SATURDAY RECAP: Speculation as to the recent whereabouts of premiere jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. ended when he was spotted in the Winner’s Circle after Races 5,6 & 7, ending a week-long stretch of subpar performance with a rare racing triple … Can he rack up another three-bagger on Sunday when he has mounts in all but Race No. 6? You betcha he can … The average $2 Win ticket returned $11.90 and the $1 Pick 6 paid $17,118 … Both high-profile stakes were won by pricy horses when #11 High Oak ($22.40) won the Saratoga Special & previous winner #6 Got Stormy ($27) captured the Fourstardave.
SUNDAY AT THE SPA: Lackluster 10-race card doesn’t offer much to write home (or elsewhere) about. But, here are a few selections worth considering …
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 4, 2:49 p.m. ET/11:49 a.m. PT
Reaching for a price, leave the chalk alone and shoot for the moon with #3 Devil’s Code (7-2 morning line), #4 Saratoga Pal (6-1) and #5 Quickflash (6-1). Wager: $2 Exacta box of 3,4,5. ($12)
$.50 LATE PICK 4 (Races Nos. 7-10, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Race 7: 5,7,8
Race 8: 2,7
Race 9: 6,7,10
Race 10: 3,4,9,12 ($36)
BEST BET (Race No. 9, 5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT)
Top turf sprint conditioner Wesley Ward brings speedy #6 Illegal Smile (9-2 morning line) back following a brief timeout. Been working on Spa grass training oval. Gets huge rider upgrade to Irad Ortiz Jr. Wager: $10 to Win & Place on 6. ($20)
DAILY DOUBLE (Races Nos. 9-10, 5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT)
I’ll link #6 Illegal Smile up in the first leg with #4 Kubie Snacks in the second leg. Wager: $6 Daily Double of 6 & 4. ($6)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 10, 6:13 p.m. ET/3:13 p.m. PT)
The worst-kept secret on the backstretch, #4 Kubie Snacks (10-1 morning line), shipping up from Monmouth for trainer Michael Trombetta, is focused on maximum effort. Rider Javier Castellano returns. Watch odds tumble as word gets out. Wager: $10 Win & Place on 4. ($20)
TOTAL WAGERS: $94
RELIABLE RESOURCES: Over the years I have found, as a serious handicapper, one can never have too much information. Start with the Fox Sports team at Saratoga. While the TV crew of Andy, Maggie, Acacia, Tom, Laffit, Mig, Jonathon and Paul all provide excellent commentary during the Saratoga meet, but Mr. Ed likes to dig a little deeper in search of racing wisdom … Here are just a few other people and places — all free — I find worth checking out: Daily Racing Form, Steve Byk, Capital OTB media, Albany Times-Union, Brisnet, Horse Racing Radio Network, Equibase, Nick Tammaro, the Pollock Report, VSiN’s Ron Flatter, the NYRA/Saratoga website … Many of my selections boil down to a consensus of reliable information, but in the end picking winners generally results from a mix of what I’ve learned and good, old inside intuition.
THE WEEK AHEAD: As racing returns on Wednesday, Mr. Ed will take a look at where he stands with the bookkeeper after the first 24 days, offer a few observations from his favorite picnic table (hundreds are available each day) at the Spa and attempt to get back on track to more winning days like Friday. He’ll also have updated leading jockey and trainer standings for the meet.