4-10. Four winners on top [3rd, $4.30; 6th, $5.80; 7th, $8.60; 10th, $10.00]. We really started to salivate when Mascot, our top pick in the finale, opened at 11-1! He drifted down steadily and by post time he was 4-1 -- still an overlay in our eyes. The wildly high opening odds can only be attributed to the fact the he was on the AE list and some early-bird bettors must have discounted him. But he made for a nice way to end the day.
Hopefully Best Bets followers stuck with us after a slow start on the Sunday card -- because it turned out to be a pretty good day. We had three cold exactas -- all of which offered some decent value [6th, $29.60/$2; 7th, $36.80; 10th, $28.20]. And in that 6th race our third pick completed a cold tri [$180.00/$2]. A sardine-can like crowd of 70,603 jammed into the Spa on Sunday... Well, OK, it wasn't really sardine-can like because the numbers were inflated by 'spinners' -- those folks that enter multiple times in order to get armsful of the 'free' giveaway gift -- which this week was a nifty totebag. But enough accounting for the spinners the crowd was still sizeable on the grounds. We arrived on Union Avenue just prior to the 3rd race and had to inch through traffic and eventually scout down a parking space quite a distance away. By the time we arrived at the gate -- sometime after the 3rd but well prior to the 4th -- the lines were still long, but within moments signs popped up at all the windows that the giveaway coupons were gone.
Also on-track it was 'Salute to Jerry Bailey' Day. With a nice ceremony in the winner's circle just after the 5th. All the jocks in the current Spa jocks' room were on hand, as well as past great like Jorge Velasquez, Manny Ycaza [record-holder for the traditional 24-day meet], and, perhaps the undisputed King of Saratoga, Angel Cordero, who got a nice round of applause from the crowd when he was introduced.
The ceremony included a fun video with highlights from Bailey's racing career. After watching some of Jerry's big wins the crowd gave a hefty round of applause and the retired jock turned TV commentator stepped up to the mic to address the crowd. With his wife and son looking on Bailey got choked up a couple of times but held his composure throughout and thanked the connections that put him on so many winning mounts. He also paid tribute to the fans -- especially those in Saratoga. Prior to Bailey speaking there were some words to tribute from Bill Mott and Cordero. After the ceremony Bailey had an autograph session -- with donations going to charity. The line of autograph-seekers snaked perhaps seventy yards and kept going for a couple hours.
Earlier in the day there was also an autograph session featuring former NFL'ers.
This evening at 7pm, a team of jockeys will face a team of NYS Troopers in a charity softball game. The game will be held at Eastside Recreation Field, which is not too far from the track.
In All Honesty...Lightly raced. Has strung a couple of wins together -- but how that competition stacks up is questionable. Gets the nod on current form and trainer.
Fuego Grande...Over-matched in last two. Should fit with this bunch.
Main Stream...Fourth in a similar race here last month. Bad start that day. Should improve.
Pletcher entry...Dandy Mandy has the potent turf breeding with More Than Ready on top. Tremendous One put in a couple of nice works for this.
Mott entry...Vowel should appreciate this surface and trip with Dynaformer as sire. Pitamakan would be no surprise.
Saint Chi Chi...Trainer does well with debut runners -- although 2YOs going long on the turf might not be his best game.
Mr Antagonizer...Hmm, you might get a little bit of a price here on a Pletcher/Velazquez runner, but we have mixed feelings. Beyers are a little light but is eligible to improve in second start of the year and stretching out. But the drop in for a tag is not a move that inspires confidence from this trainer [his stock isn't typically meant for claiming ranks].
Interline...Looks logical on the numbers and could get a wake-up moving into a claimer.
Cradle Robber...Should be roling late.
Cagey Girl...Like the breeding. Like the works. And trainer is OK with pertinent stats.
Belle Harbor...Experience counts and this gal has two nice races on dirt.
Fiona Freud...Another that might benefit from having a race under her belt.
Hold That Thought.
Stolen Star...Turf-to-dirt. Cuts back to sprint. Has shown some flashes and might recapture that form with those moves mentioned earlier.
Little Miss Zip...Showed some real promise last year and hasn't quite lived up to that in 2006 -- but blasted a big work for this and blinkers are removed. Might wake-up.
Lady Jove...Has the look of one that might be getting the hang of it.
A Prime Specimen.
Royal Opportunity...Has shown some talent in two starts. Good work in prep for this. Should contend in first start against winners.
Delmarva...Solid, improving number and finished second last time in a stake. The one to beat.
Hermance...Should fit well with this bunch.
Captiva Bay/Winning Sequence.
SEVENTH RACE - Noble Nashua $70K
Organizer...Looks to be in good form -- although a little iffy on the fact that he's been the bridesmaid three straight. We'll give him a shot here though to pick up the 'W'.
Rogue Agent...Might have gotten a little bit of a wake-up since moving into Dutrow barn.
Naughty New Yorker...Third start of season and might be ready. Samyn to Prado onboard.
EIGHTH RACE - Troy $70K
Weigelia...A very talented sprinter on either turf or dirt.
Second in Command...Just can't ignore the 45% first-after-claim stat.
Yes Yes Yes...Interesting entry from Pletcher [but note that Johnny V went with the top pick].
Nunnery...Every once in awhile you need to go with a leap of faith pick, and this is one. Debut was nothing to write home about but he showed some early speed and Mott runners tend to improve with experience. Should offer some value.
Hunsa...The logical fave is clearly the one to beat but doesn't look invincible.
Grand September...This gal looks set-up for a good try today.
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