How To Bet Closing Week At Saratoga


The Travers is over; the storm is gone. But it's hardly goodnight, Irene, at the Old Spa.

With less than a week of racing left at the meet, there will be more action than usual, too, through getaway week because NYRA is adding an extra race each day to make up for Sunday's washout.

So with more than 60 races left before we head downstate, there are plenty of opportunities to pad your pocket, even if you've dug yourself a hole -- not unexpected at a meet where favorites were batting under 32 percent through the first 30 days.

What to watch for?

JOCKEYS: Javier Castellano is just one win short of John Velazquez, 46-45, so expect his agent, Matt Muzikar, to work the phones and the backstretch overtime to get Castellano his first-ever riding title at Saratoga. But don't be surprised if Ramon Dominguez, in third place at 37 winners, makes a final push. Kent Desormeaux doesn't ride many, but he's been in Hall-of-Fame form when he does.

TRAINERS: Todd Pletcher, with 33 winners to 19 for Chad Brown in second place, has another trainer's title locked up; but his 2-year-olds, which were winning everything in sight early in the meet, seem to have cooled off lately.

Bill Mott usually saves a few bullets for the final week. Linda Rice, who's been ice-cold since tying Pletcher for the title at Belmont spring-summer, can make a late surge. Ken McPeek and David Fawkes shipped in with high hopes that haven't panned out, yet.

OWNERS: Michael Dubb and Mike Repole are locked in a tight race for the owner's title; expect them to drop some horses into winning spots. Others to watch: Ken Ramsey and owner-trainer David Jacobson.

TURF: Last year toward the end of the meet, there was a strong speed bias on the inner turf course. After all the rain Sunday, that might not be the case; but it might, so pay attention.

HORSES TO WATCH: Shot Gun Pennie, Big Blue Nation, Loure, Higher Incentive, Tahoe Lake, Takes the Gold, Five Sigma Event, Volition and Imagining.

by Ed Fountaine

On the New York worktab

TIZWAY (Tiznow), king of the Whitney Invitational H. (G1) and Metropolitan H. (G1) in his last two, clocked a half-mile in :49 2/5 over Saratoga's fast Oklahoma dirt training surface on Wednesday. Trainer James Bond will use the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) on October 1 at Belmont Park as Tizway's final prep race for the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1).

Dual Grade 3 winner REGALLY READY (More Than Ready), a neck third in the My Frenchman S. most recently, logged three furlongs in :39.

Multiple Grade 1 veteran COURT VISION (Gulch), fourth in the Colonial Turf Cup, covered five furlongs in 1:02 on the firm turf training track.

Multiple Grade 3 veteran SILVER TIMBER (Prime Timber), an optional claiming winner three weeks ago, turned a half in :48 2/5 on the green.

Stakes vixen ALL FOR THEE (Elusive Quality), third in the Delaware Oaks (G2) two back, traveled four grassy furlongs in :50.

National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) runner-up PERREGAUX (Distorted Humor), third in the Jefferson Cup (G3) two back, breezed four furlongs on the grass in :49 1/5.

Multiple Grade 3-placed YIELD BOGEY (Langfuhr), runner-up by a head in the Jaipur S. (G3) two back, toured a grassy half in :48 2/5.

SOUPER SPECTACULAR (Giant's Causeway), a half-brother to Horse of the Year Zenyatta who was last seen running fourth in the January 9 Fort Lauderdale S. (G3), went four furlongs on the sod in :49 2/5.

Dual Grade 3 conqueror YANKEE FOURTUNE (Yankee Gentleman), unraced since a third in the February 27 Canadian Turf (G3), covered five-eighths in 1:00 on the fast main track at Saratoga.

Sham S. (G3) winner TAPIZAR (Tapit), unraced since a fifth in the February 12 Robert B. Lewis S. (G2), breezed five furlongs in 1:02 4/5.

POWER WORLD (Distorted Humor), runner-up in the Sanford S. (G2) and Bashford Manor S. (G3) in his past two, traveled five-eighths in 1:00.

Dual Grade 2 second CONVOCATION (Pulpit), winner of an optional claimer last out, sped four furlongs in :47 3/5 in advance of Saturday's Woodward S. (G1).

Grade 1-placed WINE POLICE (Speightstown), third in the Amsterdam S. (G2) most recently, stepped in :51 3/5 in advance of Friday's Sightseek S.

Multiple Grade 3-placed CHIPSHOT (Peace Rules), victorious in the Select S., logged a half-mile in :51. He's also entered in the six-furlong Sightseek.

Brooklyn H. (G2) hero BIRDRUN (Birdstone), second in the Greenwood Cup last out, breezed four furlongs in :48 on the fast dirt training track at Belmont Park.

Hilltop S. third BLUSHANDBASHFUL (Even the Score), fifth when last seen in the June 18 Regret S. (G3), sped a bullet half-mile in :47 1/5.

Sussex S. victor MR. RYDER (Giant's Causeway), winner in five of his last six races, posted :52 3/5.




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