08/29/2009 10:28AM

Travers Day Guaranteed $1M Pick 4


We're sloppy and soft at the little slice of Heaven on Earth called Saratoga.  There's a $1M Guaranteed All-Graded Stakes Pick 4 to chew on so, for what it's worth, here are my selections.  Toss or use at your own discretion.

***For more detailed analysis, and a heck of a lot more fun, please check out the special Saratoga Pick 4 Video Analysis with myself and the great Harvey Pack*** 

You can view the video at:


Before we get started on today's play, let me share my devastating loss in yesterday's Pick 4 at the Spa.  I didn't play many combinations, but went for the home run with a $10 play with mostly 'A' horses. 
The first leg didn't pose a problem.  I used three 'A' horses (#6 Loxy Lady, #8 Imthequeenofqueens, and #9 Who Is Lady).  I felt like a king as Who Is Lady opened up a big lead at 20+-1 odds in the stretch, but she was run down by Loxy Lady.  Disappointing, but I survived what I felt was the toughest in the sequence. 
I was very tempted to single #7 Certifiably Royal in the eighth race, but I used him as the only 'A,' and "saved" with #2 Master as a 'B.'.  Certifiably Royal won, and I was alive to a pair of singles to close things out. 
#1 Justenuffhumor didn't disappoint as the heavily-favored single in the Bernard Baruch, and I was left with Steve Asmussen's Lone Cypress (#9) in the final leg.  Should I have used my second choice, #7 No Detour?  Of course I should, but I didn't.  Lone Cypress made the lead at the eighth pole, but allowed No Detour to come back at him on the inside.  Simply put, I lost the bob...again.

It's probably my lifelong disdain of politicans that do me in every single time.  No matter who it is...Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant, and especially my good friend, Big Ben...they all smirk at me as I hand them over to the mutuel tellers, never to see them again. 

The lesson learned is that the Pick 4 isn't about picking four winners, it's about, as Steve Crist would say, avoiding one loser. 

Let's avoid another winner this afternoon, shall we?

Leg A: Ballston Spa
I can use two 'A' horses in #2 My Princess Jess and #1 Rutherienne.  The former goes second off the layoff, and turns back to her favorite distance.  The latter is a remarkably consistent mare that had a tough trip in the Diana when behind her personal nemesis, the scourge of the division, Forever Together.  Players with deeper pockets may want to try #5 Teamgeist (brutal trip in the De La Rose), and #6 Captain's Lover (quirky, but talented filly that often gets upset in the preliminaries).  Avoid 1 Players would throw in #7 Cocoa Beach, the classy Godolphin runner that didn't wow in her De La Rose win.
Pick 4 Selections:  My Princess Jess, Rutherienne

Leg B:  Ballerina
The much-awaited matchup between #2 Informed Decision and #4 Indian Blessing.  Both have tremendous class, both adore this seven-furlong distance, and both have proven capable in the slop.  Informed Decision seems in better form, however, winning five straight while Indian Blessing threw in a clunker in her return from a stressful trip to Dubai.  Certainly, Indian Blessing can improve switching back to her preferred dirt surface, but I do wonder if she's a bit off her best.  Silly people like myself take a stand by singling Informed Decision.  Avoid 1 Players use Indian Blessing with confidence.  Music Note (#1) has class, and she moved too soon in her 2009 debut in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont.  She isn't the worst 'B' or 'C' in the world.
Pick 4 Selection:  Informed Decision

Leg C:  NetJets King's Bishop
An excellent field assembled for the signature race for three-year-old sprinters.  Munnings (#1) figures to get lots of attention, and deservedly so.  He earned two huge figures going this distance at Belmont, and beat older horses on July 5in the Tom Fool Handicap with a 111 Beyer.  Throw out the last race going two turns against Rachel.  He's back at his best game - sprinting - but I think he's a bit overhyped.  Yes, he's brilliant, but he couldn't have had a better trip in the Tom Fool against inferior rivals.  I use him as an 'A,' but wish I had the guts to downgrade him to a 'B.'  Big Drama (#8) also turns back to his best distance, but he was exhausted at the end of the West Virginia Derby, and I just haven't been a fan of he way he's been handled this year.  Can he win?  Absolutely.  Do Avoid 1 Bettors use him with confidence?  Certainly.  I'm a sucker.  I'm throwing him out.  I'm also avoiding Vineyard Haven (#1), who will try to win this race off one start in Dubai in February.  I will use Capt. Candyman Can (#3), who has been pointing to this race since he was the beaten favoring going a one-turn mile in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream.  He prepped nicely for this in the Amsterdam behind Quality Road, and loves this seven furlong trip.
Pick 4 Selections:  Capt. Candyman Can, Munnings

