Saturday, August 4, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 15

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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: Saturday - I may still have a 0% win rate, but I’m up to almost 36% with top pick scratches. Now that’s impressive! Alternate play Fredericksburg threw his head up right at the start of the fifth, and was pretty much out of it at that point from his outside draw. He did put in a very nice late run to be fourth while racing greenly, and I think he would’ve had a major say in the outcome with any racing luck.

Today - Race 6 - Msw, 2yo, f, 1 1/16mT - #10 Summer of Fun
   Summer of Fun made it onto my mythical short list at OBS March after showing a nice turn of foot and a definite slant towards going long while breezing an eighth in :10 1/5. She sold for $95,000--the second-highest price paid for a 2-year-old by the very underrated Include over the past three years. Out of an unraced daughter of solid turf runner Royal Anthem (Theatrical {Ire}), sire of MGISW Presious Passion, Summer of Fun's female family is all distance and mostly turf. Her second dam was MSP in France and produced U.S. Grade I winner and French Group 1-placed Louis Cyphre (Ire) as well as French Group 2 winner and MG1SP Psychobabble (Ire). While George Weaver's numbers with 2-year-olds debuting in turf routes aren't spectacular, he does do exceptionally well at Saratoga in general, and his two recent wins in the relevant category came here at 8-1 and 6-1. He also ran a close second with another turf debutante at the Spa in 2010 at 40-1, and one of those two winners came last year for this same ownership group--Bona Venture Stables. Summer of Fun can't really get bet too strongly off the paper, so I'm looking for a nice price on an intriguing under-the-radar runner. Play: $25 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1:
Race 6 - $20 Win on #2 Win for Kitten (Turf Only). Alternate 2: Race 9 - $10 Win on #2 One Sock Down. Bankroll: $715 - Record: 13-0-2-3.

Sherack: Saturday - Enjoyed another classic 11 a.m. text message from DiDonato after the scratches went up on NYRA’s website Saturday, but that was all my fun for the day following a no-excuse fourth from Hymn Book in the Whitney.

Today - Race 1 - OC 35k/N1X, 3yo/up, f/m, 1 3/16mT - #10 Hunter Forward (5-1)
   Bonomo private purchase moves to the live Schettino barn following a sharp victory versus $35k taggers going 1 1/16 miles for Christophe Clement over the Belmont lawn July 15. Aussie-bred can run all day, boasting a win going 1 5/16 miles at Haydock last August, and a second-place finish at 1 1/4 miles at Nottingham in October. Was hard-held to rate in third through pedestrian-like fractions last time, and appears to be controlling speed here if Castro wants it. Schettino has gotten off to a solid beginning at the Spa, getting a win on opening day and adding three second-place finishes from seven starters. Play: $50 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 10 - $30 Win on #3 Justin Phillip. Bankroll: $1,476 - Record: 14-5-1-0.

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