Saratoga Diary: Week One Wrap-Up

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TwinSpires Staff

July 24th, 2018


Four days of racing.

Three at Fast/Firm; one at Sloppy (sealed)/Soft.

Chad Brown had seven winners. Four were favored and three were not. Four were ridden by Javier Castellano.

Todd Pletcher had four winners. Three were favored and one was not. John Velazquez won aboard all four and two paid $16.00 and $14.80.

Castellano, who only had 28 wins last year, has eight already in four days. Five were favored, there were not. Four came for Chad Brown and one each for Shug McGaughey, Patricia Moseley, Larry Rivelli and Pletcher.

Manny Franco and Velazquez recorded four wins each so Angel Cordero’s two riders have eight wins at the meet so far.

The Ortiz brothers have seven winners combined and each only has a single win for Chad Brown. Three of Irad’s four winners were favorites and none of Jose’s were.  Early returns are that it looks like Castellano’s new agent is getting back in the good graces of the Chad Brown barn and it is coming at the expense of Jose and Irad Ortiz Jr. It’s a long meet but this bears watching.

Joel Rosario won three races on Opening Day and they paid $16.20, $16.20 and $15.80. None since then.

There are have been 40 races contested in the first four days of racing.

Fifteen came on a Fast main track, four came off the turf and a total of eight were run on a Sloppy (sealed) track. Nine were run on the inner turf course and eight were run on the Mellon turf course.

For all 40 races, the average field size was 7.93

For the 15 main track races run on a Fast track, the average field size was 7.87

For the 17 turf races, the average field size was 8.65. For the nine races on the inner turf course, the average field size was 8.89 and for the eight races run on the Mellon turf course, the average field size was 8.38.

For the eight races run on the Sloppy (sealed) track on Monday, the average field size was 6.5.

The average win price for all 40 races run was $11.84. The percentage of winning favorites was 32.5% (13-of-40).

The average win price for the 23 dirt races was $11.64. The percentage of winning favorites was 21.8% (5-of-23).

The average win price for the 17 turf races was $12.14. The percentage of winning favorites was 47% (8-of-17). The average win price is skewed by Ruby Notion’s win on Monday at 27-1. The fact is that the turf races have been very formful, even with the larger field sizes.

With about 60 races scheduled for week two, we should have a much larger sample size to analyze. Wet weather is supposed to be in the area for the first three days of racing but like we saw on Monday, when it was raining in the paddock and not out on the track, you never know up here.

For years, shippers didn’t do very good at Saratoga. So far this season, nothing could be further from the truth. Below are the tracks that the winners made their last starts at:

Belmont Park:


21 wins

Churchill Downs:


6 wins

Monmouth Park:


3 wins

First-Time Starters:


3 wins

Gulfstream Park:


3 wins

Suffolk Downs:


1 win



1 win

Parx Racing:


1 win

Laurel Park:


1 win




From the winners with experience, 14-of-37 made their last start out of town before shipping to Saratoga. That seems extraordinarily high so if a horse looks to be in good form or fits the condition of the race, don’t discount if not a New York horse.

As for Wednesday, race 6 is a six-furlong main track sprint for fillies and mares.

#4 PURRFECT MISS began her career in good form here last year with a second then an easy maiden win. They got ambitious when they ran her in the Frizette Stakes (G1) going a mile on a wet track and she held on for fourth then returned off the long layoff with a dull effort in a Grade 3 stakes race on a sloppy track at Pimlico. She went gate to wire last out to beat first-level allowance foes and takes on second-level ones here for Jeremiah Englehart.