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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 5:38 PM



Throughout much of the recent Saratoga Meet the place to be on the Turf was either on the lead or close to it.
Certainly there were off the pace winners, although many of the smaller portion of grass winners from off the pace came in the 5 ½ furlong (and only) sprint races.

Now back at Belmont during the opening three days (9/8 - 9/10) that was just the opposite. Small sample notwithstanding it likely behooves bettors to consider the makeup of the results from the seventeen grass races run during the noted opening three days.

On only one occasion did a turf winner go wire-to-wire, and that was in the only race run at 7 furlongs during the stretch. In addition, only one other winner had reached the lead by second call [1]. Every other winner came from "off-the-pace," many in demonstrable ways.

This was no more apparent than in the majority of races which were run at 6 furlongs (eight of the seventeen.) Particularly since it made little difference if these 6 furlong races were run on the Inner or Main Turf Course.

Only two of the eight were closer than 5th at first call or 4th at second call in these races.
*The average position at first call was 6th at 4.6 lengths off the leader.
*The average position at second call was 5th at 3.4 lengths off the leader.

There were also five races run at a mile and a sixteenth.
*The average position at first call was 4th at 3.7 lengths off the leader.
*The average position at second call was 4th at 3.6 lengths off the leader.

The 7 furlong race, as mentioned above was the lone wire-to-wire producer and the remaining three races were run at a mile.
*The average position at first call was 6th at 4.8 lengths off the leader.
*The average position at second call was 5th at 5.5 lengths off the leader.

We are not suggesting that this constitutes a bias. But in the first few days of the week that begins Friday, 9/15 you might want to pay particular attention to horses that seem to run in a style that places them off the pace but within striking distance at first and second call in their turf resumes.

[1] It should also be noted that in the mile and a sixteenth race that saw the winner in second at first call and on the lead by second call the race was run in the slowest fractions of the opening three days, at 51 4/5 for the half mile and 1:14 2/5 for 6 furlongs.


Let's get the disclaimer out of the way first. No one on these pages is in any way discrediting the obvious talents of the three top jockeys in the New York Rider's Colony...Jose Ortiz, Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Javier Castellano.

If anything, the discrediting is directed at bettors who continually bet them to the point of deflation of value.

In the just completed Saratoga Meet, Jose Ortiz, Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Javier Castellano finished 1-2-3 in number of races won. At the same time, based on a $2 wager, Castellano broke dead even in R.O.I. while both Jose and Irad fell well below the $2 break even R.O.I. while joining Castellano and the brothers Ortiz in dominating (as you would expect) the number of winning and losing favorites.

While three days might seem a short sample, the opening three day betting pattern has not changed [2].

JOSE ORTIZ - The leading Saratoga rider was out of town riding stakes races elsewhere so only legged up on Friday. 9/8.
6 Mounts...1 Winner ($3.70)...1 Winning Favorite...1 Beaten Favorite...Average Off Odds 3.25-1...R.O.I. Per $2 Wager $0.62

21 Mounts...2 Winners (Average Return $8.75)...1 Winning Favorite...5 Beaten Favorites...Average Off Odds (4.55-1)...R.O.I. Per $2 Wager $0.83

20 Mounts...6 Winners (Average Return $6.62)...3 Winning Favorites...7 Beaten Favorites...Average Off Odds (3.7-1)...R.O.I. Per $2 Wager $1.98

[2] - The final piece of information that shines a light on our contention that the public deflates the value of just about any horse ridden by the top three is that in the 26 races (of the 29 run) in which one or more of them competed, they accounted for 18 of the favorites. And keep in mind that in the 29 races run the first three days fifteen different jockeys won at least one race.

What you do with this information is up to you. We just thought we would point it out.


NEW JERSEY JOHN - Middle distance turf claimer from the Linda Rice barn was stuck on the far outside in a 40K turf test at Saratoga 8/31 and ran even and close late despite wide all the way and altering. In his most recent, at the same level (9/8) he was buried on the rail and once he got out closed well to get the show in good barn, he will win on of these soon.

ISOTOPE - Successful Appeal filly was slow to begin in 6 ½ furlong 25K claimer, moved out 4 wide into the turn, 5 wide in the lane and closed well for show honors. Bred to like 7 panels or a mile and haltered by savvy trainer Jeremiah Englehart. Wins on the stretch out.

LENGTH - In career start number two the Bill Mott trained 3-year old turf MSW contender reversed the form that saw her break at the rear in her debut. The daughter of War Front went up to take command early, fought off two stubborn rivals and just failed to hold on in the mile and a sixteenth turf test. Breaks through next time.

HIGH JINGO - The 3-year old NYSB Shackleford filly faced restricted entry allowance sprinter first off her maiden win, second try on grass and a break from the 12 post in the 6 furlong test. She broke sharply, crossed over aggressively, carried the lead inside the sixteenth pole and dropped a half-length decision in a race run in a sharp-for-the-level 1:09 2/5. Wins another soon.

VOTING CONTROL - Served notice with strong debut in Mile Juvenile MSW Turf Test Broke three wide in pursuit of the pace, came under urging at the five-sixteenths marker, angled six wide into upper stretch to challenge resolutely through the final eighth and managed to prevail. Allowance win or even Stakes try (is in the Chad Brown barn after all) looms.

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