Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Meet Total ... 3-10

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3-10. We got off to a blazing start -- winning the first three races of the day (3.90, 5.20, 6.90). From there things cooled off (although ours were in the mix for gimmicks for most of the afternoon). However, if we can float through the meet clicking at about 30% we'll feel pretty good.

As far as the aforementioned gimmicks -- our top three boxed for tri's in the 1st ($26.60/$2) and 4th ($106.60). Our top two flip-flopped in the 7th for the $18.20 exacta. And with one of our top four winning each of the first eight races, there were plenty of doubles and Pick Xs that could have been grabbed using the selections.

A pretty solid opening day crowd of 25,818 (up over 500 from last year) turned out in sweltering hot and humid conditions. It was sunny for most of the afternoon although threatening storm clouds moved in late in the day. No rain -- other than the most modest and brief of sprinkles -- fell.

It was a rocky start to the meet as a power outage left many bettors 'shut-out' of the second race. And the new 'swiper' tote machines had some problems. As did at least one of the infield information boards -- which showed indecipherable hieroglyphics all afternoon. The first race of 2005, a steeplechase, featured a few fallen riders. Later reports said there were some broken bones but otherwise the riders should be fine. By mid-card the problems with the tote machines seemed mostly ironed out. But by later in the day it seemed as though the crowd had thinned out, at least somewhat -- perhaps the early problems scared some away, or maybe it was just the heat.

Notable on-track, in the 3rd, Aristocrat, a full-bro to Ghostzapper, returned to the races for his first start of 2005, and second lifetime, and dueled all the way, winning late by a half. Congrats are in order for trainer Linda Rice, who collared June the Tiger out of a $40K claimer in May and then winning three straight with the 3yo, including yesterday's 4th.

The train keeps rolling: Pletcher/Velazquez got their first 2YO winner of the meet with Velvet Cat in the 5th -- at a generous 5-1! Another Spa-team, Mott/Bailey had turf winner Shakespeare in the 7th.

The post-race crowd packed Siro's. Spotted amongst the crowd was four-year starter Greg Koubek. Coming out of the dining room later on was Louisville coach Rick Pitino (he was also spotted in the paddock before Wednesday's feature race). And working the crowd was some kind of bizarre Rod Stewart look-alike.


Pick up a bobblehead!

Tiffany Touch...She seems to have stepped it up a notch on turf and just looks better than this weak NY-bred bunch.
Tagg entry...Island Reversal preferred. From the Funny Cide team, this filly had trouble last time but looks capable against this bunch. Christina's Melody might appreciate grass.
Puzzle...Off since last August but career debut was a good effort on the lawn.
Land of Dreams.
Summer in Saratoga.

Serena's Cat...$1.4 mil yearling purchase is regally bred. Mott not known for firsters but this one has the credentials.
Easy Slam...Lukas isn't known for debut winners either -- but it's hard to ignore the string of works which seem to indicate intent.
India...Just missed in debut and it Pletcher/Velazquez.

Sweet Symphony...Looked good winning first two and should be set up off of those two efforts to stretch around two turns today.
Lady Pegasus...Looks like she was ambitiously placed in G! last time. Go better with return to alw company.
Merrill Gold...Only time she missed the board this year was on a 'sealed' track in a G2.
Silent Siren.

Webmistress...Had some trouble in debut. Now we get some changes. And it's second-time out for Pletcher.
Sweeping Glance...Clsoed nicely in debut. Will contend if able to move forward off of that effort.
Tomorrow Dance...Could be the one to beat off of high-fig debut.
Real Knowsy.

Lethal Weapon...Third start of season off of two improving efforts. Moves up the claiming ladder but could be good enough if able to repeat latest.
Maybry's Boy...Might wake-up big time with the drop.
Atfirst Blush...Another one moving down the claiming scale. Likes the track.
CL Rib/Man of conquest.

Yes Please...Seemed like a useful debut. Positive jock switch.
Saint Kris...Moved up on turf and improved in second try on the grass. Also gets a big jock switch.
War At the Top...Looks to fit with these.
Tar Heel Dame.

Asti...AE lister. Steady diet of stakes since arriving from Europe. Might find this group to her liking.
Clement entry...Fastidia preferred. Stuck in the bridesmaid role since arriving stateside. Baradore might be sitting on a good one.
Flawless Treasure...Will be rolling late.
La Ina.

Master of Disater...Always a little bit of a guessing game in these early 2YO stakes -- was that debut the real thing, or a fluke? We'll know more today, but if it was the real thing he'll be tough again this afternoon.
Henny Hughes...Reports were around yesterday that this one was privately purchased for big bucks. Experience counts and he looked very impressive winning stake last time.
Stormatic...Vastly improved start one to start two.

Cryptovinsky...Looks a little better than this weak bunch.
Questioning...Expect a rebound with return to turf.
Harry the Rock...Capable of picking up a piece.
Gold Stravinsky.

If we are interested in both halves of an entry -- in event of a scratch -- it is noted that way. If only one-half of the entry is named, then we prefer that half and will move to our next pick listed in event of a scratch.

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