Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Tuesday, August 7, 2006
Meet Total ... 25-115

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2-9. We've said it before -- so what the heck, we'll say it again: We're willing to live and die by the accepted public handicappers' scorecard of winners-on-top -- but frankly, a day like Monday shows how inefficient that method of scoring can be. While our two winners on top on Monday certainly doesn't rank as a washout -- those numbers really don't represent what ended up as a pretty good day of handicapping overall.

Our top two picks combined for exactas in four races -- only one of those was a cold exacta, with a winner on top, the other three were reversed. But boxing the top two picks in every race would have cost $36.00 and would have returned 91.20. A healthy profit. Our top three picks completed three boxed tri's. In two more races our top two picks were followed by our fourth selection to complete the tri's.

So again, the day was actually a little bit better than the winners-on-top scoring indicates. Even that category could have been better with a little luck. Allude looked like a winner in the 3rd but just could not wear down Featherbed. Same with our top pick Show 'Em All in the 6th just getting nipped by a stubborn Zee Zee. And Marcavelly had some traffic trouble late in the lane, dropping back two lengths at a crucial point, and still he came on to just get bested by Nobiz Like Shobiz. You'd like to split those -- or at least go 1-for-3 in that situation, but hopefully those close calls will even out over time.

Otherwise, 15,332 attended and Mother Nature was watching out for us yet again. The forecast called for scattered showers to be almost a sure thing. It rained in the area very early in the morning -- but by post time it was dry, although cloudy. It remained cloudy -- and warm and humid -- throughout the afternoon, but the rain held off, save for the briefest of sprinkles just prior to the 6th, but that was so quick that it didn't have any effect on the racetrack.

Earlier in the day a standing-room only crowd attended the Hall of Fame inductions at the Finney Pavilion on East Avenue. Abigail Fuller-Catalano -- Mom's Command's former jock -- accepted for Mom and behalf of her father Peter Fuller who was unable to attend. The crowd gave appreciative standing ovations to inductees Jose Santos and John Veitch. Hoop coach Rick Pitino opened the proceeding with a nice speech.

That same venue was transformed between the induction ceremonies and 7pm and the opening night of the Fasig-Tipton sales commenced. Hard to say what would have happened to American racing if the roof had collapsed -- it was a who's who.

In attendance: Jocks and former jocks Jorge Velasquez, Steve Cauthen, Cash Asmussen, Calvin Borel and Gary Stevens. Trainers Bob Baffert, Richard Mandella, Cristophe Clement, Kieren McLaughlin, Linda Rice, Michael Matz [who spent part of the night watching on of his horses run at Colonial on an outside TV monitor], Angel Penna, Jr. John Ward, Ken McPeek, Ron Ellis, Barclay Tagg, John Kimmel, Howie Tesher, Bobby Barbara, Steve Asmussen, Gary Sciacca, Mark Hennig, Graham Motion. Media types like Ray Paulick, Steve Haskin, and Jay Privman. Also, Barry Irwin, Terry Finley, Charlie Hayward. And sitting in Row 2, horse-owner and celebrity chef Bobby Flay and his attractive wife Stephanie March from Law & Order: SVU.


The yearlings sale continue tonight at the Finney Pavilion on East Avenue just down the street from the racetrack. Start time is 7pm ET and the public can attend.

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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