's Ultimate Case for Orb To Win the Travers Stakes

The Travers Stakes is one of those races where there is an onus to have A PICK.

When someone asks you, "Who is going to win the Grade 1, $1-million Travers Stakes on Saturday at historic Saratoga Race Course?" The convention is that you have a one-horse answer. I.e. hedging for value or pace or other bet types (e.g. "I'm playing an exacta with...") is not allowed. It's also frowned upon to say, "Decide for yourself by visiting the special reports page where all Travers Stakes reports are all in one place" because no one likes a shill.

So here it is. My pick to win the Grade 1, $1-million Travers Stakes--a race for three-year-olds going 1 1/4 miles on dirt on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course is...

There are plenty of reasons not to like Orb: The Preakness was dreadful, and he flattened in the Belmont before an 11-week break into this. That'd be enough to pass at even money, but I'm hoping for 4-to-1 against a competitive group. His Kentucky Derby remains among the fastest race of the year, and while it'd be easy to assess that to track condition and pace (both factors, yes), neither of those things were in play when he romped in the Florida Derby over eventual Preakness runner-up Itsmyluckyday.

The other thing I like about Orb is his running style. He has the reputation as being a closer, but he's capable of making a strong move earlier in the race as needed--like in the Derby when he moved from 17th to 5th on the far turn.

Given Moreno's suicide mission to try to win the Travers gate to wire (granted, the only way he can win), Verrazano and Palace Malice will be breathing down his back. It'll be interesting to see which stablemate moves first, but I can't imagine Joel Rosario will want either to be far away when they all turn for home. Those who think Orb is a deep closer do so at the risk of not realizing he might be in front by the eighth pole.

Orb's Class Ratings, pace figures, & Speed Ratings
Orb is one of four horses in the Travers who have run a 120+ E2 pace rating. This rating measures a horse's pace from the start of a race to the second call. Orb earned his 122 in the Kentucky Derby, which as a route means that figure represents his speed for the first six furlongs. Following that 122 Orb earned a late pace rating of 91, which is easily the highest LP figure of any of the 120+ horses. Verrazano posted a 126 in the Derby and came home with a 55. Will Take Charge did a 121-67 in the Derby, and Palace Malice went 129-57.

Yes, a slower pace is expected here, which we certainly have seen can benefit Palace Malice at longer distances (he won the 1 1/2-mile Belmont with a 109-104-88 versus 127-129-57 for the Derby) and Verrazano at shorter distances (he's the only horse in the race to be above par at every point in call in a singular race, which he did in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell when earning pace ratings of 102-115-101), but the aforementioned presence of Moreno sets it up for the pop we saw from Orb in the Derby.

So that's my case for Orb on top, but I think the best wagering opportunity is in betting against a 2-3-8 exacta box. That is, playing against two of Orb, Verrazano, and Palace Malice, respectively, to finish out of the top two. So for me, if Verrazano or Palace Malice wins that's OK as long as either of the Godolphin pair (#1 Romansh or #9 Transparent) sneaks in underneath, and I'll also put my thing down, flip it, and reverse it Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott style.

So 2, 3, 8 with 1, 9 and 1, 9 with 2, 3, 8 for $12 plus a $1 exacta box 1-9 for a little insanity insurance (plus my birthday is 1-9).

I'll pay attention to the odds board, though. Orb is a play for me at 4-to-1. Given the big day and casual crowd, I think there's a better chance I get the right price on one of the big three than the others, and I think Orb is the most likely to offer that fair price.

Ed DeRosa is director of marketing for Follow him on Twitter, and contributes to the blog.


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In the last 20 renewals of the Travers, Mr. Todd Pletecher leads the list of winning trainers with two i.e., Stay Thirsty and Flower Alley. The following trainers with horses in the 2013 renewal have at least one victory. K McLaughlin, T. Abertrani, W. Lukas K. McPeek and C. McGaughey. Trainers D. Stewart and E. Guillot are new to the party.

Trainer C. McGaughey leads the list of trainers with three winners. Interestingly, his winners were all top class horses. Rhythm was a Breeder Cup Juvenile winner; Easy Goer’s winning time in the Belmont is second only to that of the great Secretariat. Coronado’s Quest won the Wood and Haskell. Now he is carrying to war a freshened Florida and Kentucky Derby winner. A ML of 4-1 is insane for a Derby winner conditioned by a trainer with such a record.

