HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, September 3, 2021 – Holiday weekends always have been one of racing’s big things, whatever the time of year: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day. Pick any of them; priceless.
Time was when one could name the big race associated with the big occasion. Memorial Day was the Met Mile, July 4th the Brooklyn, and on and on Then it all got very competitive.
Stakes have been moved around, the biggest of them used as the lynchpin of readily promotable event day programs when famous horses ran in famous races. The problem is everyone caught on to the modern trend.
The Labor Day weekend beginning Saturday is one of those occasions when horseplayers need at least three 36-hour days to get all their handicapping, wagering, and rooting done.
My hair will begin to hurt in earnest tomorrow when time comes to decide which races and places will focus our attention. I have two: Saturday at the Spa featuring the Grade 1 Flower Bowl and Jockey Club Gold Cup as the sun starts to set on the 2021 Saratoga stand.
But wait, there’s more: The babies, among other wannabe champions, are coming. Labor Day in Saratoga: Are you anticipating the Grade 1 Hopeful and Spinaway? I know we are come Sunday and Monday.
However, Kentucky Downs gets underway Sunday and Monday, the beginning of a gluttonous boutique. Six days of all turf all the time, Euro style, with twists and turns over the unique course hard by the Kentucky-Tennessee border: Hardboot Ascot.
Why Kentucky Downs? Big purses, big fields, big payoffs, and a player-friendly rake. KD entries have been drawn for SEP 5th, 6th, and 8th. In all, 160 pages of BRIS PPs for three days. You get big fields when maidens run for $135K, when NX1s go for $145,800.
Three-year-olds take center stage on opening day at the former Dueling Grounds Racetrack with, appropriately, the $500,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks and the $750,000 Dueling Grounds Derby. Both races are at a testing 1-5/16 miles trip.
Brad Cox saddles Oaks favorite Adventuring (3-1) with Joel Rosario and Bill Mott picks up the mantel with DuJour, the 5-2 Derby early line choice with Rosario going for a double dip.
Supporting the JGGC and Flower Bowl at the Spa, where the early line choices are, respectively, Forza Di Oro (8-5) and War Like Goddess (4-5), also Mott trainees. Junior Alvarado rides the former, Julien Leparoux, the latter.
A-B-C WAGERING GRID JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP LATE P5
G3 SARANAC STAKES Race 8
A: 4-Never Surprised (8-5), 2-Like the King (6-1), 1-Public Sector (7-5)
C: 6-Mohs (12-1), 5-Founder (4-1)
ALLOWANCES – TURF Race 9
A: 1A-Cara’s Dreamer (3-1), 5-Golden Oldie (10-1), 10-English Breeze (5-2)
C: 3-Electric Youth (5-1), 6-Just OK Is Not OK (8-1), 7-Freedom Machine (8-1)
ALLOWANCES – DIRT SPRINT Race 10
A: 9-Crowded Trade (5-1), 8-Baby Yoda (6-1), 10-Hometown (4-1), 6-Olympiad (8-1), 3-Ducale (5-2)
GRADE 1 FLOWER BOWL Race 11
A: 3-War Like Goddess (4-5)
B: 4-My Sister Nat (5-1), 1-La Signare (5-1), 6-Great Island (4-1)
GRADE 1 JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP Race 12
A: 4-Happy Saver (9-5), 1-Forza Di Oro (8-5)
B: 2-Max Player (5-2)
C: 5-Night Ops (5-1)
Vertical Players Note: Horses may be upgraded or downgraded no more than one level, scratches notwithstanding. When more than one horse is listed in a category, grading preference extend from left to right
This is a live column and will be updated periodically
My 2cents worth of notes about Saratoga while I was up there,if I may: Has anyone else gotten tired of so many short Sprint maiden races where the odds on choices usually get in the exactas? I’m pulling my hair x 25 plus minutes between those ever present races! It ain’t exciting to me and they won’t pull me into vertiacal bets. I usually follow 3 or 4 angles,without needing the ” bible” which with it’s too many bits of info,some of which ridiculous, it becomes a distraction even if I’m solely playing Saratoga. For the second time this meet I was Minus Nine in an angle while the others were doing good to well,thank you with my 2 chosen jocks ,Gaffalione and Lexcano,doing and paying well. Dropped Alvarado early when I noticed that he was not given a chance in this colony,and still,after over 40 tries on turf he’s batting Zero!! Anihoo,had to make a 3 digit bet on my losing streak,hitting it at $ 11 plus which brought me back on the plus $ side.Not x the $, but after so many yrs I still find it bittersweet to cash in on such bets. I won,but..it should not have taken 4 days to do it in that specific angle! Am I wrong to feel this way? To the question,x Pricci and his followers..”,Is it more difficult to win a race or Races in the long run ? Still go x the latter,that is ,soon or later got to come out and pay the rewards whereas anything can go wrong in One race,esp.with these young ones sprinting,running x the first time. Go,ahead,try to change my opinion! One angle that I’d to share is ” best jockey,or two,in a cheap claiming race: Why is he there? It paid off again a couple of days ago with Saez in the last race,,at a good DD price! My final Question x Senor Pricci: Why is it that in some libraries ‘ systems your site is off limits while some of your competitors’ are available? What’s the difference between HRI and Horseracing nation? Just wondering ‘.. Ps Out of New York’s two public handicappers,NY Post and Newsday,one is barely below par while the other one is over $ 400 under water…drowning.Ouch!!!’. ‘ Til next time.
