GRINDING AWAY IN SARATOGAVILLE: Last week, a follower accused Mr. Ed of being a grinder. When I was growing up in CT, grinders were meatball sandwiches, with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese on an Italian bread roll. Tasty after a Little League doubleheader … Today, according to popular racetrack lingo, grinders are horseplayers who make small amounts of money at a time on small wagers, repeatedly. Typically, they are hard working and highly motivated, respected handicappers who value every penny they make off their bets … After the first nine days of the 40-day meet, Mr. Ed cashed tickets totaling $510 on wagers (after scratches) of $534. (note: pre-scratch wagers posted on VSiN were $851). So for now, I guess Mr. Ed fits the grinder mold (at least I’m not a meatball sandwich) … Looking ahead, in addition to cashing more tickets, Mr. Ed is praying for more Fast & Firm on track & turf — and an end to his grinding.
TOP JOCKEYS & TRAINERS: Fastest out of the gate, Luis Saez (16 Wins) is tied for the lead with ultra-steady Jose Ortiz (16). Within two is Irad Ortiz Jr. (14), who also has an amazing 22 Places and 10 Show finishes. Look for ice-cold Johnny Velazquez (1) to thaw out this week … As for conditioners, less than a week ago everyone in the Press Box was asking, “Where’s Chad Brown?” After an uncharacteristically slow start, Brown (6 Wins) now sits atop the trainer standings. Five other stables are tied for second with 5 apiece. This might end in a photo-finish on closing day.
WEDNESDAY AT THE SPA: It’s chowder time — first of 10-race card is restricted to jumpers … Feature is Race No. 9, The Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for fillies & mares with #9 Bell’s the One a prohibitive 7-5 morning-line favorite (see Exacta Extra below) … On the undercard is Race No. 3, the $150,000 New York Stallion Series at a mile on the turf … Looking ahead, the John Morrissey Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs for New York-bred males tops Thursday’s 10-race program. First post: 1:05 p.m. ET, 10:05 a.m. PT.
DAILY DOUBLE (Races Nos. 3-4, 2:15 p. ET, 11:15 a.m. PT)
OK to bet a maiden vs. winners? It is In Race 3 where I’ll take the #8 Barrage (4-1 morning line) … I’ll hook him up with #2 Hollywood Gina (3-1), who hit the gate last out, in Race 4. Wager: $5 Daily Double on 8 & 2 ($5)
EARLY PICK 4 (Race Nos. 3-6, 2:15 p.m. ET, 11:15 a.m.PT)
Race 3: 4,8
Race 4: 2,3,6
Race 5: 1,3,8
Race 6: 2,6
Wager: $1 Pick 4 ($36)
BEST BET (Race No. 7, 4:29 p.m. ET, 1:29 p.m. PT)
With top rider Irad Ortiz Jr. returning for Chad Brown, #6 Tamahere (8-5 morning line), while stretching out a bit, looks much the best here. Wager: $20 to Win on #6. ($20)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 8, 5:05 p.m. ET, 2:05 p.m. PT)
Sharp-eyed trainer Wesley Ward sends out turf sprinter #12 Amsden (15-1 morning line), son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, after gelding and rest. Betting favorite in his first two starts. Wager: $5 Win, Place & Show on #12. ($15)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 9, 5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed will take a shot with four gals in Honorable Miss Handicap: Box the #1 Ain’t No Elmers (6-1 morning line), #4 Lake Avenue (9-2), #7 Honey I’m Good (6-1) with favorite #9 Bell’s the One (7-5). Wager $2 Exacta Box of 1,4,7 & 9. ($24)
TOTAL WAGERS: $100
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