Trainer T. Pletcher is second with two winners. The ML on his two starters is listed at 5-2 & 2-1. Are they the same two from the quartet from the Derby that were comprehensively trashed by Orb?  Yes! It appears that while Verrazano and Palace Malice have improved Orb has declined. It should be noted Revolutionary was the one from the quartet that finished the closest to Orb and he is not in the field. Members of the Derby also ran are now expected to take down the Derby winner.

Go figure!

23 Aug 2013 2:37 PM

Soul was beaten 29L in his last race. It was his worst performance of his career. His trainer said he was full of energy the morning after the race. So what went wrong in the Haskell? The trainer has admitted he does not know.

He finished 12 1/2L ahead of Verrazano in the Derby. He subsequently finished 29 behind that colt in the Haskell. Verrazano therefore eliminated the 12L deficit and added 29L. Has Golden Soul declined 41L? It’s inconceivable that the Derby runner up could have declined to such an extent.

Should his Haskell performance be disregarded? Is he due to rebound? The following colts were beaten by the following lengths and returned with improved performances:

Transparent, 83L

Orb, 22L

Will Take Charge, 17L

Moreno, 32L

Verrazano, 17L

Palace Malice, 13L

War Dancer’s worst loss was by 6L. This was recorded in his only start on dirt. If he transfers his form to dirt he will be very dangerous.

Golden Soul  is due to run an improved race and should be a must for the exotics.

23 Aug 2013 2:42 PM
Mary Zinke

Where are all the comments, besides Coldfacts'?  This is my daughter, The Famous Jessie, and my bf's own thoughtfully written blog.

For the Travers' "pick", meaning win as per the instructions, must pick one, Verrazano. Why? My notes say best in the country. How I came up with that? First of course I throw out the Derby. It was ruined. Then, he wins with ease, and I believe he can run at faster fractions and still win, just not wasted maniac speed going 10f. Asked who will be able to have the lead at 1 mile and still kick on? This will be mucho chalky: 3 Verrazano,8 Palace Malice much respect to his continued improvement,2 Orb much respect to his route wins in graded stakes and the Fair Hill training over the time off from racing,and of the Bernardinis, I'm going with the 9.

P4: r9-12

r9:5 Sweet LuLu!!!, 8 My Happy Face

r10: 1 Laughing, 2 Pianist, 4

Centre Court

r11: 1,2,3, and 8. Wanted Clearly Now to run. Please somebody scratch. Make that somebodies.

r12: 3 and 8.

PC: Dude

PE: My Royal Delta

23 Aug 2013 11:03 PM
Mary Zinke

In SAR race 11, I also like the longer shot, Bad Hombre. This one The Genius(some computer program, I guess it's a really person, that picks ones that otherwise cannot be explained, but they win or are itm) likes from a wagering point of view.  Not to pick half the field. I'll try to have final picks up by late morning.

23 Aug 2013 11:08 PM
Mary Zinke

SARr11: Like 2 and 5 best.

24 Aug 2013 2:11 AM
Pedigree Ann

I don't understand the tendency these days to run slow fractions early in 2-turn races. Don't these trainers want to find out what they really have before they go into the super-competitive races like the Kentucky Derby or the BC Classic? Sure, you want to win races but if you horse doesn't stretch himself, how is he going to get fitter and stronger?

24 Aug 2013 5:33 AM

Pedigree Ann,

An example  would facilitate a more informed answer.

What do you consider slow fractions for a 2 turn race?

I consider a 12 seconds pace acceptable for top class horses. If there is no need to split 12 seconds, then a rider will be more conservative as he will invariably have more horse for the stretch run.

24 Aug 2013 7:42 AM

I have been a fan of Laughing ever since she arrived in the United States, and watched with frustration through 2012 as she managed to win only the Matchmaker Stakes (gr. III) and an allowance race, despite the vast potential I felt she had.

This year, the story has been different. Laughing seems to have put it all together, and is 2-for-2 thus far this year, with victories in the Eatontown Handicap (gr. III) and Diana Stakes (gr. I). So why is she only the third choice in today's Ballston Spa Handicap?

One reason may be that she was the lone speed in the Diana, and capitalized on that advantage to win by a diminishing head. This may be true, but what's to stop Laughing from getting another moderate pace again? Of the eight horses in the field, she and Pianist are the only two to have shown any real interest in having the early lead, and I just can't envision them getting into a speed duel. Furthermore, I don't believe that Laughing needs a slow pace to be successful, nor do I believe she is a one-dimensional front-runner. Check out her victory in the Eatontown Handicap two starts back -- look at the way she chased Dayatthespa through that blazing :22.84-second third quarter, and still wore her down to win by three-quarters of a length -- all while making her first start in eight months!

