WEEKEND RECAP: Mr. Ed did what he loves best at Saratoga Race Course — spend time with a mixed brew of long-time friends and fellow racing fans in the picnic grove within sight of the paddock and a HUGE screen TV … At various times our annual gathering included a groom, an 86-year-old retired postal inspector, two cigar-chomping DC lawyers who happen to be brothers, a bookie, Mrs. Ed and a chiropractor, who also breeds and owns thoroughbreds … Races were run, high-fives were exchanged, tickets were torn and tossed, insights exchanged, food & drink consumed and a good time had by all inside a proverbial big tent-full of happy horseplayers.
MONEY MATTERS: With five weeks gone and three to go, there are a number of unexpected trends worth noting, all of which began during Week 1 and continued through Week 5. Luis Saez leads all riders with 39 wins and $3.4 million in purse money, followed by Jose Ortiz (34/$3.1 million) and older brother Irad Ortiz Jr. (32/$3.2 million), Joel Rosario (21/$2.8 million and Tyler Gaffalione (21/$1.8 million) … In the race for top trainer, Michael Maker has 21 wins and $1.4 million in purses, followed by Chad Brown (17/$1.9 million), newly minted Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher (14/$1.6 million), winningest conditioner of all time Steve Asmussen (12/$1.1 million) and 2020 Trainer of the Year Brad Cox (9/$1.4 million) … Most pre-meet prognosticators tagged Irad Ortiz Jr. and Chad Brown as leading their respective categories. Mr. Ed sees both contests tightening with neither decided until season-ending Labor Day weekend.
IRAD INDEX: Speaking of trends, beginning today Mr. Ed will track jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.’s, thus far erratic riding efforts over the final 15 days of the meet. On Wednesday, Irad has mounts in seven races (Nos. 2,3,5,6,7,8 &9). Each day I’ll tally his number of rides, victories and Win payoffs … My bet: He’ll wind up in the green.
MONEY MATTERS II: Another unexpected trend is personal. After five weeks, Mr. Ed’s bankroll shows a net loss of $489, or (about) $100 per week or $20 per day. Turning a profit at the Spa is no easy task, especially for a rookie public handicapper betting his own cash, willing to post his picks, and then track and publish his results each week … Once again, my goal five weeks ago was to inform, entertain and cash tickets. I am confident that by meet’s end Mr. Ed will cross the finish line a winner on all counts … A final thought. In order to reach my goal of profitability it would be easy to begin throwing bombs in hopes of eliminating debt in a race or two. Not gonna happen, folks. I’ve lived by grinding within my Saratoga on (about) $100 A Day means — and going forward Mr. Ed will continue to do so.
WEDNESDAY AT THE SPA: A Steeplechase Stakes, the G1 $150,000 Jonathan Sheppard Handicap (Race 1) & the Bolton Landing (Race 9) for 2-year-old fillies, highlight the 10-race card … There is $1 Pick 6 (Race Nos. 5-10/3:21 p.m. ET/12:21 p.m. PT) carryover of $145,196 … Race 1 post time is 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT … Mr. Ed’s selections are:
BEST BET (Race No. 2, 1:38 p.m. ET/10:38 a.m. PT)
Danny Gargan moves recent claim #2 Cantrell Hill (5-2 morning line) up in class, hires leading jockey Luis Saez to ride in seven-furlong sprint after excellent effort earlier in meet. Wager: $10 to Win & Place on 2. ($20)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 6, 3:55 p.m. ET/12:55 p.m. PT)
Johnny Velasquez picks up mount on #1 Sand and Sea (7-2 morning line) for trainer Bill Mott following bullet work for turf sprint. Inside draw holds key to victory. Wager: $10 Win & Place on 1. ($20)
$0.50 LATE PICK 4 (Races Nos. 7-10, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Race 7: 1,7,8
Race 8: 1,5,6,10
Race 9: 4,5,8,9
Race 10: 1,3 ($48)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 7, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Under-rated trainer Phillip Bauer cuts improving #1 Bayshore Foxes (3-1 morning line) back to sprint. Mr. Ed links her with #7 Before You (4-1) for Bill Mott and #8 Targeted Return (9-2). Wager: $5 Exacta Box of 1,7 & 8. ($30)
TOTAL WAGERS: $118