SaratogaBets Handicapping - Kevin Cox's Saratoga Selections & Analysis - 7/23 - A.P. Smithwick Day


Well, we had a little divine intervention on the Queen Bee's birthday yesterday, as she ( who loved a good pedi ! ) got "Mani Pedi" home at $32 in the nitecap, giving us a Grand Slam on the afternoon, to go along with an ICE COLD $210 Exacta, an $88 Exacta reverse, and a $368 Triple Box as well.

That gives us 4 of 5 days with a profit, and a positive ROI for the meet, and of course -- thanks to all who donated to the charity listed below afterwards.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Today's Beatable Favorite(s): None

I'd like to leave this bit of info here for y'all. When we're using the DRF Formulator platform while writing our columns, if we say "Sprints", for the most part we mean any one turn race, and when we say "Routes", we mean any TWO turn race. ( For example, we consider a 1 1/8th mile race at Belmont an elongated sprint, and a 6 1/2 furlong race at a Charles Town a route. ) We feel this way, because in our eyes, it's the number of turns that necessitate more energy than being relaxed on a straightaway. Sometimes the sample size for our study can be too large to manually break down, so there may be a few from one category in another, but usually the end result is pretty much the same. Additionally, when it comes to layoffs, we consider more than 50 days in a dirt to dirt scenario a layoff, more than 58 days in D to T or T to D a layoff, and more than 67 days in a turf to turf deal a L/O.


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Saratoga - 7/23 - A.P. Smithwick Day


Race  1

1.Optimus Prime ( Fr )

2.Belisarius ( GB )

3.Surprising Soul

Second biggest steeplechase race of the meet is upon us in the A.P. Smithwick, and it's an interesting affair. #3 OPTIMUS PRIME (FR) owns that kind of "declining" record that we love to see ( 33:11-6-4 ) as it tells us that he has a schnozola for the finish line, and is near perfect ( 5:4-0-1 ) since arriving in the States back in 2018. Gelding hasn't been seen in a couple of Independence Day's, but is 7:2-1-1-2 off a break in the action, and Hendricks has a crisp 3 fer 4 mark with graded dirt stock off breaks of more than 67 days below the 10-1 watermark ( $16, $5 & $3 ). Deserving favorite. #1 BELISARIUS (GB) ( cross entered yesterday, so check the scratches ) is another example of a jumper finding a new lease on life,  ( as this one was running for $6,250 at Golden Gate in '17 ) & was a well beaten but gamely runner up in the most recent, but adds 13 pounds and could spice things up a bit. #6 SURPRISING SOUL completes the "Louvre/Big Ben/Statue of Liberty" triple based on the 7:1-4-0 mark in second off the layoff attempts.  NOTE: AS OF 10:52, DUE TO A LATE SCRATCH THE #7 WILL BE OUR 3RD SELECTION. 


Race  2


2.Take It to Scale

3.Hetty G. 

#4 INVEST spit the bit at a half mile last time out, but gelding put forth an honest showing in the lone "3rd off the L/O" try, owns a 3:1-1-1 mark in all other starts when available for purchase, and has a win at the trip. Slight edge in a race with not first draft tosses. #2 TAKE IT TO SCALE has partaken in the superfecta in both second off the shelf spins, and barn is a snazzy 4-6 with mid level dirt stock in the 48-50 day bracket at 10-1 or undah ( $5, $11, $9 & $2 ). # 1 HETTY G. has done her finest work at this dist., and WW has a 4 fer 12 record with runners of this ilk who missed the baccala < 40 days ago.  NOTE: AS OF 10:55, DUE TO TWO KEY SCRATCHES, WE ARE AMENDING OUR SELECTIONS TO 6-2-3.


