TODD’S DAY: Perennial top-tier trainer Todd Pletcher will be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame on Friday. He’s one class act both on and off the track. Cap’s off, Todd, I’ll be cheering … Also joining the HOF is Triple Crown winner American Pharoah … Hot-riding West Coaster Flavien Prat joins the already loaded jockey colony for several races today (Nos. 6 & 7) and over the weekend. HOFamer “Money” Mike Smith is also at the Spa along with Aidan O’Brien & Ryan Moore from England. Already crowded jockeys‘ room will be overflowing with talent.
HANDICAP RECAP: Over the last 20 races (Wednesday & Thursday), while Luis Saez was busy winning six times and padding his lead, the Bros. Ortiz (Jose & Irad Jr.) could only muster three wins between them (all on Wednesday). Meet standings: Saez (29 wins), Jose (24) & Irad Jr. (24). Yesterday, the Bros. Ortiz actually were shut out of the winner’s circle for the second time in two weeks … Today (before scratches), Jose is listed on seven mounts, Irad six. Mr. Ed’s exclusive OVER/UNDER wins for the Ortiz Bros. is 4.5 — he’s taking the OVER … Michael Maker continues to lead the trainer standings with 14 wins, followed by Todd Pletcher with 10 … On Thursday, similar to Wednesday’s $9.77, average Win ticket paid $9.20.
TODAY AT THE SPA: In addition to the HOF ceremonies, three stakes (The Alydar, National Museum of Facing Hall of Fame & The Troy) highlight action at the track which kicks off at 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT. Here are Mr. Ed’s selections:
DAILY DOUBLE (Race Nos. 2-3, 1:41 p.m. ET/10:41 a.m. PT)
Trainer Charlie Baker & Joel Rosario, who teamed up for Win on Wednesday, join again with #7 Roaming Union (7-2 morning line). Wager: $4 Daily Doubles of 7 in Race 2 with 4,5,6 & 7 in Race 3. ($16)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 3, 2:15 p.m. ET/11:15 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes #4 Single Soul (5-2 morning line) in short field. Box him with #5 Coastana (2-1), #6 Setting the Mood (9-2) & #7 Creative Cairo (5-2). Wager: $5 Exacta Box of 4 with 5,6 & 7. ($30)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 6, 3:55 p.m. ET/12:55 p.m. PT)
Key #5 Value Engineering (9-2 morning line) with #4 Conviction Trade (10-1), #7 Mo Ready (15-1), #10 No Word (4-1) & #11 City Man (7-2). Wager: Box 5 with 4,7,10 & 11 in $2 Exactas. ($16)
BEST BET (Race No. 7, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Chad Brown reaches out to Flavien Prat to pilot #2 Public Sector (2-1 morning line) in Hall of Fame Stakes. Duo seeks three in a row. Wager: $10 to Win & Place on #2. ($20)
$0.50 LATE PICK 4 (Races Nos. 7-10, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Race 7: 2,7
Race 8: 4,5,8
Race 9: 1,7,11
Race 10: 1,7,9 ($27)
TOTAL WAGERS $109
WHITNEY STAKES OVERVIEW: On Saturday, five millionaires, four colts and a rare filly entry, compete for $1 million in purse money and a win-and-you’re-in invitation to the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Here’s the field and Mr. Ed’s early expectations for the 1 1/8 mile on the dirt.
#1-By My Standards (10-1 morning line). Record: 16-7-5-1. Earnings: $2.3 million. Runner-up in last year’s Whitney, he’s in too deep here. Bret Calhoun trains, Gabriel Saez rides. (toss)
#2-Silver State (4-1). Lifetime record: 11-7-2-1. Earnings: $1.7 million. He’s won last six, but not against this strong a group. Steve Asmussen trains. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides (play)
#3-Swiss Skydiver (6-1). Lifetime record: 14-7-3-2. Earnings: $2.1 million. Preakness winner, gal knows how to close — probably too slow early. Kenny McPeek trains, Irad Ortiz Jr. rides. (toss)
#4-Knicks Go (6-5). Lifetime record: 21-7-3-1. Earnings: $4.8 million. He’ll be in front early — and at end. Wire-to-wire score. Brad Cox trains, Javier Castellano rides. (play)
#5-Maxfield (8-5). Lifetime record 8-7-0-1. Earnings: $1.2 million. Head of the class, but only gets B on this exam. Brendan Walsh trains, Jose Ortiz rides. (play)
Mr. Ed’s PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH: 4-2-5.
OTHER SATURDAY STAKES In addition to Whitney
The Lure ($120,000) 4-year-olds & up on turf at 1 1/16 miles
Glen Falls ($250,000) fillies & mares 4-year-olds & up on turf at 1 1/2 miles
The Test ($1 million) 3-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs
Saratoga Derby Invitational ($1 million) 3-year-olds on turf at 1 3/16 miles