Thursday, August 16, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 25

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: Thursday - No Nukes was completely ignored and let go at 19-1 in the sixth. He needed a busy ride to keep up with well-meant firster Stoneless, but kept on going in the lane to finish second behind that runner. Alternate pick Gombey Dancer was also a nice-priced runner-up, so we’ve definitely been on overlays. Just need one to break through.

Friday - Race 9 - Alw, (S), f/m, 3yo/up, 5 1/2fT - Leaping Lady (10-1)   Leaping Lady's form doesn't look quite as strong as it could because she's been on wet tracks for three of her five lifetime starts. Her two dry track runs make her very competitive here, however, and she figures to be even better on the lawn. The chestnut was third at second asking last October at Belmont against a tough group that was headed by subsequent GSW Agave Kiss and that featured several other eventual stakes performers. Her other dry-strip run came two back at Belmont May 27--she set a very hot pace (12 points above par early on the Moss Pace Figure scale), but kept on going in the lane to best a next-out winner and earn a 78 Beyer Speed Figure. That number puts Leaping Lady right there with the favorites in this race, and the speed she showed that day puts her at an advantage in this relatively paceless affair. On pedigree, the turf should be Leaping Lady's preferred surface. Sire Mass Media seems to produce winners on both surfaces, but both Leaping Lady's dam and her lone sibling to race earned career-best Beyers on the lawn. That sibling, Bounding Bi (Outflanker), is three times stakes-placed in turf sprints. Play: $25 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 8 - $20 Win on #4 Crafty Push. Bankroll: $870 - Record: 21-2-3-4.

Sherack: Thursday - Jennys Creek gave me a pretty good run for my money at 14-1, just getting tagged late for second to finish a respectable third in the finale.

Friday - Race 3 - Md 65000, 3yo, f, 1mT - #4 Chat Me Up (5-1)   Chat Me Up, claimed by Dominick Schettino for $25k off Mitchell Friedman out of a strong second-place finish to Bakin’ With Cindy (came back to run a solid third in a OC65k/SAL with a 74 Beyer) on the weeds downstate May 20, showed immediate improvement in her first start for these connections. Freshened and hiked to $65k, the dark bay delivered a career high Beyer of 69 when a rallying third at 12-1 July 12. Mother Nature failed to cooperate for her next start--she finished an uninspired sixth in an off-the-turfer going seven furlongs here Aug. 6--and she returns in a good spot off short rest. Not a big fan of any of her opponents who are dropping in from maiden special weights; the Clement firster from the rail with Ramon looks like the obvious main danger. Took a tough beat with her stablemate Hunter Forward a couple of weeks back; hoping this one makes amends for a barn that is currently firing on all cylinders. Play: $25 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 9: $20 Win on #9 Akira. Alternate 2: Race 2: $40 Win on #5 Moment in Dixie. Bankroll: $1,252.80 - Record: 24-6-4-3.

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