Equidaily Racing Journal

Today's Best Bets

by Seth Merrow

Saratoga Race Course
Monday August 15, 2011
Meet Total ... 46-210

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Don't forget to check out the Challenge page where we started the month with a mythical $1000 $1200 bankroll and attempt to increase that amount as the Saratoga season continues.

Mid-season 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.

It's almost a replay of last year's mid-season scorecard with DRF's Litfin on top and the The Saratogian's Taylor and Times-Union's Graves close behind -- but which super-trainer claimed the NY Post's Debbie L since last season?!? At this point in 2010 Deb was in the trailing pack - while 2011 sees her sitting in the #2 spot!

Last year, the top three at the midpoint were still there knocking heads down the stretch. With a new face among the front runners - and a chasing pack that only needs one or two good days to move into contention, the final twenty days of racing should provide some intrigue.

A couple of notables on the list:

The NY Post's DaSilva is leading the pack in terms of $2 return. He's showing a solid flat-bet profit for a $2 bet on each of his top selections through the first twenty cards. DRF's Litfin is the only other handicapper showing a positive return in that category.

And, the Saratoga Special's Shapazian is picking up right where he left off last year. He's trailing the halftime leader by only seven winners -- while having handicapped 36 less races because of The Special's publishing schedule.

As far as Equidaily's Best Bets - the anemic 3-day oh-fer last week put us in a hole with regard to winners-on-top -- but we're still riding the wacky stat we wrote about last week - the nice ride continues for those using our top two picks in exactas.

Through the end of last Monday's card a $2 exacta box on our top two picks in every race would have cost $640.00 and would have returned $877.50 (37% ROI). The play hit six more times from Wed-Sat this week - so the tally to this point, cost for the play: $800.00 ($4 on 200 races); return: $963.00 [20% ROI].

You can view the entire 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004 mid-season scorecards for a more complete comparison of previous years.

And to see what kind of numbers everyone is chasing, final meet totals for the past few seasons can be found here: 2010 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003.

Note: Discrepancies in total number of races played is due to some handicappers losing races due to scratches. (Although the Albany Times-Union seems to have added an extra race! They're totalling to 201, but, we're reasonably certain - although we didn't go back and tally up - that there had only been 200 races through the end of Saturday's card.) And note that the Saratoga Special doesn't publish on Mondays - hence the significantly lower races-played total for their handicappers.

Numbers below are per what is printed in the appropriate editions of the newspapers or are provided by the handicappers themselves. We do not independently audit the figures.

These numbers are through the end of the card on Sat, 8/13/11 - the halfway mark.

Dave Litfin
Daily Racing Form
63-198 ... $418.00
Debbie L
NY Post
60-199 ... $385.20
Bill Taylor
Matt Graves
Albany Times Union
57-201 ... $346.10
John Shapazian
Saratoga Special
Jerry Bossert
NY Daily News
56-199 ... $339.60
Nick Kling
Troy Record/Saratogian
56-200 ... $375.00
Tom Law
Mike Jarboe
Albany Times Union
55-201 ... $342.80
Cusano/Pricci* *turf/dirt tag-team
Daily [Schenectady] Gazette
Dave Little
NY Daily News
53-199 ... $311.90
Kyle Brownell
Post-Star [Glens Fall, NY]
53-200 ... $329.20
Ed Fountaine
NY Post
51-199 ... $356.30
Tom Cavanagh
NY Daily News
51-200 ... $285.00
John DaSilva
NY Post
51-200 ... $456.30
Bill Heller
Daily [Schenectady] Gazette
Mark Hoffman
The [Amsterdam] Recorder
49-200 ... $381.00
Tim Wilkin
Albany Times Union
49-201 ... 338.40
Gaile Fitzgerald
Saratoga Special
Liam Durbin
Daniel Feiss
NY Daily News
45-198 ... $309.30
Seth Merrow
Best Bets - equidaily.com
Dan Lauletta
NY Daily News
43-199 ... $257.30
Vic C
NY Post
43-200 ... $275.20
Erin Finley
Saratoga Special
Dean Keppler
Saratoga Special
Charles Bedard
Saratoga Special
Mike Lipack
NY Daily News
34-197 ... 238.60
NY Post
34-197 ... $260.50
Nick Tammaro


1-10. Winner in the 9th [$3.00]. Also, a cold exacta in the 9th [$6.60/$2]. Reverse exacta in the 3rd [$25.00] with our fourth pick completing the tri there [$77.00]. Second over third selection for the exacta in the 5th [$35.20] with our top pick completing the tri [$56.00]. Boxing the top four brought back the tri in the opener [$97.00] and the 4th [$92.50].

45,960 was the announced attendance - of course that number was inflated by T-shirt giveaway 'spinners'. Those that showed up got lucky as the forecast rain held off - it was overcast but comfortable - maybe even a little bit humid - all day.


NYRA website reporting off the turf today.

Taste of Saratoga Jockey Benefit Event: The Stadium Caf ewelcomes racing fans downtown to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Tickets are $50. 7pm.

Pletcher entry...Both halves are capable but Caixa Electronica is preferred. Repole looking to pad his owner stats? Caixa won a G3 three back - fits the conditions here with a claiming race for $16k back in May 2009.
Speight of Hand...Big Beyer win here early in the meet.
Starforaday...Clearly fits.
Spirit of Cochise.

Mr Haywood...Class drop and cutback.
My Piano Man...First-off the claim and also taking a drop.
Jamms Secret...MSW to Mdn clm'r and eligible to improve with the first one under his belt.
Big City Deputy.

Strike the Tiger Jess Not Jesse Fisherman's Wharf Game Token
On dirt: Ricoriatoa, My Golden Opinion, Won Great Classic, Game Token, WWs Lady's Man.

High Strider Makeminechocolate It's Not for Love Proud Lisa Ready ot Party
On dirt: It's Not for Love, Ready to Party, Miss Vindictive, My Honey Laurie, Wise Choice.

Spina...Beyers on a nice upward swing.
Devilish Silver...Could be interesting on the cutback.
Kissa Melissa...Taking a step or a step and a half down the claiming ladder.
Dubai's Connection.

Strictly Society Roderick Jack's Work Zaahy Tudor King
On dirt: He's A Scrooge, Roderick, Bail Out the Cat, Pawnee Red, Local Legacy, D'Bulldog, Payout.

Warm Hugs Indian Tale Northern Coast Sex Appeal Dominant Currency In Step
On dirt: Indian Tale, Shared Heart, Northern Coast, Victoria Lynn, Warm Hugs.

EIGHTH RACE - Saratoga Special G2 $150K
Italo... Part of the Ward contingent sent to Europe earlier this year. Won debut in France - then flopped vs 22 others (!) at Royal Ascot. We'll hope for a rebound here.
Stat...Logical one to beat from - Pletcher.
Trinniberg...Solid debut win at CRC.
Banner Bill.

Slamming...Could improve in second start and off the layoff for Asmussen.
Pelago...MSW to man clm'r.
Grand Illumination...Also moves in from MSW company.
Sound of Joy.
Chive Blossom.
On dirt: Same, plus Evening Toast.

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: 2010... 2009 ...2008 ... 2007 ... 2006 ... 2005 ... 2004 ... 2003

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