Saratoga Best Bets, news and notes
IT’S TRAVERS DAY AT SARATOGA: With a race card chocked full of Grade 1 stakes — five, count ‘em, five — highlighted by The Travers (Race 12 at 6:11 p.m. ET/3:11 p.m. PT), horseplayers have a plateful of treats to munch on during a special Saturday afternoon in August. (Please join me in prayer for sunshine.) Before turning to my selections (below), let’s look at Mr. Ed’s wagering record after 15 days of posted plays on VSiN.com, and the contests for top jockey and trainer with five racing days remaining at the meet. NOTE: Post time for Race No. 1 is 11:40 p.m. ET/8:40 a.m. PT.
WIN SOME, LOSE SUM: Mr. Ed had a ho-hum, sloppy day at the Spa, having two Place finishers and an Exacta. When all was said and done, we posted $90 of action (after numerous scratches) and cashed for $78.25 for a net loss of $11.75 … With 15 days of posted plays, I remain in the proverbial hole by $430.60. With five play days to go, I’m confident I can reduce that number. Stay tuned.
SPA STATS: While 10 different trainers each won a race Friday, two jockeys — Manny Franco and Irad Ortiz Jr. — both had a pair of winners. Ortiz continues to lead rider standings with 46 wins, while Chad Brown leads conditioners with 30 trips to the Winner’s Circle.
A horseplaying friend once told me you can’t bet ‘em all. Here’s my best shot.
MR. ED’S TRAVERS DAY SELECTIONS:
Races 1-2 (11:40 a.m. ET/8:40 a.m. PT)
Nothing like a winning Daily Double to start. I’ll take #2 CATIRE VISCAYA (3-1 morning line), #6 UNCLE EDDIE - no relation - (12-1) and #8 WALSTIB (2-1) in Race 1 coupled with #1 CITY MISCHIEF & #1A IMAGE OF QUALITY (9-5), #2 ORTUS (3-1) and #14 NEWPORT BRIDGE (3-1): Wager: $2 on Daily doubles of 2,6,8/1,2,14. ($18)
Race No. 3 (12:46 p.m. ET/9:46 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes #3 MONEY SUPPLY (9-5 morning line). Trainer Joe Sharp sends out the expensive son of Practical Joke following a claim from Chad Brown. The added distance should help his off-the-pace running style. Show Mr. Ed the money. Wager: $10 to Win. ($10)
Race No. 4 (1:19 p.m. ET/10:19 a.m. PT)
My BEST BET OF THE DAY is #6 LORD CAPTAIN (7-2 morning line). Trained by Linda Rice and ridden by Jose Ortiz, the four-year-old colt turns back to sprint after a disappointing route test. A recent sharp drill shows he’s ready to excel. All aboard, Captain. Wager: $30 to Win. ($30)
Race No. 5 (1:55 p.m. ET/10:55 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes #7 JAMES ALOYSIUS (2-1 morning line) for one of his go-to conditioners. Recent speed figures indicate he can handle the added distance. Danny Gargan trains, and Joel Rosario returns to the saddle. Wager: $10 to Win. ($10)
Race No. 6 (2:31 p.m. ET/11:31 a.m. PT)
#2 COLONIAL ROSE (7-2 morning line) is my choice. This young filly should improve following her debut Place earlier in the meet. Trainer Al Stall Jr. retains Julien Leparoux for the ride. Excellent work says she’s ready. Salute the Colonel. Wager: $10 Win & Place. ($20)
Race No. 7 (3:07 p.m. ET/12:07 p.m. PT)
In what shapes up as a match race, Mr. Ed likes #2 GUNITE (6-5 morning line) to reverse results vs. #3 Elite Power. I’m counting on the sharp Irad Ortiz-Steve Asmussen duo to prevail in the G1 $500K Forego stakes sprint. Guns blazing. Wager: $20 to Win. ($20)
Race No. 8 (3:43 p.m. ET/12:43 p.m. PT)
I’m betting longshot #10 EXTENDO (10-1 morning line) to surprise the field in a high-class turf sprint, Low-profile trainer Carlos David is having an excellent meet with limited stock. Apprentice jockey Jaime Torres is quickly learning how to win. Wager: $5 Win & Place. ($10)
Race No. 9 (4:19 p.m. ET/1:19 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes three for the money: #3 VERIFYING (4-1 morning line) with Flavien Prat; #5 NEW YORK THUNDER (5-2) with Tyler Gaffalione, and #6 ARABIAN LION (2-1) with Johnny Velazquez. Wager: $5 Exacta box ($30)
Race Nos. 10-11 (4:55 p.m. ET/1:55 p.m. PT)
I like another DAILY DOUBLE. In Race 10 taking #5 WICKED HALO (8-1 morning line) for Asmussen #6 ECHO ZULU (7-2), also for Asmussen and #7 GOODNIGHT OLIVE (9-5) for Chad Brown. Bet them with import turf specialist #3 BOLSHOI BALLET (5-1) in Race 11. Wager: $5 Daily Doubles of 5,6.7/3. ($15)
$1.2 MILLION G1 TRAVERS STAKES Race No. 12 (6:11 p.m. ET/3:11 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed is betting on Belmont Stakes champion #2 ARCANGELO (5-2 morning line) to stalk the early pace and close with a rush down the stretch to win my MONEY PLAY OF THE DAY. Smart lady Jena Antonucci trains. Javier Castellano, who owns this race with five victories, repeats in the irons. Wager: $20 Win & Place. ($40)
TOTAL WAGERS: $203