08/14/2013 1:55PM

Dick Jerardi: Making money at Saratoga no easy feat

Barbara D. Livingston
Orino crosses the wire first in the New York Stallion Series Cab Calloway Division but was disqualified, which elevated heavy favorite West Hills Giant to first place.

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When I walk into a track that I have only been casually paying attention to, my only hope to win money is (a) imagine how a few races will be run and (b) frame a few bets intelligently.

I did both (a) and (b) over three days last week at Saratoga, cashed exactly one bet, and won no money. I was not surprised.

There might be people good enough to walk blindly into a track and succeed. I am generally not one of those people. If I have not followed a meet, watched races, been betting right along, and getting a database of horses ready to win (or lose as favorites), I rarely win.

There are exceptions. I have been to Del Mar three times and won every time. And if a horse named The Barking Shark had held on to win during one of those visits, I would have been seen next in Las Vegas, living in a penthouse suite atop Bellagio.

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I have had my moments at Saratoga through the years, but, with all the maidens and first-time starters in the middle of horizontal bets, it is a bit too complicated for my brain.

I thought I knew something about last Wednesday’s fourth race. Turned out I would have known something if I had gotten a text from my friend Mark Reid before the race and not after it. My horses ran nowhere. Then, Reid gloated about having winner Drum Roll, a horse bred by his wife. Thanks for the info.

I thought West Hills Giant was as solid as everybody else who made him 3-5 in the fifth, the $100,000 New York Stallion Series. I also was certain that Orino would be loose on the lead. Chasing a fast pace in his previous start at seven furlongs, he had gotten tired in the stretch. Now, he was going longer so the assumption was that he would get even more tired. I love horses like that. In fact, The Barking Shark was one of those horses.

What the public misses with those horses is the lead is often easier to attain in longer races and the pace is more moderate.

I went to the windows to box West Hills Giant and Orino in the exacta. Just before I left the window, I doubled my bet with West Hills Giant on top, thinking he would eventually run down the speed.

Orino cleared the field easily, with West Hills Giant tucked in just behind on the rail. It was exactly the scenario I had imagined. I thought jockey Luis Saez rode Orino brilliantly, holding off a challenge to his outside and then moving toward the rail just enough to make life complicated for West Hills Giant.

In the end, Orino held on to win while West Hills Giant, after steadying late, barely held second. After an inquiry, Orino was disqualified and placed second. I never saw the exacta price that way, so I don’t know if I made or lost money with the DQ. I do know it was a very shaky DQ.

This goes back to my DQ rule that states there is no DQ unless it is obvious. This was nowhere close to obvious. In fact, just get rid of stewards and you would not have to worry about good calls, bad calls, or any calls. First horse to wire wins.

Anyway, I won. I should have taken my winnings and declared myself a winner for the Spa. Instead, I invested in the late pick four. I was in the vicinity, but just in the vicinity.

I thought I knew something about each pick four on Thursday. I got two touts from two respected trainers whose names are being redacted to project the guilty. Each of their horses, which I used to build my bets, showed excellent early speed and no speed in the stretch.

After watching longtime friend Bob Levy give a Hall of Fame speech when Housebuster was inducted into the Hall on Friday morning and changing my entire approach when everything came off the grass, I felt really comfortable with the late pick four.

I had no clue in the seventh, a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds, so I took the easy way out with the all button hoping for a longshot. I hated what I thought would be the favored entry of Get in Line and Charming Kitten in the Hall of Fame Stakes. I used two of the other horses. Flashy American looked like a single in the Alada. I had half of the six horses in the 10th.

The first leg came down to a head bob between a 2-1 favorite and a 9-2 fourth choice. The 9-2 was in front right before the wire and right after the wire. The favorite was in front at the wire.

That was an omen. I used two in the Hall of Fame and should have used three. The favorites were nowhere. I ran 2-3, beaten late by an unknown trainer named Todd Pletcher and Notacatbutallama. Why would I consider using Pletcher?

Flashy American won easily. The 10th was never in doubt, but I was out the door without complaint. I gave myself a chance. In this sport, that really is the goal. Then, when it is your turn, it is your turn.

Benign Adviser More than 1 year ago
Winning money in a race is always tricky. http://makemoney.hereishelpforyou.com/
charles b More than 1 year ago
I'm another who tabbed ORINO at 12-1, only to be DQ'd in favor of the 3/5 shot. A case of stewards doing a piss poor job. Even when you handicap correctly, you have brain dead guys up stairs making deplorable decisions.
Steve More than 1 year ago
I knew dick jerardi when he was younger and he and a small group of his friends were always hiding their selections and any information they had been privied to.So for him to say mark reid didn't tell him what as up ,isn't surprising ,just hypocritical..what comes around goes around.
Edward More than 1 year ago
That is the best angle going at the Spa for claimers. I don't know how you bet those races. At least with Maidens you can piece together old school angles(trainer, breezes, ownership group, jockey, looks, and lastly of course, surprise low odds on a horse) to get yourself a decent horse. I recommend you study up on who trains and plavces there first timers well over a period of 5 years. They tend to win these races a lot.
Edward More than 1 year ago
Hey Dick that phone call you received is the real problem at Saratoga. The track specializes in horses in inscrutable races(all entrants with at least 5 starts and not one Beyer over 50 in a race that takes a 79 Beyer par to win) suddenly dropping to favorite or near favorite status with 8 second till post who then goes on to win for fun.
Jim More than 1 year ago
the last time I looked it was $68.00
Ryan Cale More than 1 year ago
it doesn't help that the jockey colony has zero integrity and disgraces the sport daily. of course that seems to be the case at most tracks these days. racing can't die fast enough. no oversight. it's a joke.
st regan More than 1 year ago
No clue.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Maiden Special's, and two year olds, have to be the most difficult races to handicap. From past experience, I PASS., Or as my dear departed mother in law, usually did. Play your kids birthday.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Dennis Pineda More than 1 year ago
SCAMMERs get away form here for ALL.
Matt Zebriski More than 1 year ago
Even though Mr. Jerardi guilty of writing articles in support of highly suspect trainers, I give him credit for criticizing the disqualification process and the Saratoga stewards. I was the beneficiary of the DQ in question here, and I can say I was shocked when it went my way. It kept me alive in the P6 and I was grateful, though critical. What the stewards giveth they taketh away...the DQ in the Adirondack was deplorable!
Starr D More than 1 year ago
Did you see the head on of the Adirondack incident....? The horse on the rail finally had plenty of room and was moving through until she was slammed into! Lucky neither of them fell!