Thursday, July 19, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 1

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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 and/or place bet. The winner, at the end of the meet, gets $100 in a TVG betting account, along with bragging rights until next July.

BD: Race 9 - GIII Schuylerville S. - #3 Brown Eyes Blue
   Brown Eyes Blue might not quite match up on speed figures with most of her rivals, but virtually every handicapper knows by now that early 2-year-old figures are pretty much irrelevant. Hopefully that 60 debut Beyer will keep her price up. The $180,000 KEEAPR buy does have something going for her that nobody else in the field does--she's shipping in from Churchill Downs. The last five winners of the Schuylerville were all doing the same, scoring at average odds of 5.6-1 despite two chalky winners (Georgie's Angel and Hot Dixie Chick). Brown Eyes Blue faced 11 foes in her successful June 30 unveiling, whereas no other runner in the field beat more than six opponents in their respective maiden tallies. The spring/early summer 2-year-old races in New York tend to be weaker and include fewer runners than those held in Kentucky, as New York horsemen presumably save their bullets for Saratoga, whereas Kentucky-based trainers have earlier graded stakes at which to point their best babies. Brown Eyes Blue is also the only runner in the field to have already gone this six-furlong distance, and the pace she set was hot, as opposed to expected favorite Baby J (J Be K), who got away with murder on the front end in her graduation. Play: $30 Win. Alternate 1: Race 10 - $20 Win on #12 Tough All Day. Alternate 2: Race 10 - $20 Win on #4 Way of the West.

SS: Race 9 - GIII Schuylerville S. - #7 So Many Ways
   I'm banking on Tony Dutrow to pick up where he left off at the Spa after saddling Grace Hall to a win in last September’s GI Spinaway S. While he shipped that one upstate after a smart win first out at Delaware, this time he will be represented by a runaway Parx debut victress. Backed as the 2-1 second choice in that 4 1/2-furlong heat June 9, So Many Ways broke like a rocket, was ridden hard to set a pressured early pace, and leveled off quite nicely in the stretch to score by eight good-looking lengths. With plenty of speed signed on to her inside, the well-drawn Maggi Moss colorbearer figures to sit a perfect stalking trip, and should relish the added real estate here as well. Adding Lasix, the bay sports a much flashier worktab with a race under her belt now, firing a pair of four-furlong bullets in Bensalem July 6 and 14, respectively. A rider upgrade to Javier Castellano is another major plus. Play: $40 Win. Alternate 1: Race 1 - $20 Win on #8 Writingonthewall. Alternate 2: Race 2 - $20 Win on #1 Alwaysinmycircle.

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