Opening Day at Del Mar

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman")

Although summer officially began on June 21st, for racing fans around the United States, summer doesn’t truly begin until racing returns to Del Mar and Saratoga, the two best race meets of the summer. So with that in mind, get ready for summer to begin later this afternoon, when Del Mar will play host to a terrific ten-race card that has drawn an incredible total of 123 entries!

With so many large, deep fields, there are bound to be many terrific longshots and handicapping gems to uncover. So without further ado, here are my thoughts on a few of the most interesting races on the opening-day card…

Race 3: Last year, the talented three-year-old filly My Happy Face had the good fortune to finish fourth or better in six graded stakes races, including the TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), Test Stakes (gr. I), Cotillion Stakes (gr. I), and La Brea Stakes (gr. I). However, she failed to win any of those six graded stakes races, with her only victory for the year coming in the ungraded Lotka Stakes at Belmont Park. Now four years old, My Happy Face is set to make her 2014 debut in this six-furlong main-track allowance optional claiming race. She’ll likely be a heavy favorite thanks to her stellar record, but she may be vulnerable in her first start off a layoff. Therefore, I’ll take a chance with Biorhythm, a talented turf sprinter that broke her maiden over the Keeneland Polytrack last spring. She demonstrated good form earlier this year, running well in a pair of stakes races on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita, and has recorded six solid workouts in preparation for this race. In addition, she will be ridden by the very talented apprentice jockey Drayden Van Dyke, which means that Biorhythm will get to carry five pounds less than My Happy Face.

Race 6: This five-furlong maiden special weight for California-bred juvenile has drawn a huge field of fourteen, although only ten will be allowed to start. Of the group, I believe that Pulmarack is the most likely winner. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Pulmarack is by Lucky Pulpit out of Tamarack Bay, making him a full-brother to the juvenile stakes-winner Luckarack, as well as a half-brother to the grade I-winning juvenile Tamarando. Keeping in mind his close relation to several early-maturing stakes winners, as well as Hollendorfer’s strong success with young horses, I believe Pulmarack will be ready to win first time out this afternoon.

Race 8: The one-mile, $100,000 Oceanside Stakes looks like a terrific handicapping challenge, with twelve horses plus an also-eligible entered to contest what should be a wide-open race. If you put the names of all the entries in a hat and randomly withdrew a single name, you’d probably have as good a chance as the best of handicappers at having selected the winner.

In wide-open turf races like this one, something I love to see in a potential win candidate is strong stretch acceleration—the ability to run a final quarter-mile in :23 seconds or less at the end of a two-turn race. Keeping this in mind, there are three horses in the Oceanside that I believe are capable of achieving this with some degree of consistency—Argyle’s Cut, most recently a fast-closing runner-up in the one-mile Singletary Stakes at Santa Anita; Patriot’s Rule, third by a neck in the one-mile Silky Sullivan Stakes at Santa Anita while running his final quarter in approximately :22 3/5; and Texas Ryano, who won a nine-furlong allowance race with a spectacular late run that included a final furlong in about :11 2/5. Of the trio, I prefer Patriot’s Rule slightly over Texas Ryano, but would definitely use both equally in multi-race wagers and on top of exactas. With the talented front-runners Yard Line and Home School likely to ensure a lively pace, I believe this race will set up well for a deep closer.

Who do you like on opening day at Del Mar?


Leave a Comment:


Hello, everyone! I hope you're all looking forward to a terrific day of racing at Del Mar this afternoon!

I will be posting thoughts, updates, and analysis throughout the day in regard to the action at Del Mar, and I hope you'll join me!

To begin, there have been two key scratches from the Oceanside Stakes -- Diamond Bachelor and Yard Line. The scratch of Diamond Bachelor was actually announced yesterday, which is why I didn't include him in my brief list of talented front-runners that could help ensure a fast pace. The scratch of Yard Line should only slow the pace down further, which could make things more challenging for Patriot's Rule and Texas Ryano. Home School now has a pretty good chance to be in control of the race, so I will be giving him a closer look in my handicapping.

Also note that the scratches in the Oceanside have allowed Sammy Mandeville to draw in off the also-eligible list.

17 Jul 2014 10:54 AM

Does any remember Tap It Rich? The Bob Baffert-trained colt broke his maiden in impressive fashion at Santa Anita last fall before going on to finish fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and eleventh in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I). Tap It Rich disappeared from the work tab shortly after finishing second behind Bayern in an allowance race in February, but returned to action this morning when he breezed a half-mile in :51 3/5 at Del Mar. It looks like he'll be back to the races before too much longer!

