Sunday, August 26, 2012

Showdown at the Spa: Day 34

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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: Sunday - Wish I could gloat about Owen Rico romping and paying $14.60, but since I got greedy and played a big daily double with Royal Delta instead of a win, I’ll go bash my head against the wall instead...

Monday - Race 10 - Msw, 3yo/up, 5 1/2fT - #1 Chief Gaga (12-1)
   Chief Gaga tries the turf here for low-profile owner/trainer Tamzen Johnson, and figures to get lost on the board despite having run Beyer Speed Figures that compare favorably with this group. Johnson claimed the bay for $20,000 from Steve Asmussen out of a runner-up effort here July 25, and brought him back to run a decent-enough sixth against maiden special weight company Aug. 4. Chief Gaga earned a career-best 69 Beyer for that effort--the co-best fig in the race--so it’s not as if he regressed off the trainer change. He now tries the surface he’s best-bred for on the bottom and shows a three-furlong blow-out over the Oklahoma sod Aug. 22. The son of Indian Charlie is a half-brother to Well Monied (Maria’s Mon), GSW and MGISP on the lawn; and Jimmy Simms (Lost Soldier), MSW and GSP over turf. Play: $24 Win (turf only). Alternate 1: Race 7 - $20 Win on #4 Joanne’s Halo (turf only). Alternate 2: Race 10 - $10 Win on #10 Belvoir (turf only). Bankroll: $1374.90 - Record: 29-4-4-5.
Note: I had a bankroll miscalculation yesterday... not used to actually tallying winning pay-offs lately. It’s right now.

Sherack: Sunday - Man, I liked this contest a lot better when DiDonato’s top picks were getting scratched every day... Got the price that I was looking for on Lord of Love, but he could do no better than a non-threatening sixth at 9-1.

Monday - Race 7 - Msw, 2yo, f, 5 1/2fT - #3 Judy G (8-1)
   First Samurai has been on a nice roll of late with his juvenile grass runners, including recent maiden winners Sonofasamurai ($15.40) at Saratoga Aug. 18 and Rutherford Rd ($42.20) at Woodbine Aug. 24. Banking on his daughter Judy G, the first foal out of the grassy Grade III-placed Miracle Moment (Chester House), to keep the ball rolling for the Claiborne stallion. In addition to her pedigree, the bay certainly looks well-meant for the green stuff, boasting a handful of sharp moves on the infield, most recently covering five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 around the dogs over the Oklahoma turf Aug. 24. It’s been a quiet Saratoga meeting for the well-respected Barclay Tagg barn, but that could change in a hurry if this filly shows up ready to play. Play: $30 Win (Turf Only). Alternate 1: Race 2 - $14 Win (Turf Only) on #6 Arch Support.

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