That happy looking bunch to the left is the connections for Red Giant, the speedy Giant's Causeway son and winner of the 2008 FourStarDave Handicap at Saratoga. The Trainer of Red Giant is none other then the dapper T. Pletcher, who brings in another Giant's Causeway son, Cowboy Cal into the 2009 edition of this race.
Race 7 SAR Post Time 4:21 ET; The FourStarDave Handicap Grade II; 1 1/16 mile on Turf for 3 YOs and Up.
The Hour by Hour Forecast for Saratoga lists an 80% chance of precipitation at 3 PM. Figure that into your calculations and check the track website for if the race is taken off the turf at all. The Turk will be reworking the handicap, or not betting at all, depending on the surface condition minutes before post. The Turf was listed as Good around 11 AM.
I am placing Cowboy Cal at the top of my base handicap. He faired poorly on yielding turf in his last outing at 1 1/4 and faded a bit on good turf at 1 1/8 before that. It's a concern.
Breaking from the next gate is Justenuffhumor, a McLaughlin/Garcia combination that clicked along last meet at SAR 35% of the time. The 4 YO son of Distorted Humor is 4 of 4 in 2009 and 3 of 3 at this distance, and Trainer McLaughlin clips away at 22% on Turf. Lots to like. His last two wins were also on Turf listed as good.
7 Yo Cosmonaut is an erratic threat. 17 of 28 Turf races in the money, 19 of 35 lifetime in the money, 8 wins in 35 career starts. His last two outings ended in lost positioning, but Leparoux is up again and has ridden this horse well in the past.
I've dropped Kip Deville back a bit, but that doesn't mean he can't strike anywhere from 1st to 5th, but I'm leaning towards no better then third.
On the Left Coast, where the Surf meets the Turf, we have some of California's biggest names competing against the hero of the Dubai Meet, Well Armed. The Turk loves the circular nature of life and just as we had with FourStarDave, we have Well Armed, returning from Dubai for the second year in a row, returning to action from post 10 with jock Gryder up, looking to win this race for the second year in a row. The picture was taken by Andrew Watkins.
Race 8 DMR Post Time 8:30 ET: The San Diego Handicap Grade II; 1 1/16 miles on dangerous fake dirt for 3 YOs and Up.
I'm going to back Informed to nip Well Armed before the line. Informed is dropping back in distance and the 5 YO son of Tiznow goes into his third race since mid June. I like where he's at right now and I like is lifetime 8 of 12 in the money at this distance and his 3 of 3 lifetime in the money at DMR. My early bet strategy will not be tied to Informed winning, so no key's, no wheel's with him and all I'll be looking for is a top 4 finish.
I'm dropping Well Armed no lower then second and I expect the horse to be even money or worse by post time. A top four is all I'm looking for, and I'll have an unbalanced matrix of bets that lean towards him winning.
The balance of my top four are streches and I'm liable to rethink or not bet this race because my handicap flopped them out so high and it doesn't sit well with me. I liked Kelly Leak several months back, but he's been on the shelf since late March. The Runaway Groom colt has been training for speed and endurance and looks very sharp in the mornings. I'm looking for Mike Smith to be in a foul mood after the WV Derby and ride a big race today.
Sangaree from the far outside is a seemingly outclassed colt today, but I'm not so sure. The 4 YO Baffert trainee has the late speed to find the back of the ticket. I think some bigger name and fading horses will have a hard time here today.
Whats it all mean? There is alot of talent outside of Well Armed and Informed. A matrix with multiple third and fourth place finishers will be constructed and I'll be active in 10 cent superfecta betting. The filly Allicansayis Wow is carrying 15 less pounds then Well Armed and I'm always curious when Biancone picks a odd spot for a runner.
Enjoy. Turk out!