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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


I think Saratoga fans and bettors are as anxious for the second condition book of the meet to come out as much as the horsemen. There certainly are too many races that are not being supported. Can’t blame the super trainer for everything.

Anyway, today’s feature race, the Stillwater Stakes for state-bred juvenile fillies has “attracted” a field of five. On paper, Fierce Lady (1-2) with Javier Castellano is a complete layover. I won’t bore you with the details. She’s way the fastest. Step down, next case, please… (Have no good cold exacta ideas).

To punish myself–and possibly reward myself greatly, we chose one of two races that could be billed as co-features, though neither race has a name attached to it. Both are optional-claiming/allowances and we chose the one with the largest field.

And we’re choosing the horse with the longest odds on the early line; Jerome Avenue (20-1). While we are throwing deep in this spot, this is not a horse without merit. For openers, we’re talking about a first-time gelding.

Of greater significance is that in his most recent start, he was setting the pace on the front end in a Belmont one-turner, not the rating tack his rider chose when breaking maiden for John Kimmel in a Gulfstream Park two-turner this winter.

Obviously, that’s the dynamic in play in Thursday’s eighth race on the Spa inner turf.

Since that mile, in which the winner stopped the timer in 1:33, the Speightstown gray has worked four times, the last a fast 3-furlong lung opener in 36 3/5, 4th fastest of 21 peers to work that week in Saratoga.

Providing the pace is realistic–it should be with enough speed signed on, late scratches notwithstanding–we believe the rider switch to Joel Rosario indicates a possible change of tactics, a reversal to his preferred patient style.

Jerome Avenue is a couple of lengths behind the main contenders in here, but that’s why you’ll get paid should he win. Out of an Unbridled’s Song mare, the extra sixteenth could help. Following TTT to the windows and betting Jerome Avenue across the board at 10-1 or greater. Turf only, please.

YESTERDAY: Mission Wrapitup did not handle the Spa slop and driving rain and never got the lead; chased and finished off the board. Jasikan was clearly best winning Del Mar’s Oceanside; Nolde was an excellent second. Choice King of Speed was terrible; Desormeaux’s effort didn’t help. Check replay for yourself and let us know what you think.

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⚠ Before you comment

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5 Responses

  1. Good ole’ Saratoga. Know as the ‘grave yard of favorites’. Guess it’s true. Take yesterday: Nine races where the longest shot in the race won three of ’em, the favorite only two, and the favorite up-the-track in the others. Yup, the ‘best’ racing in the country, just keep a tight grip on your wallet.

  2. Don’t know about favorites; don’t care. It has been my experience that Saratoga has always been greatly accurate with respect to past performance records. All bets are off when it is wet of course, that goes without saying, anywhere, anytime. There are a number of reasons for this, to wit: (1) The best horses run here; (2) Horses are pointed towards this venue because owners want the prestige of a winner at Saratoga; (3) It is the shank of the racing season where horses have been worked to ensure their best performance here. And, because of all the “stupid” money here, you are able to pick up incredible prices for place and show. Getting back to today’s race where the old master picked Jerome Avenue. The Pari-mutual plebe, the rat-bastard railbird, has set his sights on a horse named Swamp Rat. Us rats have to stick together.

    Love you guys. Stay cool, and remember, win place and show is all you got to know.

  3. The Rail Bird Rat: I don’t relish responding to a commentator using a moniker as I believe that one should not hide behind such; think Indulto. But, this new format does not give a number to each comment. What we have now at HRI are two unknowns promulgating (look it up, Alice) something that I know would improve the popularity of Thoroughbred racing, the other being someone using the moniker TTT, as people betting on the plodders would leave a track or OTB more often with money still in their pocket: what they advise is win, place, and show betting only. They are spot on, but I urge all to forget place and show and save the money for more win bets down-the-road – get the maximum on your bet and don’t be in a hurry to lose your money; this sage advice does not apply , of course, to very casual bettors on vacation, et cetera who should go for the gold as they won’t be back until next year, same time.

    If more bettors just bet win/place/show, they would be looking forward to their next betting opportunity. Exotic bets have contributed to the demise of Thoroughbred racing more than drugs, supposed geeks and their batch betting, and following so-called racing’s expert handicapping selections. And, betting against one’s self is far more devastating they any takeout rate.

  4. Welcome aboard, Mr. Rodent. Sorry for your very bad beat after making a great selection!

    My horse was dead on the board and lifeless on the track; bad pick. Your animal was live and did not deserve to get beat–by a lug-in Chard Brown-trained 6-5 shot. Ouch!

    Wendell, this record must have a ‘B’ side, yes?

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