The equine athletes are horse racing first and foremost to the Ol' Turk, but a close second is the people behind the horses. Can there be a brighter light in Saratoga racing over a longer period of time than the Whitney's? The irrepressible Marylou dances it up with a dashing Tony Randall at the crossroads where glamour and racing met, a yesteryear where rich Corinthian leather in your car meant something.
Anyhow, summer marches along and waits for no one. Saratoga comes and stays with us and before you know it, its gone, along with summer for another year. Saratoga has its own ebb and flow, races that set up races, that lead to championship races, that lead to Fall Belmont and then Breeders' Cup where the circle comes complete for the year. During the flow, stepping stone rocks appear, and today is The Whitney Invitational Handicap, a stepping stone for The Woodward, sure, but Breeders' Cup Classic is what these runners are focused on, with maybe one more stepping stone race before that day in early November. With real dirt back at Santa Anita trainers can point to The Goodwood or The Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont. Stepping stones start with a first stone, and there were many for this group: The Stephen Foster, The Suburban, The Salvator and Met Miles, The Cornhusker, this is a middle stone, some will jump to one more stone in September or October, and then Churchill Downs, trying to follow the path of last years winner, Blame.
This IS horse racing, the handicap division, as weak as it may seem to some, its deep in numbers if not full of elite champions.
Let's get it on!
Saratoga Race 9-10-11
Weather and Scratches and Changes are an issue, so pay attention to both as the day goes on.
I'm going to let the spreadsheets speak for themselves prerace and I'll spend more time than usual postrace breaking down the contenders, my pre race thoughts, and what unfolded. A bit backwards for sure but an exercise I like to do every month or so to help me spot things on the racechart that I see and then take that information and tie back to the past performances, when the animals are kind enough to run on dirt like the story unfolds on paper.
Have fun with a day like today and I'll be back later to mull the effort over.
I handicapped a big field in Race 11 to assemble a Pick Three bet. It's a 7 panel affair over dirt for 3 YOs and Up foaled in NYS which have never won a race other than yada yada yada. I like the 9-10-11 and I most likely will single one of them and keep my exposure low as today is more about handicapping homework than swinging for the fences. These fields are too deep and too talented for me to loosen the purse strings too much.