What do you get for the man who has
everything? The Man O’ War Cup, for winning the Travers, will do quite nicely
for Prince Ahmed bin Salman, thank you.
Salman, a member of the ruling family
of Saudi Arabia and the head of the Thoroughbred Corp., had that reward
presented to him as his POINT GIVEN easily handled a field of nine in Saturdays
$1 Million “Midsummer’s Derby” here at Saratoga.
“This is more important to me than
the Kentucky Derby,” an emotional Prince Salman said. “This is the greatest
win of my life because, unfortunately, I lost my best friend, my older brother,
last month. I wanted to win the Travers and dedicate it to him.”
Fahd Salman was only 46 years old when
he died unexpectedly last month. Ahmed and Fahd are nephews of Saudi Arabian
King Fahd, one of the wealthiest men in the world. Their father is the mayor of
Riyadh, the capital city.
E DUBAI and DOLLAR BILL were good on
Saturday but not nearly good enough. They finished second and third
“He’s the man,” Dollar Bill
trainer Dallas Stewart said of Point Given. “People kept saying they were glad
Point Given was coming to the Travers. I was one that hoped he wasn’t. He’s
E Dubai’s jockey Jerry Bailey said he
knew things were falling apart at the five-eighths pole.
“When I felt Point Given on my hip at
that point, I figured we were in trouble,” Bailey said. “I knew my colt had
a little left at the end, but not as much as the winner. We were beaten by a
better horse today.”
HANDICAPPING THE FINAL WEEK: I
will offer GamingToday readers a peek inside my daily diary with
biases and trip notes that I’ve made during the first five weeks of the meet.
Use these to handicap the final upcoming week.
This track is still playing toward
speed with closers having almost no chance at distances less than 6Â½ furlongs.
History seems to indicate that the hotter it gets at the Spa, the more
speed-favoring the track. Note how the bias shift to stalkers and closers at the
longer sprint distances.
Weird stuff going long on the dirt. As
the bias keeps moving around. Now the speed is coming back and closers are still
doing well.We’d have to call this a neutral play.
The inner turf is now playing fairly as
the earlier speed bias has abated somewhat. Stalkers still are taking the worst
of it on the inner. On the main course, however, stalkers rule the roost winning
more than 50% of the races as speed has almost no chance.
HOT JOCKEY/TRAINER COMBINATIONS:
The following jockey/trainer combinations have gone to the winners circle
numerous times so far and should be respected during the final week:
Bailey w/ Clement, Rick Dutrow,
Frankel, Lukas or Mott
Brown w/ Nielson in steeplechase events
Chavez w/ Blengs or Ward
Day w/ Lukas or Romans
Espinoza w/ Pat Kelly
Grabowski w/ Ferraro
Gryder w/ Hushion
Meche w/ Asmussen
Migliore w/ Barbara or Jimmy Jerkens
Prado w/ Bond or Mott
Velazquez w/ Rick Dutrow, Lukas or Leo O’Brien.
COLD TRAINERS: Do not bet any
trainer that is having a cold meet. Here at Saratoga, trainers have a tendency
to either stay cold or hot (Lukas). If they do happen to warm up and win a few
then you might re-evaluate your strategy.
LAYOFFS: The following trainers
are winning with horses that have had 30 or more day layoffs: Rusty Arnold,
Barbara, Clement, Frankel, Gullo, Hushion, Jimmy Jerkens, Lukas, McGaughey,
Mott, Orseno, Sheppard and Vestal.
TURF: The following trainers are
winning on the turf: Barbara, Bond, Clement, Mott, Leo O’Brien, Romans,
Sheppard and Violette.
TWO YEAR OLDS: The following
trainers are winning the 2-year-old races: Asmussen, Bond, Ferraro, Lukas and
SHIPPERS: Horses that have had
their last race at the following tracks have had a great amount success during
the first five weeksof the meet. Give an added look at any horse who ran last at
the following tracks: Arlington Park; Aqueduct; Keeneland and LoneStar Park.
HORSES TO WATCH: Allen Parkway;
Bail Money; Brightest Star; Hot Spur; Indyfault; Le Beaucet; Love N Kiss S;
Maria’s Only One; Mohawk Marty; My Request; Prince Warrior; Richie’s Girls;
Saarland; Sabre of Silver; Senator Ruby; Time for a lady; Touch of Evil; Valiant
Halory; Winter Glitter; Touch of Evil; Zi
SPA SPY: NYRA officials are
still having trouble getting their feet back on the ground after Saturday’s
record-breaking day. A record Travers crowd of 60,486 (surpassed only by
giveaway “spinner” crowds bet an on-track handle of $8.6 million with an
overall total handle of $34,529,273. Also the $1.2 million wagered on the pick 4
was a national record ...DOLLAR BILL, who experienced trouble in almost every
start he made this year, managed to get up for third under new jockey Jorge
Chavez on Saturday. Dollar Bill could make his next start in the Super Derby
(G1) at Louisiana Downs on September 23. Preakness and Belmont
runner-up A P VALENTINE, who finished fourth in the Travers, came out of
the race in good order, according to trainer Nick Zito. A possible start for the
Grade 1 winner could be the September 22 Kentucky Cup Classic H. (G2) at Turfway
Park. Among the rest of the contestants, pacesetter and fifth-place finisher
FREE OF LOVE exited the Travers in good shape, but no plans have been made yet
on his next start. Jim Dandy S. (G1) hero SCORPION is being pointed toward the
Jerome H. (G2) on September 15 at Belmont Park, according to trainer D. Wayne