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Summer 2019 Saratoga and Del Mar

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
New season at the Spa, with a new racing schedule. Instead of 6 days a week they've cut back to 5 and extended the season another week. Should make reviewing the pps a little less taxing with two dark days.

With NYRA finally opening their late pick 5 up to all ADWs, those races will be my main focus. Looking at tomorrow's opening day sequence (chance of rain is pretty high but assuming fast and firm):

Race 6 (5.5f on Turf) - Tough start to the sequence with state breds in an allowance turf sprint. About half the field has limited or no turf experience. The 1-1A entry will be competitive, and I like the outside horses 10 and 11, both show good early speed and have two of the best front-running jocks in the business. 4 and 6 are both interesting price plays, and the 9 is turning back and has a new trainer in Graham Motion, but will need to work out a trip. Need to spread in this one.

Race 7 (9f on Inner Turf) - The inner turf tends to favor front runners a little more with the tighter turns. There's a clear favorite here in the 4, who's turning back in distance and dropping in class for Mott. Last win was last summer at the Spa, she's been hanging ever since. I like the finishing ability of the 5 and 11 and will use both here.

Race 8 (6f Stake for 2 YOs) - Always a cool opening stake featuring a bunch of first out winners looking to take the next leap. O'Neill has a couple of speedballs in here (1 and 5) from Cali, Todd is usually strong in this one and has a pair entered (2 and 9). And Wesley Ward has a nice looking filly who won for fun after a lunging start. Another one where you need to spread a bit.

Race 9 (5.5f Turf Stake for 3 YOs) - Need a single somewhere to keep this affordable and this spot is as good as any to take a stab. #4 ran a hole in the wind last time at Santa Anita and anything close should win here with ease. 6 and 10 are two interesting runners that have been super quick on dirt but are both trying turf for the first time.

Race 10 (8.5f Inner Turf Maiden Claimer) - Head scratching finishing field of 12 with five dropping from the straight maiden ranks and a pair of first timers, including one from perennial leading trainer candidate Chad Brown. Like #4 from Weaver who just missed at this level last out and is second off the layoff, a strong angle for this trainer. Also can't leave out the Kitten's Joy #8, who attended a fast-paced race, nearly won a long stretch duel and should have gotten a lot out of it. Would usually include Chad at every opportunity but his record with maiden claimers is one of the few weaknesses he's shown.

1-1A, 4, 6, 10, 11 / 4, 5, 11 / 1, 2, 5, 8, 9 / 4 / 4, 8
 

RBTrojan

Well-Known Member
Looking forward to your insight. I play on occasion but definitely more of a weekend warrior than anything. Occasionally get some good inside info. Best of luck with your plays...
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Scratches knock out the 4 in the 6th and 8 in the 8th from my ticket. Will add the 9 in the 6th.

1e, 6, 9, 10, 11 / 4, 5, 11 / 1, 2, 5, 9 / 4 / 4, 8

Looking doubtful for me to play though as thunderstorms loom and they're holding the MTOs open in anticipation of going off turf..
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
They just scratched the MTOs so we're diving in, $60 play for Pick 5.
 
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Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Yikes, should just blindly bet Alvarado and rake in the dough. He's damn near break even on the year and he'll be under bet at the Spa.
 

Inspekdah

Friend of CTG
You ever been Gandolf?

Please keep these thoughts going. I'm about 20 minutes away and love to tail.
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
I drove up from NJ 5 years ago on Fourstardave Saturday. Great place, great town. Still have the picture of the old place looking in from the parking lot along Union Ave on my phone:

sar.jpg
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
6th, 7th and 10th are off-turf today, the stake in the 9th stays on. Will have to see the scratches to see if its worth playing today. Might just save the bullets for another day.
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Going in cheap for some action, intrigued that Weaver and Castellano are staying around in that chopped up finale, will single #2.

1, 2, 3 / 6, 9, 15, 16 / 2, 6 / 6, 7, 8 / 2
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Devastating injury to Fight Night in the finale just a couple of jumps after giving his all right to the wire.
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Saturday Late Pick 5:

Race 7 (6f statebred allowance) - always look for improving horses in these spots and #9 fits the bill having run a big effort last out in Delaware. #8 is logical and has red hot Junior Alvarado riding, and #2 is an interesting Finger Lakes shipper whose won 3 of last 4. #7 has the potential to leap forward with the switch to magician Navarro.

