Tips for last-week winners

August 28, 2001 4:15 AM
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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 respectively.

“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 something else.”

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 6½ 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 Mott.

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 Pep.

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 Lukas.