Race  3

1.Lost Lake

2.Mo Normal

3.Uptown Flirt

#7 LOST LAKE bested two first time out -- a horse & the chase ambulance -- but we've always had a fondness for fading dirt dashers going long on the lawn for the first time ( especially at a decent number ). Mommy was 1 for 3 at this trip, and gal is a half to a 2-16 turf router as well. Factor in Galileo's 7:6-1-0 turf mark ( $2.2 million earned ) and the maternal grandsire owning a 13:5-3-1 mark at the dx., and you have the looks of a live runner here. #3 MO NORMAL is well bred for this sorta deal and Irad sees fit to take the call. #5 UPTOWN FLIRT has been performing quite well in the A.M.'s for today's overture, and went for ten times the stud fee at auction back in March.  OFF TURF: 3-5-4-2-6


Race  4 


2.Apollo's Abraxas

3.Holmdel Park

#1 FRESCO is a maiden facing winners, but that totally doesn't matter here, as all of his losses were by 2 1/2 or less, with the recent defeat being by just a honkah. This one gets tremendous post relief today, and C-Squared is a tidy 3 for 7 when going short to long with his ungraded turf stock who were ITM less than 58 days ago ( 5-1 or lower ). There are sub categories of 1-1 right here and 2-3 w/Irad in the irons. The race goes through this gal. #4 APOLLO'S ABRAXAS went coast to coast like butter and toast down at Belmont to snag the first win three weeks ago, and perhaps the light bulb stays on. #5 HOLMDEL PARK is 3rd off the break and loses the eye cups here. As bad as any for the show pita.  OFF TURF: 2-1-3-5-6


Race  5

1.New Frontier

2.Irish Front

3.Anzio Beach

#3 NEW FRONTIER popped and stopped in the turf comebacker at Belmont on the 5th of June, but posted a lifetime best figaro in his only "T to D" attempt, and while we'll put on top here, it's with oodles pf trepidation, as this one is beginning to give the impression of a chronic nibbler. #6 IRISH FRONT hasn't been seen since Hector was a pup, but barn knows how to have 'em prepped off of elongated absences, and this one was nestled between three next out winners in the debut here last annum. #8 ANZIO BEACH went for a quarter of a mil down at Keeneland back in '18, and draws nicely for the bow. 


Race  6 

1.Joyous Times

2.Pure Wow

3.Balon Rose

#7 JOYOUS TIMES has been very sharp of late -- having completed the exacta in his last duet at 7-2 & 18-1 -- and according to DRF Formulator, will be brought over by a 13% shotcaller who owns a 3 for 5 mark with allowance turfers who crashed the fiesta less than 50 days ago and are beneath the 11-1 line ( $7 x 2 & $13 ). T-Gaff off to a swell start at the meet. #6 PURE WOW hasn't faced the starter since early March, but was a gamely 3rd in her lone dirt attempt off the bench, #1 BALON ROSE was a gutsy runner up in her only start off of this kind of layoff scenario and is 3:1-1-0 @ the distance.  OFF TURF: 4-2-3-6-8


Race  7

1.Bustin to Please

2.Big Q

3.My Roxy Girl

#12 BUSTIN TO PLEASE was smartly protected against the claim in her first start back off the hiatus, as she got up in time to pick up the lion's share of the purse against NYB 25K foes. Gal is in for 40 large this afternoon, and recognize the smart score in her lone 2nd off the sabbatical jammie up at the Lakes. #1 BIG Q was an honest runner up when returning against stakes foes 25 days in the rear, and 17% Gullo just about doubles that rate ( 12:4-1-3-2 ) with optional dirt sprinters who were in the money seven weeks back or less ( 5-1 or beneath ). There are sub categories of 1 for 1 with Johnny & 1 for 1 right here ( separate outings ). Our favorite horse is back in action today -- the #8 MY ROXY GIRL !! $1,700 sales purchase goes over the 500K mark with a showing today, and it's not just that she's outrun her pedigree this whole time, but how she's done it, with a nose to the ground running style that you can't help but love. Of course, we don't pick 'em out of sentimentality, so we'll say that Rice is ( from a limited sampling ) 2 for 4 with local runners of this caliber off hibernations of 51-265 days ( $29 & $15 ).   NOTE: AS OF 10:57, DUE TO TWO LATE SCRATCHES, #'S 10 & 3 WILL BE OUR SECOND & THIRD CHOICES RESPECTIVELY.


