Monday, July 21, 2014

Saratoga 2014: Better Lucky Wins Shine Again

Better Lucky ran her own race, watching as her three rivals spread a half a dozen lengths in front of her, and then put forth a huge stretch run on her way to winning the Shine Again Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Monday.  Grace Hall finished 2nd and My Miss Aurelia finished third.

Better Lucky was 12 lengths back at the 1/2 mile station when jockey Javier Castellano hit the go switch and started making up ground.  By the top of the stretch, she was only five lengths from the front and took the lead in the closing strides.

She needed a little luck, as Grace Hall and My Miss Aurelia appeared to bump at the eighth pole, slowing down Grace Hall enough for Better Lucky to pull into the lead at the end.

Grace Hall finished second for the third time in three starts, and My Miss Aurelia, fresh off an 16 month layoff, held strong against the early pace but didn't have the strides needed to win late in the stretch.

***
Mythical Bet
Current Bankroll: $75.00
Active Bets
$2 WIN, PLACE, SHOW: #2
$4 PLACE: #6
$2 TRIFECTA: 2/6-2/6-4

Winnings
$2 Place #2: $2.40
$4 Place #6: $7.80
Refunds: Show, Trifecta ($6.00)

New Bankroll: $91.20

Saratoga 2014: Day 4 of 40



After a competitive weekend that saw Stopchargingmaria return to her winning ways in the Coaching Club American Oaks, and Big Trouble cause big trouble in the juvenile standings, we slow things down as we wrap up the first weekend of racing at the Spa.  

Nine races await visitors today, including the Shine Again Stakes for older fillies and mares.  The race, which is for horses who haven't won a graded stakes in 2014, brings back two familiar names at Saratoga by way of Grace Hall and My Miss Aurelia.  Grace Hall was winner in the Spinaway in 2011, and My Miss Aurelia was victorious in the Adirondack that same summer. 

Race 8: The Shine Again Stakes - 4YO&UP F&M - 7 Furlongs - Post: 4:42PM

Horse
A/S
Jockey
WGT
Trainer
M/L
1
4/F
117
10/1
2
5/M
115
9/5
3
4/F
119
5/1
4
5/M
115
2/1
5
6/M
115
20/1
6
5/M
123
7/2

Here's a look at the whole field:

TOASTING: Toasting last appeared in the Ruffian Stakes at Belmont Park back in May, where she finished 5th.  Never involved, Toasting didn't show signs of belonging with the likes of race-winner Fiftyshadesofhay.  Toasting last found the winner's circle at Gulfstream Park, winning an allowance race there.  Toasting's last win in a stakes race was in the Dream Rush Stakes, her only stakes victory.

Toasting made three appearances at the Spa, in two Maiden Special Weights in 2012 and in the My Flag Stakes last summer.  

GRACE HALL: The Vanity Stakes runner-up to runaway winner Iotapa comes back to the course she raced and won on back in 2011.  There she won the Spinaway Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths for her lone Grade 1 victory in her career.  She went on to finish second behind My Miss Aurelia in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs, and finished third in the Kentucky Oaks.

She has failed to hit the board only three times in her career, the latest being her effort in the 2013 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn, which was her last race before a year's layoff.

BRIDGEHAMPTON: Bridgehampton is a lightly raced filly, only making six career starts.  She's won every other race, last time winning the My Juliet Stakes at Parx in Philadelphia.  To date that is her only stakes win, but she came close to winning the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Belmont Park last year, losing the lead in the closing seconds.

MY MISS AURELIA: My Miss Aurelia is undefeated at Saratoga in three tries.  She broke her maiden back in July 2011, staying close to pace-setting Delightful Magic before pulling ahead in the stretch.  It would be the first of six straight wins for My Miss Aurelia, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies where she beat Grace Hall.  She returned to Saratoga in 2012 to win the Mandys Gold Stakes, then nailed another Grade 1 stakes by winning the Cotillion Stakes at Parx.

She would be the second place finisher to Royal Delta in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (Distaff), and after a couple third place finishes, she was shelved.

Her last race was March 2013, when she finished third in the Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park.  

