HRN Original Blog:
Across the Board with Mike B

Saratoga Opening Day Early Pick 4

Fashion Alert, winner of the 2014 Astoria at Belmont Park
Photo: NYRA Photo

Let the summer fun begin!!! It’s finally here, folks, opening day at Saratoga. I can think of no better way of getting celebrating than jumping right into the early Pick 4 pool. Hopefully we can kick things off on a positive note. The action starts with a maiden special weight for two year old fillies so let’s start there…

Race 2 – I am going to go three deep right off the bat with Know It All Anna, Vinolicious, and Wall Street Lady. Know It All Anna is the field’s lone second time starter and the only one with any experience at all. She goes out for Rudy Rodriguez and if she can improve she may just have a say in it. Vinolicious is a firster from Wesley Ward’s barn and we all know how dangerous he is with two year olds. She gets the services of Frankie Dettori and I’m sure Ward would love to get him a win opening day at the Spa. Wall Street Lady is another first time starter who is going out for Tony Dutrow. Dutrow is lethal here at Saratoga and must be respected. It should also be noted that if there are any scratches this race that Todd Pletcher has one that looks ready to roll in Overspending. If she gets in she might even be a single.

Race 3 – The Schuylerville came up light with only 5 fillies lining up in the gate and I will be singled to one of them in Todd Pletcher’s Fashion Alert. In Todd I trust. There are some nice fillies in here though I must admit. I gave a long hard look to Team Valor’s newly acquired Tulira’s Castle, but seeing it is her first time on dirt I thought that was enough of a question mark to side against today. Take Charge Brandi looked nice in breaking her maiden as Corey Lanerie didn’t move a muscle on her. I’m not sure she is as quick as my top choice though so I sided against in the Pick 4.

Race 4 – I don’t do this too often, but I am hitting the all button here. I just think every one of them has a shot to win. Comebacker’s Judy Legend and Mumtaazah may be tough, but we can’t be positive of that either. Magsamelia may be lone speed, but if either of the first time starters in M B and Tee or Street Blush show speed they may just work out a really nice trip. The Jimmy Jerkins' entry may be able to wake up off the barn change. He shows great stats, albeit a small sample, for both new acquisitions and off of long layoffs. And as for the other two comebackers, Premura for Shug and Julia Tutwiler for Mott, I just didn’t feel confident in chucking them. They are the wild cards in my eyes.

Race 5 – In the closing leg I went three deep with Can’thelpbelieving, Duke of Perth, and Special Agent. Can’thelpbelieving should be real tough for Graham Motion dropping out of a stakes at Belmont. If anyone can get them too run long it is surely Graham. If he doesn’t fire though, that’s where the other two come in. Duke of Perth is making is stateside debut for trainer Todd Wyatt and gets Rosie in the saddle. He is a bit of a wild card, but I thought I would take a shot. As for Shug’s Special Agent I think after chasing a loose on the lead winner last out he will get a nice pressing trip today.

The Play – A fifty cent Pick 4 will cost $36 ... 2-6-8 with 4 with ALL (8) with 3-8-10


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 Meet Michael Barry   


 It all started 5 years ago for me after a spur of the moment trip to Saratoga Springs with my future wife.  I had always bet on the Triple Crown races, and made a few trips to Suffolk Downs annually, but not until that journey to The Spa did things get serious for me.  I fell in love with horse racing right then and there and I haven’t looked back since.  The following year I read every handicapping book I could get my hands on.  I became, and still am, a very passionate student of the game. 


Through this blog I hope to take you guys through my favorite aspect of the game, which is breaking down races and doping out winners.  I focus my attention between the NYRA circuit (mostly), Gulfstream Park, and Keeneland.  I also plan to provide very thorough coverage leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup.  I love analyzing the prep races leading up to both of those grand events. 


Wagering wise, I love playing pick 4’s and 5’s, and I have enjoyed some success in the past playing those types of exotics.  In any given race, I try to attack based on strength of opinion and value.  That may be in the form of an exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, or by laddering my choice across the board.  Every race is its own animal and must be played accordingly.


Personally, I am a graduate of Boston University and reside on the South Shore of Massachusetts with my beautiful wife Tara and wonderful son Finn.  I work as a technician for a communications company by day. 


I can be found on Twitter @mbarry24 and I’m always up to discuss anything horse racing related.

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