Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Day After...
Meet Total ... 98-395

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Don't forget to check out the Challenge page where we started the month with a mythical $1000 bankroll and attempt to increase that amount as the Saratoga season continues.

2010 Final Saratoga Public Handicappers Scorecard

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

The final results are in and the top three handicappers at the 2010 mid-point duked it out right up until the end. In fact it's deja vu all over again as this year's King of the Spa, Bill Taylor of The Saratogian is a back-to-back winner - he tied for the top spot in 2009 with this year's #2, Matt Graves of the Albany Times-Union. In the #3 spot this season is another past champ, 2007 winner Dave Litfin of the Daily Racing Form. A solid Saratoga season from start to finish for each of the top three with a hit-rate around 33% that produced a horse-race among those handicapping the horse races - it wasn't decided until the last day.

We should also note the performance of John Shapazian of The Saratoga Special. John finished with 115 winners - but only handicapped 339 races [there were 395 races run in 2010] due to the Special's publishing schedule which skips most Mondays during the meet. Given John's 34% strike-rate we can extrapolate that he also would have battled for top honors if he had a crack at those fifty-six other races.

Also putting up solid numbers, the group in the 109-120 range - and near the top of that group was Mark Hoffman of The Recorder [Amsterdam, NY] who tallied the highest ROI among the handicappers that keep track of those totals. He was the only one among those recording ROI numbers to 'beat the meet' and show a flat-bet profit.

Final meet totals for the past few seasons can be found here: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003.

Mid-season scorecards: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004.

Note: Discrepancies in total number of races played is due to some handicappers losing races due to scratches.
*** The Saratoga Special doesn't publish on some Mondays during the meet

Bill Taylor
Matt Graves
Albany Times Union
130-394 ... $752.00
Dave Litfin
Daily Racing Form
Mark Cusano
Daily [Schenectady] Gazette
Mark Hoffman
The [Amsterdam] Recorder
119-393 ... $812.00
Bill Heller
Daily [Schenectady] Gazette
Kyle Brownell
Post-Star [Glens Fall, NY]
116-395 ... $706.50
John Shapazian
Saratoga Special
115-339 ***
Daniel Feiss
Jerry Bossert
NY Daily News
115-394 ... $645.50
Tim Wilkin
Albany Times Union
115-395 ... $770.10
Tom Cavanagh
NY Daily News
114-395 ... $645.60
Dave Little
NY Daily News
113-392 ... $671.00
Laim Durbin
Vic C
NY Post
111-393 ... $781.20
Ed Fountaine
NY Post
109-394 ... $732.10
Tom Law
Nick Kling
Troy Record/Saratogian
102-385 ... $636.00
Guest 'capper [different each day]
Albany Times Union
101-395 ... $745.60
Gaile Fitzgerald
Saratoga Special
99-339 ***
John DaSilva
NY Post
99-394 ... $756.60
Debbie L
NY Post
99-394 ... $575.40
Seth Merrow
Best Bets - equidaily.com
98-395 ... $606.00
Dan Lauletta
NY Daily News
97-391 ... $606.90
Mike Jarboe
Albany Times Union
95-392 ... $647.70
Mike Lipack
NY Daily News
91-393 ... $657.30
NY Daily News
89-394 ... $679.50
NY Post
88-394 ... $668.40
John Panagot
Saratoga Special
87-339 ***
Dean Keppler
Saratoga Special
84-339 ***
Brian Nadeau
Saratoga Special
75-339 ***

Best Bets 2010 recap...

We stunk up the joint.

When the meet was thirty-six days we wanted to at least hit the century-mark, 100 winners for the season, and hopefully click up from there to the 110-112 range. With an added four days our bottom-end benchmark was 110. Heck, we couldn't even get to the old benchmark!

We stunk up the joint.

We're getting too far away from our three-year run of 'beating the meet' [2003-05], where our top picks returned a flat-bet profit for each of those seasons. So it's time for us to sit down and do some 'reverse-engineering' and figure out what went wrong this year. We'll be taking a close look at the turf and 2YO races, which are usually our bread-and-butter, but didn't provide much oomph this year. The speed bias on the turf might have played into that to some degree - but we're scratching our heads as to what we missed in the baby races. Followers of our weekly Coast-to-Coast 'Best Bets' can attest to the fact that the handicapping over there has been pretty solid -- going back quite some time and continuing this year right up until the Saratoga meet -- and very often with turf and 2YO plays.

So, it was a disappointing Spa season.


2-11. Winners in the 4th [$6.90], and 5th [$5.90]. Also, a C-A exacta in the 1st [$46.60/$2]. In the 5th it was an A-B-C finish for a cold exacta [$47.00] and tri [$175.00]. The photo showed D-B-C in a tight 8th race finish for the tri [$314.00]. In the 10th a B-C-A-D finish for the exacta [$63.50], tri [$122.50] and super [$558.00].And in the 11th, the season's finale it was a generous B-C exacta [$95.50].

25,296 attended and enjoyed some nice late-summer weather.


Dark day. End of season. See you next year...


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.

Archives of daily Best Bets picks and plays pages: 2009 ...2008 ... 2007 ... 2006 ... 2005 ... 2004 ... 2003

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