There's one other thing I'd like to mention. In the Diana, Laughing's opening half-mile may have been a moderate :49.19, but from that point to the finish, she ran faster with every passing furlong. Her third quarter elapsed in :23.34, her fourth quarter in :23.27, and her final furlong in a blazing :11.44. In my opinion, this ability to accelerate that powerfully off of a moderate pace, coupled with her tactical ability to run faster early on if necessary, makes Laughing a standout in the Ballston Spa Handicap.

24 Aug 2013 12:21 PM

Last December, The Keymaster and I had a very enjoyable discussion on the subject of Mentor Cane and Flashback, who were -- at the time -- nothing more than the 1-2 finishers in a well-regarded maiden special weight at Betfair Hollywood Park. Our discussion eventually led to the following conclusions . . .

* Flashback would be at his best on dirt

* Mentor Cane would be best on turf.

* Flashback would be an early-maturing Triple Crown contender, but might not race past the age of three.

* Mentor Cane would not contend for the Triple Crown, but would most likely stay sounder longer.

Our opinions of Flashback proved to be more-or-less correct -- he was quite good on the dirt and Santa Anita, and stamped himself as a Triple Crown contender with his runner-up effort in the Santa Anita Derby. However, at the present time, he is on the sidelines with an knee chip . . .

That said, our opinions of Mentor Cane have proven to be . . . well, wrong! Not only has Mentor Cane shown a great affinity for dirt, he has also flashed remarkable early speed, a trait I never could have guessed would become his strong suit.

Mentor Cane may not be the most relaxed horse from a mental perspective -- he was very, very rank in a maiden race at Santa Anita last December, and his severe drifting in the Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) may have cost him the victory -- but I have been so impressed by his sheer talent that I'm picking him to win the King's Bishop Stakes this afternoon, despite the very real possibility of a destructive speed duel compromising his chances. I feel he may simply be the best horse in the race.

24 Aug 2013 1:04 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -

FYI, Placentia gets Lasix for tomorrow's opener at Saratoga. I'm not on board, yet.

24 Aug 2013 1:08 PM

Saratoga is playing to speed on both dirft and turf. Orb has no shot.  I'd expect Verrazano, Romansh, and Palace Malice in the tri.  

24 Aug 2013 4:15 PM
Mary Zinke

Sweet LuLu !!!!!


24 Aug 2013 4:16 PM
Mary Zinke

I added the speed, 10, to my King's Bishop picks. Have 2,5,8,10.

24 Aug 2013 4:45 PM

Redid my Pick 4 based on the speed bias.

Race 11) 10

Race 12) 3, 6, 8 (i know above I put romansh, but moreno is faster).

Race 13) 3,8

Race 14) 6, 12

24 Aug 2013 4:56 PM
Plod Boy Phil


It would be more amusing if you provided your original P4 ticket as well.

24 Aug 2013 5:11 PM

And that is why its called gambling and not investing.  

Wow; never would have bet Capo Bastone

24 Aug 2013 5:18 PM


My original ticket was 2,8/1,6/4,8/1,6.

Frustrating I didn't bet Moreno WPS.  Overall rough day for me.  

Can I be the first to guess a bold upgrade for Palace Malice off that effort.  Closed on a speed favoring track into slow fractions.  

24 Aug 2013 5:57 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Verrazano: Just a famous bridge in NY again - hip hip hooray.

24 Aug 2013 6:17 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Saratoga 13th

6 Upward set the pace of a Closer favoring Flow last out at 7f.  Handles turf and the cut back.  

Absolutely nothing to do with a perceived 'bias'.

24 Aug 2013 6:22 PM
Mary Zinke

Well, since there's like three 10fs or whatever, I think Verrazano will be fine. Besides, was Will Take Charge looking like a 10f horse until very recently?  Gotta consider circumstances of each race every time.  Nice win by WTC, by the way. Moreno hung on well. I'm going to say Palace Malice was just too far off that slower pace, but ran well. I don't know who had which horses because these comments are spread over 3 blogs for the Travers, but I like to congratulate win picks that pan out, not lose picks, because in a big field, it's way easier to pick the losers.

