Network News & Notes
Tuesday, September 19
(Fresh Articles From Network News & Notes Every Tuesday and Friday)
Jim Hurley 

During the just completed Saratoga Race Meet, Chad Brown and Linda Rice battled throughout the eight weeks to attain the leading trainer title. It went down to the last race on the last day of the meet when Rice’s Lt. Mitchell finished first over Brown’s runner up Fake Celebrity and the trainer’s title ended in a dead-heat at 35 wins each.   

Rice won the percentage battle… 

Rice – 147 Starters – 35 Winners (24%)
Brown – 183 – 35 Winners (19%) 

Now it is on to the Belmont at Aqueduct Meet and it appears as though bettors expect the same from Rice and Brown going forward.  

However, if bettors are counting on that thy might want to consider that in year’s past during this meet and if he opening 4 days of the meet are any indication, it might be wise to b a bit more careful in over-weighting the two conditioners. 

Certainly the sample is small over the first our days, but it does mirror what has happened in year’s past. Maintaining such a high performance as they did at Saratoga is difficult for a number of reasons. But because bettors will continue to follow and over bet many of the Rice and Brown entrants, there is plenty of opportunity and value in finding a live runner against them. 

Linda Rice’s 10 runners are a prime example. Of the 10, 5 were sent off as the favorite. She had 2 winners, at $6.80 and $2.90, which means a return on Investment for each $2.00 wager of $0.97. 

For his part, Brown has already started 17 runners over the first 4 days and had 3 winners or 17.7%. 

As I noted, there are a number of reasons for this pattern. Foremost among them is that winning at Saratoga is the biggest goal of any outfit, not the least of trainers such as Rice and Brown who are New York fixtures. They go all out for the meet. That means making sure their runners are prepped to run the peak race of their cycle at the SPA. By the time they return downstate it is no surprise that some of these runners will cycle down until they can regroup. Of course Brown will have his usual high-level stakes and allowance runners and Rice will use her savvy claiming skills to replenish. But it will take time, during which the public will nonetheless continue to overrate the runners of each conditioner while we cherry pick the spots to get value going against them. 

(Horses To Watch From First 4 Days Of Belmont @ Aqueduct Meet – Thurs. 9/14 – Sunday, 9/17) 

BOXED WINE – Solid effort second career race, first on turf and first at two turns. The juvenile MSW daughter of Vino Rosso settled inside from the tough one post in the mile and a sixteenth affair, began to move on the far turn, chased under a drive into the final furlong, and finished strong for the place. Won’t be a maiden long if kept on grass. 

EXTREME ACCESS – Under-The Radar trainer Robert Falcone (21% on the year) shipped this grass running son of Kantharos in from a MSW win at Monmouth in last. From the rail, the gelding tracked the pace along the inside in the mile 50K NW1 Starter Allowance, swung three wide into upper stretch, made his bid a furlong out and chased the winner home willingly for the place honors. Eclipses the conditions and distance soon. 

Ny TRAFFIC – New York bred 6-year old son of Cross Traffic made his first start in 13 months in NW3X Allowance/Optional 80K claimer and rallied sharply from off the pace to draw clear in 6 ½ furlong test. A back class graded stakes placed runner who has serious back class could be ready to capture some overnight stakes or Grade 3 level races, even if stretched out. Follow closely for trainer Saffie Joseph. 

SUPERS LUCK LADY – In belated career debut the 3-year old MSW filly had every reason to pack it in. Instead overcame being bumped from the inside at the start, then from the outside by a rival but dug in to press the pace before swinging out and getting up late in the 6 furlong turf test. Might move right through entry-level allowance at 6 or 7 furlongs. 

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