The weathermen were as wrong as the handicappers. Yesterday, that was a good thing.
I know they announced 50,000 or whatever, including the spinners, but the crowd inside the plant was manageable and the day was gorgeous, About halfway through, the humidity went away and we were left with Sunday Saratoga perfection. As for the handicappers, they did OK in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, and 10th. But the rest of the day, there was a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on with the toteboard as we saw horses that paid $11.80 (not bad for a five horse field), $142.50 (HAVE A NICE DAY!), $20.20, $36, $15.60, and $30.60. I was thinking what great marketing it is for the sport to see prices like that (with good quality racing). Lots of oohs and ahhs from the crowd.
I had family with me at the track, as my sister-in-law Carolyn, her husband Jon, and our nieces Audrey and Sidney were with us. We had a great day sitting out in section Q of the grandstand. No serious horseplayer I know sits out there in the boonies, so far from the action of the paddock (and it’s accompanying bar) but I have to say I love the view for the actual races. With that perspective on the turn, you can see the race won or lost right in front of you more often than not. We had a lot of fun out there and I’d like to think we helped create some new fans yesterday.
In the morning, we took a little training tour of the Oklahoma track, and later in the week I’ll provide some photos. Watching training is probably the best way to spend a Saratoga morning, and if you haven’t done it, I highly advise you do.
The other funny thing from yesterday — of course — was The Return of the Saratoga’s Favorite Angle! It may be facile to write about it, but I just can’t resist. For the 14th time in 19 years, Bill Mott had a winner on his birthday. This year he generously waiting until the 9th race to get one home, ALAURA MICHELE in the stake. She opened up heavily bet, drifted nicely, and ended up paying $15.60. She makes it a string of four birthday winners in a row for Mott starting with COME FROM BEHIND (2009), DEVIL BY DESIGN (2010), and REACH A DECISION (2011). His birthday was a dark day in 2008 or I’m sure it’d be five straight. Not sure what was going on in 2007. And the Formualtor database at my fingertips doesn’t go back farther than that.
Happy Birthday indeed.
I’m on just enough of a bad run with these to start second-guessing myself. . .so instead of choosing between my two plays today, I am going to give you both.
$25 to win and place on #3 BROTHER BOB
This horse didn’t break great in his debut for a shrewd trainer whose charges often improve with one under their girths. He drops for a tag today and attracts Ramon. He should be an OK price if folks fall all over themselves (as they are wont to do) betting Wesley’s Ward’s speed horse from the rail. Let’s try.
$25 to win and place on #2 PRIZE CATCH
Remember the days of Penna power? Let’s bring them back. Given the FLOW situation and trip, I thought Prize Catch ran just about as well as Federation last time (though you could certainly argue Fed will be better coming from farther back). And yet, while that rival is 9/5 on the line, PC is 8s. If that ends up being accurate (as Eric’s line so often is), I think I’d just have to take a little shot. Looking at Prize Catch’s body of work, I feel like she’s been generally unlucky (a closer who rarely to never gets a set up) and is probably better than a literal reading of her PPs would indicate.
MEET TO DATE RESULTS: