Friday, July 20, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 2

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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: Yesterday - My Schuylerville pick Brown Eyes Blue faded after failing to make the lead, but Mr. Sherack nailed it--good job, chalk lover. I knew I was in trouble as soon as the odds opened--that money was very telling. Did better with other picks on Twitter, so follow me there too @BDiDonatoTDN for slightly less terrible insight.

Today - Race 2 - MSW, 2yo, 5 1/2f - #8 Holden On (8-1)
   This wasn't my favorite Saratoga opening Saturday card, to be honest. I didn't have many strong opinions, so I'll fall back on a stats-based play--Holden On seems to offer a positive expectation based on both trainer and pedigree data. While conditioner Chad Brown has been in a bit of a slump with his first timers recently (one for his last 24 according to DRF Formulator), he has excellent numbers with his 2-year-old newcomers at the Spa. Brown has won at an exceptional 30% (11-for-37) clip with a gaudy $3.56 ROI since 2009 with juvenile firsters here. Holden On's sire Dehere, champion juvenile way back in 1993, is perhaps the best debut broodmare sire on the planet and a very solid debut sire as well. His debut ROI has been over $2.50 with recent North American crops, and his numbers were even better before he was exported to Japan in the early 2000s. Holden On was a $62,000 OBSAUG yearling to $165,000 OBSMAR 2-year-old pinhook for Becky Thomas's Sequel Bloodstock after working an eighth in a solid enough :10 1/5. Play: $20 Win. Alternate 1: Race 2 - $20 Win on #4 Spurious. Alternate 2: Race 7 - $10 Win on #5 Image of Disco. Bankroll: $970.

SS: Yesterday - Was expecting to get some value on Philly shipper So Many Ways (5-1 on the morning-line), but apparently the TDN faithful immediately knew who to back in this contest and crushed my selection down to 5-2. In any case, I’ll gladly wipe the chalk off my hands, cash my $40-win ticket, and enjoy the lead at first call. Will be keeping a close eye on Twitter to see if DiDonato can reveal the feature’s last-place finisher for the second straight day.
Today - Race 4 - MSW, (S), 3yo/up, 1 1/16mT - #1 Papa Tom (10-1)
   I’m going to have to learn how to pronounce trainer Rodrigo Ubillo’s name properly if he delivers with Papa Tom for me here. The low-profile barn has connected with only six of its 61 previous starters in 2012, but most notably struck with a pair of bombs upstate last term at 26-1 and 16-1, respectively. This 3-year-old son of Utopia (Jpn) has taken a nice step forward in his last two at Belmont with the addition of blinkers, flashing some early interest and staying on for a pair of well-beaten fourth-place finishes versus older horses at 55-1 and 27-1. Gets an advantageous inside draw with not too much early speed entered, and also receives a major rider upgrade from seven-pound apprentice Wilmer Garcia to Edgar Prado. Barn has three others entered on the card--hopefully we’re on the right one. Play: $25 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 1 - $20 Win (Turf Only) on #2 Great Mills. Bankroll: $1,112.

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