The Turk is handicapping the 8th Race at Saratoga for Wednesday and the race is named in honor of Shawn Murphy, my cousin, who passed away suddenly last year after a short but gutty battle against cancer at age 59.
Shawn was an interesting man, a loving father and husband. The last time we spoke was August 2008 and he was not over how disappointing his trip to Saratoga was because of the rain that fell over the early part of the meet. I invited him to see Curlin run at the Woodward but he told me he hadn't been feeling good and he wasn't sure if he could travel until he saw his doctor. That's how quickly life changes. As race fans we know how suddenly life can change, as our equine heroes step onto tracks everyday and some never step off. If you are in Saratoga, tip your glass to the Murph and cheer for his family in the winner's circle when they take pictures. Murph was that guy you see along the fence everyday; an average Joe who loves the horses and the track. I hope my handicap works out well.
Race 8 SAR: Post Time 4:55; The Shawn Murphy Memorial Race $20,000; Claim Race for F&M 3 YOs and 3 YOs and Up with 2 wins.
The Turk is really hoping for either a Grey/Roan or Maggies Miracle to win for personal reasons.
As a handicapper, I like Akonite to finish in one of the top spots. This lightly raced 3 YO is jumping up from a 16K MSW and a win. I like the 28% win rate that Trainer Iadisernia and Jock Castillo share together and the horse is training well at 5f. Breaking from the 2 hole, he may provide the pace and the finish. I'll be looking for a value win bet, and if Akonite is less then 3-1 at post time, I'm most likely passing or just using on boxed exactas.
In the 3 spot is Aunt Mabel, coming off three 70+ BSF efforts and sporting an 11 of 15 lifetime In the Money record. She easily could win this race and lots to like. I think this horse will be bet down to 2-1 or better and will be in many of my exactas.
From post six is Quonata. I'm tossing her last race dismal effort and looking for the daughter of Peace Rules to return to the form that saw her win her first two races. The 4F in :46 2/5's 4 days ago has my attention.
I don't have a bet strategy yet, but as you read, I'm thinking a series of exacta bets and even a few straight Tri's, with win bets on a few of my B+ or betters if I get better then 4-1. As always, watch the tote and bet late.
Love you Murph, you are VERY missed!