FRIDAY RECAP: Graveyard of favorites? Hard time convincing Mr. Ed as average Win ticket returned $8.90, the third consecutive day of sub-$10 returns on $2 wagers … The day’s lone stakes, The Skidmore, an off-the-turf sprint for 2-year-olds, went to chalky betting choice #2 Avery Jane ($5.20), trained by Wesley Ward … As for jockeys, meet leader Luis Saez captured the early Daily Double (Races Nos. 1 & 2), but was blanked the rest of the way. Tyler Gaffalione won the late Daily Double (Races Nos. 9 & 10) … Trainer Todd Pletcher had a pair of trips to the Winner’s Circle … The $1 Pick 6 paid $25,403.50.
IRAD INDEX: Jockey was only able to boot one home Friday from six (after scratches & changes) chances, bringing his three-day record to three wins from 17 starts. Based on $2 Win wagers, he’s at -$19.20 since we started tracking this for the final three weeks of the meet … Note: Irad Ortiz Jr. has seven rides at the Spa on Saturday. Also, whatever he does at Woodbine on Sunday WILL NOT be included in the IRAD INDEX here.
SATURDAY AT THE SPA: Second only to Travers Day next Saturday, this is Mr. Ed’s favorite day at Saratoga. Two excellent stakes for ladies highlight the outstanding 11-race program, led by the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama (Race No. 10, 6:13 p.m. ET, 3:13 p.m. PT) for 3-year-old fillies at the classic 1 1/4-mile distance … A little more than a half-hour earlier (Race No. 9, 5:39 p.m. ET, 2:39 p.m. PT), sophomore gals will compete in the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid at 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon Turf Course … The card also features a pair of $100,000 Maiden Special Weights contests (Races Nos. 1 & 7) for 2-year-olds, potential 2022 Triple Crown participants … Like the outcome of any of the 11 races, the weather is highly questionable.
$0.50 EARLY PICK 4 (Races Nos. 2-5, 1:41 p.m. ET/10:41 a.m. PT)
Race 2: 4,5
Race 3: 1,2
Race 4: 2,3,4
Race 5: 1,4,8 ($18)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 5, 3:23 p.m. ET/12:23 p.m. PT)
Three sharp trainers hold keys to exotic bet: #1 Regal Speaker (5-2 morning line) for Danny Gargan; #4 Ghost Giant (2-1) for Rob Atras; and #8 Good Old Boy (7-2) for Robertino Diodoro. Repeat after me: Regal Ghost is a Good Old Boy. Wager: $5 Exacta Box of 1,4 & 8. ($30)
$0.50 LATE PICK 4 (Races Nos. 8-11, 5:03 p.m. ET, 2:03 p.m. PT)
Race 8: 2,3,4,6
Race 9: 2,4,6
Race 10: 6,7
Race 11: 1,4,9 ($36)
BEST BET (Race No. 9, 5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT)
A personal friend of Mr. Ed, who is a breeder-owner, recently hired Jorge Abreu to train string of young horses. He is delighted with his decision. NY-bred filly #4 Runaway Rumor (7-2 morning line) looks live, especially stretching out on turf. Rumor is Jose Lezcano will ride. Wager: $20 to Win, $10 to Place on 4. ($30)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 10, 6:13 p.m. ET, 3:13 p.m. PT)
Many handicappers look forward to a rematch of top two finishing fillies in Coaching Club American Oaks. Mr. Ed looks beyond that duel, picking Grade 1 newcomer, winner of last two, #7 Army Wife (6-1 morning line) for top trainer Michael Maker to score upset under young Tyler Gaffalione in prestigious Alabama. I’m in the Army now. Wager: $10 to Win & Place. ($20)
TOTAL WAGERS: $134
AWAY FROM SPA: For those who thirst for additional thoroughbred action, both Woodbine and Del Mar are offering excellent programs over the weekend … At least two members of the Saratoga jockey colony will be working out of town: Joel Rosario to ride Dr. Post in the Grade 1, $1 Million Pacific Classic in California today and Irad Ortiz Jr. to pilot Safe Conduct in the Grade 1, $1 million Queen Anne’s Plate in Canada on Sunday.
ON TAP ON SUNDAY: Fillies & mares, 4-year-olds & up, will face off in the $120,000 Summer Colony Stakes (Race No. 9, 5:39 p.m. ET/ 2:39 p.m. PT) at 1 1/8 miles … Post time for Race No. 1 of the 10-race card is 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT.