Weekend Best Bets – Travers Weekend
Ahhh Travers weekend - when the proverbial men are separated from the equally proverbial boys. And after a downright awful weekend last time out, we look to firmly cement ourselves within the former with a good showing on Saratoga's best and most anticipated weekend.
Looking to get back up on that horse - if you'll permit me such a cliche, and tiresome pun - we look at Friday's fourth race, a six furlong maiden claimer over Saratoga's main track. In what is my least confident Best Bet of this weekend, I'll point toward the six, Bridgetta as the one to take. She was a sixth place finisher in her last - a 60K special weight over the Saratoga turf - but returning to the dirt and dropping in class, I like her as better than the rest. The three, Azasecret, is an unknown - she's never raced on dirt - but I just think Bridgetta is better than the field. I don't love it, but I like it enough.
Saturday's Fourth brings us a six furlong dirt sprint and a terrifyingly large field - with fourteen entered in this 60K maiden sprint. Still, the 11, Cinematize is quite simply better than the rest. A loser by no more than three lengths in each of her three starts, this filly should be able to score over a field that has done little to impress. I like the 13, Divadora as a possible long-shot, but if you're looking for a winer, go Cinematize.
Breaking the maiden trend is Saturday's seventh, a 67K two-turn allowance over the inner turf - which gives me two horses to point toward. First is the two, Sneaky Kitten. With three career starts, this colt has finished no worse than third, and should get the type of easy pace he enjoyed in his only career win. Still, given the way the cavalry charge always seems to come over this inner turf, my guess is that the nine, Gossip Column will be heard from in deep stretch. Coming off of two bitterly close defeats, I think the Ramon Dominguez mount could have the speed to run by them all. He's already finished ahead of Sneaky Kitten in two of his last four races, what's to say he won't do it again? The pace favors Sneaky Kitten, the track favors Gossip Column, and the field favors the both of them above the rest - either way, make sure you play one of them. Exacta, anyone?
In a rare bit of bold handicapping - though the morning line wouldn't exactly peg it as such - I'm looking at a Grade 1 Stakes for my final Best Bet of the weekend. Sunday's 10th, the Personal Ensign, brings us a filly that I simply can't look past. The four, Royal Delta, is four to five on the morning-line and could actually be a little long, there. She'll have serious competition in the race - lead first and foremost by Kiaran McLaughlin's It's Tricky - but I just can't get past how perfectly this race will set up for the favorite. A filly who prefers to sit mid pack and close, the Bill Mott trainee should thrive behind what figures to be a quicker pace; three fillies will likely go to and vie for the lead. Look for Royal Delta to lead a second pack of horses, turn it on around the final turn and overtake them all in the stretch to round out our best bets.
Check back during the weekend for possible best bet additions to Sunday's card. Either way, be sure to follow me on Twitter for news, notes, and handicapping advice throughout Travers weekend.
**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.**