HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2018
See a list of 25 trainers -- many of them big-name -- looking for a first Breeders' Cup win.
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2018
He trains two Breeders' Cup favorites, but is 0-for-41 in the championships.
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Saturday's Canadian International lives up to its name with a diverse field of 11.
Posted Wednesday, October 03, 2018
Sixteen signed up for Keeneland's Shadwell Turf Mile. We run down the contenders.
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Diversify is looking for a repeat. Who's his top competition at Belmont?
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2018
Here's what we learned from Saturday's stakes-loaded card at Parx.
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Get a look at this weekend's featured Grade 1 field.
Posted Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Read down what we learned from the Spa's recent 40-day meet.
Posted Friday, August 24, 2018

Saturday's Saratoga Survivor contest at is an all-stakes tournament covering Races 6 through 12, which includes the Grade 1 Travers. This special contest requires just an $8 buy-in and a prize pool of up to $2,500. 

Although this contest spans only seven races, make no mistake about it: This will be one difficult event to take down. Graded stakes races at Saratoga offer different challenges from the races on a typical daily card. Trainers point their horses to these stakes races and have them ready to win. Then there is Saratoga's reputation as "the Graveyard of Champions."

Accordingly, here are five keys to finding success in Saturday's 
Saratoga Survivor contest.

Buy multiple entries

At only $8 each, entries are not that expensive. A contestant may purchase up to 10 entries.You will need multiple chances to survive these seven stakes races, similar to submitting different combinations in multi-race wagers. When the favorites lose, will they still hit the board and survive? There is nothing quite like a good survivor contest.

Watch the bounce

Proponents of bounce theories insist that horses will drop off in performance after running a top speed figure. There appear to be plenty fitting this category in Saturday's sequence: Promises Fulfilled, Firenze Fire, and Engage in the
Jerkens (Race 6); Finley’sluckycharm in the Ballerina (Race 8); C Z Rocket in the Forego (Race 9); and Funtastic in the Sword Dancer (Race 10).

Tough to survive the Travers

I won’t argue with you if you think that the Travers is the hardest race in the contest. It is wide open race to pick the winner with many horses capable of victory. In a race as deep as this, they could also completely miss the board. As the penultimate contest race, I would ideally have three entries left. If that scenario arises I will use Good Magic, Vino Rosso and Bravazo.


You can’t spread in every race because if you do, you will quickly find yourself with only one entry left at best. You have to single somewhere in the sequence. Here are my picks as singles: Elate in the
Personal Ensign (Race 7); Limousine Liberal in the Forego (Race 9); and Spring Quality in the Sword Dancer (Race 10).

In Chad we trust

Chad Brown is far ahead in the Saratoga trainer standings with 33 winners, and he has a chance to break the meeting record of 40. In the all-stakes sequence, Brown has horses entered in every race except the Forego. After day 30, he sported a record of 113: 33-22-17 for an in the money, survivor percentage, of 64%. Maybe I’ll just do an all-Chad Brown entry in the contest. Seriously.

Enjoy the Travers and a big day of racing overall at Saratoga. Look for me in the entries as well: andyscoggin.

Posted Friday, August 17, 2018
Check out five key horses to play in Saturday's $2,000 Saratoga survivor contest.
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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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