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Saratoga Stakes Pick-4 Was There for the Taking

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 4/26/2012 10:57:28 AM

2008 Racebook Betting:

If you happened to read my article on this website last Friday regarding Saratoga’s Stakes Pick-4, covering races 7-10 at Saratoga on Saturday, you’ll note that my $18 ticket was a loser. If you followed my selections to the letter, please accept my sincere apologies for your loss. On the bright side, there are several lessons to be learned from this minor hit to your bankroll. First, articles written a day or two prior to the event are inherently flawed because circumstances (i.e. weather, track/course condition, scratches, jockey changes, etc.) can change, which will affect your wagering strategy.

Second, you should structure multi-race tickets in accordance with your bankroll, not someone else’s. Third, you should cover the contingencies that you foresee, which may or may not coincide with those of the writer. Finally, it’s often advantageous to spread (expand your ticket size) on “big race” days, because there’s a lot more “square” money in the pools. With those thoughts in mind, let’s take another look at Saratoga’s Pick-4 results from Saturday.

Race #7 was won by 9-1 shot Forever Together. If you bought my premise that a less-than-firm turf course would not benefit Rutherienne (finished 3rd at 6.10-1), Vacare (finished 4th at 7.20-1) or Wait a While (finished 7th as the 3.05-1 favorite), you were on the right track. I used Dynaforce (finished 2nd at 3.40-1), Criminologist (8th at 6.20 -1) and Bit of Whimsy (9th at 9.20-1).

I could/should have included Forever Together, who had won two back on a yielding turf course, and finished a fast-closing third last out in the G1 Just a Game Stakes at Belmont, despite being steadied on the turn.

My premise in Race #8 was that the speed would falter, setting things up for a stalker like Thor’s Echo. Even with the scratch of speedster Bustin Stones, the race appeared to set up nicely for a horse who could finish…a horse like eventual favorite/winner, Abraaj, at 1.70-1.

The 9th Race was a clear single with champ Ginger Punch, who had to overcome a nightmarish trip to grab the victory, returning a paltry $2.40 to her backers.

In the 10th Race, my selections (Student Council, Notional and Rising Moon) finished 2nd, 4th and 5th, and all made moves from the back of the pack. What would have been wrong with tossing in the one horse that was a threat to steal it on the front end? The 7-year-old Commentator had won this race in front-running fashion in 2005, beating eventual Horse of the Year Saint Liam in the process. He did it again Saturday, returning $10.80 as the second choice.

This revised $2 Pick-4 ticket (1,2,6,8/1,5/1/1,3,7,10) would have cost $64, and it returned $442.50. A $2 parlay with the four winners would have paid $347.92, so there was value in this Pick-4 play, as is usually the case when the fans turn out.

Pete Mitchell has been handicapping horses since his teenage years. He has been a professional horse player for many years, and came to betonline.com’s attention through multiple referrals from industry insiders/sportsbook owners. Pete is revered for his horse handicapping opinion and industry experts acknowledge his impressive career winning record. Thoughts or questions?

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