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Thru Monday, September 5, 2005

Saratoga Race Meet 2005


The Saratoga race-meet provides a unique opportunity to compare the results of a number of different public handicappers. There is probably no other meet in the country that has the daily media attention that Saratoga enjoys. And these public handicappers make up a large part of that media coverage. With such a short, high-quality meet and the chance to review the results of over two dozen handicappers who publish their full-card selections daily, Saratoga offers some interesting insight into the world of the public handicapper.

This is the scorecard of winners picked by the twenty-six public handicappers covering the Saratoga race meet for the local dailies and the New York tabs. Below is the final tally for the 2005 season.

You can compare the standings at the halfway point at this link. These links provide results from past seasons: 2004 Scorecard... 2003 Scorecard.



2005 Saratoga Meet Leader: Money won per $2 wager on each top selection: $686.80 after 343 races.

We beat the meet! It's a three-peat!

For the third year in a row equidaily.com's Seth Merrow was out in front of the pack of public handicappers we follow who keep a tally of their win-bet scores. This year Mr Merrow was the only such handicapper to end the season in the black -- albeit it just barely! (Merrow also topped all the Bankrollers for the meet -- check our Daily Bankroll Challenge page for a complete scorecard of how the various public handicappers did in that area).

In 2003 Merrow's win-bets returned $702.90 after 343 races. Last year, after the same 343 races, a $2 win bet on each Merrow top pick would have returned $731.90. This year the margin of profit was slim, a $2 win wager on each top pick throughout the meet (another 343 races) would have cost $686.00, and would have returned $686.80! Whew!

But in the woulda, coulda, shoulda category -- Best Bets will always lament the price we grabbed on City Attraction, the $23.80 winner we had on top in the 4th on Sept 1. Coming off of a debut effort where he ran tenth of eleven at 63-1 we were expecting much more value than the 10-1 we received. Earlier that same afternoon we ran second in the 2nd with 12-1 Market Force who looked like the real deal turning for home. Over the 36-day meet there were plenty of sob stories -- and usually they would be balanced out by a similar number of surprising wins, but this year it seemed like the scale tipped a little bit away from us. Still, we managed a profit and we'll walk away with that feather planted squarely in our cap -- for the third year in a row.

EXACTAS BEAT THE MEET TOO! Through the 343 races of the 2005 Saratoga season our top two picks ran 1-2 in exact order 31 times. Because scratches reduced one of those races to only three starters, only 30 of the 31 races offered exactas. A $2 exacta-wager using our top two picks in order on each of the 342 races that had such wagering would have cost $684.00 with the return being $843.00.

As far as numbers of winners on top -- we ended the season with 111, smack dab in the middle of our 112 from 2003 and 110 last year. Checking the mid-season scorecard shows that we made a sustained late-run (particularly through the last week) and moved up from 13th at that mid-meet mark to sixth at the end.

Ultimately though we have to tip our cap to Mark Cusano of the Daily Gazette and Capital OTB-TV who ended the season with an astonishing 133 winners tabbed on top. Truly remarkable. And in the Consistency Department -- going back two years, Mark Cusano and Tom Cunningham (Albany Times Union) have been in the top three in each of the three years we've tracked the scorecard (other names also seem at home towards the top of the list each year -- check prior season results for more info: 2004... 2003).

The 2005 Saratoga Scorecard

Note: Discrepancies in total number of races played is due to some handicappers losing races due to scratches or adding races with simulcast plays.
Mark Cusano
Daily [Schenectady] Gazette
Bill Taylor
Tom Cunningham
Albany Times Union
Matt Graves
Albany Times Union
Tim Wilkin
Albany Times Union
Seth Merrow
Best Bets - equidaily.com
111-343 ... $686.80
John Pricci
Nick Kling
Troy Record/Saratogian
107-342 ... $644.50
Russ Harris
NY Daily News
106-343 ... $537.40
Kyle Brownell
Post-Star [Glens Fall, NY]
105-341 ... $587.00
Mike Jarboe
Albany Times Union
Dave Litfin
Daily Racing Form
Jerry Bossert
NY Daily News
104-342 ... $633.40
Eric DeGrechie
104-344 ... $585.00
Sherry Ross
NY Daily News
103-340 ... $590.40
Bev Swimm
Albany Times Union
Dave Little
NY Daily News
100-340 ... $549.00
Vic C
NY Post
99-339 ... $591.10
Debbie L
NY Post
98-339 ... $594.80
Bill Heller
Daily [Schenectady] Gazette
Tom Law
Ed Fountaine
NY Post
93-341 ... $596.10
Mike Lipack
NY Daily News
91-342 ... $623.10
Mark Hoffman
The [Amsterdam, NY] Recorder
83-342 ... $495.30
NY Post
82-341 ... $547.80
John DaSilva
NY Post
79-342 ... $409.10

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