Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Meet Total ... 44-163

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Mid-season Handicappers Scorecard

The list below includes virtually all of the public handicapper available in newspapers in the Saratoga region as well as the NYC tabloids which are available upstate.

It's halftime -- bring out the band! Below are the results for the first three weeks of the meet. Clearly it's been a tough meet so far for the public prognosticators -- no one has topped the 30% mark for winners-on-top.

Leading the way is Mark Cusano of the Daily Gazette, and our colleague on Capital OTB-TV. But there is a solid pack of pursuers within four or five wins of the top of the heap.

Just to give you an idea of how tough the meet has been so far -- compare Cusano's total in 2006 [48-163], to his similar top-of-the-list position at this point last year [67-171]. You can view the entire 2005 and 2004 mid-season scorecards for a more complete comparison. And keep in mind that we're still making up races that were lost when the entire racing card was canceled due to heat earlier in the meet.

As for our own numbers -- Best Bets sits a comfortable four winners from the top. In 2005 we grabbed 57 winners on top during the last three weeks of the meet and in 2004 we selected 65 winners during the final eighteen racing days. So we're looking forward to big things. Stay tuned...

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
Matt Graves
Albany Times Union
Jerry Bossert
NY Daily News
Tom Cunningham
Albany Times Union
Dave Litfin
Daily Racing Form
Mike Lipack
NY Daily News
Bill Heller
Daily [Schenectady] Gazette
Dave Little
NY Daily News
Seth Merrow
Best Bets - equidaily.com
Kyle Brownell
Post-Star [Glens Fall, NY]
Russ Harris
NY Daily News
John DaSilva
NY Post
Tim Wilkin
Albany times Union
Bill Taylor
Mark Hoffman
The [Amsterdam, NY] Recorder
Eric DeGrechie
Sherry Ross
NY Daily News
Tom Cavanagh
NY Daily News
Mike Jarboe
Albany Times Union
NY Post
Tom Law
Vic C
NY Post
Nick Kling
Troy Record/Saratogian
Bev Swimm
Albany Times Union
Debbie L
NY Post
Ed Fountaine
NY Post


1-10. We started Week Three off with some momentum -- but weakened over the last couple of days. Only one winner on top on Monday [2nd, $5.30]. But the handicapping overall was still decent. Our top three boxed for a couple of tri's [2nd, $49.40/$2; 5th, $127.00]. And dipping four deep picked up another two tri's, capped by the $596.00/$2 gimmick in the 4th. So there was a little bit of action in and among the selections to close out the first half of the meet.

Every season it seems like there are one or two races we'd like back -- give us another chance to make our picks. This year's prize winner in that category is likely to be Monday's 3rd. We picked Mr Antagonizer on top in this conditional claimer but we noted in our comments that "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]." Our second choice in the race was Interline, and we wrote, "Looks logical on the numbers." You know the rest of the story -- Mr Antagonizer fades to last while Interline revs up in the lane to win at 7-2. We saw it coming and still stepped in front of the bus. Live and learn. We hope...

On-track it was another beautiful day with comfortable temps and plenty of sun. A crowd of 17,734 took advantage.

Monday night the jockeys squared off against the NYS Police in their annual charity softball game at the East Side Rec field. The last couple of years the game has come down to the wire but this year the cops jumped out to a commanding lead that the jocks just couldn't overcome. The riders rallied in the 9th to close the gap from 14-4, but went down swinging, 14-9.

There was a raffle to choose one lucky fan to play with the jockeys and the winner was none other than NY Post handicapper John DaSilva. He eventually scored the first run for the jocks when he tagged from second on a fly ball and then stretched it around third to make it home standing up. Jerry Bailey was on hand to throw out the first pitch and the jocks team also included John Velazquez, Garret Gomez, Mike Luzzi, Channing Hill, Javier Castellano and others. And the competitive juices are still flowing for Angel Cordero who was obviously miffed by his team's play on a few occasions. There was a full house in the bleachers including trainer Rich Schosberg, Jim Jerkens and Leah Gyarmati, jockey Diane Nelson, and DRF's Dave Grenig.


No racing. Dark day.


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

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