SaratogaBets Handicapping - Kevin Cox's Saratoga Selections & Analysis - 8/8 - Travers Day


Enjoy your Travers Day everyone, and wherever you take in the festivities...NO drinking & driving ! 

Today's Beatable Favorite(s): Race 6 - #1 Secret Potion

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 - 8/8 - Travers Day


Race  1

1.Bay Street Money



#4 BAY STREET MONEY showed stark improvement on Independence Day when going over firm ground for the first time, and now gets the wonder drug administered by Double J. Aforementioned shotcaller is a groovy 10:5-3-1 with maiden special weight male turf stayers who crashed the party < 68 days back & are 6-1 or undah ( 3YO's vs. older ). There's a positive ROI for that sampling, and he would be aided by some pace to cut into. #2B GUNMAN hasn't been seen since the debut last fall, but well bred Pletcher charge closed out the tri that day and should appreciate today's added ground. #3 DOSWELL has been away for quite some time, but best outing came after a respite, and new conditioner Tagg has a nice shot to start ( as well as end ) the day nicely.  OFF TURF:  4-5-2-1-1A  NOTE: AS OF 10:56, DUE TO A LATE SCRATCH THE #1 WILL BE OUR 3RD SELECTION.


Race  2


2.American Lincoln

3.Hammerin Aamer

We don't really have a good read on the second half of the traditional early Daily Double, so tread lightly. #3 SHALAKO went coast to coast like butter and toast in his lone second off the layoff dirt try, and got the job done right here on opening weekend. #5 AMERICAN LINCOLN closed out the triple in his only "3rd off the shelf" spin over a fast strip, and although he goes from an apprentice to a journeyman this afternoon, said journeyman is on a 54 race losing streak after leading the jockey standings for 27 minutes. #4 HAMMERIN AAMER takes the mandatory hike in class after being purchased three weeks ago, and has partaken in the super in all three similar layoff scenarios. 


Race  3

1.Risky Mischief

2.Light in the Sky

3.Ava K's Girl

#3 RISKY MISCHIEF has given up the ghost in the last duet, but we've always been forgiving of pre & post L/O running lines, and there's a snappy little Formulator stat in play. Over the last 260 weeks, 'Miah is a poyfect 4 fer 4 when spotting sprinters on the sod for the first time at 7-1 or less ( 34-57 days ), with mutuels of $11, $13 & $5 x 2. #9 LIGHT IN THE SKY has shown some nice improvement since switching barns, and DePaz has had a nice meet thus far ( 8:1-5-1 ). Recognize the recent bullet and the fact that this one's lone tally came on the Mellon. #4 AVA K'S GIRL makes her 3rd start off the shelf here & is another whose sole score came right here.  OFF TURF: 4-8-3-1-12(MTO)


Race  4 

1.Field of Courage



#3 FIELD OF COURAGE is showing a baby "Z" pattern in the most recent, running the final 3/16th's in a quick 16.72. Slim Margin.  #10 BOOTLEGGER has partaken in the superfecta in 11 straight, is one for two on the inner; slight upgrade to Saez in play today. #5 HIEROGLYPHICS is another who digs this oval ( 2-4 ) and gets the meet's leading rider aboard.  OFF TURF: 2-10-1-1A-3


Race  5

1.Guana Cay

2.Shackleford Song

3.American Gentleman

#5 GUANA CAY ( an islet in the Bahamas ) immolated some baccala when merely finishing 3rd at 1 to 2 in the Keeneland overture, but is showing some noticeably quicker morning moves after that initial foray, than before. W.W. has a lively 4 for 7 mark with second timers making this surface switch at today's level, as he;e four for seven, with payouts of $2, $13, $12 & $8. Third time for us landing on Irad in the top spot so far today ( & once for second ), so he's either gonna have a nice day or tell us to get in the bathroom. #1 SHACKLEFORD SONG has a bullet gate breeze on the docket for today's initial foray ( which always merits inclusion ), and "The As-Man" ( 5-15 with firsters fitting all these parameters at 23-1 or less -- $18, $6, $3 x 2 & $48 ) thought enough of this one to eschew the smaller purse at The Pea Patch for today's 72K pot. #2 AMERICAN GENTLEMAN rounds out the top three. 


Race  6 

1.Hidden Enemy ( Ire ) 

2.Pivotal Mission

3.Fire at Will

#4 HIDDEN ENEMY (IRE) hasn't shown much in the A.M.'s for today's first afternoon trip to the track, but went for 150 large at auction and is nicely bred for this sorta deal. 20% clan has won with all three of their runners fitting this exact criteria ( sans venue ), with parimutuel payouts of $13, $16 & $5. #2 PIVOTAL MISSION took the overland route right here on the 18th, but draws much better and could sit the pocket trip. #10 FIRE AT WILL has been conducting his affairs in a professional manner in the mornings for the beginning of his working life, and Declaration of War's have been doing much better on the gramma of late.  BEATABLE FAVORITE: #1 SECRET POTION will be brought over by a trainer who's 1-10 with all pertinent criteria, and is 2 for 33 of late.  OFF TURF: 7-9-8-11(MTO-1


Race  7

1.Serengeti Empress


3.Come Dancing 

Our favorite kind of race -- a seven furlong Grade One on the sand. For some history on The Ballerina stakes ( won the most times by Shug ), please go to this link. As for the race itself, we'll give a tepid nod to #1 SERENGETI EMPRESS. Gal has been quite disappointing in her last duet, but is one of two off the shelf, and is but a half length shy of being two for two at this tricky distance. 24% bossman nearly doubles that batting average when cutting back his dirt stock off L/O's like this who missed the board most recently ( 5-1 or undah ). #4 BELLAFINA has that quintessentially perfect "declining" mark of 16:7-4-1 which we've grown to love over the years ( as it shows she has a nose for the finish line, and 19% shedrow clicks at a 6-15 rate with graded dirt sprinters who were 1-2-3 20-50 days back & are less than 4-1 ( $2.54 R.O.I. ). #7 COME DANCING is 2 for 3 in second off the bench attempts & has that same mark right here ( with only a loss overlapping ). Toss in an amazing four for four record when last to load, and you have the makings of a live runner. 


