Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Meet Total ... 76-275

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3-12. Much like Friday, we got off to a fast start and confidence was running high for a possible 'breakout' afternoon -- but again, we couldn't sustain with the winners-on-top. However, the three we hit offered some decent value [1st, $6.00; 3rd, $26.40; 6th, $11.60]. Cold exacta in the 6th for a generous $60.50/$2. And you would had to have gone four-deep with the selections in the featured G1 Travers -- but in the big races that's possible. It was our second over fourth over top selections for the exacta [$86.50] and tri [$351.00].

Frankly, with the weather and a super card of racing the announced attendance of 40,723 has to be considered disappointing. Because opening day this year was on the earliest possible date we've been predicting a big finish to the meet. The expected highlight of that was Travers Day -- and while 40K is certainly nothing to sneeze at, the set-up seemed to hold the promise for bigger numbers. However, those that attended were treated to yet another nice day. Sunny and comfortable. And perhaps the attendance was for the best since not only was the weather comfortable -- but the atmosphere as well. The grand old facility was filled -- but not splitting at the seams. And betting and concession lines stayed manageable throughout the day.

The Travers itself provided the second razor-thin G1 photo-finish in as many days. To paraphrase Tom Durkin from one of his past classic calls -- the Travers duel to the wire was a race that didn't deserve a loser. Colonel John finally validated the confidence we showed in him when we put him on top in the G1 Ky Derby. Also starring on the afternoon, young jock Alan Garcia won four -- including two stakes.

Off-track, the party was in full swing after the races at the nearby watering holes, Siro's and The Horseshoe. And things rocked into the wee hours downtown.


Abby Morgan...Seems in decent form -- including a couple races over the track already this season. Slight nod in an evenly-matched field.
Palmetto Bluffs...An OK third here last time. Adds blinkers today.
Madam Commander...Some trouble last time and could rebound to that off of something of a dud last time.
Swept the Series.

Splash of Colour...OK debut despite trouble in off-turf event. And due note that he was an MTO - so he was meant for the dirt that day.
Courting Elaine...Expect improvement today.
Influenced...Big purchase price at a 2YO sale last year -- but didn't make it to the races until earlier this meet. Could be interesting after showing speed going longer.

Snowstalker...We'll draw a line through the last since he had trouble. Was going well in the two prior.
Not Acclaim...Turf sprints seem something of a specialty -- and this guy has a solid record in the arena.
Lord Robyn...Nice third in a little turf stake at Monmouth last time.
Hatta Fort.

Chris Got Even...Was running well at Churchill and then ran fourth in stake here -- and with Mambo in Seattle having run so well in the G1 Travers that race might turn out to be productive.
Perfect Bullet...Hasn't tried the 'real dirt' yet -- but will be tough if able to transfer synthetic/turf form to the main.
True Resurgence...What to make of that 101 Beyer last time? To us it look like something of an aberration -- but if he runs back to it he'll be very, very dangerous.

Morgans Run...Ran OK in debut. Now has had some time off and is eligible to come back running.
It's Not for Love...Should appreciate the return to turf and is likely the one to catch.
Sealed Bid...Turf race was her best.
Granny Smith.

She'll Be Right...Solid breeding and a decent string of works.
Heavenly Vision...Expensive yearling purchase has been working well for Baffert.
AP Elegance...Breeding and connections that like to win early.
Pumpkin Shell.

Lady Rizzi/Myakka...Trainer is super-solid with turf sprints at Saratoga.
Heather's Angel...Good looking record on turf.
Mine Or Who's...Third despite some trouble in a similar race last time.

Sobee...It's Sheppard/Augustin -- and they're an automatic for us. But this one does have some interesting breeding and should fit here.
Sandstorm Cat...Will appreciate the return to grass.
Sweet Tune...Expect improvement.

Sentimental Union/Brantley...Brantley could be primed for a good effort. Sentimental Union also could be set to run well with a race over the course under her belt.
Kapanga...Big maiden-breaker and they can often move through the next condition quickly once they've figured it out.
Belle's Home...Last two have shown promise.
Give No Ground.

TENTH RACE - Ballerina G1
Sugar Swirl...Proven at the trip and should be heard from late.
Miraculous Miss...This in this race last year but could be set to go well in her third start of 2008.
Jibboom...Hmmm, 'hidden' half of the Frankel 'entry'.
Mistical Plan.

Mandy's Purse...Most of this bunch have been knocking around this condition for a while. But this filly should still have some upside. Debut indicated some promise. Trainer can have them ready off the layoff -- and, again, this isn't a field of world-beaters.
Exonerated...Stretching out off of a couple of turf sprints.
Can She Dance...Clearly better on turf.
Sax in the City.

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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