Race  8 

1.Union Colonel  

2.It's a Wrap

3.Souper Energizer

#3 UNION COLONEL has been a part of the triple in three straight, four of five ( which includes two starts off the pine ), and Casse ( 17% when putting on his boots in the morning ) has won with 4 of 13 male starters at this level going short on the sod off respites of 57-247 days ( 3 & up ). The payouts for that survey were $9, $17, $18 & $27, and we'll give the Col. the nod. #9 IT'S A WRAP was set down a spot in the most recent, but owns a solid overall body of work and can right the ship today. #7 SOUPER ENERGIZER rounds out the top three.  OFF TURF: 9-5-3-1-7


Race  9 

1.Honest Mischief

2.Bon Raison

3.Captain Scotty

#4 HONEST MISCHIEF has been beset by a bevy of layoff lines in his abbreviated career, but the good news is that he's 4:2-1-0 off a break in the action, and also did fine in his lone try over this strip. Sensible -- but lukewarm -- choice in a tight heat. #2 BON RAISON is 2 fer 2 @ this particular distance, 4:2-1-0 at SAR, and has completed the exacta in both "second off the absence" tries. Five year old horse makes his 2nd start after being removed from the barn of indicted trainer Michael Tannuzzo. #6 CAPTAIN SCOTTY has been awful in the last pair, but is an obvious threat if able to get back to the last North American dirt spin.


Race  10


2.No Lime

3.Prince of New York

We have three decent sets of trainer statistics in today's nitecap, and as our brain is a bit fried, let's get to 'em in a no frills fashion.  #6 CONTINUUM: The As-Man is 4 for 9 when dropping his sand sprinters 50% or more at this level @ 11-1 or lower ( with a sub category of 1-1 up here in the Adirondacks. #8 NO LIME: Mott is a fair 5:2-1-1-1 when putting his dirt stock up for sale for teh first time ( 57+ days ) with payoffs of $6 & $8. #10 PRINCE OF NEW YORK: 'Miah is 5-15 w/'Toga based mid level sprinters on the dirt, off breaks of 20-50 days ( 21-1 or undah ), and owns a return on investment of $3.60 in that area.  


Saratoga         ( Current ):       10-51     ( $141.60 ) Beatable   Favorites   1-2   ( 50% )       Favorites Win %       22-51 ( 43.1% )( As of Thursday morning ) 

Belmont               ( Final ):     30-249     ( $278.60 ) Beatable  Favorites  7-19  ( 36.8% )    Favorites Win %      92-249 ( 36.9% )

Gulfstream           ( Final ):     58-468    ( $865.50 )  Beatable  Favorites  2-22  ( 9.1% )      Favorites Win %    161-468 ( 34.4% )

Aqueduct Winter  ( Final ):     65-427    ( $615.10 )  Beatable  Favorites  8-18  ( 44.4% )    Favorites Win %:   174-427 ( 40.8% ) 

Graded Stakes ( Current ):       3-22        ( $35.60 )  Beatable Favorites    N/A   (  N/A )      Favorites Win %:     8-22     ( 36.4% )

All Triple Crown, Breeders' Cup, Selected Grade 1's and Travers full days  ( These are also counted in the "Dirt Tracks" category ):

( 2013-2020 Final ) 64-411  ( $581.30 ) Beatable Favorites: 18-56 ( 32.1% ) Favorite's Win %: 139-411 (33.8%)  +/-: -29.2% against a 16.8% takeout  

Poly Tracks2013-16  (All Final): 85-568          ( $819.20 )  Beatable Favorites : 15-68      ( 22.1% )Favorite's Win %: 163-587      ( 27.7% ) +/-: -27.6%  against a 15.6% takeout

Dirt Tracks  2013-20 (All Final):2599-13167 ($22,277.40) Beatable Favorites : 352-1263( 27.9% )Favorite's Win %: 5006-13250 ( 37.8% ) +/-: -15.4%  against a 16.8% takeout

Cumulative Stats    (All Final): 2684-13735 ($23,096.60)  Beatable Favorites : 367-1331( 27.6% )Favorite's Win %: 5188-13837 ( 37.5% ) +/-: -15.9%  against a 16.7% takeout