Sunday, July 29, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 10

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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.

DiDonato: Sunday - My opponent is putting on a very impressive display--well done, Steve. Another overly patient ride on Unbridled’s Note didn’t help my cause Sunday--he’s no worse than second if ridden with the any sense of urgency.

Today - Race 3 - Md 75000, 2yo, 5 1/2f - #2 River Cruising (6-1)
   It's back to the stats-based plays with River Cruising, who has the right pedigree and trainer for debut success. The bay is a son of Five Star Day, who is a very profitable first-out sire. Since 2009, the speedster's progeny have won on debut 22% of the time with a $3.37 ROI (all wins came in sprints). Trainer Al Stall, Jr. also quite does well with his newcomers. According to DRF Formulator, he has gone 7-for-30 (23%) with a $3.62 ROI over the past year with juvenile firsters in sprints. He had a 25-1 winner and a 7-1 winner in the past month or so alone, and could be adding to those gaudy stats if River Cruising runs to his precocious pedigree. Play: $25 Win. Alternate 1: Race 5 - $25 Win on #2 Jane of All Trades (turf only). Alternate 2: $15 Win on #9 Saponetta Bobo. Bankroll: $810.  

Sherack: Sunday - Talk about a gift. Alaura Michele came through for us and also made it a very happy birthday for Bill Mott, paying a generous $15.60 to win in the scratched-down Nani Rose. Big things on the horizon for this daughter of Arch.

Today - Race 6 - Md 35000, 3yo/up, 7f - #2 Backdown (10-1)
   The John Terranova barn has quietly gotten off to a good beginning at the Spa without booting home a winner (7-0-1-3), including a second-place finisher at 9-1, and a pair of thirds at 24-1 and 11-1, respectively. Backdown showed promise early in his career, finishing a close fifth behind Brethren at two (77 Beyer), then kicked off his sophomore campaign with a strong second to Rattlesnake Bridge (76 Beyer). The chestnut was a distant second to the promising R King of the Road at the Spa last term, but failed to duplicate any of his prior form when a well-beaten fifth to Emcee in a Belmont maiden in September. Subsequently sidelined, Backdown prepped on grass for this with a seventh-place finish at Belmont July 5, a move Terranova strikes at a 27% rate from a 30-horse sample. The lightly raced 4-year-old can only benefit from the drop to maiden claimers here, and takes on a group comprised of mostly 3-year-olds, which should also work to his advantage. Seventh start will be the lucky one for this son of Gulch. Play: $25 Win. Alternate 1: Race 5 - $14 Win (Turf Only) on #3 Mariel N Kathy. Alternate 2: Race 6 - $14 Win on #10 Towering. Bankroll: $1166.  

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