All posts by SKB

Weekend Warrior–Opening Weekend

Saratoga Weekend Warrior—Opening Weekend

Friday Happy Hour at Siro’s. Crafting a late Pick 4 ticket on Saturdays. Nursing a hangover in the shade of the picnic area on a Sunday. Back to work on Monday—counting down the hours until you can hit repeat. Weekends in the summer are meant for Saratoga. And it’s not just the championship racing. It’s jet skiing on the lake, concerts at SPAC, fried chicken and dough boys, and late nights on Caroline Street. Our Weekend Warrior Series highlights the very best of the racing, establishments, events and experiences for each 72 hour stretch of glory. Happy Friday, Saratoga!

It’s Opening Weekend at Saratoga!

While the track and town are always a buzz during the racing season, there is something special about the excitement and anticipation of the first weekend of racing. Here are our thoughts on Opening Weekend’s top happenings at the track, around the town, and at local eateries and watering holes.

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Belmont Stakes Pick 4 Analysis

A controversial and intriguing Triple Crown season comes to an end today with the Test of Champions, the Belmont Stakes.  Although the star power may be lacking and there’s no triple crown bid, this year’s Belmont is an interesting betting race and the exclamation mark on an epic graded stakes filled card.  This “mini Breeders’ Cup” promises competitive fields and some big prices.  That makes the late Pick 4 a daunting task–but it’s a potentially lucrative challenge we are willing to accept.  Here are our thoughts on the main event Pick 4.

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Kentucky Derby: Picks and Analysis

It’s our Super Bowl–happy Kentucky Derby Day!  Too busy stirring your burgoo or muddling your mint to handicap the action packed Derby card? We at Thorobros have you covered.  Complete stakes analysis, including a detailed analysis of the Derby itself, is below.  Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@Thorobros) for updates and changes to our picks as the weather is questionable for Saturday.  While it looks like the track will be drying out from about 11:00 to 4:00, the threats of thunderstorms, and potential down pours, return for the later races.  Also, on Friday there was a speed bias, especially for the sprint races on dirt.  We will provide updates of any track biases on Twitter.

Good luck everyone! Let’s crush some juleps and races!

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Kentucky Oaks Day Stakes Races–Analysis and Picks

Happy Oaks Day! I know we say it every year, but this is one of our favorite days on the entire racing calendar. Oaks marks the kickoff for an exciting Derby weekend and the promise of a memorable and (hopefully) lucrative Triple Crown season. Oaks Day has also led to some of our greatest successes and worst beats. Whether up or down, Oaks Day is the source of some of our best betting “war stories.”

As expected, this year’s Oaks card contains full fields, competitive stakes races, and plenty of opportunities. The main event, as discussed more below, is extremely competitive, and if the favorite, Bellafina, who is compromised by other early speed and has previously run a clunker at Churchill, does not fire, it could be bombs away for the exotics.

Our analysis of all the stakes races (and the one Optional Allowance Churchill snuck into the Pick 4 sequence) is below. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates and on site coverage of the Oaks. Good luck, everyone!

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Breeders’ Cup Saturday 2018: Thorobros Picks and Preview

Annually the Breeders’ Cup is in our opinion the best day for playing the races every year. Biggest fields, best runners, largest pools; cashing in one race often times makes the day a profitable proposition. Nine races on Saturday this year, with all the races for non-Juveniles being run on the same day since the split of Cup into two days. With every second of studying time for this card needed, we will get right to our picks.

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Travers Day Picks and Analysis for All 7 Graded Stakes

Happy Travers Day, everyone! It’s our favorite day of the racing year. Sure, it’s tough to top the two day barrage of the Breeders’ Cup or the pageantry and excitement of the Kentucky Derby, but for three guys who visited Saratoga before we could walk (and have visited since in frames of mind where it was difficult for us to walk), this is our Super Bowl.  While the Travers is the obvious headliner, Saratoga’s recent switch to making this day a “Supercard” has brought the signature day of the meet to whole new stratosphere. 7 (!) straight stakes races anchor the back half of the card and offer opportunity after opportunity for big payouts.  We’ll be chasing some of those payouts and our thoughts and analysis are below.  Good luck everyone.

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Travers Memories–Three Noses on the Line

The peak of the Saratoga meet is undeniably the Travers.  The Midsummer Derby is the crown jewel of each racing season.  Not only does the race draw the best three year olds in training, but it also draws media buzz and crowds unmatched by the other 39 days of racing.  We have been attending the Travers for the past 20 years–after we finally convinced our parents we could navigate the crowds and chaos of the day.  We have made some great memories over those 20 plus years—getting Chris McCarron’s goggles at our first Travers after he guided Deputy Commander to a dramatic victory; assisting Kenny Mayne in hedging his bets prior to the 2009 Travers; and stumbling from Caroline Street to the turn styles the following year in order to reserve space for a friend’s bachelor party.  But in addition to the personal memories, we have also witnessed some unbelievable performances and photo finishes.   This week, we will recap a few of our favorite editions of the Travers from the past 20 plus years.

