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.
DiDonato: Wednesday - Curve Ball (7-1) looked like the winner of the third at the top of the lane but just didn't seem to want to go by and settled for a close third.
Thursday - Race 6 - Mdn 50000, (S), 2yo, 6f - #6 No Nukes (6-1) No Nukes made a very good physical impression before his maiden special weight unveiling here July 29, but he just never looked comfortable in the slightly muddy going (video). He started climbing and spinning his wheels after showing a bit of early interest, and I think he deserves another chance over what will hopefully be a dry surface. The dark bay was a $4,500 FTKOCT yearling RNA, but brought $35,000 after breezing a decent-looking :10 3/5 at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic. It seems likely that there’s more talent there than he showed on debut, and the drop in class can’t hurt--considering No Nukes’s purchase price and these purses, it definitely isn’t a white flag type move. Play: $20 Win. Alternate: Race 3 - $20 Win on #7 Gombey Dancer. Bankroll: $890 - Record: 20-2-2-4.
Sherack: Wednesday - Much to my liking, She Be Bunny was ridden aggressively by Rosario and enjoyed a clear lead through fractions of :23.50 and :47.80, but had nothing left in the stretch and folded to finish a disappointing seventh.
Thursday - Race 11 - Msw, (S), 3yo/up, f/m, 1mT - #7 Jennys Creek (20-1) Taking a swing on a horse that I added to my rapidly growing stable mail watch (149 horses strong at the moment) following her turf bow at the Spa July 28. Completely ignored at 67-1 going 5 1/2 furlongs versus a similar bunch that day, Jennys Creek stumbled at the start and quickly lost valuable positioning over a course playing extremely kind to front runners. She began to make a decent middle move from ninth into a sharp :22 1/5 opening quarter while riding the rails on the turn for home, but couldn’t keep the momentum rolling once angled out for her run. While she failed to gain any ground on the top three--including the very sharp wire-to-wire winner Subtle--she did have 3 1/2 lengths on the fifth-place finisher to her credit. Jennys Creek has every right to move forward with that one under her belt, and the stretch to a mile should help the cause as well. It’s been an unusually quiet season for the very capable Carlos Martin barn, but his horses have been performing pretty decent at this meeting so far (13-1-5-0). Wouldn’t be surprised at all if Jennys Creek steps up and sneaks into the mix at a huge price over a course playing a lot more even now following last weekend’s heavy rain. Play: $14 Win (Turf Only). Alternate: Race 8: $25 Win on #2 Dan and Sheila. Bankroll: $1,266.80 - Record: 23-6-4-2.