Saratoga Summer Camp, or I Love a Long Shot

Long shot Fresh Episode

47-1 Fresh Episode pulling an upset at Saratoga (Sarah K. Andrew).

When we first arrived in the hotel room I exclaimed “Ah, the handicapping palace!”. By the second day we were joking that it felt like cramming for exam week. On the third day we were calling it the handicapping torture chamber.

Neither of us had handicapped full cards more than one day in a row so we were a bit surprised by how draining it was. Surprised isn’t exactly right, we were so excited that we just didn’t factor it in. By Saturday night I couldn’t look at a menu and make a decision… I had been making decisions for 2 days straight, just put some food in front of me!

We quickly started to take a pass on some 20K claimers and a few allowance races… those 2 year old races were so much quicker to get through! “Races for horse at least 7 years old who haven’t won a race other than a maiden and run every other week” Swifty joked.

There were points when we got so over tired and giddy that Swifty asked, “when did we smoke a dube?”. Of particular interest was how the trouble lines, when read with the right inflection, could be narration for high school dates. Did I mention we’re in our (early) 40s?

Back to the races. We both really liked Sharp Susan in the Lake George. I had her boxed with Good Mood & Red Birkin in addition to Dashes & Dots & Miss Tizzynow across the board. I also liked Lady Attack (not to mention how much I like her name, insert giddy laughter) and Rutherienne. This is the second time I didn’t incorporate her only to have her run a really strong race. Perhaps next time.

At this point the Saturday Breeder’s Cup challenge races seem like a blur of races where I didn’t cash any tickets. As expected, I liked Papi Chullo in the Whitney. I’m still trying to figure out what happened. The track report of “Papi Chullo saved ground to no avail” seemed particularly spare to me, mind you I think those guys do a great job and I’m extremely grateful for their write-ups. I also had him tri boxed with Flashy Bull & Diamond Stripes in addition to having Wanderin’ Boy across the board (one of the precious few tickets I cashed). I’ve always liked Wanderin’ Boy and was glad to see him step up. Lawyer Ron really kicked it in the end and it was thrilling to see him (now offically) “DEE-MOLISH the track record” (a la Tom Durkin).

Joan made a great point about Lawyer Ron being yet another compelling argument for racing past 3 years old. Compare his 3 year old and 4 year old campaign. He’s maturing very nicely and it seems like the best might be yet to come. More than likely I’ll make an entire post about this but couldn’t wait to point it out.

Did I mention the huge payouts? They made playing trifectas hard to resist. As I mentioned before some folks behind us hit a $2000+ tri playing their hotel room number. I love to play exactas and occasionally play tris but I stepped it up with the tris. Every time I played a tri instead of boxing all of my picks some other horse got in the mix. Ah Saratoga… how you kicked my horses ass.

I also did a lot of WPS bets on long shots, however did not have the pictured long shot of Fresh Episode. I liked the other Freud offspring, Pressing Issue a little better and was gonna do a Freudian box with them because I loved their names, however Pressing Issue scratched. Another good name was Second Marriage by Not for Love out of Impulse Shopper… well done!

As for biases… stalkers crushed on Saturday winning 9 out of 11 races!! The combo of Clemente & Gomez won 2 on Friday, while Gomez had 4 wins total. Saturday saw 2 wins for the combo of Klesaris and Pino, while Mott had two wins as did both Cornelio & John Velasquez & Eddie Castro. Sunday was even for trainers and jocks but still favoring stalkers.

Regardless of our performance at windows (Swifty was doing well for a while, up a couple of hundred bucks), we both gave ourselves points for money management. Neither of us had to do the walk of shame to the ATM and we both literally spent our last buck on the Jim Dandy. In full disclosure I was fully prepared to go the ATM because I wanted to do a $20 exacta of Street Sense over Tiz Wonderful but only had $11. The fates were with me that the ATMs weren’t working (however that seemed a little… I don’t know, unprofessional?) so I did an $10 exacta and tipped the lady in the restroom my final dollar.

Thank you Saratoga, for a long fun weekend that kicked my ass… in a good way! I’ll be back.