ANGEL'S GLORY: Angel's Glory has appeared in two stakes races, in the Red Cross Stakes at Monmouth last year where she finished 2nd, and this year in the Awesome Feather Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Florida.  

Her last win was in an Allowance Optional Claiming, where she beat four other rivals at Monmouth back in August 2013.  

BETTER LUCKY: Better Lucky was a neck short of a graded stakes win on the turf two years ago when she finished second to Centre Court in the Lake George Stakes.  She would have a harder time in the Lake Placid Stakes, and earned her first Grade 1 victory in the Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park.

After a 8th place finish in the Just A Game stakes at Belmont Park earlier this year, she'll be making a surface switch.  She's not a stranger to the dirt surface, winning two of her first four races on the dirt surfaces of Aqueduct (Inner Dirt) and Belmont Park.  But this will be Better Lucky's first stakes race on the dirt.

***
Race Analysis: My Miss Aurelia returns to racing, and that usually fires a question mark whether or not she will be able to return successfully.  She has a good resume, especially at Saratoga Race Course, but being sidelined might effect her today.

She'll be in the mix, along with Grace Hall and Better Lucky, but I don't see her winning the race today.  Grace Hall lost convincingly in her last start, and it's important that she forgets that runaway romp at Santa Anita if she's going to win here at Saratoga.  

Those two horses have the advantage over the others with victories at the Spa.  Better Lucky has never raced on the Saratoga dirt, only racing on the turf course as a three year old.  The surface swap for Better Lucky has me intrigued.

This is a field where any of these three horses could refuel their career and get themselves back to graded stakes glory.  Bridgehampton has the best chance of the other three running this race to strike an upset, with Angel's Glory clearly overmatched for the firepower presented in this race.  In a better field Toasting could find stakes glory, but against three graded stakes winners, might find herself running to complete the Superfecta.

My Picks: 2-6-4

Mythical Bet
Current Bankroll: $85.00
Wagers
$2 WIN, PLACE, SHOW: #2
$4 PLACE: #6
$2 TRIFECTA: 2/6-2/6-4 ($4 total)

TOTAL WAGERS: $10.00
REMAINING BANKROLL: $75.00

Disclaimer: The Mythical Bet is for entertainment purposes only and should be used as advice.  FOX Sports Radio 1230 and its affiliates, partners, and sister stations will not be held responsible for using our picks and advice for gambling purposes.  Please gamble responsibly.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saratoga 2014: Stopchargingmaria Wins CCA Oaks

Stopchargingmaria enters the winner circle with jockey Javier Castellano onboard
after winning the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.  WMML Photo
Stopchargingmaria broke her maiden last year at Saratoga Race Course.

So it should be no surprise that the filly earned her first Grade 1 victory at this same track, winning the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.

Stopchargingmaria used a stalking trip while Miss Besilu and Taketheodds ran at the front of the pack through the first three quarters, angled outside by jockey Javier Castellano.  As the leaders started to tire, Castellano made his move, pushing Stopchargingmaria to the front of the pack, followed by Unbridled Forever.  By the time Stopchargingmaria reached the top of the stretch, she had gained the lead and was able to run away from the rest of the pack.

Unbridled Forever finished second, and front-running Miss Besliu was able to hold off America for third.

It's her fourth Graded Stakes victory, winning in the Black Eyed Susan at Pimlico her last time out, and also victories in the Demoiselle and the Tempted last fall at Aqueduct.

Stopchargingmaria broke her maiden one year and one day prior to winning The Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course, winning a hand-driven Maiden Special Weight on July 19th, 2013.  She would go on to race in the Spinaway Stakes on closing weekend, finishing second to Sweet Reason.

Repole Stables owns the three year old filly.  Todd Pletcher is the trainer.

Stopchargingmaria could now angle for another run against three year old fillies in the Alabama, or face older horses in the Personal Ensign, both next month at Saratoga.

  ***

Other Notes: Frankie Dettori did not ride either of his mounts on Sunday.  The European rider is scheduled to ride on Monday before returning to Europe afterwards.  Dettori came up empty on Saturday, but did get to show off his signature dismount after winning twice on the Friday card.

