By all accounts, the 2007 Saratoga meet was a great success. OK, Todd Pletcher may have a slightly different perspective, but everyone else seems very happy.
So, how did I do with my pre-meet Fearless Predictions?
Prediction: Pletcher would win four of the six graded stakes, Ausmussen would win one.
Result: Ausmussen got his win, but Pletcher only won one.
3-Year-Olds on Dirt
Predictions: Most Distinguished in the Amsterdam (winner, $6.40), Dream Rush in the Test Stakes (winner, $4.50), Appealing Zophie in the Victory Ride (finished 3rd) and Teuflesberg in the King’s Bishop (finished 4th). Street Sense will sweep both the Jim Dandy and Travers (he did, $2.70 & $2.70). Rags to Riches will win Alabama (she didn’t run).
Results: Seven picks. Six runners. Four winners. ($2win: $12 out, $16.30 in, +$4.30 net)
3-Year-Olds on Turf
Predictions: Marcavelly in the National Museum of Racing (finished 2nd), Summer Doldrums in the Saranac (didn’t run), Rutherienne in the Lake George (winner, $7.50) and Panty Raid in the Lake Placid (didn’t run).
Results: Four picks. Two runners. One winner. ($2win: $4 out, $7.50 in, +$3.50 net)
Dirt Sprints for Older Horses
Predictions: Diabolical in the Vanderbilt (winner, $7.00), Any Limit in the Honorable Miss (didn’t run), Ginger Punch in the Ballerina (didn’t run – right horse, wrong race) and High Finance in the Forego (finished 8th).
Results: Four picks. Two runners. One winner. ($2win: $4 out, $7.00 in, +$3.00 net)
Dirt Routes for Older Horses
Predictions: Teammate in the Go For Wand (finished 3rd), Brass Hat in the Whitney (finished 8th), Indian Vale in the Personal Ensign (finished 3rd) and Discreet Cat in the Woodward (didn’t run).
Results: Four picks. Three runners. No winners. ($2win: $6 out, $0.00 in, -6.00 net)
Turf Routes for Older Horses
Predictions: My Typhoon in the Diana (winner, $8.10), Wait A While in the Ballston Spa (winner, $8.00) and Makderah (finished 7th). Remarkable News in the Fourstardave (didn’t run), Better Talk Now in the Sword Dancer (didn’t run) and Einstein in Bernard Baruch (didn’t run).
Results: Six picks. Three runners. Two winners. ($2win: $6 out, $16.10 in, +10.10 net)
Winners: 8 (plus one 2nd and three 3rds)
$2win: $32 out, $46.90 in, +$14.90 net, +47% roi
What does it all mean? That I’m a chalk-eating weasel? That’s a good guess. However, I do think we can get something out of this exercise that is often overlooked on race day: The best trainers target the best horses to the best races. Simple, obvious and chalky, right? Sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not profitable.
Rutherienne had won back-to-back turf Grade 3’s coming into the Saratoga meet. It makes sense that trainer Christophe Clement would target the Lake George next since it’s at the same conditions. Rutherienne rallied from 9th to get up by half a length and paid $7.50. My Typhoon? Same deal, paid $8.10. Wait A While? $8.00! To me, these were not only bargains, they were obvious weeks before the race.
So what’s the message? Don’t overlook the obvious in stakes races. The best trainers know how to get top horses ready for big races. If it’s clear that a horse has been pointed to this race and has been winning, or at least very competitive, at these same conditions, why fight it? Don’t go crazy trying to beat this favorite, just hop on board!