Race  8 


2.American Sailor

3.Shekky Shebazz

Unlike the above, we positively loathe turf dashes, and as this is a wide open one, we'll shoot for a price. #6 PULSATE has done his best work beneath today's pilot ( 5:2-1-1-1 ), and as he ( from a speed figure perspective ) has improved over his last troika, we'll lean his way in hopes it'll continue today. #2 AMERICAN SAILOR ( 44:14-9-3 lifetime, and you know how we feel about that ) was a convincing victor in his only "3rd off the break " turf deal, and they'll likely have to grab him by the tail to get the glory. #4 SHEKKY SHEBAZZ has won both of his tries on this particular course, and despite the recent poor efforts, that's enough reason to include.  OFF TURF: 1-7-2-6-4


Race  9 

1.Mrs. Sippy

2.Fools Gold

3.Olympic Games ( Fr )

Today's 9th is named after Waya, and for a bit of history on this runner who once held the world record for a mile and an eighth, please feel free to peruse this site .  #1 MRS. SIPPY hasn't faced the gate since the Breeders' Cup, but found the line first in her only start off a hibernation while going over firm ground ( on the inner turf course, no less ), and pre-layoff jockey returns. #7 FOOLS GOLD is but a half length shy of an unblemished 3 for 3 mark in second off the absence jammies, and is reunited with the skipper of her last tally. #5 OLYMPIC GAMES (FR) has fared decently since arriving in the States and should be right there at the end.  OFF TURF: 1-3-5-4-6(MTO)


Race  10

1.Wicked Whisper


3.Venetian Harbor

These three and no more for today's rendition of the Test, and why not take a look at the 2002 rendition, which is the greatest race we've ever seen ( ). We were watching it in the backyard by the old fashioned shoe board, and you could actually feel the place shaking. Amazing. After winning his first two starts ( improving by about 12.4% in adjusted Beyer points in her first try against winners ) #4 WICKED WHISPER flopped in the next two. Let's be a bit forgiving, tho, as maybe she wanted no part of that second turn in the BC, and perhaps she needed the comebacker. That being said, from a minuscule sampling, Asmussen has won with two of his three second off the layoff graded dirt dashers ridden by Ricardo, who missed the board last out & are 40-1 or less. After being disqualified from an optional event at Oaklawn back in May, #5 GAMINE was shipped to Belmont by Lidocaine Bob for the Acorn & won by a pole under Johnny Velazquez. Deserving chalk. #6 VENETIAN HARBOR has set money ablaze in her last two calls to the post, but classy gal deserves another shot on the cutback.  NOTE: AS OF 10:57, DUE TO A LATE SCRATCH THE #2 WILL BE OUR 3RD SELECTION.


Race  11

1.Tiz the Law

2.Uncle Chuck


Featured race of the day is upon us, and #6 TIZ THE LAW -- who has won every time we've had him picked on top here --  ( where's our cut ?!? ) is a more than deserving favorite. Constitution colt has won here, is two for two going 2X on a glib surface, and goes over the $2 million dollar mark with a score. It boggles the mind to think about what Sackatoga's accomplished in the last 17 years. They've had about 35 horses during that time ( give or take ) with ALL of them being New York Breds, and TWO of them have been favored to win the Triple Crown at some point during the triad of events. They have CONSTANTLY given to charity throughout the years ( a mandatory $10,000 donation to Old Friends at Cabin Creek comes with every new syndicate purchase ), and they are the talk of the town once again. We've confided with our closest confidants what we really think of this runner, and while it ain't ready to be put here, you can pretty much figure it out. Would be nice to see Shivaree push our secondary selection early on, but even if that doesn't come to fruition, TTL has enough speed to be close to the pace. Enjoy. #2 UNCLE CHUCK was an easy winner in the Los Al Derby, and although facing just three that day, the runner up came back to win next out, posting a BSF of 104. Bob Baffert's Baked Beans has tightened this one up with three straight bullets coming into today, and looms the mainger danger. As #5 SHIVAREE is but one of two with early zip, is it out of the realm of possibility that he can last for 10% of the pot? 


Race  12 

1.Misty Taste

2.Bankers Beast

3.Sweet Sneak

#5 MISTY TASTE ( I. Ortiz once again ) hasn't made it to the races for quite some time, and although this one hasn't shown much to date, new conditioner Breen ( the last trainer, Jason Servis, was arrested ) is 3-8 when being handed a dirt sprinter and bringing them back off breaks of 51 days or more ( $13, $7 & $11 ). #9 BANKERS BEAST bested half the field first time out, and has a better draw for today's first start on the brown stuff. #6 SWEET SNEAK closes things out for us ( which is another way of saying "It's 3:36 in the morning ( you can look it up ) and we have nothing left for you."


Saratoga         ( Current ):     31-173     ( $282.50 ) Beatable   Favorites   4-9  ( 44.4% )   Favorites Win %       67-173 ( 38.7% )( As of Saturday 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 ):       5-24        ( $45.00 )  Beatable Favorites    N/A   (  N/A )      Favorites Win %:     10-24   ( 42.5% )

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