WEEKEND REVIEW: While many winners were short on payoffs, a few were long on performance, particularly one. Odds-on Essential Quality ($2.90) stamped himself a worthy Horse-of-the-Year candidate with his gutsy win over Midnight Bourbon in the Travers. Connections are now prepping the 3-year-old for an ultimate run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic … Other impressive, short-priced winners included Gamine ($2.70), Viadera ($3.60), Jackie’s Warrior ($5.10) Letruska ($3.50) and Medina Spirit ($3.80) at De Mar … Mr. Ed capitalized on this chalky trend by cashing a number of tickets, but they weren’t enough to significantly cut into his meet-long, subpar financial bottom line. Which brings us to …
MONEY MATTER$: There is good news and bad news. Good: Mr. Ed cut his personal losses by recording his first profitable week (about time) booking $132 for those wagering on his picks over the five-day period … Bad: After 34 days, and with only six days left, the bankroll remains $497 in the hole … So, what’s the plan to finish the 40-day meet? Continue to grind away at Saratogaville, capitalizing on the short-price trend, perhaps showing another weekly profit, but with little chance of reaching my ultimate goal of making money? Begin to wager much more than (about) $100 a day — but abandoning what I set out to accomplish? … Finally, I could become a bit more adventuresome by occasionally rolling the dice and selecting horses with more promising payoffs. It’s a tough assignment, but Mr. Ed is ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
JOCKEYS: When Ricardo Santana Jr. won three consecutive races (for three different trainers) on Sunday, he joined leader Luis Saez as the only riders to score the rare triple during the meet. The $1 Pick 3 (Race Nos. 6-8) returned a healthy $858 … Current hottest rider Joel Rosario also had three wins on Sunday … Before looking at those atop the jockey standings, Mr. Ed gives a tip of his cap to Santana and a pair of others for having outstanding meets: Rosario (38 wins), Tyler Gaffalione (31) and Santana (27) … Luis Saez (58) has all but wrapped up the jockey title. The Bros. Ortiz, Irad Jr. (45 - see below) & Jose (43) will race down to the wire for the runner-up spot … Rosario leads all riders in money won with $4.8 million.
TRAINERS: As forecast here last week, Chad Brown’s talent-laden barn soared to the top of the conditioner standings with 34 victories, outdistancing Todd Pletcher (25) and early leader Michael Maker (25) … As for dollars won, Brown’s stable leads with $3.7 million.
IRAD INDEX: It can be argued that Irad is a victim of short-priced success. On Sunday he won only one ($3.20) of eight contests, resulting in a loss of $12.80 based on a mythical $2 Win bet on each of his mounts. For the five-day week, he had 13 wins from 56 rides, a respectable 23%, but for a cash deficit of $57.50 … Like Mr. Ed, he’ll only achieve profitability by booting home some better-priced horses. Irad is listed to ride six today.
TODAY AT THE SPA: A Pick 6 carryover of $161,541 greets horseplayers after a two-day hiatus as the 40-day meet enters its final week. The $1 multi-race parlay, which begins in Race No. 5 (3:21 p.m. ET/12:21 p.m. PT), includes the featured Grade 3, $150,000 With Anticipation Stakes in Race 9 (5:39 p.m. ET/2:39 p.m. PT) for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Post time for the 10-race card, which opens with a hurdles (clam chowder time) event, is 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT. Here are Mr. Ed’s selections:
BEST BET (Race No. 4, 2:49 p.m. ET/11:49 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed is #6 In a Hurry (7-2 morning line) to complete meet as a money-making venture. Rested filly picks up services of hot jock Joel Rosario. Hurry up. Wager $20 to Win on 6. ($20)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 5 (3:21 p.m. ET/12:21 p.m. PT)
Overdue conditioner Nick Zito drops #4 Chase Tracker (6-1 morning line) into $16,000 claimer in effort to snap barn’s winless streak. Tyler Gaffalione gets aboard for a trainer whom Mr. Ed knows and has admired and respected for years. Get ‘er done, Nick. Wager: $10 to Win on 4. ($10)
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 6, 3:55 p.m. ET/12:55 p.m. PT)
Three for the money: #2 Brew Pub (7-2 morning line); #6 Big Little Risk (3-1) & #9 Freudian Fate (4-1) offer excellent opportunity to cash exotic ticket: Wager: $5 Exacta Box of 2,6 & 9. ($30)
$1 PICK 3 (Races Nos. 7-9, 4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)
Race 7: 1,6,7,9,12
Race 8: 1,3,4,6
Race 9: 1,4,6 ($60)
TOTAL WAGERS: $120
LOOKING AHEAD: The $120,000 P.G. Johnson Stakes for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles highlights Thursday’s racing menu … Friday’s card features the $120,000 Lucky Coin Stakes turf sprint for 4-year-olds & up … Lots of stakes coming up over meet-ending, three-day Labor Day weekend.