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Homeracing

Saratoga Diary: Week Five Wrap-Up

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TwinSpires Staff

August 21st, 2018

by DICK POWELL

Two more weeks of racing to go as five weeks (28 days of racing) have been completed. Week five saw stormy weather, again, and the usual amount of races being switched to the main track. Field sizes continue to lag and betting is down with all the scratches.

Field size for the first 28 days of racing remains at 7.55. The average win price is $11.94. Favorites have won 85 of the 276 races for a 31.16 win percentage.

There have been 96 turf races run and the average field size is 8.55. The average win price is $12.09. Favorites have won 32 of the 96 turf races for a 33% win percentage.

Now, here’s the interesting part, and this jibes with some historical trends when I break out the Mellon turf course from the inner. On the Mellon turf course, there were 50 races run and the field size was 8.72. The average win price was $12 and 20 favorites won for a 40% win percentage.

On the inner turf course, there were 36 races run and the field size was 10.6. The average win price was $17.06 and 11 favorites won for a 30.5% win percentage.

This shows, as it has in the past, that the Mellon turf course, with its wider turns, is kinder to horses that might be rallying wide and can get up in time. They might lose ground but they do not lose momentum. The inner turf course is tough on horses that get floated wide. Yes, part of it is due to the field size difference since the Mellon turf course is now used primarily for 5 ½-furlong turf sprints.

On the dirt, there were 180 dirt races run. The average field size is only 6.98 and the average win price is $11.36. Favorites won 55 of the 179 dirt races for a win percentage of 30.72. There was one dirt race won by a purse money only entrant that explains the difference in dirt races run.  

Tapit continues to dominate the sire list with 9 winners followed by Flatter with 7; Shanghai Bobby and War Front with 6; and English Channel, Candy Ride, Frost Giant, Into Mishcief, Twirling Candy and Malibu Moon with 5.

In week five, there were 58 races run. The average field size was 7.6 and the average win price was $15.34. Monday’s last race in which the winner paid $98 inflated the win price average.

Sixteen favorites won the 58 races for a win percentage of 27.59.

There were 21 turf races run in week five and 37 dirt races.

The average field size for the 21 turf races was 8.62 and the average win price was $17.97. Six favorites won the 21 turf races last week for a win percentage of 28.57.

The average field size for the 37 dirt races was only 7.03 and the average win price was $13.84. Despite the small field size for the dirt races in week five, only 10 favorites won for a win percentage of 27%.

For week 5, the leading riders were:

Irad Ortiz Jr.

 

11

Jose Ortiz

 

8

Manny Franco

 

6

Junior Alvarado

 

4

Javier Castellano

 

4

Ricardo Santana Jr.

 

4

John Velazquez

 

4

Luis Saez

 

0

 

 

 

With 40 wins in 28 days of racing, Irad Ortiz Jr. can come close to the 65 wins he had here in 2016. Javier Castellano is now far behind in second with 28 wins and Jose Ortiz now has 26. Manny Franco continues to ride great and he has 24. The shock of the week was Luis Saez not having a single winner.

For week 5, the leading trainers were:

Chad Brown

 

6

James Jerkens

 

5

Jason Servis

 

4

Ron Moquett

 

3

Gary Contessa

 

2

Shug McGaughey

 

2

Kiaran McLaughlin

 

2

Todd Pletcher

 

2

Rudy Rodriguez

 

2

 

 

 

Chad just keeps grinding them out and Todd keeps falling farther behind. Jimmy Jerkens woke up with five wins, four going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, after going winless in the first four weeks.

Chad has 31 wins in 28 days of racing. I thought he had a chance to hit 50 wins and with 12 days of racing, it’s still possible but he will have to dominate all the stakes action coming up. Todd has 16 wins and just doesn’t have those automatic 2yo first-time-starters that used to dominate here.

 

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