...Watched it rain and lamented the loss of the Opening Day turf races.
After ten and a half months the waiting is over -- the Big Dance is back in town! If you're a fan of the sport this is what it's all about.
We enter the meet with a clean slate and can only hope to repeat our 2003 successes. We started last year shooting an incredible 50% with our top picks through the first two weeks of the meet. There was no way to maintain those kind of numbers but we did continue on with good strength and ended the 36-day stand in 2003 with a flat-bet total profit for a win wager on each of our top picks in every race. An accomplishment we were quite happy with, and one we would certainly like to repeat.
Upstate NY residents might have been watching me this year on the Capital OTB Racing Network where I served as handicapper on the Saturday afternoon program each week. I also sat in on a Friday program earlier this month and so I have five days under my belt on the program in the month of July. I bring it up because my TV Best Bets have gone five-for-five in July for an ROI of just over 100%. Hopefully we can pull that momentum right on through this opening week at the Spa.
Unfortunately opening day itself won't be easy because a steady rain hit the area on Tuesday and grass races have been switched to the main track. Local forecasters were calling for some sun on Wednesday afternoon however -- but humidity might be high which could bring a threat of scattered thunder showers.
And now let's get this thing started.
Seth Merrow, equidaily.com handicapper
Nosupeforyou...Won a simialr event two back. Followed with a good third against slightly better. Good wet track record and Bailey back onboard.
Hyder...6F specialist wins more than 1 of every 3 at the trip. Undefeated in 2004 except for 'lost rider' race two back.
Toscani...2-2 this year but hard to gauge. Won for $25K two back then followed with a good alw win. Will try to take them all the way.
Call the Lark...Showed improved figures in each of three starts last year. Now moves from Pletcher to Schosberg. A couple of decent tries over off tracks.
Creative Dance...Turf-to-dirt and has been showing speed which might help his cause today.
Runingforpresident...Pletcher 3YO needs an alert break.
Storm Boot Gold.
Five Star Gold.
Upturn...MTO entrant looks well spotted in here. Good off-track form and won a similar off-the-turf race in May against a little but cheaper.
Admiralty Arch...Another MTO runner, this one from Pletcher/Velasquez. Has gone well in the mud on this track previously.
Seek Gold...And the third from the MTO list. Goes out for Zito and makes third start off a layoff.
Northern Concorde...Good, improving form shown last time in second start.Should be set up well for this.
Royal Moment...Working well -- including a bullet in the mud here last Monday -- for good first-out trainer Asmussen.
Shark...Nice debut down at Churchill in May and Lukas runners tend to get better second time out.
Golden Look...Won first two and then ran into a buzzsaw when Medallist freaked in the G2 Dwyer. Should appreciate return to proper condition.
Breakaway...Generated some excitement with a big NW1 win at Fair Grounds this winter. Unsuccessful in a couple of graded stakes but went OK against similar last time.
Coded Warning...Frankel/Bailey 3YO seems to have the hang of it and can be dangerous.
Guide...Gets slight edge over other MTO entrant because this one seems a little more sprint-meant -- especially looking back at big 7F score two back.
Silent Oath...Has done little wrong in eight race career and unlikely to be bouncing around this condition too much longer.
Right Out Ro...Ran a good second in off-the-turfer two back.
Boom Bah Yay.
Colita...Faltered in the mud last October in the G3 Discovery but is 3-5 overall on off tracks. Big win in first start of 2004 seems to indicate good form.
Powerful touch...Looks to be on the improve for Frankel/Bailey and can negotiate the off-going.
Private City...Good improving for in two starts this season. Jerkens trainee might add some value to the gimmicks in a short field.
NINTH RACE - Schuylerville G2 $150K
Broadway Gold...Went straight from debut win to stakes win. Best until beaten.
Classic Elegance...Lukas/Lewises filly's only loss was an OK third in a stake against the boys.
Darn That Girl...Two solid tries so far and the last was too good to ignore -- but the post is no bonus.
Charming Jim...Has some nice names in his PPs lines like Eddington, Value Plus and Sir Oscar. First imte in for tag for a Florida-based trainer who wins his share at Saratoga each summer.
Lucky Guy...Very competitive last three times in against claiming company.
Charismatic Rob...Interesting player here. Should offer some odds off of his last two -- but check the PPs and see that his bast race was right here last summer... On a good track. Hmmm.
Catch My Cat.
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