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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Dear Diary, Deity willing, it won’t be long now. At this moment next week, Baby Gray, Toni’s nickname for our Beetle Turbo convertible, will be in a queue with his friends awaiting loading onto Amtrak’s Auto-Train.

Round trip with a sleeping berth, as opposed to a coach seat or bedroom suite, comes out approximately $700 cheaper than renting an inexpensive intermediate-size car for the month of August in Saratoga.

And that doesn’t include round-trip airfare. It’s a world gone mad, but this doesn’t qualify as news.

Like any other so-called middle-class American, it’s been a challenge. Not being bitchy here–well, maybe a little–but after working hard, raising a family, etc., etc., semi-retirement could have been a tad easier.

I don’t know how the less fortunate, or flat-out poor, do it. This hype machine still refers to America as the land of opportunity.” Sadly, I don’t see rocket trips to Mars anywhere in my future.

But Saratoga is about the past, and the present. Saratoga-154 already has produced remarkable moments between the fences. I will be there to witness the Whitney confrontation of Life Is Good vs. Olympiad, live.

Also, the storied Travers, where the mind’s eye envisions a resurgent Epicenter vs. the Chad armada and other very talented sophomore runners in a deeper by the moment, entertaining division.

Obviously, there is the Alabama and Personal Ensign, too. The latter will feature Clairiere 2.0, whose pedigree suggested improved development with maturity. That point was underscored over the weekend.

And what of Malathaat? Both Todd and Johnny said that the filly was not herself, for whatever reason. Pletcher’s horses, like any other mortal horseman, get beaten, but very rarely are they empty. The real Malathaat was a no show or simply has not gone forward at 4. More racing will tell.

Meanwhile, Steve Asmussen is on a mission. One already was accomplished when Clairiere caught up developmentally to her vaunted rival.

So now the winningest trainer in history wants to grab the Travers trophy vengefully with Epicenter, proving he was right all along about his colt’s special qualities.

Can’t wait to see Epicenter, Chad’s crew, Toddy’s crew, and Brad Cox’s new sophomore wonder, Cyberknife. Yes, the names are too familiar. So recall the cliche: Hate the player, love the game.

Life is too short and hate requires too much energy. So, warts and all, we’ll concentrate on love for the game’s traditions. And it’s all that more meaningful when you can reach out and touch them for real.

Ed. Note: HRI is taking two travel days early next week



The Skinny: Pardon us, but this “handicap’ is, if weights are a measure, perilously close to allowance conditions. No one “pays” for victories any more. A true handicap spread with high-weights toting 126 pounds, at minimum, might attract more than four horses. Still, here’s the thing:

The brilliant Bella Sofia (1-2) is the deserving highweight, seeking her third straight but the $500 G1 Ballerina beckons. a significantly better prize for last year’s G1 Test winner at the same trip.

Frank’s Rockette (2-1) was head-bob behind her but picks up a pound even though Bella Sofia won another race in the interim and ‘Rockette’ has eight placings on her card to match her win total, Maybe Prat magic will prove a difference when these two meet.

Now the speed of the race, Amadevil (12-1) gets eight pounds on neither favorite can use her as a prompter, allowing her to get comfortable. With a switch to Jose Ortiz, the assumption is that Ortiz the Younger will be quarter-horsing out of there.

The Interesting thing about Kimari (4-1), value notwithstanding, is that in the three races on her page in which she raced fresh, she won all three.

Kimari (123) comes in off an 81-day break, owns the best late kick of the three high-weights, an advantageous outside slip, giving Joel Rosario all the options, assuming a fakir start for all.



STRAIGHT WAGER AND EXOTICA: Kimari to win at 4-1 or greater. Exacta Key-box Kimari with both favorites.

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7 Responses

  1. SAR 2022: 11 for 26, minus $67, minus 13% ROI

    Wagers for SAR 27JUL2022 (Day 10)

    Race 2 – $20 to WIN on BELLS ON HER TOES
    Race 6 – $20 to WIN on SILVER SKILLET
    Race 6 – $20 to SHOW on SILVER SKILLET

  2. I usually find it intriguing when a site/handicapped shows how he/ they have been doing by their own admittance.Just noticed,since I only found one spot race to bet on at Saratoga today,Wednesday,that they claim that they ,for the past 14 betting days,have picked 22/90,at a 22% clip. Fine and dandy but how much money have those picks recovered from the imaginary $ 180 bet on those picks ? To me that could be more telling that the various ML picks that most experts make,…after all you missed 68 times.. If it was a doctor,surgeon,stock broker,fortune teller or psychiatrist doing so badly,he/she should change profession before running out of patients,customers,clients and followers, losing licenses and being fired or being sued,going bankrupt. Nothing to brag about in this ” Specialization ” . Am I wrong ?🤔

    1. No comment, don’t see the analogy. Besides, much respect for a punter who puts his opinion, and the results, on the line. Finding a bet or two or a handicapper forced to pick the card are completely different animals.

      1. A handicapper who is required to make selections in every race on the card has a very difficult task. I know I would have zero chance of making a profit.

        After 10 racing days, favorites are 30 for 101. Plenty of opportunities so far. One was today in the 6th race (Miracle, Flavien Prat). But it aint enough to go against the favorite, you still gotta pick the horse who will beat the favorite.

      2. ” Who do you like in this race?” Nobody,as a field goal kicker, i will try when I feel confident with the distance ! Why can’t a public picker just admit that this or that other in which 2 yr old maiden/ first time starters are involved ? I would respect that stance instead of guessing. There are plenty of betable races,why bet them all ? Does a broker pick all the stocks? Does a hitter swing at every pitch,( by the way the mighty Judge cannot control swinging at low breaking balls,they are irresistible to miss, thus his average on those pitches is well below .220.Last night was the latest proof of that ). Better make less confident bets than just shooting at the moon in clueless ones,and it happens every day,at every track. Hey,even politicians,commentators should just say ,once in a while” I dunno.No comment” ,Spiro T Agnew style…😁🤔

  3. Nice call on Kimari yesterday John. Thanks for the write up!

    A word of caution on your recent streaking comment: “No Streaking” in Toni’s Baby Gray on the Northway. Not a good idea with Florida plates is all.

    Just for the fun of it, I will share a recent comment from my 3 year old grandson to his dad on exiting a recent shower, “Hey look Dad, my balls are all wrinkled.” 3 year olds can get away with streaking John Boy, but it is a sport of the past not recommended for Boomers, lol. Thinking Toni will agree.

  4. SAR 2022: 11 for 29, minus $127, minus 22% ROI

    Wagers for SAR 28JUL2022 (Day 11)

    Race 1 – $20 to WIN on INVENTING
    Race 4 – $20 to WIN on DEVIL BOY
    Race 9 – $20 to WIN on BALTHUS

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