- but it's also a wacky race where it's easier to come up with reasons against most of these as opposed to reasons for... We'll go with this guy after looking back to some nice runs last fall -- followed by a couple of kind of dull tries. Sat of a couple months and then shot a 101 Beyer at Aqueduct. We'll hope for a similar pattern today.
Infiltrator...Would rank as top pick except for fact that he has shown no inclination for the track in three tries. Maybe the drop will help though.
Rogue Agent...Certainly has the best looking last-race -- but also has failed to perform on this surface in the past.
Little Me Too.
Strike Up...Might find a little value here off the dull debut last year. But expect an improved performer from trainer Bond.
For The Fdny Heroes...Dropped in against state-breds last time and gave best performance yet.
Minaville...Top jock should eek a good try from this one.
Highgate Park...Pletcher/Velasquez combo has been going well this meet. Trainer shoots a solid 26% second start.
Storm Minstrel...Her speed might hold better on this track.
Scrambling...Lukas/Lewis filly should go well in debut.
Lady Libby...Has improved noticeably last three -- but question is, has she really improved, or did she appreciate Belmont surface. We'll hope for the former.
Lady Commando...Has looked competitive in recent starts and Mig should give her a good go.
Tony's Girl...Steadily improving in three starts and she wouldn't have to step forward much to take on this bunch.
Devotion Unbridled...Think she'll like the cutback in distance. Mott/Bailey combo has been good when able to reunite this meet.
Stellar...Showed a lot of promise here last year. Might rank higher but jock is a drawback.
Fatat Alarab...Could be a good one from Maktoum.
Vespers...With plenty of speed in this race we're taking a shot that McGaughey mare can get it rolling in the lane.
Miss Terrible...Went 9-8-1-0 in Argentina. Fourth last time in US debut -- but that was against some very tough SoCal stakes runners.
Young Star...Mott runner seems improved this season.
Empire Maker...It's hard to go against the Bailey/Frankel juggernaut.
Tafaseel...Faces a stern test in third US start -- but could be good enough, looking at those two wins.
Strong Hope...Pletcher 3YO brings a four-race streak in, including the G2 Dwyer.
Jet Alert...Pletcher state-bred is lightly raced. Has gone well in three starts and still has room to improve.
Geometry...Makes third start of '03. Gets Bailey. Trainer solid in all pertinent stats.
Crouching Tiger...Was on the improve prior to claim. If able to recapture that form he'll be tough.
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