Saturday, August 25, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 33

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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 - Well, that was nice. Summer of Fun, who I’ve been waiting to cash on since OBSMAR, got the job done to the tune of $24.80. Looks like we’ve got a contest on our hands again...

Sunday - Race 11 - Msw, (S), 3yo/up, 5 1/2fT - #12 Owen Rico (6-1)
   I’m not sure what the ROI is, but a Disco Rico trying turf for the first time is a very profitable angle. All you have to do is look at the recently run pair of New York-bred turf stakes for 3-year-olds here to see that he throws runners who love the lawn. Owen Rico makes the switch to the infield and has tons of other things going for him. Dismissed at 20-1 for his seven-panel unveiling here Aug. 9, the Edition Farm homebred was part of an above-average pace (five points above par early on the Moss Pace Figure scale) before settling for fourth in a race that came apart in the end. Trainer Tom Bush has had very little success with firsters in recent years, but he’s four-for-14 with a $2.51 ROI over the past five seasons with second-time-starting maidens trying the turf (courtesy DRF Formulator). The cut back in distance should help and, perhaps most interestingly, he’s a new gelding. Play: $49 Win. Alternate 1: Race 5 - $20 Win on #9 Lawyer Jim (turf only). Bankroll: $1099.20 - Record: 28-3-4-5. 

Sherack: Saturday - Looks like I’m going to have to actually start handicapping again if I want to pull off a wire-to-wire job here. Well done, DiDonato. Should be an exciting stretch run as we approach the final week. As for my pick Saturday, Atigun ran good in the Travers, but not good enough, finishing a close fourth at 8-1.

Sunday - Race 5 - Msw, (S), 3yo/up, 1 1/16mT - #11 Lord of Love (5-1)
   Lord of Love has looked like a new horse in two attempts at three since returning from a December layoff in mid-July. He’s posted consecutive career-best performances while being stuck on the inside in the stretch, including a strong rallying third, to come within a half-length of the winner at 10-1 last time. Great to see the Hertler barn enjoying a banner Saratoga meeting, getting a pair of wins out of Jitney and also saddling another maiden winner earlier this week. There’s a good chance, or at least I’m hoping, that Lord of Love goes off nearly double his morning-line odds in this one. Dare to dream. Play: $20 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 3 - $14 Win (Turf Only) on #3 White Sangria. Alternate 2: Race 11 - $8 Win (Turf Only) on #5 Saguaro Blossom. Bankroll: $1,146.80 - Record: 32-7-4-4.

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