ns and Lexcano,paying and winning at a good rate
Difference between HRN and HRI? Funding. We’re a one-man shop doing what we can, giving players a voice not available in mainstream racing media.
An Indulto SF Saturday it will be today:
A safe and speedy journey to all your steeds, McD!
Correction: pending wager additions “to follow” per any added HRI updates for KD. Thanks for all your effort John.
Might have something on KD tomorrow McD but would like to have something of a weekend.
And, of course, two big days of racing at the Spa remain.
My wife and I dipped our toes into the waters of travel for the first time in 18 months. Drove from our home in the Boston area to Saratoga on the morning of Sept 1. It was a nice relaxing day. Came out ahead, but only enough to buy a fried chicken sandwich and a soft drink ($20). Always an accomplishment when your wagering ends up in the plus column, no matter how meager the amount. Somehow we avoided the worst of the devastating rain that fell on Wednesday evening.
Long live Saratoga. We will make our pilgrimage for as long as we have the strength and the wherewithal.
God bless Dan and may you and your wife enjoy many more Saratoga sojourns. Had to cancel my plane and home reservations amid Delta concerns. Deity willing, perhaps 2022 will be better, perhaps not thanks to undereducated, selfish antivaxxers. #manslaughter patriots.
Stay safe this holiday…
John -Just one minor correction- The Suburban was run on July 4th.
Good catch George, thank you.
However, I was referring to back in the day when the Brooklyn was–of memory serves correctly–the last race in the Handicap triple crown series.
Both Delmar,By the Sea,and Saratoga ended their stints today and while it is beautiful to look at the California waves gently caressing the sand and pebbles,on my part it was mostly ignored,maybe I can blame it on that funny turf,tapeta(?) , but in New York not even a 1980 Hollywood resurrection would have changed my interest. The list of the best Saratoga races was interesting and not debatable not with the top 2 choices,anyway,that they were Firenze Fire trying to bite its competitor down the stretch and,of course Steve Asmussen’ s all time record wins. Loved Firenze’s fiery try,though.Never seen anything like it,not even in movies of any kind.,,and I ‘ll watch it again !! My last day stopped on the 8 the race,with a triple,exacta plus a cold exacta and win bet in two other races,closing with 3/5. Now my favorite track will soon open but,as usual,I will skip the first week.It is good for the mind,soul.Congrats to Mr Brown,as usual,senor Saez even if many believe that Irad Ortiz,thanks to his connections could remain the king of the colony as long as he won’t get sick again and miss winning mounts. A note for Miss Magghie Wolfendale who has been doing a great job interviewing And picking some good value wins,unlike most,if not all,of the other guys….and her husband’s win today. The former playboy baseball player Lo Duca,does not add much to the program.There are enough guys who pick the same horses.Better give more time to the former jock,G.Stevens,at least we learn something from his input during those long 25 minutes between races…Wonder how those Albany paper guys did with their ” mythical” $$. Does anyone care ? Umberto’s s Pizza,Anyone ?Autumn at Belmont…breezy !!