HANDICAP RECAP: Once again on Sunday, chalk prevailed at the windows with average win payoff $7.60. After four days and 41 races, favorites are winning at 41% clip. Industry-wide this number generally hovers around 32% … Handle for the abbreviated week topped $90 million, nearly 11% greater than 2020 … Irad Ortiz Jr. (8) & Luis Saez (8) leading riders. Steve Asmussen (4) tops Brad Cox (3) in trainer standings … As for Mr. Ed, for the first four days (after scratches) I invested $240 and collected $134 with lone winning day (Friday). Quirk: I have yet to post a winner, only cashing tickets on exacta and multi-race wagers … Now is not the time to lose faith, folks. Thirty-six racing days remain between now and Labor Day -- and I fully expect to post a profit for the meet. Failing to do so, you may find me on the backstretch doing laundry for Brent and his Guys in the Desert.
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: The $100,000 Violette Stakes (Race 4) for 2-year-olds going six furlongs on main oval highlights today’s 10-race program, which begins at 1:05 p.m. ET. According to the racing gods, all cards are not created equal, even at Saratoga. Here’s hoping for stronger, bigger fields, better weather and pricier winners -- sooner rather than later … A pair of deep, high-priced allowance contests highlight Thursday’s 10-race (including a steeplechase) menu.
SLOP HOP: So far, the weather has been less predictable than the racing results. Therefore, with rain again in the forecast and half the card listed on the grass, to avoid scratches I’ve concentrated my selections on dirt contests, thus reducing the day’s financial risk.
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 5, 3:21 p.m. ET/12:21 p.m. PT)
When East Coast trainer Mike Dini ships one in, Mr. Ed makes note. #3 Blind Sight (6-1 morning line), goes to dirt sprint; Jose Lezcano returns. Wager: $5 Win & Place on #3. ($10)
BEST BET (Race No. 6, 3:55 p.m. ET/12:55 p.m. PT)
Top trainer Brad Cox (5-3-1-1) gives maiden #6 Let’s Be Clear (7-2 morning line) a second chance after failing at Churchill as heavy favorite. Tyler Gaffalione rides. Wager: $10 Win on #6. ($10)
PICK 4 (Race Nos. 7-10, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Race 7: 7,9,12,16
Race 8: 9,10,11
Race 9: 1,2,3
Race 10: 1,4 (cost $36)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 9, 5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT)
This one’s as easy as #1 West Will Power (3-1 morning line), #2 Forza Di Oro (9-5) and #3 Highest Honors (5-2). Wager: $2 Exacta Box #1,#2 & #3. ($12)
TOTAL WAGERS: $68