Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Meet Total ... 94-336

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4-11. Four winners on top [3rd, $3.50; 4th, $3.80; 8th, $6.80; 19th, $2.70]. We started Week Six needing to average 3-wins per day for us to reach the 100-win total for the season, and we've stayed right on that path. That's the upside of Saturday's results -- the downside is that it could have been the breakout afternoon we've been waiting for all meet long: Four more of our top picks ran second -- frustratingly close in the early double. And in the nightcap our top selection, 13-1 Come Close, did just that -- getting in gear late and making what looked like a winning move in the final half-furlong to just get edged in a photo -- running third by a nose and a head. When we do our final tally at season's-end that missing $28+ horse is going to hurt.

Attendance was 22,572. Just walking around -- through the backyard and the facility -- it seemed like a good crowd, our 'eyeball' estimate was in the neighborhood of 25K, and with the 2007 HOTY on-track that's more what NYRA was hoping for. So perhaps the numbers were slightly disappointing -- but hey, it's Saratoga. 22K at any other track would be reason to rejoice.

Certainly many of those that did attend responded appropriately to Curlin's Spa appearance. The paddock fence was three-deep and as the champ made his way around the ring and out onto the track there was a rolling wave of applause that followed him. The paddock itself was as crowded as we've ever seen it -- with Curlin in the midst of a swarm during the entire saddling process. After the race the grandstand/clubhouse/railbird fans again gave Curlin a round of applause as he returned to the winner's circle.
Off-track, the city was enjoying the Final Stretch -- with a music fest taking place Saturday night along Broadway, Saratoga's main street.


Free cooler bag giveaway with each paid admission while supplies last.

Final Stretch Music Fest continues downtown. Music acts will be performing for free on Saratoga's main street, Broadway, from 7-11pm.

Shaami...Claimed out of a little bit of a clunker, but was running well prior and new owner is placing them to win.
Sacred Icon...Seems to have gotten the hang of it over the past two or three.
Ya Think...Trainer -- talented former Pletcher assistant -- still shopping for first career win, but he's been knocking on the door and this guy has run well the last two.
Monsooned Malabar.

Big Flirt...We're going with the strong first-out trainer angle in a race that looks very tough.
Tufao...Expensive purchase earlier this year is probably better than he showed in his troubled debut.
Mr Jolson...Precociously bred with Songandaprayer on top and working nicely in Beantown.
Just a Coincidence/They're Late.

Hangingbyathread...Has thrived in the new barn and should benefit from having some speed to shoot at in this race.
Grasberg...Has shown talent when facing NY-breds -- although had some trouble last time.
Retribution...Speedball is scary when he opens those long leads -- but he hasn't held on to win in a long time and he should be pushed early here.
Sky Dragon.

Theatrical Madam...We know Mott's having a cold meet -- but notice today he's not using Desormeaux on some horses. Seems like he's perhaps looking to shake things up [or maybe Desormeaux is]. This one is certainly nicely bred.
River Fancy/There Are Rainbows...River Fancy ran one that looks like a good foundation to build on. There Are Rainbows is working well for debut.
Americas Dreaming...Just missed in Ireland and these Euro shippers are always dangerous.
Debbie H.

Walkabout Winner...Career debut last year was OK. They often can show marked improvement off of the 2YO to 3YO layoff.
Tom and Dicks Girl...Ran her best-Beyer when she got on the grass.
The Ag...Has been a disappointment since the promising debut but might offer some punch in second start of 2008.
Distinctive Doc.

Critical...Yet another very tough maiden race on the card -- and we'll tip slightly in this direction as a second-time starter for Dutrow.
Gold Indy...Well-bred firster from Pletcher.
Me Love...Ships in off of nice works in Maryland.
Bluegrass Princess.

Secret Gypsy...Finds some serious class relief in here.
Indian Delight...Turf two back and then turf-to-dirt last time seems to have helped turn the lightbulb on for her.
Dulcet Tone...The maiden-breaker seems too good to ignore. Sure, she flopped in the follow-up but we're willing to give her one more shot.
According to Plan.

EIGHTH RACE - Caveat Competor $80K
Mousse Au Chocolat...Expect much better than the troubled trip last time.
Blitzen Too...Also better than last.
Sea Chanter...Look for her to better a little tighter in her second start of the season.
Remarkable Remy.

NINTH RACE - Saranac G3
Ready's Echo...Third in the G1 Belmont. Should take to turf with More Than Ready on top.
Nistle's Crunch...Didn't fit in the G1 Haskell but has run well on grass.
Schopenhauer...Euro shipper could be dangerous.

TENTH RACE - Spinaway G1
Mine All Mine...We'll shop for perhaps a little bit of an upset. This gal has faced the boys twice in her career and then won convincingly against her own sex last time.
Casanova Move...Swamped Kays and Jays last time and that one came back to win this week.
Mani Bhavan...Logical off of the big Beyer G2 win here earlier in the meet. Would be no surprise.

Jeux de Danse...AE lister. Super-solid win last time. Claimed and now comes back from a brief layoff but could be best if she gets in.
Factual Number...Better than her last.
Just a Little Jet...AE lister. Should be heard from in the lane.
Fancy Footsteps.

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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