Leg D:  Travers
A nice field for the Travers, and this is the Avoid 1 race for me as I don't have a strong opinion.  I'll use Quality Road (#4) although he could certainly bounce.  I'll use Summer Bird (#6), the Belmont Stakes winner that should revert to closing tactics.  And I'll use Kensei (#7), the in-form Asmussen runner that owns excellent tactical speed.  I wouldn't be surprised if any of them win.  Alright, I'll be surprised if Hold Me Back or Our Edge win.
Pick 4 Selections:  Quality Road, Summer Bird, Kensei

Let's also go with #1 Bold Union in the Victory Ride (Race 7), and #4 Becrux in the Del Mar Mile (Race 8)

Congrats to Matt M for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling contest.  He gets to select the race for next week.



dougpotter More than 1 year ago
Liked the Dublin stories Dan
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
Handigambling 149 A 7 horse field with my fav Yippity Yip scratched, along with the one MTO. Had to rethink the wager, and now will go pretty high with Marquez and Bravo here. I'm not overly concerned with Castro's horse, as she looks suspiciously a sell job coming in from Deleware. So: $50 Win on #3 (Ziggly) $30 Exacta: #3 over #8 $ 2 Tri: 3,8/All/3,8 $50*30*20=$100 Good luck everybody.
Robert Faidley More than 1 year ago
#3 Ziggy- steps up, back class #4 Zubani- 3 strong races. #6 Inoman- Consistentcy #2 Stella Nova-Improved #8 Talented Princess- 2 strong performances < Lay off. $24 win # 3, $20 Exs 3/46, $5 Tri 3/46/468,$2 SF 3/46/468/4682.
robertSD More than 1 year ago
Rachel Alexandra is a very good filly and quite possibly one of the best 3YO fillies we have seen in some time. That said, after reviewing the PPs of the group of (older) runners set to run against her in this Saturday's Woodward I can't say anything but that they are a sad representation of a G1 field. Other than Macho Again (and possibly Asiatic Boy) the rest of the field is nothing close to G1 caliber but rather closer to G3 runners at best in my estimation. I expect her to be very competitive against this group and unless something unforeseen occurs most likely win -- and win well. Though as some have noted here (and elsewhere) that her winning the Woodward would crown her as the best filly of all time is comical. Maybe if the 2009 renewal of the Woodward had some real competition for her to face -- but not the runners assembled for this Saturday. As far as my fave Zenyatta I would argue similarly that she has yet to face any top flight runners this year -- so it's far from sour grapes. Though one can only hope that this years Breeders' Cup will bring with it a group of the best the world can muster (solid G1 runners) and Ms. Z will run them all down again too -- be it in the Ladies Classic on Friday or the Classic on Saturday. OK ... Time to try and sleep. Jeez this insomnia sucks! - robertSD
Mike A More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, Thank you and it's an honor to be considered with alot of folks favorite Uncle Steve. Though at 55 I don't see myself as an "old Cogger" I just started young. Something about mucking stalls at 10 with a pitchfork bigger than me that just made me love racing, though not that part of it. The smells of the backstretch are forever etched in my mind, though not in the way you may think. Whenever I'm near a stable area, even if it's at a friends farm it brings back all the memories of my uncle, the horses and all the characters I met over the years when I was younger. Those years spent under the watchful eye of my great uncle and his racetrack buddies may have looked like to some as a bad thing, but I recieved the best education of my life, because with all the lessons about horses the main lessons were about life, people, friends and honor. They were lessons I never forgot, lessons I couldn't have learned any better than if I was raised reading Plato, Aristotle or Cicero. Though my uncle did make me read Cicero's "On Duties". My uncles motto was "Facta non Verba" Deeds Not Words. He was a fascinating man, and I miss him. He used to tell me the greatest gift he could ever give in this life was to "pass the torch", he never had kids of his own, so he past life's lessons to me and I'll be forever grateful. Thank you once again for your kind words and the comparison, sometimes when I speak I tend to have an edge that folks don't like, it isn't intentional, I just speak like everyone knows me and I never would hurt anyone. As I said Facta NON Verba. AS far as the Synthetic tracks??? They should ripe them all out. Sorry. Mike A