Our trip down Travers Memory Lane begins with one of the most “dramatic renewals of the Travers” in the race’s storied history; the 1998 Travers.

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Counting Down Our Most Memorable Alabamas

Many consider the Whitney to be the second most prestigious race of the Saratoga meet. But we would disagree. Historically and recently, the Alabama has attracted stars and consistently served as either a launchpad for or confirmation of a legendary career. From Royal Delta and Banshee Breeze formally announcing their dominance to the career best performances of already anointed juvenile fillies champions like Go For Wand and Silverbulletday, the mile and a quarter test for three year old fillies is a race second to only one at Saratoga.

The Alabama has a long storied history, named after William Cottrell of Mobile, Alabama, the race dates back to 1872.  Since 1917 it has been contested at its current distance of a mile and a quarter. Past winners include such giants as Miss Woodford, Beldame, Maskette, and Shuvee. But the race has not rested on past laurels.  A look back at the last 30 contested Alabama’s reveals a who’s who of top fillies. In honor of Saturday’s Alabama, we take a look back at our five favorite/ most memorable editions of the Alabama from our 30 plus years of attending this prestigious race.

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Shark Week–Saratoga Edition: Bert Mulholland

The fourth week of July marks the start of our two favorite summer traditions: Saratoga and Shark Week. So last night, we recovered from an epic opening weekend at the Spa by turning on the Discovery Chanel to watch Shaq standing on the bow of a boat screaming for sharks. And as the Big Aristotle dove into infested waters searching for the mythical Megalodon, our mission became clear—”Shark Week–Saratoga Edition.”

So far our “Shark Week–Saratoga Edition” has focused on fearsome predators who have trolled the Saratoga waters over the past 25 years. But Sharks have been around for over 400 million years, so it follows that our profiling of Saratoga sharks needs to pre-date our own lifetime. With those parameters in mind, today we profile the Big Fish of the Travers, Hall of Fame Trainer, Winbert “Bert” Mullholland.

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Shark Week–Saratoga Edition: Todd Pletcher

The fourth week of July marks the start of our two favorite summer traditions:  Saratoga and Shark Week.  So last night, we recovered from an epic opening weekend at the Spa by turning on the Discovery Chanel to watch Shaq standing on the bow of a boat screaming for sharks.  And as the Big Aristotle dove into infested waters searching for the mythical Megalodon, our mission became clear—”Shark Week–Saratoga Edition.”  

You know you’re a shark when you’re the 4/5 favorite to win every battle.  No matter the day of the week or the competition, dominance is a foregone conclusion.

That’s Todd Pletcher–today’s Saratoga Shark profile.

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Pletcher is an unstoppable force at Saratoga–with the exception of the 2016 season where Chad Brown won the training title by setting a Saratoga record with 40 wins (Todd was second).  But Todd even predicted that loss, pulling the ultimate shark move and “laying low” by calling himself “the underdog” for the 2016 season.

Todd’s response in 2017? Equaling Brown’s feat from the year before, capturing the training title with a record 40 wins.  Pletcher has won 13 training titles at the Spa, including 7 of the last 8, and, of course, is circling the competition this year.

Fresh from an education with the Coach, D. Wayne Lukas, Pletcher burst onto the scene in the early 2000’s with the help of super filly Ashado.  While post-Cigar Saratoga belonged to Bailey/Mott, it was not long before the tides shifted and Pletcher/Velazquez became the most feared shark pack.

top hat

An example from our fellow Thorobro, best demonstrates Todd Pletcher’s status as the top shark for Saratoga horseman.  A few years ago, before our colleague left for the track, his Mom asked if he would take $5 and bet it for her.  He agreed, entirely expecting to book whatever bet she made, given that her two handicapping criteria are: (i) horse’s name; and (ii) does the horse have any connection, no matter how remote, to Ireland.  She picked out a horse in a maiden race with a completely nondescript name, and with no ostensible connection to the Emerald Isle.  Confused, he asked:   “Why did you pick that horse?”  She replied: “It’s got Pletcher and Velazquez, those guys don’t lose.”  He placed the bet, the horse won, and his mom made $3 on her $5 win bet.  That’s Todd Pletcher–a shark in the Saratoga training waters.

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