The New York Racing Association announced that the Sunday attendance was better than 26,000 fans.  While that number seems small for a giveaway day, bear in mind that under the new rules for the giveaways, NYRA will not be including multiple admission purchases as part of their attendance, which means the 26,000 is truer than the old numbers that routinely pushed 50,000 on highly-sought giveaway items. 

Nine races are on the schedule for Monday, including the eighth race feature Shine Again Stakes for four year old and up fillies and mares who have not won a graded stakes in 2014.  Grace Hall is the morning line favorite, finishing second in the Vanity Stakes at Santa Anita where she watched the winner, Iotapa, run away to win by over ten lengths.  Joel Rosario will be on the favorite.

We haven't forgotten.  We lost our $15 mythical bet on the Schuylerville, but that won't stop us from investing more.  We'll have a preview and a mythical bet for the Shine Again up here tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Saratoga 2014: Day 1 of 40 (Preview)


The horses will be heading to post at 1PM for the start of 400 or so races that will take place on the historic oval between now and Labor Day.

It's the beginning of Saratoga 2014, and here at FOX Sports Radio 1230 we're going to be another place you can turn for racing coverage from the track 15 miles from our studios in Queensbury.

From live reports at the track throughout the season and racing analysis here online, we're going to be sure you have another source for information.

Every racing day, prior to the start of the first race, we'll give you a preview of that day's stakes race, and try to give you our picks for who we think will win.  In addition, we're going to try something - and bear in mind - our record with handicapping isn't superb.  Just ask Andrew Champagne.

We're going to have a $100 mythical bankroll to the start of the season, and we'll be making bets throughout the season on these stakes races.  However, once that $100's gone, we're done for the season ... so hopefully we'll make some good, safe bets.

***

With that said, let's take a look at the Opening Day card at Saratoga Race Course.  10 races greets fans as the first gets under way at 1PM.

 SAR 3: The Schyulerville - G III - 2YO Fillies - 6 Furlongs (DIRT) - Purse: $150,000 - Post: 2:02PM
P#
PP
Horse

A/S
Med
Jockey
Wgt
Trainer
M/L
1
1

2/F
L
119
20/1
2
2

2/F
L
119
5/2
3
3

2/F
L
119
12/1
4
4

2/F
L
121
3/5
5
5

2/F
L
119
6/1
Entries courtesy Equibase

With a heavy favorite and a light field, the traditional Opening Day feature, the Grade III Schuylerville will be ran early, carded as the 3rd race with a post time of 2:02PM.  Fashion Alert is the one to beat, with John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher on the connections for the 3/5 morning line favorite.  

Fashion Alert debuted in the $100,000 Astoria Stakes at Belmont on June 14th, coming out of post 6, and running immediately for the lead and drew off in the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths over Liatris and Lindy.

One of Fashion Alert's biggest competitors could come from Tulira's Star, who comes out of a Maiden Special Weight at Arlington.  There she stalked Rock My Dreams after an awkward start as Rock My Dreams set the early fraction, then took the lead in the turn and ran away to win by 3 1/2 lengths over La Grange.  

Take Charge Brandi wasn't the favorite when she debuted on June 22nd at Churchill Downs, but convincingly won as the 3-1 second choice after she took the early lead and expanded on it over Conquest Archangel in the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths.  

Evrbdymstgetstonz upset the field on July 2nd when she crushed the field in her debut at Belmont Park, winning her Maiden Special Weight by 6 lengths, leading throughout.  It was such a decisive victor for the 23-1 longshot that she was hand urged in the stretch. 

Mast Cove is the only horse to have been raced more than once in this field, finally breaking her maiden in a Maiden Claiming race at Delaware Park.  In that race, she dueled Mide as Well to the turn, took clear control of the lead heading into the stretch and won over Looking for Lucky.  

***

Analysis: The Schuyerville is the type of race where anything can happen, and last year was the source of added excitement with the dead heat.  Mast Cove's ability to beat higher-tiered horses will come into play, as all three races were at Delaware Park and Pimlico, normally not known for producing strong juvenile candidates.  Plus her maiden win in a claiming race sets her lower than her four rivals.  