24 Aug 2013 6:27 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Mary -

You should know my Verrazano comment was not directed at you or the horse (of course).  Rather it was made with a blogger far less knowledgeable than you in mind.

Good luck tomorrow.

24 Aug 2013 8:54 PM
Mary Zinke

Phil, I take everything personally. It's not like I'm easy to live with. Ha,ha.

24 Aug 2013 9:22 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Dmr R10....ooops

24 Aug 2013 9:46 PM
Mary Zinke

I missed why DM r10 was a no contest. id the gate malfunction?

24 Aug 2013 10:03 PM
Mary Zinke

*did. caught that but it was already posting

24 Aug 2013 10:04 PM
Plod Boy Phil

That was the starters fault.  He inadvertently hit the 'start' button causing total chaos.

All were in line when the 6 broke through the gate. The assistant for that horse grabbed him and pulled him left.  Suddenly,  all the gates opened in unison with the assistant starters holding their mounts because the 6 was out.  Horses broke from the gates, pulling starters out with them. Some were ranked to the right, some to the left, resulting in horses crashing into each other and into asst starters that were on the ground.  

Never seen anything like it.

24 Aug 2013 10:16 PM
Plod Boy Phil

A nightmare for Gary B.

24 Aug 2013 10:18 PM

Plod Boy Phil,

You might recall that you were critical of my chastisement of Garret Gomez for his ride on Capo Bastone in the Derby trials. His decision to take the colt wide when there was an ocean of space on the inside cost him the race. He was defeated a Ns by Forty Tales who was the favorite in the King’s Bishop.

Well, when he appeared in the post parade for the King’s Bishop he looked magnificent. It appeared it was time to recouped losses. I keyed him with all for the Tri and boxed him with all for the exacta.

It worked out well as the Tri paid $16K for the $2 and the exacta paid $370 plus for $1.

A colt that finished 2 1/2L 3rd in the G1 Breeder Cup Juvenile to crack sprinter S/Bobby and who is trained by high octane Todd Pletcher is allowed leave the gates at 28-1. Another Red Giant!

All fruits are ripe!

25 Aug 2013 12:22 AM

Starting a show parlay.  One horse per card at Saratoga.  

Taking $10 to start and rolling it all over; seeing how long I can make it last (if at all) and how big it can grow.

Only rule is I won't take any even money horses.  

Only bet for Sunday is Race 11) #10.  

25 Aug 2013 1:01 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Ellis Park - Late Pick 4 Bookends

R6) 8 Uptown Diamond Dot (9/2) - pressed the pace of a closer favoring Flow going 8f on the turf vs MSW foes.  Turns back and drops form comfortable outside draw.

R9) 9 Krazy for Kayla (6-1) - has set to pace of two consecutive Extreme Races for Closers since a brief freshening.  Owns a 'vs Zip Win' in her maiden breaking turf sprint score at GP in March. Totes feather light 10lb bug.

25 Aug 2013 11:39 AM

Saratoga, Race 1) Treasured (#1) bet from 12-1 ML down to 4-1 and has stayed there since betting has opened.  Is it smart money?  

25 Aug 2013 12:50 PM
Pedigree Ann

Coldfacts - it seems you haven't been around US dirt racing very long. Like maybe 10 years at most? 24 second quarters and 48 second halves are Slow for a 2-turn race on an 8f or 9f track. They are acceptable for a 12f race at Belmont, but because it is 12f.

Looking at the half times for 9f Derby preps in 2004 I see -

Bluegrass S (still dirt) 46 3/5

Santa Anita Derby - 46 4/5

Florida Derby - 47 flat

Wood Memorial - 47 flat

Arkansas Derby - 46 4/5 in mud

Sham S - 47 flat

Lane's End (aka Spiral, dirt) 47 1/5

Illinois Derby (in which Pollard's Vision went gate to wire) 47 4/5 an example of a slowed down pace.

The PPs don't have quarter times for the 9f races. For the major 8f and 8.5f preps, the quarter times ranged from 22 & 2 to 23 & 3, with 45 & change halves not uncommon.

You see why I think these pace-setters today are going slowly? Peace Rules and Hard Spun and Holy Bull could throw down 47 or less halves and keep on going to be in the mix at the end.

25 Aug 2013 2:41 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Kevin -

It was likely as much to do with a dubious ML as it was 'steam'.  The latter is best used for cooking broccoli, not betting.