17 Jul 2014 11:22 AM

Oceanside scratches will impact pace but still enough pace to set up for Patriots Rule. Home School, Enterprising,Love Rules All,  Forever Juanito and the AE Sammy Manderville have potential to liven up the pace (which will O'Neill use if either?). We never know until race unfolds. Of particular note PATRIOTS RULE closed 22.45 into slow pace at GG and fast pace at SA on 4-5-14. Diodoro has him ready !    

17 Jul 2014 11:30 AM


I'm glad to hear you like Patriots Rule as well! Let's hope he stays near his morning line price of 8-1!

17 Jul 2014 1:06 PM

Another notable name on the Del Mar work tab this morning was Goldencents, most recently runner-up in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) behind Palace Malice. Goldencents worked five furlongs in the co-bullet time of :59 1/5, which suggests that he will be running again in the near future. Perhaps he'll turn up in the July 27th Bing Crosby Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar!

17 Jul 2014 1:12 PM

Here's a historical tidbit while we wait for the first race of the day at Del Mar, which is still nearly a half-hour away: One this day in 1915, the very talented Friar Rock won the 5 1/2-furlong Whirl Stakes at Belmont Park in the track-record time of 1:03 4/5. The two-year-old colt, who was trained by legendary Sam Hildreth, would go on to win the Belmont Stakes, Suburban Handicap, Brooklyn Handicap, and Saratoga Cup the following season en route to recognition as Horse of the Year. In the Saratoga Cup, a prestigious 1 3/4-mile race for horses aged three-year-olds and upward, Friar Rock faced just two rivals, but those two rivals were The Finn (a Belmont Stakes winner and the champion 3yo colt of 1915) and Roamer (1914 Horse of the Year and champion 3yo; 1915 champion older male.) The distance proved a bit far for The Finn, who retreated on the far turn after setting the pace, but Roamer gave Friar Rock a terrific challenge that made the race the most memorable of the Saratoga meeting. Racing as a pair with just an eighth of a mile to go, it took every ounce of Friar Rock's immense stamina to edge clear of Roamer in the final hundred yards and win the race by two lengths. The final quarter mile was run in :26 2/5 over a track labeled good, a stellar time given the distance of the race.

The days of cup races may be over in the United States, but I believe that a revival of the Saratoga Cup could prove popular among racing fans and trainers. In any case, I know I would look forward to it!

17 Jul 2014 4:47 PM

Looks like trainer A. C. Avila had Hawk's Eyes ready to roll in the opener at Del Mar! The Brazilian-bred five-year-old was sent straight to the lead by jockey Tiago Pereira and got away with setting moderate fractions of :48.10 and 1:13.00, which allowed him to burst clear of the field through a final quarter in :24.41 to win the one-mile, $10,000 claiming race by nine or ten lengths. What a performance!

17 Jul 2014 5:21 PM

Looking at the exacta probable for the upcoming third race at Del Mar, I have noticed an interesting oddity -- My Happy Face is not a decisive favorite by any means. The lowest-paying exacta probable is actually Hail Mary over My Happy Face, which is currently paying 7-1. Furthermore, the Biorhythm/My Happy Face exacta is paying less (currently 11-1) than the than the My Happy Face/Biorhythm exacta (currently 13-1.) My Happy Face may be favored at 9-5 in the win pool, but if you like her chances, you should be able to get very fair odds in the exactas keying her on top.

17 Jul 2014 6:04 PM

With three minutes to post time, the exactas probables with My Happy Face on top are dropping a bit. The My Happy Face/Hail Mary exacta is now the co-favorite at 7-1, and a boxed My Happy Face/Biorhythm exacta would pay the same (12-1) no matter which filly finishes on top.

17 Jul 2014 6:05 PM

Well, it looks like My Happy Face was rather cold in the exacta wagering for a reason. Racing in fifth early on behind a fast pace, My Happy Face failed to unleash a meaningful challenge in the homestretch and could only manage a third-place finish behind 17-1 longshot Kinz Funky Monkey, who won the six-furlong allowance race in gate-to-wire fashion. The final time was a moderate 1:11.30 seconds.

17 Jul 2014 6:17 PM
Little Bill

Keelerman, all due respect, payouts only matter after the race. I am of the opinion that handicapping the horse is way more important. I don't care what everyone else thinks. Looking for overlays is a waste of time. I mean if you see one ,do you change your bet? Not me.

