10 reasons to be excited 10 days out…

We’re now only ten days away from the start of America’s greatest race meet, augmented by an extra 4 days.  That’s right, this time next week we’ll be getting our first glimpse at the opening day card, which will take place next Friday, July 23, with a first post of 1:00 PM EDT.  With just ten days remaining before the start, let’s go over ten reasons why you should be excited about the 2010 meet at Saratoga.


Contrary to what some may think, I am positive the extra four days at Saratoga will not water down the quality of the meet.  Of course, the racing office at Saratoga will likely not be able to card the races they’d like to each and every day.  However, the racing product is still going to be very strong with a stakes program that’s well beyond that of any other racetrack in this country.


Though we’ve seen fewer 2YO races nationwide than in recent years, the season for “babies” begins when Saratoga opens its doors.  Expect trainers Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, Steve Asmussen, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dale Romans, and many more unleash a smattering of fleet-footed youngsters.


The environment at the racetrack itself and all over the city in Saratoga Springs is intoxicating.  Racing is an event and little municipalities where this is the case make for enjoyable experiences.  It’s tough to be in a bad mood at Saratoga, even if the horse is not with you.


The leading older male in the country may have a new shooter to deal with as Rail Trip is relocating to NY, but the behemoth son of Elusive Quality is the boss until proven otherwise.  He is on track for the Whitney on August 7 and the Woodward on September 4, looking to duplicate a double that trainer Todd Pletcher pulled off with Lawyer Ron in 2007.


Sixteen?  That’s the number of Grade I races set to take place (on the flat) at Saratoga between the first Saturday of the meet and the final day.  There’s one each Saturday starting with the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 24 and culminating with the Hopeful.  All of the staples are back, with the Ruffian replacing the Go For Wand on the 2nd Sunday of the meet.  The Travers headlines the entire meet, but we’ll get into that later.  Included are the Diana, Sword Dancer, Test, Alabama, King’s Bishop, Ballerina, and Forego.  At no other time in America are so many top level races run in such a short period of time.

5. BEING THERE (If you’re going)

If you’re reading this and have never made a trip to Saratoga, there’s still time for 2010.  Finish reading of course, then proceed to travelocity.com, expedia.com, orbitz.com, or any of the like and work on making a trip to “the Spa.”  Nothing in racing will compare and yes, I’ve been to Del Mar.


If you’re a horseplayer, the larger, competitive fields made up of horses from NY and shippers and the influx of “uninformed” money makes wagering on the races at Saratoga extremely appealing.  Horses that would be found with great ease at any other time of year at Aqueduct and Belmont can easily slip under the radar at Saratoga and your 3-1 second choice could be 6-1.  That can easily happen five or six times on a card.


The Mid-Summer Derby has the makings of a vitally important race this year as the 3YO division is still wide-open.  If we get Lookin at Lucky, Super Saver, Ice Box, First Dude, Fly Down, Afleet Express, Trappe Shot, A Little Warm and a few others in the gate, might a champion be crowned?  There’s certainly a very good chance.


Sure, this could have fallen under #4 but a 500k guaranteed Pick 4 each Saturday and the newly added 100k guaranteed Pick 6 will ensure there will be big money pools to jump into each and every week at Saratoga. 


That’s the hardest part.  Thankfully, it’s almost over…

I’ll be back this weekend to take a look at some of the graded stakes races nationwide.  Once the Saratoga opening day card is drawn I’ll be back with some initial observations and then of course with something more substantial a bit later.  My selections and analysis for each and every NYRA card are available at www.capitalotb.com.  Best of luck!


One Response to “10 reasons to be excited 10 days out…”

  1. Heather Says:

    #7!! Quality Road — I probably would have put that higher… then again, I am a big QR fan.

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