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Mike A /Steve T Mike A The more I read your posts & Uncle Steve's. The more you remind me of Uncle Steve. (Uncle Steve..this is said with the most due respect) Both of you are old codgers"(said with a very BIG SMILE) and have been involved with racing for many years,in alot of different aspects. So we talk about current events. Zensational, Rail Tip & Colonel John, you both sound like the same persons. (of course THAT is not true,AND is not fodder for Formblog) But I have to smile at BOTH your stories of family and grand sons/daughters/ that fun day at the track/ and the wife who put up with it all. If this was a modern version of Wuthering Heights...you two would be Heathcliff and Cathy...ummm, let's not take that literally... Alan/ Chalky, I think you have met your match..he-he-he. This is said with all the love in my heart. SR Vegas PS: Well, except when you two talk about the "alternate tracks' out there. SMILE.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Ray Manley I LOVED your wishes to your son...it was a couple threads back, BUT the question is: Who did Travers like in the Travers? Win lose , no matter...just a females curiosity... SR Vegas
Hillbilly More than 1 year ago
Regarding The Woodward: Am I the only person who really thinks Rachel will have to run the race of her life to win the Woodward. I know she is exceptional! I've stated several times she is the best filly or mare I've seen but this is the acid test for her. Older horses are going to make her run and to assume she is going to win is nuts. Is she going to be 4/5 against these horses? I hope she wins but I doubt she will. If she dominates I'm ready to apply the G word to her from now on.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
All this talk of Icon Project and the up coming Beldame got me to thinking of Zenyatta. Everyone knows I think Zenyatta's a very good race horse, I know this because though I've never compared RA and her, or said which one I think is better, everyone who loves RA comes out of the wood work to tell me she's better as if I did, that's understandable. I actually was thinking of Zenyatta and how she reminds me of the movie Rocky III. Rocky's defending his heavyweight title, winning every time, he thinks things are great, until he's told he's been fighting bums. He confronts Mick, who tells him they weren't bums, but were chosen because they weren't hungry and would be easy to handle. Mick tells Rocky he can't beat Bone crusher because he's also lost the fire. We all know what happened, knockout in the first. Zenyatta's had a good run, she's never been beaten, I think she has loads of talent, but as long as she keeps running against the same horses she's never going to be considered one of the greatest of all time. To me there is one glaring difference in RA's and Zenyatta's resume and it's the one that anyone worth his or her salt will point to and that's horses that RA has beaten have for the most part come back and won big races that she wasn't entered in. The trail of fillies she's left in her wake is a who's who of the division when she's been idle. Zenyatta's beaten some talented fillies, but what have they done when she's not there. Please I don't want to here about a good third to colts. I'm talking wins only. This is where Zenyatta's connections have failed. They failed to see this one fact. By being conservative they'll sealed her fate. People lose interest when you beat the same horses time and time again, after awhile they'll actually root against her, she deserves better. I hope the Beldame race happens, somehow I don't think so. It's like a lawyer I know, she would never answer a question she didn't want you to know the answer to, regardless of the truth, because as long as you don't answer there's always room for conjecture, always room for "I never said that". Preserving the win streak doesn't answer the question.....but then silence can be golden, or at the very least hide the truth, without actually lying. Mike A
Mickey More than 1 year ago
I give credit now for Rachael defeating one decent horse now with Summer Bird winning the Travers...but after that...the horses she has defeated are mighty slim. Just got back from Saratoga and had a great time (haven't been there in 8 years) even with the constant rain and long trip up..my wife and I had a great time. Didn't win to much but getting away was fun. Spoke to tons of people at the track and most believe that rachael will win next Saturday BUT..to put her in the same breath as Genuine Risk...Personal Ensign....Ruffian..is a bit pre-mature. Dan...if you get the chance can you download a few pp's... Love Sign, Plankton, Willow Hour, Sprink.... They are all NY horses... thanks Mickey