Race 8 (5.5f turf maidens) - small field but many with a chance. Chad has #2 trying turf for the first time. #7 was meant for turf for time out but ran a decent race in the slop. #6 showed a strong late kick in his debut, will need to use all 3 of these in their second starts. Overall the field is not accomplished so #3 has a decent shot first time out for Motion.

Race 9 (9f turf Grade 1 stake) - Rushing Fall looks like it will control the front end and Sister Charlie looks like the horse you'd want closing in this field of six. Mitchell Road has never finished worse than second and has been steadily brought up to this spot by Mott. Very good price to be had on her.

Race 10 (7f allowance) - biggest favorite in the sequence is #5 at 6/5, he's also 0 for 2 at the distance. If he doesn't win it'll be because #7 stole it on the front end or #8 rolled by late. Other long shot chance are #3 and #4.

Race 11 (1M inner turf claiming) - Chad and Castellano try to win the night cap with favorite #7, dropping to the claiming ranks, 2nd off the layoff. May have needed that race, he's been good on the inner turf and should be near the pace. #8 and #11 are two others with interest, the former having won 2 straight at this level, and the latter coming off a nice effort for Pletcher.

It all depends on which Chad to single: the maiden in the 8th, the heavy favorite in the 10th or the favorite running 2nd off the layoff in the nightcap. I'll take my chances with the turf router.

2,8,9 / 2,3,6,7 / 2,3,4 / 5,7,8 / 7
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Ohhh that last race....7 bolted through the gate and was scratched kicking me over to Pletcher’s 11. Knew he was toast at the top of the stretch.

Had a pick 3 saver that used the 8 but damn it would’ve been nice to see the 7 run, he was keyed up and ready to run.
 
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Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Just a little pick 3 today in Race 6: 1,4,5 / 1,2,6 / 6,8,11

May use some of those with the 4 and 6 in the 9th anchoring a Grand Slam bet. 4 is a solid favorite, so he'd bet a x2 bet.
 

Timh

CTG Psychiatrist - Dr. Tim
Great that you started this thread on the SPA Gandy! Look forward to following along. BOL
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Wednesday 7/17 - Card is either super tough or fairly easy depending on your point of view. The finale is a dart throw with five first time starters, two others trying turf for the first time, and one returning who's an uninspiring 0 for 3. The other races each have a horse that sticks out but then several others who could contend. The threat of rain this afternoon also adds an element of randomness.

Race 6 - #5 sticks out, boasting a class edge over the rest along with tactical speed that should sit her right behind the pace setters to have first run. #3 and #7 are both logical if the pace in this 12 horse claiming turf sprint gets too hot, which is entirely possible.

Race 7 - Chad Brown first timer #6 is getting all the buzz here, but I wouldn't sleep on his other firster, #9. It's a pretty good group of maidens overall, and #2, #5 and #12 all have decent efforts in their pps that could win here.

Race 8 - #7 sticks out as a quality horse with possible lone speed. The seven furlongs is an issue though. #1 and #2 are both reasonable choices with the class to corral #7 late.

Race 9 - #6 is a prohibitive favorite dropping down from graded stakes into this optional claimer. Hasn't won in over a year though so can he be trusted? #7 has efforts that would win here, #2 is quick early and could sneak off. If they all go with him early then #5 is capable to of rolling by them all late. Tricky race, could play one, two or all four.

Race 10 - Just a maddening finish as noted above. Scratch of 1-1a opens the door for #9 to be a significant favorite as a wire candidate. #3 could also leap forward in her first turf effort. #4, #6 and #7 look like the best of the first timers in this maiden turf sprint.

Going A/B today with plays on all A, 4A/1B and 3A/2B. Drop it all if rains washes anything off turf.

Rc 6 - A:5, B:3.7
Rc 7 - A:6,9, B:2,5,12
Rc 8 - A:7, B:1,2
Rc 9 - A:6,7, B:2,5
Rc 10 - A:3,9, B:4,6,7
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Yeah they just took everything off the turf, no playing for me today. Tomorrow I'll be golfing, so Friday will be the next opportunity. Best of luck to anyone who plays!
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Missed out on Hofburg's return yesterday, a solid win against a small field that should set him up for a run in the Travers.

