Saratoga weekend preview week 2 capital otb online horse betting and handicapping

The weather was spectacular for Saratoga’s opening weekend, but Mother Nature followed up with wet, wet and wet. Handicapping races replete with shippers, horses making surface or distance changes, and juvenile races is tough enough. Add anticipated or sudden decisions by the Racing Secretary to switch races from turf to the main track and the work doubles. And with Saratoga weather forecasts mostly designated as “Hazy, Hot and Humid…chance for thunderstorms”, one must be prepared to re-handicap and re-plan wagers.

Forget, for a moment, the morning line. Public betting favorites win approximately 30%. Tracking the meet thus far through the Monday, July 23 card, favorites are winning at a 33% clip. For sure, several short-priced/odds-on favorites have disappointed backers and lost.


Is it the Graveyard? Does the betting public makes a favorite so short the weight of that favoritism is too heavy to carry to the wire? Or does the betting public just make the wrong horse the heavy favorite? What, then, does a legitimate favorite look like in the past performances, and why do they lose?

Each of the over 400 races run this meet will have at least one public betting favorite. In fact, the odds board indicates both the type of favorite and the public’s confidence in that favorite. There are four types: the heavy favorite at extremely short odds, the two-horse favorite race showing two heavily bet horses at 2-1 or less, the “soft favorite” in a race where there is a clear favorite, a clear 2nd betting choice, and a clear 3rd betting choice, and the race without any clear favorite but with two or three runners offered at similar odds. Often, the race favorite looks the most likely winner. But favorites as a group lose 65-70% of the time. Differentiating between legitimate, solid favorites and vulnerable or false favorites is a skill to be mastered along the road to pari-mutuel profit.

David Aragona is this meet’s morning line maker. David recently shared that 68% of horses he pegged as morning line favorite actually left the gate as the public betting favorite. That’s a solid percentage. If you can rely on the line maker to reliably identify, in advance, the public betting favorite, you can use your skills to decide if the favorite must be respected.

What a solid, “most likely to win” Favorite looks like in the past performances: Trainer top trainer proven capable of winning with favorites Jockey top jock with this trainer who wins a high percentage with favorites Track horse proven over this track or owns a “good race” over the track Distance horse proven at today’s distance Surface horse proven over today’s surface & condition Class horse proven today’s class level Pace horse proven to withstand the pace demands of the race Speed horse proven faster on reliable speed figures Form recent/previous efforts look “good’nuf” to win without top effort) Bet the money shows

The Jim Dandy $600k Grade 2 Flameaway looks to be the main speed from the fence. His Blue Grass effort was the best this year, setting then pressing an honest pace. Most will forgive the non-effort in the Kentucky Derby slop-fest, but the pop-n-stop at Thistledown is cause for concern. Trainer Mark Casse fired Jose Lezcano and reaches out t Jose Ortiz perhaps looking for one better at rationing out speed, especially in what is a race with little pace.

Tenfold raced in the Preakness following 5-weeks rest and delivered a “better than odds” performance, galloping out well after the wire. Trainer Steve Asmussen gave him 7-weeks to recover, and the colt has responded with a strong series of Saratoga works. He projects to get first run on the pace setters…then must hold off Vino Rosso, the class closer.

Vino Rosso enjoyed a perfect trip behind duelists in the Wood Memorial before going belly up in the Derby while suffering a tough trip. He rebounded somewhat in the Belmont and should be well suited here. Vino Rosso has a front of rear-half running style and the best late kick of those in the field. The field will either be tightly bunched or strung out. He has run faster than these, is the most likely winner, but could be compromised by raced dynamics.

The weather was spectacular for Saratoga’s opening weekend, but Mother Nature followed up with wet, wet and wet. Handicapping races replete with shippers, horses making surface or distance changes, and juvenile races is tough enough. Add anticipated or sudden decisions by the Racing Secretary to switch races from turf to the main track and the work doubles. And with Saratoga weather forecasts mostly designated as “Hazy, Hot and Humid…chance for thunderstorms”, one must be prepared to re-handicap and re-plan wagers.

Forget, for a moment, the morning line. Public betting favorites win approximately 30%. Tracking the meet thus far through the Monday, July 23 card, favorites are winning at a 33% clip. For sure, several short-priced/odds-on favorites have disappointed backers and lost. Is it the Graveyard? Does the betting public makes a favorite so short the weight of that favoritism is too heavy to carry to the wire? Or does the betting public just make the wrong horse the heavy favorite? What, then, does a legitimate favorite look like in the past performances, and why do they lose?

Each of the over 400 races run this meet will have at least one public betting favorite. In fact, the odds board indicates both the type of favorite and the public’s confidence in that favorite. There are four types: the heavy favorite at extremely short odds, the two-horse favorite race showing two heavily bet horses at 2-1 or less, the “soft favorite” in a race where there is a clear favorite, a clear 2nd betting choice, and a clear 3rd betting choice, and the race without any clear favorite but with two or three runners offered at similar odds. Often, the race favorite looks the most likely winner. But favorites as a group lose 65-70% of the time. Differentiating between legitimate, solid favorites and vulnerable or false favorites is a skill to be mastered along the road to pari-mutuel profit.

David Aragona is this meet’s morning line maker. David recently shared that 68% of horses he pegged as morning line favorite actually left the gate as the public betting favorite. That’s a solid percentage. If you can rely on the line maker to reliably identify, in advance, the public betting favorite, you can use your skills to decide if the favorite must be respected.

What a solid, “most likely to win” Favorite looks like in the past performances: Trainer top trainer proven capable of winning with favorites Jockey top jock with this trainer who wins a high percentage with favorites Track horse proven over this track or owns a “good race” over the track Distance horse proven at today’s distance Surface horse proven over today’s surface & condition Class horse proven today’s class level Pace horse proven to withstand the pace demands of the race Speed horse proven faster on reliable speed figures Form recent/previous efforts look “good’nuf” to win without top effort) Bet the money shows

The Jim Dandy $600k Grade 2 Flameaway looks to be the main speed from the fence. His Blue Grass effort was the best this year, setting then pressing an honest pace. Most will forgive the non-effort in the Kentucky Derby slop-fest, but the pop-n-stop at Thistledown is cause for concern. Trainer Mark Casse fired Jose Lezcano and reaches out t Jose Ortiz perhaps looking for one better at rationing out speed, especially in what is a race with little pace.

Tenfold raced in the Preakness following 5-weeks rest and delivered a “better than odds” performance, galloping out well after the wire. Trainer Steve Asmussen gave him 7-weeks to recover, and the colt has responded with a strong series of Saratoga works. He projects to get first run on the pace setters…then must hold off Vino Rosso, the class closer.

Vino Rosso enjoyed a perfect trip behind duelists in the Wood Memorial before going belly up in the Derby while suffering a tough trip. He rebounded somewhat in the Belmont and should be well suited here. Vino Rosso has a front of rear-half running style and the best late kick of those in the field. The field will either be tightly bunched or strung out. He has run faster than these, is the most likely winner, but could be compromised by raced dynamics.