DIARY: HANDICAPPING UPSTATE AND AT THE SHORE SATURDAY; SPA ROLLING ON IN DAY 2

Another stakes doubleheader for the first Saturday of Saratoga 152 but neither drew overwhelming support at the entry box.

The Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks drew a field of six, but what it lacks in number is compensated for in drama. Four of the six can win:

From the rail out, Tonalist’s Shape (9-5), Antoinette (8-1), Altaf (5-1) and Paris Lights (2-1).

Ability at the trip plus pedigree? Paris Lights (2-1). A filly who broke maiden with an Arazi-style turn move? Altaf (5-1). Bill Mott going turf to dirt? Antoinette (8-1).

We’re taking Tonalist’s Shape to win, no price restrictions. The combination of classy accomplishment, tactical speed and kick, pole position, Irad and brilliant works in blinkers may be too much for her rivals to overcome.

The G2 Hall of Fame always attracts top turf colts and this year Christophe Clement will saddle two of them; the favorite and second favorite. Gufo (5-2) is 4-for-5, only loss in her debut when he came with a belated run.

However, we believe Decorated Warrior (1-1) is not only the turf division’s leader but is among the top three year olds in the country. Like his mate, he will shoulder 124 highweight, but has done so successfully.

The price will be prohibitive so we will use him an an exacta key over his mate and Moon Over Miami, who finished strongly to win his last despite a very soft early pace.

Taking Todd to Double His Pleasure at the Shore

When last seen Authentic (4-5) suffered his first defeat at the hooves of Honor A. P. America’s second ranked three year old; no disgrace there. But the waters don’t get that much easier in the Grade 1 Haskell.

A speed/stalker type, he rates to get plenty of company on the front end with sprinter types and a presser, Ny Traffic, who has closely shadowed some accomplished runners.

He hasn’t beaten them but they knew he was there. With Paco Lopez in the boot, that’s likely to be the case once more. These factors make the favorite vulnerable.

When last seen, Dr Post had Tiz the Law to beat in the Belmont Stakes and couldn’t do it, but it was a strong effort in a strongly run race in which he lost ground while spotting the divisional leader position. Today, he’ll sit the pocket with Jersey Joe Bravo.

The other Grade 1 on the card is the storied United Nations, a terrific prelude to Monmouth’s biggest dance and Current (4-1) is the kind of developing four year old who is beginning to catch up to the rest of the turf divisional.

His last at Belmont was a bridge to this as he showed very little from an outside post and finished up like a horse short of condition.

That won’t be the case here as Pletcher has put him on the fence in the morning. He will be much fitter, sharper and appears well spotted to break through here, getting a chance to amend for a tough loss at 37-1 in the G2 Pan American.

Linda, Chad and Jose en fuego

After two days of racing, Linda Rice and Chad Brown top the trainer standings with four wins each, Brown sweeping both Friday stakes. And after a triple opening day, Jose Ortiz used all his strength to win the Friday nightcap for Rice.

Michael Trombetta is next in line, saddling a winner each day. Six jockeys have ridden two winners to trail Ortiz… Favorites have won eight of the first 20 races, the main track has played fairly both days and the turf has been a little tiring…

The stewards are 3-for-3 at the meet, in our view, two could have gone the other way but we thought they got both correct…

Business is booming. Thursday $19 million opener was followed up yesterday as $17.2 million went into the pools. No Del Mar but it will be interesting to see how it will compare with Monmouth Park’s Haskell Saturday.

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9 Responses

  1. Your mentioning United Nations brought back memories. The race use to be held at Atlantic City Racecourse and Jacinto was on a favorite who looked unbeatable. I drove down the Turnpike for the sure bet, paid all the tolls and then watched my horse run second. Long drive back to NY that night. I believe the stake has a long history and is now being run at Monmouth. Thanks for the memory, I think.

