Saratoga Best Bets, news and notes
NEWS & NOTES: Preakness officials are weighing moving the race, the second jewel in the Triple Crown, to four weeks after the Kentucky Derby, instead of the traditional 14 days, putting it a week before the Belmont Stakes. Stay tuned... Meanwhile, jockey Luis Saez has decided to retain his mount on Mage for the Travers Stakes on Saturday, August 26th, leaving Tapit Trice in need of a new rider. In addition to those two stars, others expected to join the field for the "mid-summer derby" include Forte, Arcangelo, Disarm, National Treasure, Reincarnate, Scotland and Skinner. It's shaping up to be Race of the Year.
SPA STATS: On Friday, there were another 29 scratches, including Mr. Ed's PLAY OF THE DAY in Race 5. They also played havoc with my Pick 4 ticket, which unfortunately went down regardless in the final leg. The good news is that by hitting the early DD ($22.20) and the winner in Race No. 6 ($58), I cut my losses for the day. To date, Mr. Ed has wagered $1.107.00 and cashed for $489.05 for a net loss of $617.95 over 11 days of posting. Red-hot Tyler Gaffalione booted home three winners yesterday, while conditioner Chad Brown had a four-bagger. Chalk continues to rule at the windows.
TRACKING MR. ED: In more than five decades of handicapping and wagering at Saratoga, I've had several more winning than losing seasons. Trust me, folks, this year's stinker ranks right up there with the Titanic. With nine remaining days of posting every Friday, Saturday and closing with the four-day Labor Day weekend on VSiN.com, Mr. Ed is confident in his ability to turn the ship around before hitting the iceberg. Tell your friends and players that profitable days lie ahead between now and Labor Day... Course correction: Beginning today, I will go more with the public betting-and-cashing flow by concentrating on standouts versus wannabes. This has been the chalkiest Spa season in recent memory, with the public hitting favorites at a better than 38% clip. Here's hoping that my adjustment will help offset my losses up until now... Note of caution: A close friend once told me, "Don't worry, Ed. Someday your ship will come in—only you'll be at the railroad station.
TODAY AT THE SPA: The $500,000 G1 Fourstardave Stakes (Race 9) headlines the 11-race card. Also on tap: the Galway Stakes (Race 7) and the G2 Herb Moelis Memorial Stakes (Race 8)... Elsewhere, three major stakes—the G1 Arlington Millions, the G1 Beverly D. and the G2 Secretariat—have been relocated to Colonial Downs in Virginia, where several Spa-based jockeys will spend the day... First post at Saratoga is 1:10 p.m. ET. Here are Mr. Ed's selections:
Race No. 3 (2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes #2 SA FORADADA (3-1 morning line). Trainer Rick Dutrow's racing resurrection continues as he stretches this mare out to a one-turn mile from the chute and replaces Irad Ortiz Jr. with resurgent rider Luis Saez in the saddle. I have no idea about the derivation of the gal's name, but it sounds like a winner to me. Wager: $20 Win. ($20)
Race No. 4 (2:48 p.m. ET/11:48 a.m. PT)
I like the trio of #2 THUNDERIAN (5-1 morning line) for the David Jacobson-Jose Ortiz combo, #3 COMMERCE COMET (3-1) for Steven Asmussen-Irad Ortiz Jr., and #6 ONE GIANT LEAP (2-1) for Wesley Ward-Walter Rodriguez. Wager: $5 Exacta box of 2, 3, 6 and $5 Daily Doubles of 2, 3, 6 with #1 ELIMINATE (9-5) in Race 5. ($45)
Race No. 6 (4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes #11 RICHIES PRINCESS (7-2 morning line). Leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. climbs aboard the maiden, first-timer granddaughter of Uncle Mo for sharp conditioner Lary Rivelli. Recent bullet work indicates Princess is ready to fire at first asking. Wager: $10 Win. ($10)
Race No. 7 (4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT)
As far as Mr. Ed is concerned, #8 LOVE REIGNS (5-2 morning line). The promising filly sprinter retains the services of Joel Rosario in the Galway Stakes for turf specialist Wesley Ward. She sports some flashy speed ratings and steady work points to a successful return. When she reigns, it pours cash. Wager: $10 to Win and bet $4 Exacta box of 6, 8, 9. ($34)
Races Nos. 8-11 (5:06 p.m. ET/2:06 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes a $1 Pick 4
Race 8: 4, 5, 6
Race 9: 6
Race 10: 2, 5, 6, 10
Race 11: 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 (cost $60)
Race No. 9 (5:44 p.m. ET/2:44 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed's PLAY OF THE DAY is #6 CASA CREED (7-5 morning line). Winner of more than $2.1 million, the cagey vet steps back up in the $500,000 G1 Fourstardave Handicap for Bill Mott. This horse-for-course has a nose for the wire under regular rider Luis Saez. He's fresh and sitting on a big comeback effort in this turf mile. Wager: $20 Win. ($20)
TOTAL WAGERS: $189