25 Aug 2013 2:45 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Dimension Dazzles in Woodbines 7th...if only that was a free play on a certain web site.

25 Aug 2013 3:54 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Krazy for Kaya ($12.60) runs them off their feet to a dominating win.

25 Aug 2013 5:57 PM

Doubled my show parlay into $20.

Rolling it over at Saratoga Race 1) #3 Joe's Blazing Aaron.

25 Aug 2013 10:28 PM
Plod Boy Phil

I saw that Kevin - good luck with the 'vs Zip' turn back tomorrow.

25 Aug 2013 10:42 PM
Plod Boy Phil


re: Show Parlay

Since all parlays eventual end,  I have a bit of advice regarding a strategy that may increase your chances of making a long term profit from 'zero' to more than zero.

The concept is known as 'profit and pull'.  There are many variation of the theme - here's a more conservative one:

Having started with a $10 stake and immediately doubled it, pull the $10 profit and start again with $10.  In this second round, play until you've reached $30, then pull another $10 or $15 and begin round three with a $15 or $20 stake. Set a new goal.  If it is reached,  pull some of the profit and move on to round four with a larger stake.  With this scenario, a loser, and there will be one, does not leave you busted out.  Rather, at worst you have the original stake (if horse #2 fails), and at best the original stake and a healthy profit.

25 Aug 2013 10:57 PM

plod boy phil nice job on free plays on the site yesterday  .  from a flow player ..  go flow

26 Aug 2013 7:16 AM
Plod Boy Phil


Good times

26 Aug 2013 7:36 AM
Rusty Weisner

Had two singles Saturday on two P4 and two P3 tickets, one bad (Let Em Shine), one not so bad (Palace Malice).  One one ticket I took five horses (all the closers) in the King's Bishop and caught Capo Bastone, so went into the Travers with live tickets -- some bad luck with my horse put out of my game way off the pace; with better luck the race might have looked the same as the Jim Dandy, with the same order of finish.  Wrote up one winning $90 P4 with a "single" of My Happy Face/Sweet Lulu, but that was too pricey for me.  Oh well -- being live to the Travers was good for a thrill.

26 Aug 2013 4:19 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -

Did you make a flat bet on Do I Amuse You ?

26 Aug 2013 4:45 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Kevin -

Racing Flow figures are in.

The main track at Saratoga on Saturday was as fair a track as there can be. Once again, in our opinion, attempting to ascertain Bias without understanding the impact that each individual race Flow had on the results is nothing more than a guess.  

The turf courses played modestly favorable to speed,  but no more so than we saw on August 11th.

That said, there were two turf races on the Travers Day card that were significantly favorable to speed. Each was driven more by their respective Flow than the course.  Aside from those two events, I recommend caution if one is inclined to blindly 'upgrade' failed turf closers from Saturday.

26 Aug 2013 5:21 PM

Phil, good advice on the parlay; unfortunately read it after Joes Blazing Aaron finished a close 4th and ended my parlay a lot earlier than expected.  

Understand what you are saying about the track on Saturday.  But in my "blind eye" I think Palace Malice is going to be a huge underlay in the Breeders Cup (after Game on Dude's Pacific Classic performance) and a must play.  Not sure why he was so far off the pace.  

26 Aug 2013 7:42 PM
Plod Boy Phil


Joe's Blazing Aaron,  while a 'vs Zip' upgrade out of his last, was attempting a very difficult task in turning back to 5.5f off a long series of routes.  It is far different than a confirmed sprinter running a route race,  then retuning to a sprint. I've felt, and often play, those similar to him the second time sprinting if the first was a 'failure'. It is an entirely different type of energy expenditure that route prepped muscles are not accustomed to. Beware JBA when next seen, perhaps at 7f on the turf at Belmont.

The Travers Flow was only slightly Speed favoring. It was not enough to warrant upgrading or downgrading any runner that entered the race 'neutral'.  However, since PM was a bold upgrade for us in the Belmont and the Jim Dandy and a regular upgrade in the Travers, I'm inclined to carry his grade next out.  His early position was a function of a poor start in which he was a bit unprepared and stumbled slightly. As for beating older horses in the BCC,  that's an entirely different matter.

26 Aug 2013 8:00 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Huh?  Do I Amuse You, that one from last Saturday?  No straight bet.  I singled him on the tail end of a P3.

