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: Friday - All Due Respect got loose like I thought at 20-1 in the Ballerina, but just couldn’t hold off Turbulent Descent or Derwin’s Star and settled for third. Right idea, but she just wasn’t good enough.
Saturday - Race 6 - Msw, f, 2yo, 1 1/16mT - Summer of Fun (15-1) I guess I'm sort of married to Summer of Fun, who I liked at the OBS March sale and who I picked as a "turf only" selection in her rained-off debut Aug. 5 (here's the case I made that day). She didn't run terribly considering she was on the wrong surface and going too short--she never looked comfortable in the sloppy going, but chased an above-average pace to race into contention until fading to fifth in upper stretch. While I'm not sure how relevant it is considering Summer of Fun was turf meant in her debut, trainer George Weaver is four-for-24 over the past five seasons with maiden second timers going dirt to turf (courtesy DRF Formulator). I do fear the runner-up and third-place finisher coming out of Summer of Fun's heat, and will probably box her with those two in my personal plays. Second-place finisher Tap Twenty One was much the best and only got beat by a questionable ride, while Anita Chica figures to love the turf stretch-out. Neither of those shorter-priced runners, however, are going to help me narrow the gap with Sherack. Play: $33 (turf only). Alternate 1: Race 12 - $30 Win on #2 Five Sixteen. Alternate 2: Race 3 - $30 Win on #8 Security Analysis (turf only). Alternate 3: Race 5 - $30 Win on #4 Mulheb. Bankroll: $690 - Record: 28-2-4-5.
Sherack: Friday - Frivolous Alex, sent off as the 2-1 favorite (still have no idea why she was 6-1 on the morning-line), was allowed to set an easy enough pace under a heady ride by Joel Rosario, but got swallowed up in deep stretch and finished fourth.
Saturday - Race 12 - GI Travers S., 3yo, 1 1/4m - #7 Atigun (12-1) Made my case for Atigun in the GII Jim Dandy S., then made my case for a rider change following a disappointing sixth after he was strangled for most of the running. Well, I got my wish with Mike Smith taking over the reins, and Atigun can only benefit from the added real estate here and, hopefully, a fast surface. It won’t be easy, but the price will seem generous if he runs back to his strong third behind Union Rags and Paynter in the GI Belmont S. Plenty of great betting opportunities on this loaded 13-race card, including alternate play Which Market, who I really love in the eighth. Play: $25 Win. Alternate 1: Race 8 - $30 Win (Turf Only) on #4 Which Market. Bankroll: $1,171.80 - Record: 31-7-4-4.