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Uncovering Saratoga Secrets

Posted by on 7/20/2015 10:22:34 PM

Saratoga Race Course , also known as the Spa, is the highlight of the New York racing season and anybody that is anybody is loaded for bear for this prestigious meet.

The meet opens Friday July 24 and will close on September 7.

Mother Nature will come into play at this meet for sure and we all know the weather will come. It can ruin a grass schedule quicker than you can say flash thunderstorm and just like on the dirt track, all turf courses can play different when they get some moisture seeping in.

Speed is much better at Saratoga when the grass is firm but if there is some moisture in the grass, closers have to be given an advantage.

If a horse has won on the Saratoga dirt or on either of the turf courses, give that runner his due when he shows up this meeting.

Bettors have to resist the temptation to bet off of Belmont Park form. Those races can play toward closers but speed is very live at Saratoga.

Saratoga has also been called the Graveyard of Favorites, but the fact of the matter is that favorites win their share generally.

A good handicapper must also try to identify key races before they become super obvious. If one is not ahead of the curve as far as figuring out which races project live, then the information is much less useful.

Just like at most other venues, speed is extremely potent going short on dirt and you can go wire-to-wire going long on dirt under the right circumstance.

On the grass, it can pretty much be pick a number at the top of the lane. The fields will be competitive, with comebackers, Europeans, and shippers mixed in with those coming up from Belmont.

One thing to pay attention to is the main track only runners. They will be designated in the Racing Form as such and will be in the outside slots generally. If the rains come, and grass races are taken off the sod, these horses are prime time contenders. First off the race will be losing quite a bit of luster as the top bred grass runners are gone and the fields will be in all likelihood short and sweet and compact.

Don’t be scared to take shots with comebackers at this meet. All the pretty people have likely instructed-their well-paid conditioners to save some live runners for this meet. Nothing can be finer than to take a nice little contingent down to the winner’s circle before dinner and drinks at some fancy restaurant like the Church Restaurant or Mrs. London’s.

As far as the humans are concerned, the usual suspect as in trainers will dominate including last year’s leader Todd Pletcher sent out 131 starters during the meet and he greeted 28 of them in the winner’s circle.

Chad Brown sent out 33 fewer horses last year but 23 of his trainees won for a cool 23%.

Some less than fashionable barns also thrived at the Saratoga meet last year. James Jerkens was a major force. The son of the ‘Giant Killer’ Allen Jerkens, James only saddled 28 horses at the meet by 9 were victorious.

Players have to respect everything Anthony Dutrow sends out. Last year he saddled 26 starters and 7 won and 58% ran in the money.

Mike Hushion has been a force in New York for decades and although his runners are not always top of the line, he still won with 7 of his 34 starters last years.

They say the best things come in small packages and Michelle Nevin proved that adage saddling 20 starters and cashing with 5. Kelly Breen in stationed in New Jersey but when he ships to Saratoga pay attention. He only saddled 9 starters last year but 3 won and 3 others ran in the money.

Class prevails at Saratoga year in and year out so never take for granted the racer that has some success in his form that may have occurred months previous to this meet.

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