LABOR DAY AT THE SPA: All good things must come to an end — and the annual Saratoga Race Course meet is no exception. After more than a million fans wagered more than $80 million on (about) 400 races contested by hundreds of horses, trained by scores of conditioners and ridden by dozens of jockeys, Mr. Ed says it’s time to head south to greener pastures, where he’ll be refocusing his binoculars on the Autumn meet at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 8-20 … While it appears Mr. Ed will fall short of his 40-day profitability goal, he sincerely hopes that those who visited these daily posts came away somewhat enlightened, occasionally entertained and better equipped to handicap races wherever they may be run. Thanks, horseplayers, for joining me here at VSiN. Here are Mr. Ed's Labor Day plays …
EXACTA EXTRA (Race No. 5, 2:47 p.m. ET/11:47 a.m. PT)
Mr. Ed found three here worth coupling: #1 Tackle (8-1 morning line), #4 Abaan (4-1 morning line) and #8 American Law (5-2 morning line). Wager: $5 Exacta Box of 1,4 & 8. ($30)
$2 PICK 3 (Race Nos. 5-7, 2:47 p.m. ET/11:47 a.m. PT)
Race 5: 1,4,8
Race 6: 2,6,8,11
Race 7: 4 ($24 ticket)
PRICE PLAY (Race No. 6, 3:22 p.m. ET/12:22 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed looks for late-blooming #2 Sum Kinda Pretty (15-1 morning line) to improve off her maiden victory for trainer Al Stall Jr. Jose Lezcano picks up mount from absent Joel Rosario. Works indicate she’s ready to repeat on grass. Wager: $10 Win & Place on 2. ($20)
BEST BET (Race No. 7, 3:54 p.m. ET/12:54 p.m. PT)
NY trainer Tony Dutrow has had an excellent meet with nine placing from 12 starts, including three trips to the Winner’s Circle. Son of Upstart, #4 Don’t Wait Up (5-2 morning line), missed by a nose in his debut. John Velazquez climbs aboard. Wager: $30 to Win on 4.
$0.50 LAST CHANCE PICK 4 (Race No. 9, 5:04 p.m. ET/2:04 p.m. PT)
Race 9: 2,4,5,7,8
Race 10: 3,6,8
Race 11: 7,12
Race 12: 4,5 ($48 ticket)
TOTAL WAGERS: $152
SUNDAY RECAP: Being shut out on the final weekend of the meet was not what Mr. Ed had in mind when he crafted his selections. In an all-out effort to reach profitability, he ended up shooting himself in the foot, repeatedly. After a few weeks of R&R with Ms. Ed, I assure you he’ll live to play the ponies again … As for the race results, there were two impressive 2-year-old filly winners: #2 Classy Edition ($3.30) romped home in her Race No. 7 debut in and #3 Echo Zulu ($3.20) captured Race No. 11, the Spinaway Stakes … Four riders — The Bros. Ortiz, Luis Saez and Ricardo Santana — had two wins apiece … The average $2 Win ticket paid $13.30 and the $1 Pick 6 returned $10,118.
TOP JOCKEYS & TRAINERS: The contests for leading conditioner and rider are all but decided. Luis Saez, who has led the deep jockey colony in wins since Day 1, has 62 victories followed by Irad Ortiz Jr. (see below) with 56 and brother Jose with 51. Irad’s good, but he’s not Superman. Cap’s off to Saez … As for trainers, Chad Brown with 40 wins, holds an insurmountable lead over Todd Pletcher who has 30. A tip of Mr. Ed’s cap to Brown.
IRAD INDEX: Irad Ortiz Jr.’s race to profitability over the final 16 days appears to be over after failing to make up money from his 10 mounts. His two winners added up to a measly $7.50 as his entries cost him $20 ($2 mythical Win tickets on 10 races), resulting in a net loss of $12.50. Added to the $36.60 he was already down going into Sunday, Irad now shows a deficit of $49.10 … He’s listed to ride in 10 races today.
A FEW FINAL WORDS: Not having to watch & listen to the insufferable TVG gang for several weeks makes the Saratoga experience all the more special. A tip of the red Saratoga cap to the Fox Sports crew for their excellent telecasts throughout the 40 days of THE SPA.