Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Tuesday August 9, 2011
Meet Total ... 33-160

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0-10. Hey - all you can do is laugh. Or cry. I'd be more likely to cry if the info wasn't solid however. I've said it before, winners-on-top is not necessarily an accurate way to rate handicapping success - but it's become the public handicappers' scorecard - so I'll live with it. And thus, it was a tortuous three days.

In all the years I've been posting full-card daily picks for Saratoga I don't remember even a two-day back-to-back oh-fer -- much less three days!

Attack of the Killer Bees!

But again, by the end of the day on Monday all I could do was laugh. Why? Monday morning on my daily appearance on the Capital OTB-TV 'Handicappers Report' I joked with host Jeanne Wood about my two-day oh-fer and commented how frustrating it was to see seven of my second choices win over the weekend. During the 45 minutes program I repeated the theme a number of times as I looked at the afternoon card.

Well, when I sit down at night and tally my results I use A-B-C-D to signify my 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choices. In other words, a race result where my third choice won, my second choice placed and I didn't mention the show horse would be tallied as: C-B-x.

You can imagine then how frustrating it was to see my "B" selections win six of Monday's ten races! So over the three-day period - Sat-Mon - that I went oh-fer winners-on-top, my second selection won 13 times! Thirteen times in 32 races!

Thirteen winners-on-top over the period would have been labeled a great success - thirteen "B" selections and I get no consideration in the accepted handicappers' scorecard. But, I felt good enough about the information overall that I wasn't tempted to throw myself off of the roof of the grandstand.

At the end of the day I'm looking to see how many time the A-B-C-Ds wound up in exactas, trifectas and the like. And along with those thirteen weekend+ "B"s ranging from $3.50 to win all the way up to $27.20, there was plenty of action with the gimmicks. Saturday saw the second and third choice connect for three exactas -- with the high price being a generous $117.50/$2. Top three combined for one tri on Saturday ($129.50/$2) and dipping four-deep into the picks gathered in another nice tri ($1135.00/$2).

There were similar hits on the other two days including two reverse (B-A) exacta on Monday (R2, $17.60/$2; R5, $94.50).

Best Bets handicapping stat of the meet, so far...

Which brings us to the 'stat of the meet' - the result we're proudest of at this point:

Through the first sixteen days of racing, 160 races - our top two selections have completed the exacta 24 times (in straight or reverse order) -- incredibly resulting in a positive ROI. A $2 exacta box on our top two selections for every races at the 2011 meet so far would have produced a return of $877.50 (at a cost of $640.00). An incredible 37% ROI.

Hard to keep that up through the end of the meet, but again, a solid stat not reflected in the traditional winners-on-top method of scorekeeping.

Back at the races: 14,442 attended and were treated to some wacky weather. As the horses left the paddock for the opener the skies opened up and the rain came down in buckets. It continued to rain hard through the running of the first - but had let up by the time R2 rolled around. Shortly thereafter the sun came out and it was mostly a warm, humid afternoon. Only the first race remained on the turf.

Later that evening a huge crowd strolled the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds and enjoyed watching the biggest gamble in the game: The sale of expensive yearlings. The facility has been re-done in the past couple of years and is more fan-friendly - which has paid-off with a very nice buzz all evening long both in the backyard and in the pavilion. Even resulting in cheers among the crowd when the sale price of one youngster passed the million-dollar mark.


Dark day. No racing.

Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sales continue, 7pm... Down the street from the racetrack.


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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