I find that when my handicapping has gone south I'm automatically drawn towards discussing things like the weather. So without further ado I'm pleased to report that it's a nice day at Saratoga once again. It's been a pretty unbelievable run of good weather. The Turf races have not been affected since perhaps the third day of the meet.
I'm sure there are plenty of trainers looking to score wins at the Spa in easy off the turf races but that angle is just about closed for now. We're seeing a ton of turf racing packed into every card and the course looks like it's in excellent condition.
Alan Garcia continues to showcase his talent and show people that he can do more than simply ride very live horses for Kiaran McLaughlin. He's simply riding well and Ramon is having a very tough time staying in touch with him despite getting many more mounts. Leparoux and Velasquez are beginning to emerge from the pack as well and these four look like the only ones in serious contention for the title.
Could Linda Rice actually be the champion trainer at the Spa? The easy answer is no but she is well on her way to having her best meet ever. Last year McLaughlin took the title with 17 winners. Rice has 7 winners from 11 race days. With another 25 days to go she could well find herself in the 12-15 range. It won't be enough to deal with a massive stable like Todd Pletcher's but she is turning some heads. Pletcher got off to his usual slow start but has steadily climbed his way all the way to the top without even getting hot. I think he'll walk away with this title easily despite the best efforts of overachievers like Rice.
Spot Plays for Thursday Aug 13th
$2 exacta box - Dattt Echo/Capital Adequacy/Happy Week =$12
$1 exacta box - Quick to Charm/Willsboro Point/Bullara/Aly's Wheat =$12
$1 trifecta box - Quick to Charm/Willsboro Point/Bullara/Aly's Wheat =$24
$1 exacta box - Pletcher Entry/Ready to Party/Smart Seattle =$6
Wagered - $54
I'm going a bit heavier with Race 2's exacta but I feel pretty good about that race. I know I've been cold with the juveniles but I've been cold with everything. I think Dattt Echo is a fabulous win bet for this race and I really like Pletcher and Violette with first timers. This could yield a nice return too since McLaughlin has an expensive Darley horse debuting. I suppose it could win but I like that barn more with second timers.
Race 6 feels like one of those claiming events where anything can happen. I'm just hoping that the fastest horses prevail.
Race 7 is much like Race 2 in that my play is mainly focused on the trainers rather than the horses but I don't have as strong a feeling about it.