Handicapping

Playing Saratoga Fourstardave Day on a $50 Budget

Yoshida looms large in the Fourstardave (Photo: Michael Spector)

If you’re known to your friends as a “horse racing guy,” then you’ve undoubtedly had that one friend asking, “Hey, I’m going to the track today, got any bets?”

These types of requests are usually from friends looking for a good time at the track and want action in each race on a small budget.

For a horseplayer like me that may only make a few large, focused bets on a card, it’s tough to reply back, “Yeah, put $20 to win on Inspector Lynley in Race 10.”

That race isn’t scheduled until 6:18 p.m. EDT on the card, and my friend may either not be at the track that late or too drunk by that time to make the bet.

Instead, I planned out $50 in wagers for my friend over the whole card today at Saratoga on August 11 for Fourstardave Day 2018.

All I’m trying to do is give him some action over the day in most of the races using win, exacta, and Pick 3 bets to keep it simple. It’s also a way to explain some of the nuances of the game and hopefully make him more interested in horse racing going forward.

Since I wrote it up and actually have strong opinions throughout the card, I thought I’d share it with my Twitter followers and Racing Dudes Nation so that you can incorporate them into your own plays. Good luck!

Race 1
$4 Win #1

I have always liked #1 Lemonist for trainer Todd Pletcher. He showed a lot of promise in Florida during the winter of 2016/2017 and returns here from a seven-month layoff. He’s also been gelded, meaning they cut off his balls! He’s dropping into a claiming race here for the first time in his career.

Race 2
$4 Exacta #4 over #1 ($4 total bet)
$3 Pick 3: #4 with #3 & #5 with #8 ($6 total bet)

I’m picking another Pletcher and predicting a big day for the Toddster. Reports are that this juvenile debuter #4 Chief Executive is working lights out. We should get a decent price since #1A Southern Phantom (with an all-white face and two different-colored eyes) will take a lot of fan money. Make sure you see him! Southern Phantom should be flying late to get second or third here. Start a Pick 3 here.

Race 3
$2 Exacta Box #3 & #5 ($4 total bet)

The Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes should have a lot of early speed, setting it up for #3 Lyrical Lady and #5 Virginia Eloise to come from behind and battle late.

Race 4
No Bet

Hope you’re alive in the Pick 3 to #8 Teachable Moment, who will be very tough to beat at a short price for the meet’s leading trainer, Chad Brown.

Race 5
No bet

This is a wide-open race; nothing stands out. Go grab a beer. Either cry in it because you’ve lost $18 so far or celebrate your winnings!

Race 6
$2 Exacta Box #4 & # 7 ($4 total bet)

There are some very nice pedigrees in this race for a lot of first-time juvenile starters. Reports are that #7 Empire of War has been working out dynamite for Pletcher, and I’ll throw in his stablemate #4 Chase and Colorado.

Race 7
$2 Win / Place #3 ($4 total bet)
$2 Exacta Box #3 & #9 ($4 total bet)

After giving you mostly favorites, I’ll give you a 15/1 longshot #3 Designing. When I interviewed her trainer, Chad Summers, about his top runner Mind Your Biscuits (who ran second in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes last Saturday), he told me that Designing will go right to the lead in her next start. She adds blinkers here and cuts back in distance, so she’ll be dead-set on getting the lead. #9 Munchkin Money is a good horse to use with the longshot in this tough turf sprint. If you’re up for the day, throw #5 La Naturel into your bets.

Race 8
$4 Win #7
$2 Pick 3: #7 with #1, #2 & #5 with #3 ($6 total bet)

The Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap is the race of the day, and one of my favorite horses, #7 Yoshida, is looking good after returning racing in England at Royal Ascot in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. A pace duel upfront early should set it up for Yoshida. Start a Pick 3 here.

Race 9
$2 Exacta Box #2 & #5 ($4 total bet)

I’m going to try beating the two Brown entries here with #2 Phi Beta Express and #5 Breaking the Rules. I included #1 Patternrecognition in the Pick 3 above because I don’t want him to beat me in that bet.

Race 10
$6 Win #3

I absolutely love #3 Inspector Lynley here in the Lure Stakes. Hope you’re alive in the Pick 3 to him and up for the day. If so, then put some more money on Lynley, since he’s one of my best bets of the day. He won the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes two years ago here and makes a class drop for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.

Race 11
It’s 6:30 p.m., you’ve been drinking all day, go home and hope you won some money!

Here’s a photo I took of Inspector Lynley winning the 2016 Saranac at Saratoga (Photo: Michael Spector)

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