The Todd Pletcher trained Cross Traffic picked up his first graded stake taking Saturday's $750,000 Whitney (G1) at Saratoga. The colt took the field gate to wire and returned $9.10.
I was expecting to see more of a pace duel and I thought that would set things for Ron the Greek, but my top pick did not have any punch in the final furlong after making a good move along the inside around the far turn and into the stretch.
The biggest disappointment was last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) champion Fort Larned, who did not fire in a fifth place finish.
Successful Dan flipped and fell in the paddock, but was deemed good enough to start and he ran a solid second, completing a $60.00.
You probably missed it, but at Mountaineer Park Departing won the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2) for trainer Al Stall, drawing away to win by 8 ¾ lengths and paying $4.80 as the favorite.
The reason you may have missed is because Mountaineer Park scheduled the race at 5:45 pm eastern, the exact time of the Whitney, which was televised on NBC as part of the Summer at Saratoga series.
The West Virginia Derby was televised on some of the Fox sports channels. It was amazing to me that track officials did not try to schedule their marquee race an hour earlier or later.
It boggles the mind that they would elect to race head to head against a Grade 1 race at Saratoga that is nationally televised, and I am sure it cost them handle.
It goes to show you just how clueless track management is, and that they really do not know who their customer is.
On track handle at Mountaineer Park today was a paltry $249,734, meaning the vast majority of handle comes from guys like us betting online or at a local simulcast center.
Analysis: Calm Pacific makes his debut for the Brown barn and this guy is working as if he has some ability. The ridgling is by Storm Atlantic out of a Deputy Minster mare that has dropped one other foal to race, Alphanumeric ($68,831). He debuts with lasix and the 10-1 morning line looks fair enough.
Defiant finished in a deadheat for the runner up spot last out in a good effort. The colt made a good move coming into the stretch and had to steady nearing the eighth pole shying away for the winner. The fourth place finisher rapid Burn graduated in his next outing on Aug. 1 here for a $35,000 tag. A repeat of his last effort looks good enough to beat this group.
WIN: #2 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 1,2,4,7
TRI: 2,7 / 1,2,4,7 / 1,2,3,4,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 9 The Alfred G. Vanderbilt Hcp G1 (5:12 ET)
4 Justin Phillip 5-1
3 Delaunay 8-5
2 Gentleman's Bet 9-5
1 Bahamian Squall 7-2
Analysis: Justin Phillip stalked a sharp early pace and made up some ground late to finish fourth last out in the Smile Sprint 'Cap (G2) at Calder, beaten two lengths by Bahamian Squall, who pulled off the upset at 7-1. The five year old owns seven triple digit Beyers in his career and was only beaten a neck in this race last year in the mud. he looks as if he is sitting on a good one here in his third start of his current form cycle and the 5-1 morning line looks fair enough in this compact field.
Delaunay was the beaten chalk last out at Prairie Meadows in the Iowa Spring 'Cap, breaking a six race winning streak. The gelding bumped a foe coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace, took a short lead in the stretch and could not go with Gentleman's Bet late. His back speed figs are tops in here and tough to knock a guy that has won 10 of his last 15 starts. His first work here was slow but he did pick it up in his most recent morning drill on July 27.
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4 / 2,3
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
DMR Race 8 The Best Pal G2 (5:40 PT)
6 Guns Loaded 9-2
4 Alpine Luck 3-1
3 Skydreamin 3-1
7 Celtic Moon 12-1
Analysis: Guns Loaded was a good looking maiden winner last out for the Autrey barn that does good work with two year olds. The colt showed good early speed while down along the inside and he drew away late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The colt is the lone runner in here with a win over the Del Mar poly. The $175,000 Ocala purchase looks capable of moving forward off his debut and looks as if we will catch a fair price.
Alpine Luck took the field gate to wire to win the Hollywood Juvenile last out in his first go against winners after breaking his maiden in his third career start. He handled Ontology last out, who is in here although still a maiden. It looks as if our top pick is a bit quick early and he find himself chasing the pace today. He has a couple of sibs that are winners including stakes winner Swiss Wild Cat ($189,552).
WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 3,4,6,7
TRI: 4,6 / 3,4,6,7 / 3,4,5,6,7
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
Mike DempseyMike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick. Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike daily with top picks from Aqueduct or Gulfstream Park. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
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