Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets


Saratoga Race Course
Monday, August 18, 2003
Meet Total ... 86-215

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4-10. Another fairly "chalky" day with seven of the ten winners going off as the favorite.

For us, winners on top in the 2nd (4.10), 3rd (3.70), 5th (3.80), and 6th (3.00). We had the cold exacta in the 2nd ($9.20/$2, $5.70 quinella). Our fourth pick completed the $37.60 tri in that race. Our top two flip-flopped in the 8th for the $18.80 exacta. And with our top pick winning four, our second choice winning another three and our third picks picking up two more, there was any number of double and picks that might have been had if the choices were played with a little bit.

On-track -- wowee, wow, wow, a record crowd of 71,337 attended the races Sunday. Well, OK, the turnstile turned 71,337 times -- but often it was the same person going through in order to get another coupon for the free wall clock giveaway. NYRA typically has 60,000 giveaway items on hand and the wall clock coupons ran out shortly before the fifth race went off. It was a good crowd -- but not 71K+.

Weather-wise it was a pretty nice day. Sunny early. Overcast later on. The humidity was far less than it had been over the past week. There was a brief sprinkle prior to the sixth race but otherwise it was very comfortable.

Jockey John Velasquez added three more winners yesterday after scoring five times on Saturday. And keep an eye on trainer James Bond who might be warming up as the meet enters the homestretch -- he got off to a slow start with limited entrants but he's won three times over the past three days.

The afternoon Sunday ended with a scary spill in the nightcap as promising apprentice Pablo Fragoso looked poised to score an upset on 57-1 Bon Lil. The filly was on the front end for most of the trip and looked to have some gas left in the tank down the stretch when she ducked in severely with about a furlong to go, crashing into the inner rail and sending jock Fragoso sprawling onto the rail and then the turf. The horse actually never went down and galloped out past the wire with the rest of the field. Fragoso got to his feet and seemed OK -- but certainly from the look of the replay he will at least be suffering from some soreness in the morning. Let's hope it's not more serious because the kid is putting together a very nice Saratoga meet for a bugboy.

The Siro's post-race crowd was a little light. We asked the roving backyard waitress how business had been so far this summer with the freaky weather and she confirmed things had been slower than usual. No surprise. Many times during the past ten days or so, just as the track let out dark clouds would roll in -- making a decision to head to Siro's backyard somewhat tougher.


We were finally able to find a Daily Racing Form -- although most of the usual shops and newsstands were claiming none were delivered Sunday.

One of the few non-stakes cards of the meet. But it looks like NYRA will try to make up for lost time -- four grass races are scheduled, and we can only hope that a sign of things to come. The grass races always draw good fields and provide solid betting opportunities. And, according to the TV prognosticators, no rain is in the forecast at least until Friday.

Little Buttercup...Part of Pletcher entry (we've got the other half further down) must make it in from the AE list. On turf this gal looks superior to this bunch.
Oatka Idas Destiny...Two turf starts last year were promising. Also looked primed after decent '03 debut. Then faltered. We're going to look for a rebound.
Tiger's Reign...Race two back was her best yet. Kind of inconsistent but can compete on best effort.
Seraphic Too.
Raffie's Dream.
On dirt: Raffie's Dream, Seraphic Too, Go Going Gone, Pareepassoo.

For My Wife...Experience counts -- and while this lady has already had four chances, and usually that might be more than enough to count out against some good-looking firsters, we'll tab her on the near-miss last time and the fact that trainer is good with the freshmen.
First Move...$450K purchase from trainer Mott might be ready to roll early.
Lingerie...Trainer has high percentage with 2YOs.
Lukas entry.

Fleet Aint...Most recent Beyers are a tad light -- but has thrown numbers in the past that would be competitive here and had some traffic trouble in latest. Also, interesting jock switch considering our second pick...
Knievel...Pletcher trainee might hang on a little longer with a two-turn try on the resume now.
Dare To Be Great...Pretty consistent in Boston. Capable of surprising here.
Reap The Wind.

Ecclesiastic...Taking a little bit of a flyer here and we might get some value. Mott goes dirt-to-turf with this $500K youngster and we expect improvement.
See Latham...Seems clearly the one to beat -- but trainer is on an oh-fer, and this late in the meet we want to see a winner before backing his stock in the top spot. Also faded after opening up a big lead last time. Should go better with the experience -- but still adds some distance off of the fade.
Pletcher entry...Ok, if unspectacular, debuts by both. Improvement expected.
Cartage Agent.

Raging Fever...There's a veritable who's who of fillies showing on her PP's as she steps out of graded competition. Look for a wake-up call against this competition.
Lilah...Has taken the 7-pound bug-girl to three straight wins. It's going to be interesting to see how she matches up in this race against four of the craftiest riders in the country.
Zawtooth...Has a couple good tries over the track. Makes third start of season. From Pletcher/Velasquez. Wouldn't be a surprise.
Belle Artiste.

Erda...Sheppard/Augustin runner almost got the job done in the nightcap Sunday at 7-1. Expecting a big effort from this one.
Sounds Fishy...Clearly looks like the one to beat off the two very nice efforts at Monmouth.
Harts Gap...All turf tries have been solid. AE list.
Flower Forest.
On dirt: Flower Forest, Western Rush, Tactical Plus, Erda.

City Sister...Always in the hunt and was a good second here last time. Looks to have a slight edge here.
First Again...Trainer has good numbers in the pertinent stats.
Vibs...Had a promising 2YO season -- hasn't lived up to that promise in three 3YO tries. One more chance.

Silent Crystal...Mott/Bailey turfer will appreciate the return to alw company.
Aztec Pearl...Looks to be improving.
Prime Green...Not sure we'll see that 20-1 again -- but this one is definitely improving and will be heard from in the lane.
Walden entry.
On dirt: Saintly Action, Magnificent Val, Miss Marcia, Aztec Pearl.

Private Scandal...A couple of near-misses in two turf tries earlier this summer. Should go well.
Realriskybusiness...A decent run from last place in turf debut. A better run early should put him in the mix late.
Minstrel's Melody...Tends to want to be near the front so will have to push early from this post -- and that might hurt at the end.
Patriot Spirit.
On dirt: Private Scandal, Minstrel's Melody, Patriot Spirit, Ice In The House, Soldier In Action.

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