I take that back. When I handicap a race before the the odds come out and a horse is higher than what I projected, that's an overlay, for me. I am amused by people that want to know what others think. That's what the tote board is for. Sadly I will never master the art of staring at the tote board and see the winner jump out at me like Russell Crowe in a Beautiful Mind.

Good luck at Saratoga and elsewhere.

17 Jul 2014 10:54 PM

Little Bill,

I'm with you I always bet the horse I like to win regardless of odds. I try to improve the odds by betting doubles or exactas when the odds are too short and bet them heavier at even money or better. Good Luck to All this exciting weekend At Del Mar and Saratoga!

18 Jul 2014 8:01 AM

Before I followed trainers that win and used their low odd trainees in exotics I tried to play horses from my virtual stable.I would fill my stable with ones that were win or at least place machines like Curlin or find ones that I thought would break their maiden next out or had bad trips etc.It didnt work for me they dont run very often nowadays.

I dont play horses anymore they arent as reliable as trainers,remember trainers are running a business and the best ones are like following a stock that executes over and over again.

I dont play horses I PLAY THE GAME,I am a horseplayer when I see 1-9 odds on a filly like the Princess I know that the place and show pools will only pay a dime in profit for every 2 dollars wagered I cant do anything with that in vertical exotics.If she comes in 2nd forget about horizontal wagers of any kind because at those odds you should be able to SINGLE HER.

18 Jul 2014 10:11 AM

My bad I just remembered the Princess closed at 1-5,its still 2.10 place and show and I cant win enuff if she comes in 2nd in win place and show.In the exacta pools if you play Princess-all you gotta play all princess.Of course you might of picked out the one as the only one that could beat her but if you are wrong you cant hedge in the place pool.GL luck is something I try to diminish in my regular play so I play high percentage bets so I get a return in a lot more than half the races I play.

18 Jul 2014 10:17 AM

Happy opening day at Saratoga, everyone! I hope we all pick a few winners on this memorable day! Good luck!

Little Bill & Secreteriat;

Great thoughts! The good news is, I wasn't swayed by the exacta probables and stuck to my opinion of the race. The bad news is, my selection (Biorhythm) had even less of a finishing kick than My Happy Face and wound up in fourth. Oh well!

18 Jul 2014 11:16 AM

While the majority of today's racing highlights are at Saratoga, don't forget that today's sixth race at Del Mar features the return of Caracortado, who has run just once in the last 2 1/2 years. He may not be the soundest horse around, but when he's healthy, he's among the better turf sprinter/milers on the west coast. The five-furlong distance of today's race might be a bit short for him, but at least it's a start!

18 Jul 2014 11:25 AM

I posted this over on the blog part of the article about the race results---what the heck happened to Texas Ryano.  I expected him to at least hit the board. Bad ride, or??  I am very disappointed!

18 Jul 2014 11:52 AM


I think a combination of factors contributed to Texas Ryano's defeat. He was hung wide throughout the race and may have moved a bit soon on the far turn, which resulted in his getting caught even wider. Then, he ran into some slight traffic in the homestretch, which didn't help. But more than anything else, I think he may have found the competition to be a bit tougher than he could handle. Still, as a son of Curlin, he should only get better with more time, so perhaps we'll see him be more competitive at this level in the future!

18 Jul 2014 12:21 PM

The first two races of the year at Saratoga have been run, and Jose Ortiz is unbeaten thus far with two consecutive winners!

The next race on the card is the grade III Schuylerville Stakes for two-year-old fillies. The race has drawn just five starters, with Todd Pletcher's promising filly Fashion Alert the heavy favorite at 1-9. Take Charge Brandi, an impressive debut winner at Churchill Downs for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, is the second choice at 6-1. Tulira's Star, who romped in her lone start to date at Arlington Park, is 12-1. But there's still fourteen minutes to post time, which means that these odds could shift drastically as the race draws nearer.

Although her odds are highly unappealing, I'm picking Fashion Alert to win over Take Charge Brandi. I think Tulira's Star has the potential to be a very nice filly, but this will be her debut on dirt, so that is a bit of a question mark.

18 Jul 2014 1:50 PM

With three minutes until post time, Fashion Alert has dropped to 2-5, while Take Charge Brandi is 4-1 and Tulira's Star 6-1.

18 Jul 2014 1:58 PM

The bettors had it right! Fashion Alert prevailed as the heavy favorite in the Schuylerville, drawing clear of Take Charge Brandi after a race-long duel to win by just over a length in 1:11.78 seconds. Tulira's Star, the third choice, finished a distant third, while fourth-choice Evrybdymstgetstonz finished fourth and longshot Mast Cove trailed the field. It's not every day that one sees the horses in a race cross the wire in the order of their odds!

18 Jul 2014 2:07 PM

I took Fashion Alert as a single in a straight double if my pick in leg 2 comes in at least 3rd I will recoup some of my money if he wins I will get a higher mutual than if I just played him in race 4.I was going to play him anyway.

IMO Fashion Alert was a better play than the Princess all of you are experienced so you can figure out the differences in why I think she was a better play than the Princess and trained by the same.BTW the double pays better than keying Fashion Alert in the exacta even if you were lucky enuff to play ONLY ONE exacta and win it.Now if you also played in the place and show pools that is another thing entirely.

18 Jul 2014 2:25 PM

Well I lost I dont need to lie how many of us post that they lost.What is the difference in losing in one race as opposed to having a winner and still losing, I WOULD HAVE LOST THE SAME AMOUNT but if he wins the 2nd leg I win more if he comes in 3rd or better I get back some of my money while taking a chance to win more with the same amount wagered IT ADS UP LONG TERM.

I wont even think about playing again until races 8 and 9,you gotta have disipline and stick to your strategy.GL

18 Jul 2014 2:41 PM

I was gonna post something, but i thought i leave some room for keelerman to finally post a comment..........

18 Jul 2014 3:59 PM

Mc Laughlin ice cold no in the money finishes last 7 races and almost all his runners go off at low odds glad I passed on Gratitude.

Pletcher will be running in 9 races in the next three days at Saratoga with 12 horses before scratches,Brown will be running 11horses in the next 4 days his first runs now.

18 Jul 2014 4:52 PM

Pletcher already ran two today and got 1st and 3rd.

18 Jul 2014 4:57 PM

Correction Pletcher got 1st and 2nd today if he was that eficient all the time then I could play him but hes not but Brown is check Browns win percentage at the Spa last few years and how many he runs compared to Pletcher.

18 Jul 2014 5:05 PM

Glad I passed Browns trainee the 1st 3 favorites or two of the top three finished 1st 2nd and 3rd you know what that means for place and show pools and Brown clunked in 3rd.Let me check the payoffs although have a good guess from experience of playing almost every day in 2011 and looking at the oddsboard exotic as well as win place and show.

18 Jul 2014 5:20 PM

I dont follow my strategy mechanically just betting every runner that the conditioners that I am following run,I still need to make betting decisions but in the process anyone can learn a lot more about the business of horse racing.

I dont make the right decision all the time but I start with a great format and it works.Its simple in theory but you will become a sharper bettor which is the part of this game that is overlooked by those that work in the industry,trying to convince newbies that its all about unlocking mysteries in a piece of paper the PPs.

18 Jul 2014 9:53 PM

There have been about 14 national handicapping championships and I think it starts with a field of 200,when and if a person wins it multiple times then I and many others will believe that there is a lot less luck in handicapping horse races than there is in knowing how to play poker.I bet that there have been winners of national poker players that have won more than once.There is a lot more science of knowing what your odds are with a certain hand of cards than there is in choosing winners in races with different horses and different circumstances in every race.

18 Jul 2014 10:27 PM

What kind of person hangs out in a horserace blog, doesnt believe in handicapping......doesnt believe anyone can win at this game? Brings absolutely nothing to the table.........i sir, win thousands, and thousands every year.......why? i bet against people that dont know the game........people like brontexx!.........i should be in jail!  Its like stealing..........

19 Jul 2014 12:18 AM

"McLaughlin ice cold no in the money finishes last 7 races."

I posted sometime ago that if I were with the Darley Organization I would recommend that McLaughlin be replaced. With the blood stock that he get annually he is the worst trainer in NY.

The guys at Darley need to change all three trainers as none have proven to be proficient.

19 Jul 2014 3:10 AM
Pedigree Ann

Irish Oaks today, although I haven't been paying much attention, as we have visitors from the States and have been showing them the sights. Until yesterday, that is, when on the way back from the Antrim Coast, our car's engine blew up. Radiator empty, head gasket blown, foamy oil all over everything. Engine a total loss. Bought it used, dealer was supposed to have checked it out and corrected any problems..., That's why we went to a dealer instead of a private seller. Long ride in the tow-truck back to Belfast; fortunately the Irish (Northerner or otherwise) are friendly, helpful people; tow-truck driver wouldn't even take a tip!  

19 Jul 2014 7:57 AM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Saturday Arlington, Race 4

Has the look of a serious 'ZipFest' with pace a plenty signed up.  The 6 Spring Formal had little chance behind the w-w winner of a speed favoring Flow in her last and should very much enjoy a major shift in the dynamics today. In with a feather for sharp connections.

19 Jul 2014 9:16 AM

KY VET you are a loser at this game as proven by the drivel you post.I am a winner but I have my own way of playing that I have developed after trying many others.You are another of the sheep that follow along with the paper picking method(pps)eventhough you suck at it.If you were a good handicapper you wouldnt have to write about all the crap you write on here like playing KD futures in November and in the next post writing that you know when a horse is hurt.

I think its time that you turned yourself into the VA hospital vet and not wait until they forcefully pick you up off the streets and PUT THE WHITE JACKET ON YOU.

19 Jul 2014 9:39 AM

Coldfacts who should they replace McLaughlin with that has his base in NY.

19 Jul 2014 9:43 AM

Pedigree Ann;

I'm sorry to hear about your car! But I'm glad everything worked out all right with the towing.

Did you happen to see the running of the Doom Bar Steventon Stakes at Newbury this morning? Unfortunately, I missed it, but I see that Al Kazeem ran fourth by 3 3/4 lengths in his first start since being unretired. Do you think it was a good first effort that he can build on, or was it more of a disappointment?

19 Jul 2014 11:51 AM
Little Bill

Some of the responsibility for Darley's race record has to fall on their philosophy. They push their horses into the graded spots regardlessly. They want their horses in the biggest and and best races win, lose or draw.

19 Jul 2014 11:55 AM

There were plenty of big names on the Saratoga work tab this morning, but perhaps none bigger than Alpha, the King of Saratoga the last couple of years. He breezed a half-mile in :47.53, and appears to be very close to returning to the races. It wouldn't surprise me to see him turn up in the Whitney.

19 Jul 2014 11:56 AM

In today's Diana Stakes, I really like the chances of Stephanie's Kitten in her third start off a layoff. In the one-mile Just a Game Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont last time out, she was very far behind early on and appeared to be out of the race, but put in an eye-catching run in the final quarter-mile to finish fifth, beaten just 2 1/4 lengths. Most impressively, she made up 4 1/4 lengths during a final quarter mile that was timed in :22.23, a highly impressive feat indeed!

Now, I'm not fully convinced that Stephanie's Kitten is quite the same filly that she was last year, and with this in mind, my selection on top is actually Strathnaver. But I do think Stephanie's Kitten can make an impact at a nice price, and I won't be counting her out of contention.

19 Jul 2014 12:11 PM

Little Bill;

That's a very good point!

19 Jul 2014 12:13 PM

For fans of Wise Dan, I should point out that his half-brother, Casino Dan, is entered in today's ninth race at Saratoga. If you like his chances, he's an appealing 8-1 on the morning line!

Also, good old Caracortado ran well in his return to the races yesterday, rallying late to finish third by 1 1/2 lengths in a five-furlong allowance race at Del Mar. Assuming he stays sound, that was a solid performance that he can build on. Perhaps he'll finally make it back to the Breeders' Cup this year!

19 Jul 2014 12:24 PM

In the upcoming Irish Oaks at the Curragh, I don't have much of an opinion, but just for the fun of it, I'll take Aidan O'Brien's Tapestry to win. Interestingly, O'Brien trains five of the ten starters in the race!

19 Jul 2014 12:45 PM

In today's opener at Saratoga, I like Luck of the Kitten to give Frankie Dettori his third win from four mounts thus far at Saratoga. Go kittens! :)

19 Jul 2014 1:00 PM
Pedigree Ann

Anna O'Brien, the next O'Brien kid, is riding Beyond Brilliance, a no-hoper in some books, alongside her brother Joseph.

19 Jul 2014 1:06 PM
Pedigree Ann

Keelerman - missed the Al Kazeem race today. Still trying to salvage our friends' trip. Announcer later in the pm thought he was given a poor ride and there would be more to come.

Ana (short for Anastasia) O'Brien got up for 4th! First female rider in an Irish Oaks.

19 Jul 2014 1:12 PM

What a finish in the Irish Oaks! Bracelet, one of the five Aidan O'Brien-trained fillies in the race, gamely took command from pace-setting Volume in the stretch and then held off a late bid from stablemate Tapestry to win the race by a neck in a three-horse finish. Tapestry edged Volume by a head for second, while Beyond Brilliance -- the longshot with Anna O'Brien aboard -- put in a respectable finish to finish fourth, albeit well behind the leading trio.

