Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Nomination Is In: The P3 at Saratoga featuring The Fourstardave

My handicapper's holiday is over. I wasn't off blogging fashion and I didn't stop handicapping, but I needed a break. Every summer I usually take some time off, typically in July, to clear my mind and to recharge my batteries for the second half of the racing season. I went about 2 weeks longer than usual this year, as first my day job had me doing some difficult travel, screwing up my Friday night handicapping sessions, and also I took a summer course working on my MBA and a 4 CR course in eight weeks can suck the life out of you. I think it's important to put the red pen down every now and then and just watch the races without any betting action. It helps me to hit the reset button and take a fresher eye to what I'm doing.

From a handicapping ROI perspective, I don't fare well at Del Mar or Saratoga. That's not opinion, purely fact from the statistics that I keep to help me understand my racetrack investments. I tend to fare better on turf than the dirt at SAR, and I just flatly refuse to play the horrible fake dirt surface at Del Mar. For my first blogging assignment back I'm looking at the Pick 3 that features the Fourstardave.  Fourstardave, the Sultan of Saratoga.  My first summer at the Spa, when I came as a 19 year old, was 1986.  A year later the Sultan arrived and began his 7 year run of excellence.  Rest in Peace.  The Fourstardave is the logical place for me to start my Pick Three preparations, and the challenge will be finding value in the Pick 3 if Wise Dan wins the race at 3-5 or less. Thanks to Alysse Jacobs for the use of her picture. 

Wise Dan is the first older horse since Zenyatta to go on such a streak of dominance.  He enters today's racing with 8 wins in 9 turf starts, winning on a yielding surface at 128 pounds in the Firecracker at CD.  He'll be wearing 129 pounds today over a track that most likely isn't firm.  To lose would create a whole heck of alot of Pick 3 value.  It seems a worthy endeavor.  Let's get after this!

You guessed it: This P# isn't worth playing for me unless I can have a bit of fun and swing at the fences. The only glimmer of a chance on paper is the 129 pounds Wise Dan carries, 11 pounds more than Za Approval and 12 more than King Kressa. I typically don't get a hoot about weight differences but the spread is pretty big and Wise Dan will cross over less than firm conditions and most likely have to chase King Kressa into the final 1/16. I'm hanging my hat on that battle, with Za Approval, the Clement trained, Lezcano ridden turf winner of 6 races. I'll cover King Kressa and Za Approval and most likely not cover Wise Dan as we are taking a feast or famine approach.

Race 8, an N1X $87,000 allowance race, is seemingly wide open, but on closer examination a few her bubble to the top.  Michael Maker's Leadem in Ken, with Castellano up, makes his third start, winning a 1 Mile on CD turf last time out.  Maker's a 24% turf winner with 503 starts and wins 30% of his Won Last Start races on 272 tries. 

Abraham, who made mild buzz on the Triple Crown trail, is a Pletcher/Velazquez entrant who hasn't won since February and makes first turf try.  Nice :47 2/5th turf work on August 5th.  Classy son of Distorted Humor for Winstar, Pletcher wins 16% of first turf situations.

Bill Mott's got a first time with trainer (24%) (1st turf 10%) runner with Ghost Hunter.  Darley Stables injects lasik into Valid for the first time in Valid, bred by the late Edward P. Evans.  McLaughlin is also a 10% winner with first turf.

Race 9, the Auntie Mame, is a stakes race for 3 YO fillies who have never blah blah blah.  A Bona Venture runner, Summer of Fun, has personal appeal for this Western New Yorker. 5 of 5 in the money on turf, I like this gal's chances.

Silsita is a heavy hitter who flamed out in the Kentucky Oaks against some really talented runners.  This seems like a very good spot for the winner of the My Princess Jess three weeks ago.

Bella Castani, in Lael Stables silks, trained by Clement, is a daughter of Big Brown and 3 of 4 in the money over turf. 

I like both Effie Ticket and Praia to both make good late turns of foot. 

So what do we have for the pick three?

I plan on enjoying the Wise Dan run regardless if he wins or loses, but I think I'm positioned well if he was to be upset. As a gambler, that's a situation I look for every week.

Have fun friends, Turk Out!

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