Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Nomination Is In: August 14, 2009; The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes Grade II on Turf
The Turk finds himself in Nebraska tonight doing his day job as best as he can. After hours I got lonesome thinking about Saratoga and after a quick trip to the business center at the Marriott I emerged with a copy of the Past Performances and a dream. I needed a fix. The drug of choice today is the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Grade II on Turf and an impressively balanced field of 10 runners to sort out. Let's get after it!
Saratoga Race 8: National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes Grade II; 1 1/8 on Turf for 3 YOs.
The weather in Saratoga looks to be wonderful tomorrow, so expect firm turf by race time, but make sure you check the condition of the turf, as all grass ain't the same to all horses.
After running through the PPs I started to build a list of potential Top Four runners. With a 10 horse field, I had eight potential Top Four candidates. That's a problem, but as a handicapper pulling a win off with a field like this is what gives me the euphoria I seek. Build your handicap without fear when facing parity. This isn't low hanging fruit. There will be easier scores to be made on the card tomorrow, so if you don't feel it, don't bet it. Be a humble handicapper, even the best get it wrong regularly.
The Turk likes Courageous Cat to win. I tried to find a reason to not pick the Mott entry, but I could not. Coming off a solid 1 1/16 turf win with a BSF of 94. Works well in the morning. Breaking from the 8 spot, Jock Desormeaux will get a good look at the pace and may even take the lead or will run just off of likely pace setters Straight Story and No Inflation.
Next to Courageous Cat in the 9 gate is Sal The Barber. A bit raw, but lots to like. His best effort was on good turf and his firm turf work is a bit of a leap of faith to have him this high. Trainer Clement has some wonderful stats going for him as well: 22% 31-60 day layoffs, 22% Turf Wins, 24% Graded Stakes wins, and J/T combine for 27% of wins over past year.
Straight Story is good enough to win here and some tickets will have him in the top spot. A solid Grade II turf threat, has three 90+ BSF efforts in a row.
Conservative is a classy Unbridled's Song son returning to Turf for the first time since February. The talent is there and A. Garcia is up.
A bit of a live and long for me is a Roger Attfield runner Midnight Mischief.First time on turf, something Attfield hits 17% of time. I don't think he can win, but a top 4 would sweeten the superfecta payout significantly.
I have some good horses buried in the pack. The reality is that the field has alot of parity and that should produce odds that make attractive payouts. I plan on betting a modified matrix in search of an exacta and then I'll build a few super's for a hoot.
The Turk didn't get much right in the Arlington Millions last weekend except for Gio Ponti, but that wasn't a surprise to anyone.
Race 9 Arlington 8/4/09: The Arlington Millions Grade I: 1 1/4 Miles on Turf for 3 YOs and Up.
The Turk travels home tomorrow and is getting excited for another two days in the Saratoga clubhouse next weekend. Enjoy. Turk Out!