Sunday, July 22, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 4

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We have given our two TDN crack handicappers, Brian DiDonato and Steve Sherack, a mythical $1000 bankroll and told them they can bet no more than 5% of that on any given day at Saratoga on a straight win bet. The winner, at the end of the meet, gets $100 in a TVG betting account, along with bragging rights until next July.

BD: Yesterday - Scratched into Vicki’s Dancer, who was a no-excuse third, in the first. I’m not panicking yet. . . Well, maybe a little.
Today - Race 3 - Opt. Clm ($50K), N2x, (S), 3yo/up, f/m, 5 1/2fT - #2 Letshootpool (15-1)
   Letshootpool took her debut two years ago at odds-on over this course for Linda Rice, besting this race's 3-1 morning line second-choice Eden's Burning. She's bounced around a bit since then, but could be back in career form. The bay was claimed for $12,500 by trainer Mike Lecesse out of a runner-up effort at Finger Lakes May 14, and romped by 7 1/2 lengths last time in an allowance at that oval July 2. Obviously she wasn't beating much, but it was a visually impressive effort. The 73 Beyer Speed Figure she earned puts her close to being in contention with these, and there's reason to believe she's better on turf and may be capable of running significantly faster. The 4-year-old projects to be on or near the lead in a race with little pace, and she deserves a shot returning to the venue where her somewhat disappointing career started off promisingly. Play: $30 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 7 - $20 Win on #4 Goodtolook. Alternate 2: Race 5 - $10 Win on #1 (Turf Only). Bankroll: $930.

SS: Yesterday - Yuck. Think I could’ve outran Irishtocat Sunday. My pick was a mile out of it early, and never lifted a hoof at 26-1. Back to the drawing board.
Today - Race 5 - MSW, 2yo, f, 1 1/16mT - #8 Aventurine (8-1)  
   It's only a matter of time before Todd Pletcher begins to win races in bunches at the Spa, and we’ll go for the longer priced of his two runners here. It’s impossible to forget Big Brown’s eye-catching debut win over the Saratoga lawn back in 2007, and Aventurine will attempt to emulate her promising freshman sire in this one. While her more-fancied stablemate on the morning-line Citizen Emma (4-1) clearly appears to be the quicker of the two based on the duo’s quite comparable worktabs, I have no problem with my filly’s slower, and hopefully stamina-building moves--which includes a trio of five-furlong breezes over the Oklahoma turf around the dogs--with this race being contested around two turns. The $130k KEEAPR buy’s multiple-stakes placed dam Julie Truly was winless in three attempts over the infield, but Aventurine does get a pedigree boost under her hard-knocking stakes-winning second dam Truly Needy, who annexed seven of 21 career attempts on the spinach and also produced MGSW Truly a Judge. Having the red-hot Ramon Dominguez signed on to ride can’t be a bad thing. Play: $25 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 5 - $20 Win on #3 Citizen Emma (Turf Only). Alternate 2: Race 6 - $10 Win on #2 Born Bullish. Bankroll: $1052.

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