Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Monday, August 8, 2005
Meet Total ... 33-104

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1-10. The most common barometer by which public handicappers measure their success is that winners on top number -- and we're happy to do it. Our numbers in that category topped out all the handicappers we tally after Week One, and we expect to bounce back after some struggle through Week Two. But the truth is, we aren't disappointed with the handicapping even though our second week hasn't been heavy with those winners on top. Sunday was a perfect example why we're not concerned: We had one winner on top (7th, $5.20), but the picks provided plenty of action otherwise as well. In three of the ten races our top three selections boxed for the tri (1st, $84.50/$2; 4th, $20.00; 10th, $139.00). Our second choices won both the 1st and 2nd and combined for a nice $134.00/$2 early double. In the 7th our top pick over our third choice completed the $32.40 exacta, and in four races our second choice bested our third selection for exactas (1st, $46.60; 4th, $14.60; 8th, $25.20; 10th, $22.20). Plus, with one of our top two winning a number of races there was also a mix of 'pick' bets that could have been grabbed. So we'll just keep doing what we're doing and that winners on top number will come back to us. And in the meantime we'll take what they're giving us...

On-track, a 'spinner'-inflate crowd of 61,707 turned out for T-shirt giveaway day. It was another very nice day in the weather department. Sunny and warm -- although some of that humidity squeaked back in. However it was as bad as earlier in the week -- however, the T-shirt crowd exited early, with people streaming out after each of the mid-card races.

Jockey Chantal Sutherland continues to impress. After getting off the block in her initial Saratoga season with winner last week of 17-1 and 54-1, she added a couple more Sunday -- at 12-1 and 11-1. she's worth keeping your eye on for the remainder of the meet.

In the featured Amsterdam for 3YO sprinters, Steve Asmussen's Santana Strings got the job done at 9-1.


National Museum of Racing's 50th Annual Induction Ceremony, Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion, 10:30 am. Class of 2005 inductees include: Nick Zito, steeplechase trainer Sidney Watters Jr, steeplechase jockey Thomas Walsh, and 5-time steeplechase champion Lonesome Glory. Admission is free. Entertainer and longtime breeder and owner of thoroughbreds, David Cassidy, will be the keynote speaker.

Hall of Fame Day autograph session, 2:30pm. Free autograph signing session with the newest and returning members of the Hall of Fame in front of the Silk’s Display Area of the Jockey’s Room.

FIRST RACE -- AP Smithwick G2 $75K
Hirapour...Hasn't missed an exacta finish in a long time. Won a G1 stake in latest and won training race here on Open House Day.
Serazzo...We debated putting this guy on top and he's going to be dangerous. Nipped in a flat race last time and ran second in that training race on Open House Day. Runaway winner over the course last year.
Bow Strada...Third behind some good ones in a G1 last time. Solid win prior in US debut.

Make My Day Jur...Has some early speed. Been competitive but not successful against better this year. Could find this bunch to his liking.
Shots...Another one with some early speed taking a drop. Was competitive at $25-35K earlier this year, now goes for $20K.
Rosie's Big Boy...Ran a big number here last year. Might surprise.
Battle Hero.

Bredwinner...Always a little leery of these bridesmaid types, but eventually they find a field they can conquer and it looks like today's the day.
Preach by Day...Last indicated he might be getting the hang of it.
World Series...Ran fifth in debut, third-place finisher came back to win yesterday. Expect improvement.
Celestial Arc.

Vision Quest...Trainer good with firsters and has already unleashed some at the Spa this season.
Criminologist...Wouldn't be surprised if she came out running.
Strelladar...Gained some nice experience in first two.
Performing Diva.

On the Catwalk...Won debut then an OK try at NW1 despite trouble, now drops in for a high-priced tag. Stretches after two sprints.
Half Heaven...Solid in six tries so far, including third-place in a state-bred stake last time.
Mountain Mambo...Should be in the hunt.
Character Builder.
Joyeux Ruler.

RBs Token...Seems to be on the improve.
Great Lady K...Another showing some improving form this season.
Carlow...Third start of 2005. won minor stake at F'Lakes last time.
Tiffany's Rodeo.

Dwango...If he holds his form he should stretch out to two turns successfully.
Shaniko...Seems to have returned as an improved 4YO.
Philanthropist...Could be scary on the turf-to-dirt move which is a good one for this barn.
Win With Beck.

EIGHTH RACE -- Hall of Fame G2 $150K
Rey de Cafe...We'll toss last over the 'yielding' course. Look for a rebound to prior form which had him at top of 3YO turf class.
Prince Rahy...Usually in the hunt and just behind top pick two back.
Reel Legend...Seems better on turf. Nice work last week in prep for this.
High Limit.

Great South Bay...Went back-and-forth between this one and second choice for top pick in a horrible field. This one gets a tepid nod on the notion that Of All Times might have some company up front to contend with and has shown tendency to fade. If so this one can pick up the pieces.
Of All Times...On the other hand, this guy just missed over this course last time after leading for most of the trip. If that expected pace pressure doesn't show up this guy is plenty capable of sneaking away and holding on.
Hippy Hippy Red...Here's one we think can challenge for that lead -- but that's no certainty. And even if these tow do hook up early the field is weak enough that they can both hold on for a piece.
Cannonball Rock.

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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