A 2-1 record over Jim Dandy weekend - with a few scratches over the rain soaked track - brings us over .500 for the season on our best bets.  This week, we take a look at a few races and peg one our best bet of the weekend.



Quality Bets: Friday's third race starts us off this weekend - a six furlong maiden.  Loyal readers will know that I often talk about avoiding Maiden races; but they would also know that they continue to make their way into this article with increasing frequency.  In this race, however, I don't think you have to scan past the first two entries to find the right bets.  The one, Greed and Fear, will be the odds on favorite.  She finished second in her last race, posting a respectable speed figure, and lead that race at the top of the stretch before being run down at the end.  Friday's race is a half a furlong shorter, and a drop in class from that June 23rd race at Churchill Downs - both encouraging stats.  Her neighbor in the starting gate will be Bronze Beauty, a just second option.  She finished well behind in her last start, but is the product of Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez and should garner some attention.  Greed and Fear is the bet here, but don't overlook Bronze Beauty.

The eleven horse field of Saturday's first race is where we find our next quality bet, the combined efforts of Repole Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher - Stopshoppingmaria.  Stepping onto the turf for the third time in her career, she lost the first two by only 3/4 of a length and will face a much weaker field than she's used to on Saturday.  She's one of half dozen speed horses in the race, so a closer could - could - steal the show.  But quite honestly, no horse is nearly the equal of this Castellano ridden three year old.

Check back to this article for an update regarding a possible quality bet in Sunday's fourth. As of right now, I love the eight, Willet, as a decisive winner of her last three races, and a loser of only one race by 3/4 of a length.  Still, before I lock the race into the article, I want to study it more.

**Update: Resonating is the clear choice in this one, but I'll take Willet as a game second option.  Exacta play? Exotics likely the play if you're searching for a price.  Resonating and Willet in the fourth.

Best Bet: Saturday's seventh race - a six and a half furlong dirt sprint for two year old maidens - brings us a Pletcher-Castellano combination that I simply can't see excluding from your gambling considerations.  There are three first time starters in this eight horse field - meaning three horses from whom you have no idea what to expect, and perhaps, a reason to give pause - but in Palace Malice, we're given a first starter who posted a speed figure north of 100 and was closing at the end.  In a second start, with an extra furlong and a half in this race, I simply don't see this colt being beaten.  The possible inclusion of "Also Elligible," Gulfport would throw a serious wrench into this plan of mine, but even then, I'm not sure anyone comes close to Palace Malice, here.

Follow me on Twitter for live tweeted handicapping advice, best bet updates, and other tidbits from Saratoga.  Good luck at the window!  Cash early, and cash often!

**The above advice is not provided by a professional handicapper - just a dude who knows some stuff doing his best.  If all goes wrong: Please be gentle.**