SUNDAY SHOWERS: Rain again is in the forecast. It’s 50-50 all day. So, when making your choices, keep in mind that my selections (below) were made late Saturday afternoon. Many scratches are possible before post time. So, check for changes and adjust your plays accordingly … Today’s lone stakes is Race No. 9, The Grade 3 Shuvee at 1 1/8 miles for older fillies and mares. It appears to be a wide-open affair. If you are looking for an under-the-radar play, don’t ignore #2 Gold Spirit (8-1 morning line), who has been working well since joining the Chad Brown barn direct from Chile. Mr. Ed is using her in his Late Pick 4 (see below).
GRAVEYARD OF CHAMPIONS: Who knew about Maracuja? Perhaps those who were told to wager on the filly whose name began with the letters M-A, as in previously undefeated Malathaat. No one told Mr. Ed … #2 Maracuja, at 15-1, ridden by journeyman Ricardo Santana, wore down heavy favorite #1 Malathaat in thrilling stretch duel to capture the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Those who had a $2 wager on the longshot cashed a ticket for $31.20 … Thirty minutes later, #1 Midnight Worker romped home for the powerful new law firm of Repole, Pletcher & Saez. The 2-year-old, first-time sprinting starter returned $22.20 for a $2 Win bet … In the next race, #3 Sifting Sands got up at the wire to score for super-trainer Chad Brown to Win at 28-1! … Recall what Mr. Ed said about all the chalk in the first seven days of the meet? Races 5-7 $1 Pick 3 of 2,1,3 paid a whopping $5,262. Ah, the fickle gods of racing — may they be with you!
DAILY DOUBLE (Races Nos. 1-2, 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT)
Bumped hard in her debut, #5 Shanghai Essence (10-1 morning line) for overdue trainer Linda Rice and very hot jock Jose Ortiz, who retains ride. Wager: $2 Daily Double of 5 with 3,4,5 & 6. ($8)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 2, 1:41 p.m. ET/10:41 p.m. PT)
Full field of New York-bred turf sprinters offers opportunity to spread and hopefully catch a price as Mr. Ed likes these: #3 Scotty Brown (6-1 morning line); #4 Dr. Blute (7-2); #5 Veterans Beach (5-2); and #6 Luna’s in Charge (10-1). Wager: $2 Exacta Box of 3,4,5 &6. ($24)
BEST BET (Race No. 4, 2:49 p.m. ET, 11:49 a.m. PT)
Second off claim from Bob Baffert barn, conditioner John Terranova sends out #2 Tale of the Union (8-5 morning line) in six-furlong sprint for NY-breds. Should benefit from rail post. Must break. Winless Johnny Velazquez returns following solid work. Wager: $20 to Win on #2. $5 Daily Double of #2 & #10. ($25)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 5, 3:21 p.m. ET, 12:21 p.m. PT)
In another full-field turf sprint for fillies and mares, Mr. Ed likes #10 Lime (9-2 morning line) for sharp trainer Wesley Ward. Speedy gal had two quick Keeneland works prior to shipping in. Vet Johnny Velazquez named to ride. Wager: $5 Win & Place on #10. ($10)
$0.50 LATE PICK 4 (Races Nos. 7-10, 4:29 p.m. ET, 1:29 p.m. PT)
Race 7: 1,3,7
Race 8: 4,7,9,12
Race 9: 2,4,6
Race 10: 3,5,6,8 ($72)
TOTAL WAGERS: $139
IT’S A BIG TENT, FOLKS: Over the past 30 years of enjoying good times at Saratoga, Mr. Ed has had the pleasure of meeting many sharp handicappers, all of whom he now considers close friends and degenerate allies. Here are a few of them (names withheld, but they know who they are) with a glimpse at the backgrounds of great horseplaying friends: a big-stable groom; a horse owner-breeder; a retired high-powered DC attorney; a nearly scratch senior golfer; a hedge fund manager and his banker wife; a real estate magnate; a well-known sports gambling deal maker; and a retired agri-business executive. When we all get together the talk is all racing, all the time. Everyone leaves politics, grandkids and health concerns — at home.
THE WEEK AHEAD features eight stakes, highlighted by two at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds — The Curlin on Friday and the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy with Essential Quality on Saturday. Both are considered stepping stones to the Grade 1, $1.25 million, 1 1/4-mile Runhappy Travers on Aug. 28 … Next Saturday is PDJF (Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund) National Awareness Day. Jockeys at tracks across the county will be available to have pictures taken and sign autographs with/for racing fans. Financial contributions for excellent cause welcomed.