19 Jul 2014 1:13 PM
Pedigree Ann

Had a thought. Will we see a day when all the multiple Aidan O'Brien entries in various races be ridden by O'Brien kids?

19 Jul 2014 1:13 PM

Also, what a performance by Todd Pletcher's Kamarius in the opening race at Saratoga! After tracking Luck of the Kitten through slow fractions of :24.99, :50.61, and 1:14.55, Kamarius accelerated strongly with a fourth quarter in :23.09 and left Luck of the Kitten far behind, drawing clear to win by seven or eight lengths in the good time of 1:43.79 for a mile and a sixteenth. He looks like a future stakes winner to me!

19 Jul 2014 1:16 PM

Pedigree Ann;

That would be fun to see!

19 Jul 2014 1:18 PM

Keelerman Pletcher ran two in the 1st maiden on the turf which is not the surface he excels on at least in comparison to dirt and the odds were good in the 1st race at Saratoga paying 5.60 for every dollar wagered on his two entrants.In the 4th Pletcher also entered two and if you bet on both this time you would have lost money as the winner paid less than even money.

Pletcher has three wins and a 2nd so far Browns trainee came in 3rd as the favorite in the 2nd race a NX1 allowance he has made two starts and has two thirds.Brown has one starter in the 8th two in the 10th and one in the 11th.Pletcher has one in the 7th one in the 9th and one in the 11th.Out of these 8 starters how many winners will there be,dont forget Pletcher has already had 4 starters and two winners.

19 Jul 2014 3:09 PM

As far as Darley is concerned if Mclaughlin was replaced it would have to be someone based in New York because of the graded races held there and what they want out of their US racing operations is to replentish their breeding business and Mclaughlin does well in this area especially with his female horses.

Darley would also want someone in NY that doesnt use a lot of chemicals on their runners because they want to make money breeding and anybody that buys these expensive animals hears all the rumors.

19 Jul 2014 3:14 PM
Little Bill

Played the 5 in race 6 at Sara. 40-1.

19 Jul 2014 3:41 PM

In the upcoming Sanford Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga, I'll take Mr. Z to win. I thought his pace-pressing debut victory at Churchill Downs was impressive, and I think he has a good chance to steal the Sanford in gate-to-wire fashion at a nice price.

19 Jul 2014 4:01 PM

If Pletcher wins the Saratoga stake on the clock now it will be a tougher win than Fashion Alert yesterday.You gotta a lot of trainers who get early speed outta their trainees and Lucas has his entrant his filly gave Fashion Alert a good run you also have Servis,Calhoun,Dutrow,Ward and Asmussen if at least one of them dosent run with Pletchers Nonas Boy Ill be very surprised.With 9 minutes to post Nonas Boy is a better bet in the place and show pools but the computer that tabulates the odds makes a lot of last minute changes even right after they break from the starting gate.

19 Jul 2014 4:07 PM
Little Bill

Nice pick Keelerman.

19 Jul 2014 4:20 PM

The speed duel actually happened in the last one could you decipher that from the paper(pp)?When the paper pundits predict it it rarely happens everyone saw the last race including the jockeys and trainers so if your a jockey what do you do in this mile on the turf race with a 12 horse field you try to get near the front or on the lead and steal this race the jockeys that just got burned on or near the pace will be reluctant to make the same mistake can someone walk the dog in this race we will see.

19 Jul 2014 4:34 PM

This time Im pretty sure they will be single file instead of 3 colts on the lead on the LAST TURN that there was in the last race and the thing about is it wasnt who you might think it would be from the PPs.

19 Jul 2014 4:45 PM
Little Bill


19 Jul 2014 4:47 PM

Castellano tried to get to the front and slow it down clever rider that he is but Mei Ling and the other Ortiz brother wasnt having it Rocco kept Devilish Love right behind those two and got first jump in the stretch and held off Fade To Black.

19 Jul 2014 5:03 PM

Keelerman since I asked you of the remaining 8 starters that Pletcher and Brown have left how many do you think will win 4 have run with Pletcher getting a 2nd with Pyrite Mountain in the last race the 9th as the best finish.I think I will play in this one as there are only 4 starters left and two run here and two in the last race. You never answered but I thought you might not answer GL.

19 Jul 2014 5:40 PM


Sorry I'm late in replying -- I was away from the computer for a while!

