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Boys of Summer

Updated: Jul 4

"Out on the road today I saw a Del Mar Sticker on a Cadillac''

Don Henley must have been thinking about Del Mar and Saratoga when he wrote Boys of Summer.

Its that time of the year that I get everyone up to the date on the expectations of the next few weeks and a reminder to let your brain suffer a little.

Del Mar and Saratoga are unique in their own right. They both share some similarities, and I feel I have to remind players on a yearly basis.

Neither Del Mar or Saratoga track is a plug and play track.

Plug and play, in regards, to horses having familiarity with the track as, especially Del Mar, the main track doesn't open until a few days, if that, before the meet starts.

They don't train year round at Del Mar. Right now there is a large ferris wheel and a fair going on on the grounds. The fair ends this weekend and grooming of the track begins.

So, horses shipping in are all in same boat, it takes more than a week to get meaningful works over the track. So everybody is either on the LOVE BOAT or the S S Minnow (i don't believe I need to explain the S S Minnow. right?)

Right now, working on the Santa Anita works as those are the key works for the opening couple of weeks of the where the turf meets the surf.

My bingo card has a number of questions about 'who's working good over the track at Del Mar, in the next week or so.

Its like groundhog day every year. We have complete amnesia year after year.

I will write in bold letters, to get my point across:


Remember, there is no horses on the roads, no horses on the track.

Saratoga is a little different, their tracks have been open since the Belmont Stakes and provided an opportunity to get horses shipping in.

Yearly on the Oklahoma track there would be about 600 to 900 horses on the grounds, but 90% of them are babies, getting their first few spins over the Oklahoma track. Those aren't by any means the horses we will as a whole on opening day racing for our hearts content.

Asmussen and the Kentucky contingent ships in sometimes this week, most will ship back and forth from the trainining centers for example, Kentucky tracks when entered.

Belmont training track horses will be shipping up opening week, but it doesn't stop the player to ask "who's working good at Saratoga, how is the main track?"

Myself and Mike Miakisz been busy getting the works in we have from Oklahome and its turf course and again I have to remind players, that both Del Mar and Saratoga are late developing meets, our works reports gets bigger and bigger as the meet goes.

If you don't understand why, go back to the top of this blog, and re read, which is also on my bingo card. Pop quiz later.

I have a unique approach to both Del Mar and Saratoga, early in the meet I will rely on shippers more than horses housed at Saratoga, simply because there are more shippers coming into the Spa to race than the horse population on the grounds.

Mott, Pletcher and Brown are the trainers with the largest strings at Spa at the moment, they may have combined 65% of the horses at the Spa at this time.

Del Mar is more about form, and horses coming in fit from Santa Anita and across the country with their ship and win program.

Saratoga with the Belmont at Aqueduct form, or lack there of, there may be a premium of assessing shippers.

Also, at Saratoga there is 68 clockers, all running around touting their little heads off, and often they land on the same horse, as they all sit together, some even live together. Their opinions contaminated by the collective.

I did well at Saratoga, I didn't give a rats a$$ of their opinion, I just did my thing.

Everybody gets their hands on the Turf Authority report as its given out for free to thousands, and nimrods think they got going to get a cookie with everyone's hand already in the cookie jar.

My mom used to always say "Non fai suffrire le cervelle", translated in English:"don't let your brain suffer''. That is exactly horseplayers getting excited about mainstream info, and they think they'll get a price. Yup they sure nailed it when the horse is crushed in the wagering.

Don't let your brain suffer, is right.

There are more tips flying around Saratoga, from the barber, to the guy at the Shake Shack, to valet and parking attendants, yet seriously inteliigent people think they will get a price.

At Del Mar, in 2004 I told a media handicapper who usually came up on the weekends I liked a horse. "McAnally first timer on Sunday isn't real quick but packs a big punch in the lane''.

Later that weekend, Sunday before the first race, an old man who visits the press box on the weekend, told me he got a tip on a horse. I just listened. "The McAnally first timer has no speed but packs a punch in the lane''.

My tip two days earlier, had made it around the track and back to me and Spa and Del Mar goers eat that shite up. They love it. They think they are in the know, along with the other 2000 people who got the tip.

I'll make my brain suffer.

I watch and follow babies as they develop and the maiden races, like at Saratoga, will be at their best by 4th week of the meet. Again, if you don't understand why that is, please go to the top of the page and start over.

By the time we get a lot of 2yo maidens ready its the latter part of the meet.

Understanding the nuances and why, is a key to having a successful meet at the Spa and Del Mar.

At Del Mar is if you unleash the wallet on works early in the meet you will be so punch drunk by the time a work really means something.

You know how many players go bust on opening day?

I am going to let my brain suffer as I plan to do double duty, working with Mike at the Spa and Laz at Del Mar, in having a good handle on the young horses and their development with a splash of patience on the rocks.

I rarely have amnesia I believe in history as a predictor of the future.

Early Del Mar is chaos and handicapping, Saratoga early in the meet, is weaker shorter fields but shippers are the delicacy, as we progress into the summer and we need nourishment.

In the old days, all my major scores at the Spa, where I spent 10 years, with a cabin on the lake, or at Del Mar, a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean, were when I had the goods, and understood what worked and when, as I am always reminded that those days are not gone forever, I am going to relive those days and be the boys of summer because today I saw that Del Mar Sticker on a Cadillac.



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