MONEY MATTER$: After three weeks, it appears Mr. Ed is better at predicting the weather than picking winners … No one promised Mr. Ed a rose garden (with the exception of Mrs. Ed) when, after decades of lone-wolf horseplaying, VSiN offered him a chance at public humiliation. Now, after 14 days of “Mr. Ed’s Saratoga on (about) $100 a Day,” he has mixed feelings — and unfortunately for himself and his few followers, a shrinking bankroll … First, the numbers: Mr. Ed has posted $920 in picks here (after scratches) and cashed $648 worth of tickets for a net loss of $272 after three weeks of wagering … As for my fragile ego, I was down low after being shutout Sunday (Saratoga $117, Mr. Ed $0). Being one’s own worst critic can be harmful to one’s daily routine. Short of abandoning this public handicapping exercise all together, I considered several forms of self-flagellation, including but not limited to, burning my well-worn, lucky red Saratoga cap (vintage 1985), volunteering to weed Mrs. Ed’s garden and/or suspending my daily intake of Buffalo Trace … After a few days off from studying PPs, I’ve decided instead to rededicate myself to identifying and sharing winners. Reviewing wagering results thus far, I’m convinced, with a few tweaks, I can get on track to profitability … Hey, if Irad Ortiz, Jr. can endure 31 Place finishes and hold his crop high, certainly Mr. Ed can withstand a few slings and arrows of defeat at the windows. Hang with me, folks, bettor days ahead.
HANDICAP RECAP: Sunday was the chalkiest day of the meet thus far with the average Win ticket paying less than $8. This can be attributed partly to the savviness of Saratoga horseplayers, the widespread use of modern technology (internet, podcasts, radio, television) and the high-class racing program … On the other hand, Saturday’s bomb-filled results led to an average $2 ticket return of more than $20. Go figure.
JOCKEYS, TRAINERS & ASMUSSEN: After 14 days of racing, a highly competitive scramble is shaping up for the winningest rider title. Current standings: Luis Saez (24 wins), Jose Ortiz (23) & older brother Irad Ortiz Jr. (22). Thanks to a rare inside-straight triple (winning races 7-9) on Sunday, Joel Rosario (14) moved up, while young Tyler Gaffalione (13) rounds out the top five … Kentucky invader Michael Maker (14) surprisingly leads all conditioners, followed by Todd Pletcher (8) & Steve Asmussen (8), Chad Brown (7) & Brad Cox (7) … Speaking of Asmussen (9,441), at last report he had closed within four victories of becoming the winningest trainer of all time.
WEDNESDAY AT THE SPA: A mixed-bag 10-race card, including one for jumpers, is highlighted by Race No. 8 (5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 p.m. PT), the $120,000 Shine Again Stakes for fillies & mares, 4-year-olds and up at 7 furlongs on the main track. Morning line projects two-horse race between #1 Bayerness (8-5) and #2 Aunt Kat (7-5).
BEST BET (Race No. 2, 1:38 p.m. ET/10:38 a.m. PT)
In search of winner’s circle, Chad Brown puts high-priced, newly gelded #7 Cousin Andrew (4-5 morning line) up for sale; adds Lasix, rehires Javier Castellano. Wager: $20 to Win on #7. ($20)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 6, 3:55 p.m. ET, 12:55 p.m. PT)
Joel Rosario retains ride on #1 Towering Orbit (8-1 morning line) for popular NY trainer Charlie Baker. Draws better post, cuts back, adds blinkers. Like Mr. Ed, gal needs a break. Wager: $5 to Win, Place & Show on #1. ($15)
$0.50 Pick 4 (Races Nos. 7-10, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Race 7: 1,3,5,8
Race 8: 1,2,4
Race 9: 1,5,7,8
Race 10: 5,10 (cost $48)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 9, 5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT)
Short field might = short price, but these four stand out: #1 En Wye Cee (9-5 morning line), #5 Burning Bright (6-1), #7 Bodecream (7-2) & #8 Argonne (5-1). Wager: $2 Exacta Box on 1,5,7 & 8. ($24)
TOTAL WAGER: $107
LOOKING AHEAD: Daily Racing Form reports that controversial trainer Bob Baffert plans to ship Illumination in from California to run in Grade 1, $500,000 Test Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday.