Betting Saratoga On Saturday and What Maryland Can Learn From New York

Featured, Sports and Bets — August 1, 2014 at 10:59 pm by

I’m a sworn lover of Pimlico Race Track, but let’s be honest, to gaze upon it does not necessarily give the average person goose bumps or inspire the love of sport’s history that most of us hold deep and dear in our hearts.  But from what I understand to be true, Saratoga Racetrack in Saratoga Springs, New York does.  (I’ve yet to go there.)  Right now, in case you didn’t know, Saratoga is in the midst of what is widely regarded as the best horse racing meet in the country.  For seven weeks, this historic and beautiful place shines as the best horses and horsemen in the United States flock towards its heritage and its money.  All that makes for good summer time horse racing and gambling .  And, of course, we’re in on that.

On Saturday, Saratoga will host the 87th running of The Whitney, a $1.5 million, grade one stakes race.  Featured in this race this year are two of the top horses in the country.  Palace Malice, who has won every race he has run in 2014, and Will Take Charge, who finished second in the Breeder’s Cup Classic last fall as a three-year-old, will do battle again against a field of seven others, all of which are high quality opponents.  Usually the three-year olds get all the credit in America, but more often than not, older horses racing in the handicap division are the best horses in the country.  These older horses are seasoned vets of the track and they have had time to fully develop into racing pros.  Think of a horse’s three-year old year as college.  (Yes, the Triple Crown is run by “college kids”.)  Usually, the older horses that are running in the handicap division have graduated college and have developed even further into being pros. (Three year olds are allowed to run in the handicap division if they so desire. As the year goes on more and more do. ) These pro horses will be racing in the Whitney on Saturday.

Included in this Whitney card are four other stakes races as the NYRA (New York States’ racing association) has put together a mid-summer festival of racing, of sorts. There are a lot of quality horses in big fields running on Saturday and that’s what gamblers and casual observers really want- big and fun fields that are full of wagering value.

The Maryland Jockey Club should take note of what the NYRA is doing.  It would behoove the MJC to create some more racing festival days of their own.  Right now, there is only Preakness weekend at Pimlico in the spring and then Maryland Million Day in the fall at Laurel.  And Maryland Million day, while awesome, doesn’t have the national draw that a day like Whitney Day does in New York.  It’s time for the MJC to rethink how and when they do things.  First they should nix racing at Laurel in the dead of winter, nobody cares about horses running in freezing temperatures in December and January.  Instead, expand the Pimlcio meet.  Start running in Baltimore on the first weekend of April and don’t finish until the end of June.  That amounts to a twelve week meet.  Then add a week at Timonium for the State Fair in late August and run for four total weekends there.  Roll that meet into Laurel, begin running the weekend after Labor Day and hold court until the end of November (Thanksgiving)   This gives plenty of racing dates and it could allow for the MJC to move the Pimlico Special to late June.  Then they can add four stakes races to that card and have a summer festival racing day of their own that could feature a $1 million dollar Pimlico Special for the handicap division.  They could even ask bands to play the infield for that too.  It would crush, babes.

But enough of me on my Maryland Horseracing soapbox.

Let’s handicap this card at Saratoga.  At least the stakes races……


Race 7- The DeLaRose 100K–  This turf stakes is of course loaded with talent and it features several graded winners, including two entries from Chad Brown’s barn, #7 Pianist and #8 Dayatthespa.  Dayatthespa is definitely the one to beat, she’s accomplished the most and has finished first in seven of her last eleven and those eleven races weren’t against pushovers, either. She also is 3 for 3 at the Spa and the best turf rider in the country is her pilot.  Hard not to like her.  But I also am looking for value here and I have a hunch that a longshot is ready to fire.  #6 Ready Signal has held her own against recent graded company and has been a steady force all year.  With an incredible recent work over the Spa turf and a win here under her belt she may ready to pull the upset.  Next step feels right but the waters are deep so we’ll back our win bet with a place bet and an exacta box with Dayatthespa.  (If the morning rains soak this track we may take a look at the #3 Joy too.)  Complicated risk….

Race 8-  The Vanderbilt- #5 Happy My Way has turned into a six furlong steady-Eddie and he handled his first graded test with style in Baltimore at Pimlico on Preakness day.  Speedball loves the distance and he may be the speed of the speed.  Have to hope a dreaded speed duel doesn’t develop, but with the way this guy has run recently, it may not matter.  Go-go Bravo rides and that’s exactly what we expect.  Come and get me…..

Race 9-  The Test- #2 Fidtyshadesofgold.  8-1 odds on tough lady who faced and lost to a few of these last time out.  But that was at a mile and she ended up on the lead in a speed duel and that’s not her best scenario.  Versatile filly will most surely rate the pace this time and the distance is right in her wheelhouse (2 for 2 at 7 furlongs.)  Would have liked a work at the Spa, but she’s been blazing the CD track in works all month long.  Long odds add to wagering appeal.  Value here is real.

Race 10- The Whitney-  #5 Palace Malice is the best race horse in the country.  His win in his last in the Met was a traffic weaving and splitting masterpiece. This colt has the look of one that just won’t be denied.  There are two concerns for him in the Whitney.  Moreno stealing it early if he’s allowed on the lead alone, or Will Take Charge getting a heated pace duel from Moreno and Itsmyluckyday and beating Palace with that late kick.  As much as I love Will Take Charge, I just don’t see Palace Malice losing right now.  The Breeder’s Cup Classic may tell a different story in October, but today belongs to Palace Malice.  This horse could turn into a legend this year…..

Race 11- The Lure 100k-  #4 Big Blue Kitten hasn’t been seen since his disappointing Breeder’s Cup Turf back in November.  2014 debut here and of course he’s head and shoulders above these in all categories.  If he fires off the long layoff, he wins.  Buuuuut, it is a long layoff and it’s now or never to try and beat ’em with a bomb.  So we’ll try.  #6 Plainview is in top form, is working really well and may be able to dictate pace from the gate.  He won’t mind if the grass is soft from the rains and he loves the Spa.  Horse for course in a class test.  Upset special.  Put with Big Blue Kitten in exactas and like the 4-5-6 trifecta in this one.

Good Luck to all!




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