Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Friday, July 25, 2008
Meet Total ... 6-20

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3-10. Another OK day with 30% winners and a decent ROI. Winners in the "2nd" [$11.60... With the Race 1 steeplechase postponed until next week due to the wet turf -- Race 2 was actually the first race], 5th [6.10], and 8th [10.40]. Our top two ran first and third twice in the first five races to frustrate our exacta chances -- but things rebounded on the second-half of the card when our second and third selections clicked for a $58.00/$2 gimmick in the 6th, and we hit the exacta cold in the 8th [$38.60/$2].

Attendance was an anemic 10,124 -- but that's not atypical for Day Two at Saratoga. The last few years the opening Thursday numbers were spiked a little bit by "spinners" chasing after a bobblehead giveaway -- but that prize was put on hold for this year. So, no giveaway and more drizzly rain early in the day kept the crowd light.

However, weather-wise things might be looking up. By the end of the day the sun was shining [although there was a bizarre downpour -- with the sun shining -- after the races ended] and the forecast is promising for Friday.


NOTE: Twilight racing. First post is at 2:45pm ET.

Early word is that the featured G2 Lake George will stay on the turf -- while the other scheduled turf races for Friday will be moved to the main track. Check with official sources to confirm.

Note: I'll be sitting in this week as the guest handicapper on Capital OTB-TV's Newsdesk, hosted by Jeanne Wood. Watch live on cable TV throughout upstate NY, or log-on to capitalotb.com to catch the streaming video web cast [click on 'View it LIVE' in the left-hand column]. The program airs from 9 - 9:45am ET.

After the races head downtown to enjoy the Hats Off to Saratoga music festival -- with acts performing all along Broadway. Friday night's fun is slated for 7 - 11pmET.

By Proxy...A couple of decent tries to start his career at Churchill. Cuts back a furlong after pressing the pace at 7F last time.
Clemens...Drops in for a tag and likely to find some class relief here.
Ship's Piano...Just broke maiden but it's not a huge step into NW2L territory.
At Attention.

Dirt selections up top -- turf below:
Pious David...Part of that Zayat/Mott entry that was scratched on opening day. Looked tough in that event which could make him even tougher as an MTO entrant. A half-sib to Monba.
Summit Creek...Really like Smoke Glacken as a sire.
Join in the Dance...Big improvement start #1 to start #2. Moves into Pletcher barn and should be live if he remains in the field.
Seal Team.On turf: Unbridle's Dream, Charlie Trumper, Join in the Dance, Summit Creek.

Mushka...Very promising 2YO makes a belated 3YO debut but could be any kind.
Hamsa...Perhaps overmatched in the G1 Mother Goose -- although she had an excuse. Either way, she should run well in this spot.
One Caroline...Speaking of "could be any kind" -- this undefeated filly gets tested today.
So Glitzy.

Grimaldi...The Churchill debut looked like a good foundation to build on. Claimed by Dutrow out of that race.
Vinnies Wild Tale...A little bit of breeding. The trainer can have them ready. A couple of OK looking works. Some things to like.
Nightmare Alley...Kind of interesting -- with the Theatrical mare underneath, will this one become another good turf sprinter for trainer Linda Rice? On dirt today -- but intriguing.

Dirt selections up top -- turf below:
Cross the Atlantic...Claimed four back out of a near-miss at this level. Been facing a little better since. Should appreciate the class move and won't be hindered by move to the main track.
Last Tram...MTO. Class is the question mark. Comes out of $15K maiden claiming win -- and this is a step up. But that win was first-off the claim so perhaps the confident move is a good sign.
Osceola Prince...MTO. Also moving up off a maiden-breaker against cheaper. Prado sticks and might be sent to the front again.
Jump It.
On turf: Chobe, Into the Wind, The Cuban Hawk, Jump It, Big Wig.

Visible Truth...Trainer Asmussen is off to a very good start at the meet. This one just missed going 7F last time -- cuts back today.
Shekinah...Flopped in G2 Arkansas Derby -- but could be interesting off the layoff and cutting back to a sprint.
Real Estate...That last race was impressive. Can he repeat? If so he's a real contender in here.
Hometown Boy.

Ecton...Seems to be moving in the right direction.
Evade...Probably better than last.
Pay in Kind...Off the layoff. Has shown some flashes in the past.
War Ruler.

EIGHTH RACE - G2 Lake George
Mousse Au Chocolat...Solid career in Group-races in Europe. She beat the boys last November. Always like these Euro-invading turfers -- and she might have an edge if the turf comes up soft.
My Princess Jess...Looking good this year.
Alwajeeha...Capable on best.
Zee Zee.

Dirt selections up top -- turf below:
Token Special...MTO. Has a little bit of breeding and first race was promising. Come from behind style might be useful as track could be in "drying-out" mode by Friday afternoon. Prado onboard.
Sage Chapel...MTO. This Pletcher runner is very interesting. Flopped in the debut -- on dirt. Last two -- on turf -- have been pretty good. Entered for the main track today. Hmmm.
Sashay Renee...Has early speed.
Sweet Bama Breeze..
Mrs Holden.
On turf: Fiona Freud, Intoxicatingbeauty, Fanfire

If we are interested in both halves of an entry -- in event of a scratch -- it is noted that way [in other words, both halves 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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