  2. You are correct. Made many trips to Atlantic City Race Course, cute as a button. Larry Lederman was calling the races those last few years. Used take take a week’s vacation with family in Margate–right, Lucy the elephant landmark. True story, my wife Toni ran into Grace Kelly in the Ladies Room. She was a Princess by then and, of course, her father was one of the builders of ACRC. Also was the place DRF’s David Grening met his wife Beth, a marriage that has lasted a lifetime. Good memories…

    1. That’s pretty cool meeting Princess Grace. She was a great beauty and was the first actress (was in four movies from Alfred Hitchcock) to be on a postage stamp. Online I read that she may have been engaged to Oleg Cassini and I remember one night being at Yonkers and he was there for a race. May have been a celebrity driver event but I believe he had some involvement with harness. This was back in the days when you would exit Belmont and hear the vocal strains of “Trotter Car, Trotter Car.” Not saying I hopped aboard but we’re talking the mid-Seventies. Double headers not all that uncommon. We were men of action.

      1. Took it once, then the bus home from Yonkers to Junction Blvd X Roosevelt Ave in Corona.

        Actually made many double headers but a lot easier after I learned to drive…

  3. Has there ever been a sensation like C Brown ? Even had 4 out of the 8 listen horses in the 7 th race! Was a Frankel fan with his winning % at good prices but winning at such a high rotation and even coming in in Exactas two races in a row I wonder if some gamblers’ will follow that Brown angle in higher allowance and higher races. Almost ridiculous that a trainer has so many owners,jockeys begging for his mounts.Last race yesterday: Only blind and empty skull’s did not get the gimmicks.Everything pointed to the same two horses and it was only a matter of who would come in first.The third horse,or number, Had to be included.It was evident for those who can add the Arabic numbers.Although the Ortiz-Ortiz and Brown Show goes on I still root for the forgotten Lexcano and Hall of Fame Alvarado to do well with whichever mounts that had been turned down by the top jockeys of this colony.

    Ridiculous!

    1. It’s a small point but maybe the Jocks’ Room lock-down will help talented riders who don’t get the same respect as “national riders” get more live opportunities on the best horses…interested to see how this meet plays out that way.

  4. I have have Never seen Dylan Davis win an important race.His father,Robbie,yes, many times but seems that his son and two daughters have found it difficult to follow daddy’s J steps,talent.Hey,it does not always work that way,even as trainers,former jockeys usually don’t do well. Wesley Ward seems to be a rarity.Even Shoemaker,Cordero,ie Clayton,had a rough time just as Gary Stevens did. The Gyarmatas,Albertrani,Toscanos et al , hang in there.Gotta be two distant worlds being a jockey and then a successful trainer besides having the talented charges,claiming the right horses and preparing them and putting them in the right slots..PS; Keep on hearing that Rosario is the best jockey on the stretch of route races but I think of Jose Santos on A. Penna’s hórses.Jorge V was not bad either.,esp in the mid 80’s.Great first week at the SPA! The NYRA Sunday competition looks interesting.Does one Have to bet Every Race ? What is the reward? Anyone knows?

    1. To each his own style of wagering. My only advice? Never get out of your comfort zone. You might get lucky but for every time that happens, 10 times a bettor would go on tilt…

  5. Yeah but even the way sómeone deducts and bets needs some changes throughout the years. The various workouts,claiming drops,days since last race,track variant,speed rating,Beyers,last race’s galloping out,$xrace,track condition,going longer or shorter,same or different rider,early speed or closing off the pace plus other angles don’t seem to be as important as they used to be,well, Not to me anyway. Not even if I had the time and patience.Like some racing writers correctly wrote, Modern ” Handicapping” has changed. Personally,I compare it to Wall Street,Stock market.What was hot a few days ago it does not matter today,now, a few minutes before post time, especially in cheaper races.Blue Stocks,or better graded races have more reliable ” Portfolios “,past performances. Amazon,at about $ 3000, is a bargain,a winner without competition,,,,just like Tiz the Law might be or Secretariat was.Dig what I’m trying to say? I don’t play penny stocks nor maiden claiming races ,,,or watch ” The Worst Cooks ” show.😆✌️😆JGR.

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