Programming note: As mentioned earlier this week, I’ll be occupied most of the day Friday and Saturday with The WAVE, a conference being put on by my full-time employer (Life Chiropractic College West). With that in mind, Saturday’s and Sunday’s bankroll section will be produced far in advance, which means the print versions will not have a total or a recap of Friday’s or Saturday’s action.
I’m going to make every effort to have this up on AndrewChampagne.com Friday night. However, due to the three-hour time difference and how busy I’ll be working what amounts to a 16-hour day, this won’t make it into The Pink Sheet.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: I was correct in thinking Dull Knife was a lousy favorite in the sixth, but neither of the longshots I attempted to score with hit the board. We dropped $24.
FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on the fifth race. #5 MUCHO was nearly my best bet of the day. He returns to his favorite track for a barn having a strong Saratoga season. I’ll play $5 exactas using him above and below #3 COVE BLUE and #6 FUEL THE BERN, as well as $5 doubles singling him and using #2 CLOCKSTRIKESTWELVE and #3 ZABAVA in the sixth.
TOTAL WAGERED: $30
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BEST BET: Ratajkowski, Race 8
LONGSHOT: I’m Elmer J Fudd, Race 10
Cold Hard Cash
#1 MO READY: Is out of a More Than Ready mare and has a stride that says she wants turf. She was a game second last time out despite not taking to a muddy track at all; #7 INSIDE INFO: Fetched $165,000 at auction (more than 20 times the stud fee of sire Mission Impazible) and has a very strong bottom-side pedigree. His dam is a half to several stakes winners, and this one’s worked well ahead of his unveiling; #8 COLD HARD CASH: Was third in his debut on dirt despite a slow start. This barn’s runners tend to improve with experience, and she’s bred to like the lawn.
#3 SHOCK THERAPY: May be a bit of a price in here, but was a good third against starter allowance foes earlier in the meet. He’s hit the board in his last five starts, a stretch that includes two wins; #5 WALKOFF: Exits a failed turf experiment and drops in class for powerhouse connections. He’s 2-for-2 around one turn and should be running well late; #7 JOHNY’S BOBBY: Defeated weaker foes last time out at Churchill and draws a cushy outside post. This barn has won multiple times at the meet and merits respect.
#1 VALUE ENGINEERING: Improved last time out in his second career start, and that day’s second-place finisher has since come back to win. He’s bred to want the extra distance and looms large in this spot; #4 BAIL OUT: Has burned plenty of money lately but can’t be ignored. He’s finished second in four of his last five starts and may appreciate the cutback in distance; #7 OVERBOLD: Seems like the main speed in this race and could be able to dictate terms down the backstretch. He cuts back slightly in distance and could be a factor despite the closer-friendly turf course.
#8 PRAIRIE FIRE: Was bet a bit in her debut and has several strong recent works downstate. This barn has been firing on all cylinders of late, and she may not have to be much to beat this group; #7 WAILIN JOSIE: Seems like the main speed in here and drops in class for this event. Her first two dirt races weren’t bad, and she could get brave on the front end; #11 LOOKBOTHWAYS: Takes a gigantic drop in class and gets a solid post. She’s shown some flexibility in her running style and can run well from several different spots.
Fuel the Bern
#5 MUCHO: Comes back to his favorite track, where he enjoyed a strong start to his career. He broke his maiden for fun before running second in the Grade 1 Hopeful, and he seems primed off a brief freshening; #6 FUEL THE BERN: Took a shot in a strong race for the level at Churchill, but has been rested since that effort. A repeat of his two-back victory would make him a contender; #3 COVE BLUE: Is a bit inconsistent, but could contend if he fires his best shot. His second-place finish last time out at Churchill was solid.
Carlisle Belle (MTO)
#2 CLOCKSTRIKESTWELVE: Was left with too much to do well behind a slow pace last time out at Monmouth. Both of her wins have come at similar two-turn routes, and he should get a better setup here; #3 ZABAVA: Was impressive two back at Belmont and ran on well late to be fourth earlier this meet. Irad Ortiz, Jr., retains the mount for Mike Maker; #8 PSALMODY: Takes a big drop in class, but hasn’t won in a very long time. She’s a short price on the morning line, but while the drop could wake her up, I find her difficult to trust.
Up the Ante
#2 LUNAIRE: Is worth a long look at a bit of a price in a tough turf race. He loves this distance, won at it last time out, and has shown he can run well at Saratoga; #1 UP THE ANTE: Found Grade 2 waters a bit too deep last time out and gets class relief here. He was second in the Grade 3 Saranac here last summer and will likely show speed from his inside post; #5 MARAUD: Comes back to two turns for this race, one where he’ll run for a claiming tag. He was beaten a nose in a Grade 2 race here last year, and all four of his career wins have come at this distance.
Behind the Couch
Paved With Gold
#5 RATAJKOWSKI: Did all the dirty work on the front end earlier this meet and was beaten less than a length by a horse that went on to earn a check in a stakes race at next asking. She’s taken steps forward in each start and figures to be tough to beat; #7 BEHIND THE COUCH: Was third in a stakes race two back and tries two turns here. She has the pedigree to embrace such a journey and may still be improving; #4 PAVED WITH GOLD: Adds blinkers after running third in the race my top pick exits. She has talent and may be forwardly-placed, but I have a hunch she may be better suited for turf than dirt.
#3 ANOTHER MIRACLE: Chased a Grade 2 winner in his debut and won professionally at second asking. Turf is a question mark, but he has a solid 297 turf Tomlinson rating, and a repeat of his most recent effort could be enough; #6 MONTAUK DADDY: Led all the way in his first turf effort last month at Belmont. He adds Lasix for Linda Rice and may be the one they have to run down in the stretch; #5 FROSTED ROSE: Closed like a freight train against a restricted maiden field earlier this meet and jumps up into stakes company. It’s a class test, but Rosario staying aboard inspires some confidence.
I’m Elmer J Fudd
#5 I’M ELMER J FUDD: Gets a reluctant nod in one of the most puzzling races I’ve handicapped this meet. He adds blinkers on the drop in class and should embrace two turns. Regardless of whether it’s wabbit season or duck season, he seems vewy vewy live; #3 AWESOME ADVERSARY: Has picked up plenty of minor awards, but remains winless in his 16-start career. He’s a must-use, but it’s tough to have profound confidence in a runner that’s had so many chances; #4 MR. VINCENT: Could take a step forward second off the layoff. He was a neck back of my second selection last time out, and that was his first start in nearly three months.