Since Todd Pletcher's win percentage at Saratoga over the last three years has been roughly 26%, I would expect him to have three winners from twelve starters, so I would guess he wins only one more race today. Chad Brown's percentage has been a bit higher, perhaps 29%, so from six starters, I would expect at least one winner. He's got two chances in the Diana -- let's see what happens!

19 Jul 2014 6:04 PM

I dutched Browns two entrants on two different ADW sites and the 9 didnt quite get there but got 2nd so I get 5.60 for every 6 bet so Im behind so far.I won on one of the ADWs and lost on the other one,beta neutral so to speak.

19 Jul 2014 6:15 PM

Keelerman Pletcher has one left as well as Brown Pletchers horse ran well in his last race on turf albeit at the Belmont turf course but his odds are too low for me in the win pool Ill pass but it could be a mistake.Dont you think the trainers know how their runners running lines will look in the PPs and they can legally bet as well as their owners.So Ill have to pass could be a mistake.

19 Jul 2014 6:24 PM

I passed on Pletcher at less than even money and it was Pletcher and Brown one two around the track and for the exacta 2-7.Out of those eight runners there was one winner but three 2nds so it was 50% 1st and 2nd but if you were more decisive you wouldnt have played all the races.Dont worry Sunday Brown,Pletcher and Mclaughlin have 8 runners at Saratoga.I know Mc is 0 for 8 in the money but he ran a 1st time starter today and he dosent usually send them out to win the first time.

19 Jul 2014 6:47 PM


19 Jul 2014 10:20 PM
Rusty Weisner

So now Somali Lemonade decides to win a G1!

20 Jul 2014 9:25 AM
Rusty Weisner

Don't you miss the days when I was the most frequent commenter?  At least I was trying to handicap!

So when's Saratoga begin next year, the Monday after the Belmont?  I had no idea it was already on.  I hope everyone's enjoying their summer.  I hope to stop back for the Haskell and maybe some Saratoga later on.

20 Jul 2014 9:31 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -


20 Jul 2014 9:49 AM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Arlington,  Race 4

1 Brick House Road (12-1) makes start down at this level with a fair chance to wire these following a string of overly aggressive 'vs zip' trips on this course. Interim 4f work intrigues.

20 Jul 2014 9:53 AM

"Who should Darley replace McLaughlin with that has a base in NY"

I changed your initial question as it was gender specific. There are female trainers operating in NY as well.

The Darley operation can do its Due Diligence to find out which consistent and successful trainer will fit their model. The operation's success rate is miniscule. It is inconceivable that operation's success rate is  so poor considering the bloodlines they possess and the fact that their keep and care philosophy for their horses whether on or off the farm is second to none. They cannot be happy with the returns they are getting.

How many horses does McLaughlin saddled for the operation in the TC races? The few that he is able to get to the TC races have all finished down the track. His youngster always seem to develop issue and rarely participate in Derby preps.

What Mr. McLaughlin must realize is that if you do what you always do, you will get what you always got.  What has he been getting for his major client? minimal results at best, with royal blue bloodlines horses. The through bred business is results based and a change is always useful when the desired results are not being achieved.

There are wide selection of talented trainers in NY that can move their operation in a different direction.

20 Jul 2014 10:04 AM

Rusty Weisner! It's great to hear from you again! You have been missed!

You should definitely try to stop by for the Haskell if you can! It's shaping up to be a terrific race, with the projected field including Untapable, Bayern, Social Inclusion, Albano, Wildcat Red, and Medal Count, among others.

Have a nice summer!

20 Jul 2014 11:01 AM

It has been reported on DRF Live that Samraat has suffered a stress fracture and will miss the remainder of the season. :( He had been targeting a start in the Jim Dandy Stakes on July 26th.

20 Jul 2014 1:31 PM
Little Bill

Good call Phil.

20 Jul 2014 3:39 PM

Plod Boy Phil;

Great call on the fourth race at Arlington! Congratulations!

20 Jul 2014 3:47 PM

With sixteen to post time for the Coaching Club American Oaks, Stopchargingmaria is the even-money favorite. As the lone graded stakes winner in the field, she probably deserves that status, but I believe she can be beat today.

One filly I like is Unbridled Forever, who has finished third in her last three starts, which include the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Acorn Stakes (gr. I). Nine furlongs may be slightly beyond her best distance, but in the absence of Untapable, I believe she has an excellent chance to pick up her first grade I win.

On the other hand, I have the feeling that this race is ripe to be stolen in gate-to-wire fashion by whichever jockey seizes the early initiative. Perhaps Miss Besilu or Courageous Julie have enough speed to get the job done at respectable prices?

