FRIDAY RECAP: Once again it rained on Mr. Ed’s parade of picks Friday, reducing live action to $51 from VSiN posted plays of $108. In an effort to save the grass for Saturday’s stakes-packed card, all races were OFF the turf, resulting in another torrent of scratches, a total of 39 at last count … #7 Dynamic One (3-1), with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, upset previously undefeated #4 First Captain, who finished third, in the Curlin Stakes. Miles D was runner up … Tight race for rider crown continues, led by Luis Saez (21 wins), followed by Jose Ortiz (20) and Irad Ortiz Jr. (18) … Michael Maker, who picked up his 10th win in Friday’s finale, tops trainer standings.
SATURDAY AT SARATOGA: With fewer wagers due to scratches, much of Mr. Ed’s bankroll has remained high and dry. Since the 11-race card today is so deep, I’ve decided to make up for earlier lost opportunities and step up to the plate, break the bank and exceed the self-imposed (about) $100 in bets. Saturday's feature is Race 9, the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes, with heavy favorite #5 Essential Quality (see Late Pick 4 as we use him as a single). Today’s forecast: Sunny, mid-70s — and winners listed below.
DAILY DOUBLE (Races Nos. 1-2, 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT)
I’ll take a shot with a pair in each contest. In the first, I like two first-time starters, #2 Master Game (5-2 morning line) & #5 Hoist the Gold (8-1). In the second, #1 Fast Gordon (3-1) & longshot #10 D’vinicris (10-1) are my picks. Wager: $4 Daily Double of 2,5 with 1,10. ($16)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 4, 2:47 p.m. ET/11:47 a.m. PT)
It’s time for underachieving 3-year-old #6 Noble Conquest (6-1 morning line) to fulfill his potential. Manny Franco returns to ride for improving trainer Jorge Abreu. Wager: $5 Win, Place & Show on #6. ($15)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 5, 3:23 p.m ET/12:23 p.m. PT)
I like a quartet of New York-bred fillies: #4 Behind the Couch (7-2 morning line), #5 Honey Money (9-2), #7 Shanes Pretty Lady (4-1), and #8 Out First (9-2). Wager: $2 Exacta Box of 4,5,7 & 8. ($24)
SPECIAL $1 PICK 3 (Races Nos. 5-7, 3:23 p.m. ET/12:23 p.m. PT)
Race 5: 4,5,7,8
Race 6: 4
Race 7: 2,6,7,8 ($16)
BEST BET (Race No. 6, 3:55 p.m. ET, 12:55 p.m. PT)
Word from inside Repole stable is all signs point to a major debut for pricy son of super-sire Into Mischief. Wager: $10 Win & Place on #4 Royal Spirit (5-2 morning line). ($20)
LATE PICK 4 (Race No. 8, 5:03 p.m. ET/2:03 p.m. PT)
Race 8: 2,3,4,5,6,9
Race 9: 5
Race 10: 1,2,5,7,8
Race 11: 3,8,13 ($45)
TOTAL WAGERS: $136
SUNDAY, SUNDAY: The Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam (Race 9, 5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT) has attracted a half-dozen speedy 3-year-olds, lead by #3 Jackie’s Warrior (6-5 morning line) and #2 Drain the Clock (2-1). Mr. Ed believes #1 River Dog (6-1), a NY-bred who has won both of his starts for solid Upstate conditioner Jeremiah Englehart, is a sleeper … Steve Asmussen, within a few victories of becoming the winningest trainer of all time, sends out mounts in Races 3,9 & 10 … For those who have never experienced the Saratoga scene, I can assure you that once you have — you will again.