By Jude “Pontiff of the Pick Four” Feld
I just had one of the best winning streaks of my life. Several factors contributed to the rarified air I was breathing, most importantly the weather, which was about as spectacular as one could imagine during upstate New York and Chicago summers. Focused handicapping and solid betting also played their part. It is never a bad thing when you get to know your mutuel clerk on a first name basis.
When The Silver Machine ($68.50) wired her field on the inner turf course at Saratoga on August 2, I was very pleased, but I had no idea her victory would be the start of a month of horseplaying bliss.
On Whitney (G1) day I was unconscious, nailing Julie’s Love ($10.20), Emma’s Encore ($12.40) and Fort Larned ($16.40) in three straight races and picking up the late Pick Four in the process.
Later on the trip, trainer Merrill Scherer went on a mini winning streak, saddling three winners in a 24-hour period and I bet on all of them – Do I Do ($16.20), Nubin Ridge ($10.60) and Megalith ($10.00).
Leaving the Spa after the Hall of Fame inductions on Friday was bittersweet. I wanted to get home and see my wife, but I didn’t want this winning streak to come to an end.
After five days home, and no past performance studying, it was off to Chicago for the Arlington Million.
I picked up at Arlington where I left off in Saratoga, nailing the late Pick Four on Thursday. Oh wait, the objection sign is on the board.
After a lengthy review, the stewards allowed the claim of foul and my ticket was no good. I felt the incident nearing the wire had no bearing on the outcome, but they didn’t ask me.
Circumstances coupled with the dubious decision from the steward’s stand kept me away from the windows on Friday, but I was back in full force for the Million day Pick Five.
Alastair Donald was in love with Jakkalberry ($5.20) in the new American St. Leger race that Arlington had developed. He is the director of the International Racing Bureau and a man whose opinion I highly respect, so I singled.
I loved Bayrir ($8.40) in the Secretariat (G1), figuring he would get the perfect trip behind the two speedy favorites. When Dave Zenner, the Senior Manager of Communications at Arlington Park, came on our Equine Forum show Saturday morning, he commented that Bayrir had looked better and trained better than any Euro he had seen all week. Another single.
Spreading the third and fourth legs, I caught the favorite in the Hatoof Stakes, Leading Astray ($6.80) and I’m a Dreamer ($14.60) in the Beverly D. (G1).
Little Mike, Crackerjack King and Boisterous were my top contenders in the Arlington Million (G1) and I was not shocked to see Little Mike ($9.80) go wire-to-wire. He is an amazing horse and was no doubt short-changed by the European bettors in the wagering, as the Pick Five returned $1633.40 for half a buck – nearly a grand more than the parlay price.
Back to the Spa the following Tuesday, it was more of the same. Hitting Pick Fours never gets old, even if they are somewhat chalky. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I was still en fuego, with Horses to Watch lister Central Banker ($7.80), inside to outside turf sprinter Madame Giry ($7.20) and Sally’s Dream ($19.60) anchoring key plays.
Saturday it happened.
Unbridled’s Note was the victim of a horrid trip in the King’s Bishop (G1). He should have been posing for pictures and I should have had a massive Pick Four, but Julien Leparoux took care of that, finding more trouble than Snooki on a Saturday night.
Then, to make matters worse, “the Leper,” as my nephew has affectionately dubbed him, nails my Pick Three single, Rollingwiththetide, in the finale, costing me a $4000 payday.
I knew it. The crimson tide told the story. This roll was over.
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