Saturday's card is being postponed and will be run on Sunday with a couple of extra races thrown in.

On to today's late pick 5:

Race 6 (8.5f Turf Allowance) - Looks like a lot of speed signed as a favorite #7 will go early and 1, 8 and 12 should keep him company. Like the chances of #11 sitting just behind this pack to get first run, with 2 and 5 charging late. Longshot chance on #10 in just his third race, will have to leap ahead but is capable.

Race 7 (11f Opt Claimer on Inner Turf course) - Pace advantage for #10 for Clement, could get loose. If he can't make the distance then the two Todd's #7 and #9 are most likely. For a price also like #3 who's won at the distance and fits the class level.

Race 8 (6f Opt Claimer) - really tough race to separate, can make a case for everyone. Punting with the top two choices #3 who should have a good stalking trip, and #2 returning from 10 months off for a barn that can get them cranked up from the bench. But #4, #5 and #6 all figure to have a good shot.

Race 9 (1 mile Grade 3 Stake on Inner Turf) - three Chad Brown entries (#1, #4, #7) in the field of six, have seen that before with the longest of the three winning (the Manhattan right before American Pharoah's win in the Belmont). Will use them all. Saver bet on #2.

Race 10 (9f maiden claimer) - have to bite on the even money favorite for Pletcher, #6, who is one of two dropping from the maiden ranks and has finished in the money in all five starts. Willing to single the finale again to use others earlier.

Will use A/B's today, playing an all A ticket and four A's/one B.

Rc 6: A-2,5,11 B-10
Rc 7: A-3,7,9 B-10
Rc 8: A-2,3 B-4,5,6
Rc 9: A-1,4,7 B-2
Rc 10: A-6
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Big scratches take the 6 out of the final and all but the 3 Chad horses out of the 9th. Subbing 5 and 8 into the finale:

Rc 6: A-2,5,11 B-10
Rc 7: A-3,7,9
Rc 8: A-2,3 B-4,5,6
Rc 9: A-1,4,7
Rc 10: A-8 B-5

Set of plays for $50:
All A Pick 5: 2,5,11 / 3,7,9 / 2,3 / 1,4,7 / 8
3A/1B Pick 4s: 3,7,9 / 4,5,6 / 1,4,7 / 8 & 3,7,9 / 2,3 / 1,4,7 / 5
 

Gandolf

Offensive Guru
Saratoga Sunday Late Pick 5 - The Saturday card was pushed back a day which is good since I'd already handicapped it. Shuvee was added as the finale, which has a couple of obvious favorites. Chad Brown figures to be busy as he has decent chances in all five races.

Race 9 (8f Turf Allowance)- Plenty of pace signed on to this one, so closers should have their way. #10 looks like the best finisher, with #3 also strong. Can't leave Chad's #1 off the ticket as he's in good form. Also #2 worth watching for Mott.

Race 10 (7f Optional Claimer) - Tough race to figure, pace is murky so need to spread throughout different running styles and stick to horses that have shown they can handle the quirky distance. #9 could be controlling pace and had won 4 of 9 at the distance. #2 in good form and is 1 for 1 at 7f. #8 looks like the best closer of the bunch and is in good form. #7 is another Chad horse that's 2 for 5 at the length and should be running late.

Race 11 (5.5f Turf Stake) - originally the Saturday feature, going with the logical battle tested #5 and the Chad's #4 on the distance cutback. Several others wouldn't surprise, including #3 and #6.

Race 12 (8.5f Turf Allowance) - Mixed bag here with half the field looking for their second win in anywhere from 10 to 44(!) starts. Best form belongs to #4 who is 2 for 5 and one last out. #11 also in good form but at 1 for 27 is hard to love. Chad has an unusual choice in here, #8, who has run OK but only on dirt and is still a maiden.

Race 13 (9f Grade 3 Stake) - Big fan of She's a Julie and she should be in good position here sitting just behind Golden Award (#5) and Skeptic. Wow Cat (#5) comes off an 8 month layoff for Chad but has fired fresh before.

1,2,3,10 / 2,7,8,9 / 4,5 / 4,8 / 1,5
 
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