Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 12

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 - Wow. . . this is getting ugly fast. Had my fourth top pick scratch so far, and alternate Liquid Lunch wasn't going to help me much even if she did beat the heavily touted Pletcher firster Corail. Sherack struck again, with a horse I needed badly here last year when he got run down late at 10-1, to add insult to injury.

Today - Race 5 - Mdn 50K, 3yo/up, f/m, 1mT - #9 Krissy Kat (12-1)   Krissy Kat has shown late interest in a pair of dirt sprints, and now stretches out over the turf while getting some class relief. The bay debuted against straight maidens here last August, and simply didn't have enough speed to keep up early, but she put in a nice late run to be fourth. The form of that race has held up reasonably well, as a trio of runners came back to score and two later earned some black-type. Krissy Kat, on the other hand, disappeared until June 30, when she returned to finish a similar fifth at Belmont. Again dropping far out of it early, the James Spence homebred put in a wide late bid, but never had a shot from as far back as she was. She has hinted at a bit of ability, however, and going long--particularly on turf--might prove to be her game. Pretty much everything on her dam's side preferred routing--her dam did, and so did her dam's GSW half-sister Golden Sonata. So did her MGISP third dam Pass A Glance, who has some nice turf horses underneath her. Krissy Kat's dam, by Kris S., is out of a British-bred daughter of Royal Academy, so there's definitely breeding there to suggest turf should at least be of no concern in addition to the slant towards going longer. Trainer Ralph Nicks's $3.73 ROI here over the past five seasons doesn't hurt either. Play: $20 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 7 - $20 Win on #4 Little Drama. Bankroll: $775 - Record: 10–0-2-2.

Sherack: Wednesday - Had enough yet DiDonato? I’ll admit that Leparoux made my heart stop a couple of times in the early going aboard a rank Unbridled Command ($15.00), but he certainly came through in the clutch to deliver a well-timed 6-1 victory with my $35 win ticket to boot... I really didn’t like Wednesday’s card either, if that makes you feel any better.

Today - Race 9 - OC50k/SAL50k, 3yo/up, f/m, 6 1/2f - #10 Smokin’ Alice (4-1)   Smokin’ Alice has done very little wrong since joining the always dangerous Rudy Rodriguez barn via a shrewd $16k claim in early January. The gray has already collected four victories for these connections, including visually impressive tallies in her last two. She exploded late down the Belmont stretch to take a similar heat June 2, then gamely wove her way through traffic to post an equally eye-catching half-length score in an optional claimer at the Jersey Shore June 29. Freshened since, the sophomore has been training smartly at the Big A, most recently firing a five-furlong bullet in 1:01 2/5 July 19. The tactical Smokin’ Alice gets an advantageous outside draw in a race loaded with early speed and regains the services of Cornelio Velasquez, who has been aboard in three of her previous victories prior to the Monmouth score. Anything around the 4-1 morning-line quote on Smokin’ Alice in this 11-horse field sounds pretty good to me.
Play: $40 Win. Alternate 1: Race 5 - $20 Win (Turf Only) on #10 Sindhu. Alternate 2: Race 5 - $20 Win (Turf Only) on #8 Vicola. Bankroll: $1,368.50 - Record: 11-4-1-0.

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