Friday, August 10, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 20

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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 - Didn’t have a bet yesterday as two of my runners scratched, and the other, Insolvent in the fifth, was forced off the turf. Really regretted giving her the "turf only" distinction, and felt even worse when she scored at a very generous 7-2 considering there was no other speed in the race. Really hoping the weather clears up for tomorrow.

 DiDonato: Friday -Today - Race 2 - Msw, 1 1/16mT, 2yo - #5 Draw Two (3-1)
    Let me preface this by saying that it pains me greatly to pick such a chalky horse. I wrote this up before the morning line came out and was expecting a better price after looking at other handicappers’ picks for this race. Hopefully he drifts or at least stays close to the morning line, because I think 7-5 or so is probably fair. Draw Two had a very tough trip on debut (video) going seven furlongs over the Belmont sod July 15, but managed to finish a much-the-best third behind Craving Carats, who returned to don cap and gown here last week. Off very slowly from his outside post, the big grey was kept out wide in no-man's land around the turn, covering a ton of extra ground while trying to chip away at his disadvantage. Still clearly a bit green in the lane, Draw Two covered his final furlong in :11.97 (vs. the top two finishers' :12.39) to get up for third. Trainer Michelle Nihei's stats with second timers aren't great, but she does well overall and usually stays under the radar. Draw Two has some 2-year-old quality on his dam's side (he hails from the family of 1987 champion juvenile filly Epitome and last year's GIII Arlington-Washington Futurity winner Shared Property) and should prove clearly best here with any kind of trip unless there's a really good firster waiting in the wings. Play: $47 Win ($27 win in off the turf). Alternate 1: Race 7 - $15 Win on #9 Davins Ticket (Turf Only). Bankroll: $951 - Record: 17-2-2-3.

Sherack: Friday - Thought Csaba was a complete lock once the rains forced the Hall of Fame to the main track--and apparently so did the Spa faithful hammering him down to 6-5--but he came up just a nose short after putting on quite a good show in the stretch.

Today - Race 11 - GII Fourstardave H., 3yo/up, 1mT - #7 Corporate Jungle (6-1)
Corporate Jungle put together a three-race winning streak earlier this term, including a solid tally with a career-high 99 Beyer in Gulfstream’s GIII Appleton S. in March. Given plenty of time to recover from that effort, the Gary & Mary West colorbearer was along in time to deliver as the chalk in Monmouth’s Elkwood S. May 19, and punched his ticket to California for the GI Shoemaker Mile. The dark bay made a strong middle-move while racing wide that day, but was outkicked in the stretch, reporting home a respectable fifth, beaten three lengths, to the hard-knocking Jeranimo. The 4-year-old appears to have bounced back from that effort in top form, posting a four-furlong bullet in :48 4/5 over the Oklahoma training track July 22, and reunites with Javier Castellano, who was last aboard in the Appleton. Corporate Jungle also owns a good-looking maiden win over this course over subsequent GI Hollywood Derby runner-up Imagining. Chad Brown has been firing on all cylinders since the meet kicked off, and this guy should present some nice value following an off-the-board finish. Play: $25 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 9 - $20 Win on #2 Shankopotamus.
Bankroll: $1,365.80 - Record: 19-6-3-1

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