Saratoga recap of opening week; news and notes
WEEKEND NO. 1 SPIN: While Mr. Ed wasn’t able to turn a profit during opening weekend (last Thursday-Saturday), all was not lost as I posted wagers of $278 and cashed tickets for $198.15 for a three-day net loss of $79.85. Computed on a per-day basis, Mr. Ed and his loyal followers lost $26.50/day — about the cost of a movie, popcorn and a soda. If my three goals in researching and writing this column are educating, entertaining and most importantly posting a profit, I feel as though Mr. Ed is off to a fairly good start … Stick with me, fans. Mr. Ed’s got seven more Friday-Saturday sessions to turn a profit.
ANOTHER YOGIISM: “The place (downtown Saratoga Springs at night) is so popular that no one goes there any more.” Locals describe scene during racing season as a cross between Bourbon Street and The Strip. I remember the days when they rolled up the sidewalks at sunset.
NEWS & NOTES:
Closing of Golden Gate Fields no sweat off my brow. Mr. Ed never had a winning day there. The Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita in early November might just be the beginning of the end to big-time West Coast racing … Speaking of California racing, Del Mar opens this afternoon … R.I.P. NY-bred Funny Cide … Cap’s off to Tuley Thoroughbreds Takes (Saturdays on VSiN.com/horse-racing/) teammate Duane Colucci, Rampart race and sportsbook manager, for hitting $0.50 Pick 5 at Saratoga last Saturday for a cool $983.25. That’s the ticket, Mr. Bookmaker … Much ado about nothing: Changing post time of Breeders’ Cup Classic to accommodate TV coverage as we handicap the races wherever or whenever they schedule them.
SPA STATS: After five days of racing, Irad Ortiz Jr. tops jockey standings with 10 wins, followed by brother Jose with 8, Flavien Prat and Luis Saez with 5 apiece … Linda Rice leads all trainers with 6 wins, followed by Chad Brown at 5 and Todd Pletcher with 3.
FRIDAY AT THE SPA: A pair of stakes highlight the card with the Curlin (Race No. 4) and the Lake George (Race No. 9). First race post time is 1:10 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. With a 90% chance of rain, a boatload of scratches are expected. Here are my selections:
Races Nos. 2-5 (1:44 p.m. ET/10:44 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes a $0.50 early Pick 4
Race 2: 1,3,5,6
Race 3: 3,5,7
Race 4: 3,4
Race 5: 1,6,11,12 (cost $48)
Race No. 4 (2:52 p.m. ET/11:52 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed’s PLAY OF THE DAY IS #3 BLAZING SEVENS (4-5 morning line) in the ungraded $135,000 Curlin Stakes. Based on the company of top 3-year-olds he’s been keeping, son of Good Magic gets a ton of class for route. Second to National Treasure in the Preakness, a victory here would establish him among the nation's elite sophomores and earn him a spot in the prestigious Travers Stakes later in the meet. Flavien Prat gets leg up from Chad Brown. Wager: $20 to Win. ($20)
Race No. 6 (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT)
Praying for rain to translate into sloppy conditions, Mr. Ed likes trio to splash home ahead of others: #1 MO Z and #1A BABY BILLY (coupled at 6-1 on the morning line), #8 O CAPTAIN (8-1), and #13 COSTA TERRA (5-2). Wager: $4 Exacta box. ($24)
Race No. 8 (5:10 p.m. ET/2:10 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes #7 ARTORIUS (5-2 morning line) as favorite to capture claiming allowance va. deep field of veteran routers. Trainer Chad Brown brings 4-year-old son of Arrogate up from Monmouth Park, stretches him out and rehires Jose Ortiz to ride. Pick seeks repeat of winning effort at Spa last season. Wager: $10 to Win and $3 box over and under 1,6. ($22 total)
Races Nos. 9 & 10 (5:44 p.m. ET)/2:44 p.m. PT)
To round out a profitable list of selections, Mr. Ed likes coupling #5 REVALITA (5-1 morning line) and #7 UTILIZATION RATE (9-2) in Race 9 with #1 BOURBON CHASE (7-2), #9 ALL GOOD HERE (9-2) and #13 SLAPINTHEFACE (4-1) in the finale. Wager: $2 Daily Doubles of 5,7/1,9,13. ($12)
TOTAL WAGERS: $126