Jul 19 2018

10 Things To Remember at Saratoga – 2018


In no particular order, here are some handicapping tips to remember as we head into the 2018 Saratoga racing meet:


  1. Speed is dangerous on the turf, especially on the Inner Turf course.  The tight turns and sun-baked surface seem to favor speed horses.  Also, the combination of speed and inside post position is deadly.
  2. “Horses for Courses” rings true at Saratoga.  In an article a few years ago we provided examples of three such horses in just the first four days of racing.  Click here to read the details, including what to look for when you’re handicapping.
  3. Trainer George Weaver is one of the few trainers with a positive ROI at Saratoga nearly every year. Click here to read an article about Timeform Trainer ratings.  George was featured in this article, in particular his record with 2-year old maidens.
  4. Use the tote board to help when handicapping 2-year old maiden races and pay close attention when a horse is being well bet from a trainer who is not one of the leading trainers.  Be wary of multi-race wagers (e.g. Pick-4,5,6) when a 2-year old race is toward the end of the sequence.  If a 2-year old race is the first or second leg, use the tote board and probable doubles payouts to help.
  5. Outside post positions at 1 1/8 mile (9 furlongs) on the dirt are really bad.  This is due to the location of the starting gate at the finish line, very close to the first turn.  In 2017, horses starting in post position 8 or higher were 0 for 19 in dirt route races at Saratoga.
  6. Jockey Jose Lezcano has the highest ROI of any major jockey over the Saratoga turf courses in the past two years.  In 2016 his ROI was $2.36 and in 2017 it was $2.91.
  7. “Never burn your winners.”  Coined by Jim Mazur, if you like a “single” horse and your bankroll is limited, make a WIN bet before spending a lot of money on “singling” your horse in multi-race wagers.
  8. Know your trainers.  Whether using Jim Mazur products from Progressive Handicapping, DRF Formulator statistics, or some other source, get to know the strengths and weaknesses of trainers and their tendencies at Saratoga.  Click here for a list of “Know Your Trainer” articles.
  9. Always listen to NYRA paddock analyst, Maggie Wolfendale, but especially on 2-year old maiden races and Stakes races – two areas where she seems to excel with her physical analysis of the horses in the paddock.  Click here to learn more about Maggie.
  10. Get the NYRA NOW App on your phone or tablet.  Live coverage is very good and insures you’ll be able to hear Maggie’s comments.  Click here for our detailed review of the NYRA NOW App.

I hope these tips help. Good luck to everyone during the 2018 Saratoga racing meet!

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By Neal Benoit


The Article Sponsored By ADIRONDACK BEVERAGES (A Favorite Cooler Drink Of Racing Fans at Saratoga)

One comment on “10 Things To Remember at Saratoga – 2018

  1. Neal, Another thing to remember at Saratoga: If all you care about at the Spa is the result of your wagers, it’s a good bet you’ll miss out on what really makes it the greatest race meet in the world!

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