27 Aug 2013 12:37 PM
Rusty Weisner


I was ambivalent about betting Palace Malice one last time, but went and did it and don't really regret it that much, though my parting comment about WTC was that I missed the boat on him at 17-1 but he made a good bet at 10-1.  Should have taken my own advice and just taken the odds on a horse I thought was a legitimate threat -- it reminds me a little of missing Oxbow at 15-1 in the Preakness.  Alas, my blood is still not as cold as it needs to be to play this game.

Palace Malice had bad luck at the start but ran a good race -- his preferred style is clearly to "latch on" early (Moreno would have again served well for that purpose if PM had had a good break).  He looked strongest there in the last jumps.  

And at least he beat Verrazano!  I'm kicking myself a little for not going for the odds on the winner, but at least I didn't commit the ignominy of putting money of Verrazano.  116 was the same number Quality Road had before his Travers, by the way.

27 Aug 2013 12:47 PM
Rusty Weisner


That was a great post, and a good pick, on Laughing up above.

I'll be looking for Mentor Cane's next race.  

27 Aug 2013 2:25 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

The bridge to Assateague Island is also called the Verrazano.  Was hanging around with ponies of a different kind.

27 Aug 2013 3:29 PM

Thanks, Rusty! I was cheering hard for Laughing in the homestretch. It was nice to have it play out as I had hoped!

I read that the Mentor Cane is being pointed toward the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont, where he will challenge his elders for the first time. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he fares! Six furlongs should be much more ideal for him than seven, and I really believe he can give the older sprinters a run for the money. The ease with which he kicked clear in the stretch of the King's Bishop was, to me, breathtaking.

27 Aug 2013 8:57 PM
Rusty Weisner

Hey, where is everybody?

I'm playing Saratoga Saturday.  If I don't win I'll be nearing the four-figure mark in losses since the Belmont.  But that won't happen!

I like Successful Dan and Flat Out in the Woodward and am staying away from Paynter.

Tenango might be a single for me in R7 after chasing futilely in his last; I like a turnback from 7f to 6f more than the reverse, and the favorite has not run on dirt yet.

I'll probably stick to the two favorites, Silver Max and Za Approval in R8, the Bernard Baruch.

Don't know what to do with the paired entry of monster favorites in the Forego, R9.

I have no idea about R11.  

In R12, besides favored Much Stronger and Whiskey Romeo I would give King Henny a chance but don't like pp14.

29 Aug 2013 3:26 PM
Rusty Weisner

There's a rather amazing 0-for-20 horse in R6, Stock Fund:  she's been second eight times in the last ten races, the last two times finding trouble in the stretch.  A twofold wish: please don't let me bet her, and please don't let her win.

29 Aug 2013 3:54 PM
Rusty Weisner

Try to beat the Pletcher 2yo in R5, single Live Life Fast in R6.

29 Aug 2013 4:11 PM
Monarchos Matt

Hey Rusty. Good to see ya. I agree, this board has become like a ghost town. Bloodhorse really needs to get an actual host back to facilitate these conversations, the big races are upon us!

The Woodward sure lost a lot of luster didn't it? It's a shame because I was going to go against all the speed, and now Paynter looks to get a pretty great setup...I still think he'll be bet heavy (probably the favorite) and as much as I'd love to see him win for the story of it all, I think he's beatable here. Successful Dan is scary but I'm going to play against him too, it's tough to put two high quality races together at his age and he seems to like to come from further back....the same goes for Flat Out, and you know he's saving all his energy for Belmont (because the horse knows that the Jockey Club Gold Cup is coming up, of course).

I think what you want here is a just-off-the pace, rateable type that is coming around to the peak of his form cycle. All signs point to Mucho Macho Man for me. This will be his third race off the layoff and he was much improved in his last. After a 2nd place showing here last year, you know he likes the track. I know, he tends to hang in the stretch, but if Paynter isn't able to hold on through the final furlong he should be closest to him and should be the logical candidate for the win at decent odds, as he might be overlooked off his early 2013 form. It would be a shame to leave him off your Pick 4 tickets.

I love Za Approval in the Baruch, and would also lean towards Tenango in the 7th, although his close finish to Declan's Warrior is less flattering after that one's last two races. The Forego looks very difficult to get around the entry, but if you're looking for a bomber, don't forget about Jackson Bend. It's anyone's guess what kind of form he is sitting on for this race, but he did close well in his last, this is his ideal distance, and there looks to be a decent amount of speed. The obvious closer here is Justin Phillip, but Jackson Bend was closing harder to get the better of him two back at a shorter distance. Jackson Bend won this race two years ago and was clearly off form last fall. At 10-1 he's live in my opinion, although in all honesty I think Fast Bullet probably has to fall down in order to lose.