Really, I can make a case for every horse in the race, and it wouldn't surprise me to see any of these fillies triumph. Good luck to all!

20 Jul 2014 5:54 PM


In horseracing business and betting on horseracing YOU TAKE WHATS EASY.

Today Brown ran four Pletcher ran two Mclaughlin ran one but Im not playing him at ALL 0 for 9.

So out of the six Brown and Pletcher ran 2wins 1place and 1show 66% in the money 50% win/place just like yesterday.

Coldfacts I dont know what you mean by gender specific as I am not prejudiced but you continue saying McLaughlin should be replaced and in your reply you put the onus on Darley.They dont seem to want to replace him,but since you do who would you suggest?I am not going to get into a Coldfacturation arguement and defend Mclaughlin Im having fun playing Saratoga and winning.

Keelerman I hope you capitalize on Brown Pletcher because its the start of the meet, so both are running a lot of horses now but it wont always be like that till the end of the meet.It will for Pletcher because thats how he beats Brown by having a battalion of runners but then again he does that regularly in the KD.It dosent work in that race but he has been doing it for years in New York stakes races.

20 Jul 2014 7:02 PM

PS 2 runners Monday one from Brown one from Pletcher.

20 Jul 2014 7:03 PM
Plod Boy Phil


21 Jul 2014 6:45 AM

Dont press it let the plays come to you, if you want to try playing Brown and Pletcher at the Spa.They only have two starters today but Wednesday and Thursday they have 14 starters between them.

Thats the way to do it choose the best plays from their runners using our experienced decision making skills honed over the time we have played this game.Yes I look at the PPs but only in relation to the entrant from the barn Im following.Im not looking at the field trying to decipher whos going to the front who will be trailing etc just how the entrant fits into this race.Brown and Pletcher nearly always have animals relatively close to the pace or on it and 80% or more probably more leave the gate at less than 5-1.If you catch one of their logical contenders at more than 5-1 it could be time to increase the units wagered.

21 Jul 2014 8:03 AM

Funny how people go on generalizations.....and think they have a chance to beat this just on the trainer? really? What a genius!  When will people learn that ANY generalization that you go on will lose in the long run......every horse and every race is different.......there are no systems, no must know, be an expert, on many many things........trying to pass yourself off as a winning horseplayer, is laughable......brontexx full of hot air.......why so many posts that dont say anything of value? You dont go on the form, or horses? really? 500 posts of what? Know when to bet the #1 trainer in the world? really? what else can you tell us?

21 Jul 2014 4:07 PM

KY VET the white jacket is crying out your name turn yourself in to the VA hospital old man.

When following a trainer becomes a generalization they will release you you will be relatively cured.Stop throwing your disability check away and being a good boy and buying the PPs early like the rest of the sheep you are a loser and the government dont want you foregoing your meds to lose all your money at the track and then becoming enraged and jealous OLD MAN that some people know how to beat this game.

21 Jul 2014 5:03 PM
Little Bill

Ky Vet, So, are you saying bet the grays, or don't bet the grays.

23 Jul 2014 2:00 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Lil' Bill -


23 Jul 2014 4:24 PM

Today wasnt very good day for the Brown Pletcher bet compared to Friday,Saturday and Sunday 7 starters one 1st one2nd one3rd 5 starters tommorrow.If you didnt realize what was happening with Brown after his first two starters and bet accordingly you might have overbet.Pletcher has 6 wins Brown only 1 win so after Browns Bermuta failed to come in 2nd or 3rd it was only show betting for me for his last 3 starters.Its not all about the winning days its also how much you lose on the bad days.

The government dosent want its disability check recipients betting the KD future bet in November even Uncle Sam knows its a sucker bet.There is an APB out in Kentucky at all the tracks for a disabled vet that losses his check at the track.

23 Jul 2014 5:33 PM

If Brown dosent start getting winners then he wont run all his starters to win even maidens, because he cant catch Pletcher in the Saratoga trainers win totals and help his business in New York tremendously.In case you forgot this is a business and if you live in a PP world then you are just another sheep that is lead to the track to be fleeced.

If you think this is untrue get your nose back on the paper you dont understand.

23 Jul 2014 5:37 PM

Get ready, everyone! There's a terrific week of racing coming up, and it all starts on Saturday with the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga!

Here's the link to the first of three blog posts that I will be writing this week to cover the action:

23 Jul 2014 10:04 PM

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