Friday, August 3, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 14

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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: Friday - Another winner for Sherack, and another too little, too late run for me. . . At least I’m still in contention for second.

Today - Race 4 - Alw, (S), 3yo/up, 1mT - #10 Diso On (12-1)
   I simply don't see much separation between the runners in this field, and think Disco On's actual chances of winning will be significantly better than his odds will reflect--I'm expecting much higher than his 12-1 morning-line quote. He's extremely dirtied up on paper thanks to rough trips, and returns to the one-mile distance he hasn't tried since breaking his maiden in his first turf try at 52-1 at Aqueduct last November. Disco On finished out his 2-year-old term with two somewhat surprisingly competitive efforts on the dirt in New York-bred stakes company, but ultimately made his way back to what figures to be his preferred surface. He went seven panels at Belmont June 3rd in the NYSS Spectacular Bid S. and had made a ridiculous wide, premature move before finishing ninth, beaten 21. Subsequently stretched out to nine furlongs on soft turf June 23, the bay failed to settle as they crawled up front, and pulled himself up to press three-wide without cover before again dropping far out of it late. Back to seven furlongs July 14, Disco On enjoyed a nice pocket journey--but he wasn't "empty" as the short form comment states--he was totally shut off at the top of the stretch and just couldn't quite get back into the game in time after losing momentum, settling for fourth. He did gallop out very well, however. The two runners that finished directly ahead of Disco On return here as do a number of similar-looking horses from higher profile connections, but to dismiss him as less than on par with this field off his recent trips would be a big mistake--he just might pull off something like his graduation shocker. Play: $20 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 5 - $20 Win on #10 Fredericksburg (Turf Only). Alternate 2: Race 2 - $20 Win on #10 In Speight Ofitall. Bankroll: $735 - Record: 12-0-2-3.

Sherack: Friday - Wow, even I don’t know what to say at this point... DiDonato is accusing me of frog juicing, but a desk inspection came up clean. Released three horses Friday, and all of them came through, including my main play--$25 to win on Jitney ($17.80)... Two alternates Never On Time ($14.60) and Smart Believer ($7.40) added to the party... Any chance NYRA extends the Saratoga meeting through December?

Today - Race 10 - GI Whitney H., 3yo/up, 1 1/8m - #8 Hymn Book (4-1)
    Expecting a top-shelf performance from GI Donn H. hero Hymn Book in today’s main event. The Stuart Janney III homebred will have more than enough pace to run at, and should thrive on the return to two turns following a razor sharp second to Mucho Macho Man after an unkind break in the GII Suburban H. at Belmont July 7. He was given plenty of time to refocus following mediocre performances in the GII Oaklawn H. and GIII Pimlico Special S., and the strategy appears to have done the trick. Shug certainly knows what it takes to win this contest, and the price should be generous enough with plenty of others figuring to take a good deal of action at the windows. Johnny V returning to the saddle aboard a horse that always seems to find trouble exiting the stalls is definitely an added bonus. Play: $50 Win. Alternate 1: Race 2 - $40 Win on #10 In Speight Ofitall. Alternate 2: Race 6 - $20 Win (Turf Only) on #1 Lord of Love. Bankroll: $1,526 - Record: 13-5-1-0.

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