Friday, August 27, 2010

A Tepid Travers, Saratoga, 8/28/10

This year's running of Saratoga's biggest race, the Travers Stakes, looks like a pretty lackluster affair. Everyone's kind of slow, and even Super Saver, the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby, is kind of limping in. The good news is that without a dominant favorite in the mix there are some square prices to be had, plus there's a Pick Four (pick the winners of races 9-12) with a guaranteed pool of $1,000,000. I'm going to take a stab at that one, and here's what I'm going to play:

9th race, The Victory Ride, Grade 3:

There's a lot of speedy horses in this race, so I think there's going to be a pace meltdown. The two logical choices to finish when the speedballs poop out are Kid Kate and Katy Now, plus there's an interesting 20-1 shot with a closing style named Worstcasescenario. I'm going to use all three.

10th race, The Ballerina, Grade 1:

Similar logic as the last race - too much speed, look for the closers. Informed Decision is a decent favorite, and Jessica is Back runs speedy in long races, but closes in sprints - she won the Grade 1 Princess Rooney at 6 furlongs going away. I'm using these two.

11th race, The King's Bishop, Grade 1:

This is another race I look forward to, and like the Travers, it looks to be disappointingly slow. D' Funnybone and Discreetly Mine are the logical choices and have to be included. But there's an intriguing horse named Bank Merger that's only had two races and won both with style. Stepping him up to a Grade 1 race is a big jump, but he might turn out to be a super-horse. If he is, this will probably be the last chance to catch him at 8-1. I'm using these three.

12th race, the Travers, Grade 1:

Trappe Shot looked good running second to Lookin at Lucky in the Haskell and posted two triple-digit speed figures prior to that, plus he's got a stalking style which should work pretty well in this group. A Little Warm stayed right behind Miner's Reserve in the Jim Dandy and made a nice move in the lane; the same kind of trip is a distinct possibility here (especially since Miner's Reserve is also a contestant in this race). Super Saver has reeled off a couple of stinkers, but if he runs the same style he did in the Derby, he could pull this off. I'm using all three.

9th race: 1, 5, 9
10th race: 3, 4
11th race: 3, 4, 6
12th race: 2, 5, 11

A $1 base bet will cost $54 (3 x 2 x 3 x 3). I've certainly spent $54 on stupider things that that, and probably will again.

Incidentally, Rachel Alexandra will be racing on Sunday in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, and there's a special two-race bet to be had - a kind of two-day Daily Double: pick the winner of the Travers on Saturday and the Personal Ensign on Sunday for fun and profit. The Personal Ensign looks to be kind of a snooze with only five horses, but Rachel's had a sketchy year - she looks beatable. I haven't seen the charts for this, but apparently the big threat is Todd Pletcher's Life at Ten, who's coming off a six-race winning streak. I'm not going to take a piece of this action but I thought you should know about it, because I care about you.

Tune in tomorrow and Sunday for video and results.