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Saratoga Stack 8.26.23
It's Travers Day. That's the sub-headline
We made it.
This will be the 20th Travers Stakes I’ve been lucky to be live on-track for. Every one since Ten Most Wanted took down the 2003 edition where Funny Cide was scratched.
There for the monsoon post-race in 2004.
There for Street Sense holding off a game Grasshopper.
There for Keen Ice upsetting American Pharoah.
There for Arrogate’s jaw-dropping performance.
And there for Epicenter’s professional win in 2022.
It’s my favorite race of the year. One of my favorite days of the year.
At some point, this streak will end, but today will be #20.
Travers #20 will feature a lot less Busch Light than Travers #1. And a lot more suggesting to my boys that they do not have to bet on every Irad Ortiz horse.
But the weather looks okay and the card is really good.
Let’s have a day.
TODAY’S STACK IS PRESENTED BY NYRA BETS
Want to thank NYRA Bets for giving MutStack Fans and new NYRA Bets users a great deal.
New users can take advantage of the MUT200 promo and get up to a $200 deposit bonus when they sign up at NYRABets.com. It’s where I’ve played for over 10 years. They are great. Bet any track, anytime.
When you use the MUT200 promo code you’re supporting MutStack. And when you play at NYRABets you’re supporting New York Racing.
What are you waiting for?!?
Friday’s Two-Minute pick was a non-factor. Was also a bad bet at 3-1 off the 6-1 morning line. I have an uncanny knack of picking bad, overbet horses this summer.
We did one smart thing. From Friday.
In the Personal Ensign, I’ll start the Two-Day Pick 6 with both #5 Nest and #1 Idiomatic. Just those two. Rooting for Nest but could see where Idiomatic goes gate to wire.
And Idiomatic did go gate to wire. Or wire to wire. Was 5-1 going into the gate, 4-1 going out and never looked back.
The crew I sit with was all on Idiomatic, so it made for a fun result. And we’re alive in the 2-day Pick 6.
Weather looks okay today and I might be wrong, but as of 7:07AM it feels a little “light” in terms of Travers crowd. We’ll see in a few hours.
Going to work backward here today.
Let’s start with the Midsummer Derby.
In audio form first.
NBC Sports Matt Bernier was nice enough to jump on Friday and talk Travers for 20 minutes. He likes a price today. He also wants to tout a 21-1 shot to win the Super Bowl. He’s insane. You should listen.
As far as my extended take on the race - we got what we wanted. They’re all seemingly here. The three winners of the Triple Crown races, Forte, plus three other good three-year-olds. It’s a really good field.
I mean, we have the top three from 113th Annual MutStack.com Rest of Season 3-year-old Power Rankings from back in June!
Angel of Empire
But as of writing this on Friday, it’s not as clear cut on how to properly bet this race. There are a lot of ways to go.
I’m not quite sure how they’re going to bet this race…but #1 Forte is going to be overbet, right? He can win but you don’t want 8/5 or so in this group. If was 5/2 or so, sign me up. But then that might also be a bad sign. See, tough race!
I think based on the number of really smart people picking him, #7 Scotland also is going to be bet here. Fast, I get it, but has not faced the top competition these other horses have.
#5 National Treasure will be a price, has speed, but I don’t want him for a nickel.
#4 Mage got the prep he wanted in the Haskell. But the fact that Javier Castellano didn’t rush to make sure he had this mount? That has to mean something.
#3 Tapit Trice winning…would be painful. I think he’ll run better with BLINKERS ON. But can only be used underneath for me.
#6 Disarm is the price I want to play with. He ran well in the Derby. He beat a good horse in the Matt Winn. He’s the only horse in the field with four straight 100+ Beyers.
BUT…he ran poorly in the Jim Dandy. If you believe that rail was bad that day (I think there is an argument), then maybe that race is not as bad as it looks. Steve Asmussen’s 0-12 BLINKERS ON in Graded Stakes is a little scary, but the DRF Clocker Report (a must-use on days like today) liked how he trained in those blinkers. And Steve won this race last year. He’ll have to move forward but I’m using him. Hopefully, the blinkers put him in the race.
I’ll land on #2 Arcangelo as my tepid pick in this competitive Travers 2023. He’s not pace-dependent. I think he’s a horse that can win with a few different trips. He’s got the jockey who has won this race SIX times. He can get the distance. He’s fast enough on speed figures. He’s been pointed here. And the training for this, while unconventional, looks like it has this horse ready to run a big race.
At the 5/2 morning-line price, he’s my pick.
I’d use all of 1,2 and 6 as As. And 4,7 as backups.
My betting strategy feels like trifectas that will key both Arcangelo and Disarm in all three spots and go from there. So if they both run in the number, we’ll have the trifecta at some level.
My “top-four” for whatever it’s worth would be 2-6-1-7
Safe trips for them all.
In the Sword Dancer (Race 11), I can root for # 6 Channel Maker but can’t endorse after winning last time at 15-1. I’ll use #7 Stone Age and #3 Bolshoi Ballet, who has Timeform numbers that really fit here at 5-1. #2 Verstappen ran okay in the Bowling Green and jockey Declan Carrol comes here for the mount. 3-7-2-1
I will not be shocked an #6 Echo Zulu runs a huge race in Ballerina (Race 10). But don’t ignore #2 Matareya. She’s been a money burner in her career, but her last at Ellis was a complete merry-go-round race where the winner came back to win easily at Charlestown Friday night. 5-3-0-2 at the distance. Working well. An ‘A’ for me. 2-6-7-5
In the used-to-be King’s Bishop and now Allen Jerkens (Race 9), I’ll be against #5 New York Thunder coming back and running that big 110 Beyer again here. I am a fan of #4 Fort Bragg and think the 7F is perfect for him. #6 Aribian Lion a must-use. Baffert Exacta seems likely to pay about $9. I’ll also use #3 Verifying on the cutback and big works coming in this. Who doesn’t love a cutback! 4-3-6
Race 8 - #13 Souper Quest gets in and should be a handful from the bell. 13-6-2-5
Race 7 - The Forego should be a great showdown between #2 Gunite and #3 Elite Power. Prefer Gunite but admittedly used both in the Pick 6. #4 Pipeline might have been on a dead rail last time and could run much better today. 2-3-4.
Race 6 - a wide-open two-year-old race where I like a price.
Our Two-Minute Pick Presented By NYRA Bets
Race 5: #1 Dynadrive 2 for 3 here at Saratoga and fits at a price.
Race 4: I want to take a flyer on #9 Bold Journey in exactas with the 1 and 4.
Race 3: 4-1-3
Race 2: 10-12-14
Race 1: 4-3-2
Good luck if you’re playing. I got to get the boys to the track. They want to bet the first race.
See you in the backyard. Good luck if you’re playing.