29 Aug 2013 10:29 PM
Pedigree Ann

Matt - You think MMM will be better third off the layoff, but don't think Paynter will be, in the same situation? Just sayin'....,

30 Aug 2013 2:14 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Friday Saratoga

R8) 7 Bella Castani impressed with a strong closing kick into a notably Speed favoring Flow last out.  Her two prior wins were each achieved from off the pace despite modestly speed friendly Flows. Catches enough pace today and rolls home as much the best.

30 Aug 2013 7:16 AM
Plod Boy Phil

re: 3rd off the lay-off

The idea behind the angle is that a trainer/horse has used the two previous races to prepare for a peak effort. That peak could be a lifetime best or a peak in the current form cycle.

In the case of Paynter, the horse returned from a year lay-off with arguably his lifetime best race.  Despite the expected regression last out, the likelihood of him matching or improving upon his return effort seems remote at best.  Therefore,  I'd concur that he does not fit the classic '3rd off the lay-off angle'.  

Mucho Macho Man on the other hand does fit the profile in that his second race since the time off was a bit better than the previous, yet neither has approached his lifetime best.

That said, all runners in the race draw 'neutral' ratings from us.

30 Aug 2013 7:42 AM
Monarchos Matt


I think what Phil posted above clarifies the angle I am taking with's more about current trajectory. Certainly Paynter is eligible to move up third off the layoff as well, but he has already looked quite sharp whereas MMM has not.

I actually love Paynter (huge fan of both sides of his pedigree, which I am sure you can appreciate)and would love to see him win because of the story that would be. The race certainly sets up well for him in terms of pace. Still, I think he'll be close to even money, so taking a shot with the forgotten horse who appears to be sitting on a big one seems logical at around 4-1.

30 Aug 2013 8:53 AM

Lukas is on fire and he gets Fast Bullet. My only bet tomorrow will be Entry/Mucho Macho Double.

All or None

Good Luck All!

30 Aug 2013 9:04 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

I don't think the Woodward really lost its luster -- Fort Larned wasn't looking right and I was looking forward to him taking money and betting against him; glad they're doing what's best for the horse, though.  I'll second Plod Boy Phil about Paynter, too:  those numbers just don't look right to me.  And he is the ML favorite (Successful Dan could be, looks good, and lost a little momentum in the stretch); I just won't take a favorite shipping east after he's endured a physical crisis.  I considered MMM and will take it under advisement because I want some speed.

I like Tenango, and it's just an allowance race.  

I think I won't go against Fast Bullet (I think Justin Phillip is more of a bet-against possibility).  

I'll need some help with races 11 and 12.

I like this horse I mentioned in R6; seems to have a class edge (chased G1 winner Discreet Marq in her debut) and I will try her over the more recently raced horses coming out of the same race.

30 Aug 2013 9:05 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,


30 Aug 2013 9:06 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Speak of the devil -- new thread.

30 Aug 2013 9:21 AM
Rusty Weisner


Lukas is on fire when it counts.  His winning percentage at Saratoga is actually terrible, though.

30 Aug 2013 9:22 AM
Monarchos Matt


I like the idea of playing the double here, but don't you think it's worth including a longer shot along with the entry? Does anyone care to weigh in on Jackson Bend's chances as a longshot? I will single MMM as well underneath.


I hope it works out for you. Unfortunately I have nothing to offer on 11 and 12 and will be sitting those out to turn my concentration to college football (Bama -20, Georgia -1.5, LSU -4 and Northwestern -5.5 are the plays for those inclined).

30 Aug 2013 9:32 AM


You may want to use Jackson Bend as an alternate in a Pick 4.

The trainer for Justin Philip who trains our horses is very high on him and I do not think this entry will be beat.

30 Aug 2013 10:47 AM

Further more he thinks Sage Valley has the most upside in the exotics.

30 Aug 2013 10:51 AM


You're right about Lukas's % but he finishes 2nd a lot @ juicy odds.

Made some good money this year with WTC/Oxbow exacta at Oaklawn/Peakness, Jim Dandy and Optimizer under Point of Entry twice.

30 Aug 2013 11:01 AM

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