Fashion Alert's only race came in an ungraded stakes race, the only one to have raced in such competition.  That sets her above the rest of her competition.  Plus her race was at 5 1/2 furlongs, 1/2 furlong short of the 6 this race is.  One other horse raced at that distance, and that's Evrbdymstgetsonz.  But the fact that Evrbdymstgetsonz only needed a hand ride to get to the finish, could make things interesting between those two.

I think Evrbdymstgetsonz could cover the distance with something left in the tank.  Just like I think Fashion Alert could pull off the win for her backers.  After some debate, and a coin flip, I think we could have an upset on Day #1 at the Spa.
Picks: 3-4-5

MYTHICAL BET
Current Bankroll: $100
Wager: $3 to WIN, PLACE on #3 - Evrbdymstgetstonz
$4 EXACTA BOX: 3/4
$0.50 TRIFECTA: 3-4/3-4/5
TOTAL WAGERS: $15.00
Remaining Bankroll: $85

***

SAR 9th: The Sir Cat - 3 Year Olds - 1 Mile (TURF) - Purse: $100,000 - Post: 5:15PM 
P#
PP
Horse
A/S
Med
Jockey
Wgt
Trainer
M/L
1
1
3/C
L
122
9/5
2
2
3/C
L
122
4/1
4
4
3/C
L
116
15/1
5
5
3/C
L
118
8/5
6
6
3/C
L
116
8/1
7
7
3/G
L
122
10/1
8
8
3/C
L
116
30/1
3
3
3/C
L
116
2/1
Entries Courtesy Equibase

Let's be serious here, Pablo Del Monte's only going to be racing if they accidentally stick the turf course in Saratoga Lake.  With beautiful weather the last couple of days, plus beautiful weather forecasted for all of Friday, The Sir Cat is going to stay on the grass surface.  

Tourist won his last two starts, venturing into stakes competition after his win in an allowance race on June 8th at Belmont Park.  There he took to the lead, and won easily by 5 3/4 lengths over Patent and J to the Croft to get his connections thinking about the next level, especially after he stopped the timer in 1:33.30 over the firm going.  

Storming Inti, a Pennsylvania bred, comes into the race after a 3rd place finish in the Penn Mile Stakes at Penn National on May 31st.  He stalked, but couldn't get the kick he needed to get closer to stablemate Bobby's Kitten, who was also trained by Chad Brown.  Storming Inti has been kept out of the winner's circle since his win in the Kitten's Joy Stakes at Gulfstream back in January.  

Cabo Cat finished 3rd in that race.  Of late, Cabo Cat finished 2nd in both the Mr. Light Stakes and Paradise Creek Stakes, then found the winner's circle in the Manila Stakes at Belmont Park.  There he relaxed through the early stages of the mile, giving the leaders 7 lengths at the opening quarter and then closing through the turn and into the stretch where he took the lead and held off Long On Value to win.

After finishing third to Tourist, J To The Croft took advantage of a stalking trip to win a 7 furlong Allowance Optional Claiming race at Belmont Park, hanging on by a neck over Los Borrachos.  His narrow victory, coupled with his 2nd place finish in an allowance on May 15th when he lost the lead in the stretch to Canzoni in a 1-1/16th mile race might raise some question whether J To The Croft can handle the full mile.

If you recognized the name Ring Weekend, it's because he was one of the starters in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico back in May.  There he finished 5th getting bumped repeatedly and couldn't gain ground from the front runners.  That was the last race he finished.  In the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth, Ring Weekend set the early fractions, but quickly gave way in the far turn and was pulled up after he was clearly the last of the 5 horses. With John Velazquez on board, this could be a horse to watch if he's back to form.

The last time Vigorish tried stakes company, it didn't go well for him.  In the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds in February, he finished 11th of the 14 horses, outclassed by his rivals was the maiden.  But after breaking his maiden at Ellis Park on the 4th of July, he returns to stakes competition at Saratoga Race Course.  

Gourmet Delight is another fresh off breaking his maiden, doing so at Monmouth Park after 8 tries.

Picks: 2-5-7