WEDNESDAY RECAP: Meet’s hottest rider Luis Saez got out of the gate early, winning the first two races aboard #2 Point of Humor ($9.10) & #2 Casala ($11.40). The 2-2 $2 Daily Double returned $37.40 … Then things really heated up. Not for Saez, but for slumping rival Irad Ortiz Jr. who booted home three winners (Races 3,5 & 9) -- and trainer Chad Brown had a personal daily record of five, count ‘em, FIVE WINS (Races 3,5,7,8 & 9) … Average $2 Win ticket paid $9.90, and a 1 Pick 6 returned $6,270… Not to be out done, Saez won the finale (his third win of the day) on #1 Unicorn Sally ($30) in Race 10 … And, Mr. Ed’s BEST BET #1 Digital Future ($4.20) won Race No. 5.
IRAD INDEX: With three scores, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. raised his win total to 39, tying brother Jose for second place in the rider standings. Both trail Luis Saez by 13 victories … As for money matters, his eight rides (-$16) netted him $15.40 for a Wednesday loss of $0.60. Irad’s record is now seven wins from 30 mounts for a return on investment of -$22.80 since Mr. Ed began tracking his progress last week.
THURSDAY AT THE SPA: The $120,000 Riskaverse (Race No. 9, 5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT), a stakes race restricted to 3-year-old fillies at a mile on the Inner Turf Course, highlights the day’s 10-race card. First post is 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT. Here are Mr. Ed’s suggested plays of the day:
$4 DAILY DOUBLES (Races Nos. 1-2, 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT)
Race 1: 1,2,4
Race 2: 2,4
Wagers: $24 ($24)
BEST BET (Race No. 6, 3:55 p.m. ET/12:55 p.m. PT)
Top jock Luis Saez returns to ride #4 Lady Scarlet (3-1 morning line) for Brad Cox in $100,000 maiden special sprint for 2-year-old fillies. Mr. Ed bet this gal on main track earlier in meet and after leading, she got caught in stretch. Today is her scarlet letter day on turf or dirt. Wager $20 to Win & $10 to Place on 4. ($30)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 7, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Leading trainer Michael Maker hires Tyler Gaffalione to pilot improving #11 High Tide (8-1 morning line) in mid-level claiming route. All of Mr. Ed’s picks rise with the tide. Wager: $10 Win & Place on 11. ($20)
$0.50 LATE PICK 4 (Races Nos. 7-10, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 a.m. PT)
Race 7: 7,9,11
Race 8: 3,4,5
Race 9: 7,10
Race 10: 3,8,12 ($27)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 8, 5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 p.m. PT)
I favor a trio of seven in this seven-furlong allowance test for fillies & mares. It’s similar to three blind mice. Let’s see how they run: #3 Easy to Bless (5-1 morning line), #4 Whispering Pines (3-1) & #5 Movie Moxy (5-2). Wager: $4 Exacta Box of 3,4 & 5. ($24)
TOTAL WAGERS: $125
THIS & THAT: The National Handicapping Championship (NHC) will be held at Bally’s in Las Vegas, Friday through Sunday. Mr. Ed competed in 2016. I considered it my personal March Madness. While I’ll be here at VSiN this year, several of my horse playing friends are entered - and I wish them all good fortune … Chalk City: Last week, Spa favorites won 27 of 53 races (53%). On Friday, the $0.50 Pick 5 paid $24.12. Public handicapper on Capital OTB claims he hit it seven times -- and took a bath! … Long-time, popular NYRA-Fox Sports handicapper Andy Serling on bench with COVID. He reported from home that he’s recovering, adding that the meet has lost 40 turf contests due to inclement weather, thus far.
LOOKING AHEAD: Six stakes, all restricted to NY-breds, are scheduled on Friday. The program, with total purses in excess of $1 million, features the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the main track. First post for the 11-race card is 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m PT … No. 1 West Coast jockey Flavien Prat returns to the Spa this weekend. He has mounts in several of the lucrative stakes races.