Saratoga Best Bets for Friday; news and notes
SIZZLING SUMMER: As millions of folks across the nation swelter under a scorching heat wave, no one is hotter at Saratoga than jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. After 11 days of racing, this cool customer has won 22 races, averaging two wins a day. The season record is 69. If Irad continues at his sizzling pace, he could chalk up more than 80 trips to the winner’s circle. Talented brother Jose and steady Luis Saez trail Irad with 13 wins each … Linda Rice’s loaded barn tops the trainer standings with 14 wins, followed by Chad Brown with 10 and Todd Pletcher with 8 … And chalk fans, according to CapitalOTB in nearby Albany, favorites are winning at better than a 40% clip — with the meet just beginning to heat up.
TODAY AT THE SPA: The Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam Stakes (Race No. 10, 6:18 p.m. ET/3:18 p.m. PT) for 3-year-olds highlights the 11-race card. A field of six speedy sprinters is led by favorite #1 Drew’s Gold (9-5 morning line).
TRACKING MR. ED: After five days of posted plays, I’m chilly at the windows, having wagered $549 and cashed for $244.85 for a net loss of $304.15. As followers may recall, Mr. Ed encouraged betting cautiously early in the meet. Unfortunately he has failed to heed his own words, resulting in a significant loss. But it’s early. Climb aboard, folks — my rebound begins today with $112 of action. Here are Mr. Ed’s picks:
Races Nos. 1-2 (1:10 p.m. ET/10:10 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes a $5 Daily Double
Race 1: #2 ERIC FROM MIAMI (6-1 morning line) and #4 AGGELOS THE GREAT (7-2).
Race 2: #1 KING ANGELO (5-2) and #5 ARTEMUS CITYLIMITS (9-5). ($20)
Race No. 4 (2:52 p.m. ET/11:52 a.m. PT)
I like three here: #1 MY SWEET WIFE (6-1 morning line), cuts back; #4 AWESOME INDRA (6-1), moving on up; and #9 QUICK MUNNY (7-5), Irad and Rice. Wager: $2 Exacta box. ($12)
Race No. 5 (3:26 p.m. ET/12:26 p.m. PT)
I like #5 BETA (7-2 morning line). Upstate NY trainer ships 6-year-old veteran over to Spa from Finger Lakes where he won three of his last four, albeit vs. weaker fields. Trainer Michael Ferraro is having a career year winning at a 32% clip. Colt runs his best when moving from sprint to route. Wortha beta. Wager: $5 Win and Place. ($10)
Race No. 6 (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed’s LONGSHOT OF THE DAY is #9 FARADAY (12-1 morning line) for dynamic trainer-jockey duo of Chad Brown and Javier Castellano. In response to lackluster debut last Fall, conditioner gelded son of Ghostzapper and added Lasix and blinkers. Rider switch seals deal. Wager: $10 to Win and $4 Exacta boxes of 9/2,3,10. ($34 total)
Races Nos. 8-10 (5:08 p.m. ET/2:08 p.m. PT)
To close out the card I like a $1 Pick 3:
Race 8: 5,8,9
Race 9: 8,10
Race 10: ALL ($36)
TOTAL WAGERS: $112
ON TAP SATURDAY: Two major stakes highlight 11-race program. First, the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, featuring a deep field of the nation’s fastest sprinters. Followed by the Grade 2 Jim Dandy for 3-year-old routers, headed by Forte (7-5 morning line).