40 Days of Heaven / Saratoga 2012

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 18, 2012 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

After the Triple Crown, racing kinda’ goes to bed early. I know, I know, nobody wants to admit that… But, with the opening of the doors at the  historic Saratoga, things are really heating up for the summer. They kick off the meet on Friday, July 20, and continue until Labor Day. They offer some of the best racing around, and will be the home of the 143rd running of the Travers Stakes on August 25, 2012.  Then oldest sporting venue offers up some magic. Since 1863, fans from all walks have been catching some of the best equine action anywhere in the world.

After many bad meets, poor wagering plans, and some very good years, I have dropped back and punted. After further review, I have found some gaps in my game. Yep, I have some holes in my ship, and it is time to correct myself. It is never too late, and if you are not trying to pick out the aspects of your game you need to fix, you are heading for a big let down. Here are some angles, suggestions, and plans I will employ for this meet. Please, follow along and let me know how I am doing … If something is wrong, let me know, or share your thoughts. As a  horse player, I want to do well. I want to continually raise the bar for my betting. I don’t take it personally, and I advise you to follow that one to the windows. We will never get any better unless we put ourselves under the microscope.

There are three tracks to wager at the Spa. First is the 1 1/8th main course. It is made up of a traditional surface, and weather plays a factor. Please watch for any pop-up showers that will make the oval super-speedy, and dust the closers as soon as they open the gate. Look for incredible dry days, as speed can be dangerous during the hot summer. Watch the first week for any bias. Is the rail good ? Are riders staying in the two or three path ?? Are runners getting closer, or do they find themselves disappearing down the lane ? You need to watch all of the races. Especially the ones you skip or do not plan to wager. You will find yourself giving a more unbiased reflection of what is happening.

Second is the inner turf course which is about a crisp 7/8ths of a mile. These are tighter turns, and they could play kind to speed and up close stalkers. You will see steeplechase races on both courses. I really try and stay away from far outside posts. For me, the 1,2,3,5,and 6 have yielded me more winners. This is from a journal I kept, and I would beg you to do the same. Know how you’re doing, and don’t guesstimate. I like the inner races, and the main course. Always be on the lookout for trends or biases.

Third and final is the main turf course. In the past, it has been lush and perfect. Look out for the super-hot days. This can dry the course, and the track crew can never get enough water on the surface without flooding. Be an astute player, and be on the watch how the track is playing. I like to use the rider/trainer angles here. Use the players who know the course, and repeat runners who liked it last year, typically like it this year.

In addition to an overview of the course, you will want to utilize the 5% rule. I usually go for a 10% rule, but at 5% you will have a handle on your bankroll, and will not miss a betting opportunity because you tapped out in the double. If you kick off your day with $250, you should not wager more than $12. This will take out the emotional swings, and allow you to focus on the game. I am going to skip all claiming, maiden claiming, and optional claiming races. Now, this will cut my 9 race card down to 3 or 4. I am going to plot a plan, and stick to the game. If my first bet hits at $20, I will take out my initial wager, and roll the rest into my next bet. This allows me to stay focused and fresh. Think of as a pitching count, and we are only allowed to throw XXXX amounts of balls. I am looking for Pletcher to kick some rooty-poo butt ! – His Belmont meet made me guess a bit, and you can rest assured he will come loaded. I am looking forward to the Joel Rosario factor. He is in heavy company, and I am looking for his break-out New York party. I will have plenty of dough on: John Velasquez, Cornelio Velasquez, Rosie Napravnik, and Jose Lezcano on the weeds. I will try with all of my might to resist the first timers. There is so much money out there, and trainers target this meet. Stay focused, and wait until that razor-sharp looking runner makes their second start in a stake. Utilize place-parlays, and don’t miss any of the guaranteed pick-fours. There is plenty of opportunity, and to against the grain of the past writers, this has not been the ” Graveyard of Favorites” like it has been in the past. This is not to say it will be a chalk player’s haven, but don’t miss that 2-1 shot because you were price hunting. Any smart player will want their info as fast and as accurate as possible. Seconds count in this game, and Winning Ponies has added some very impressive real-time features. They have your back, and it is up to you to check back for scratches, track changes, and a set of new selections if the weather does not get in line.