Travers Week blasts through Saratoga with summer’s biggest day of racing this Saturday. And at Del Mar, we’ve passed the Pacific Classic, but the tides roll back in with the Pat O’Brien for sprinters on Saturday. Let’s get down to business with a look at the boutique trends worth noting:
Del Mar Betting Tips
- Jockey Victor Espinoza was an ATM delivering the cash last week. He went 19: 6-2-1 for $3.07 ROI for each $1 bet (5-10 on dirt). He rode winners at 14-1, 15-1 and 17-1 to go along with a trio of under 2-1 shots. With favorites he was 4: 3-1-0. Espinoza had wins for 5 different trainers, doubling up with John Sadler on shorter prices.
- Peter Miller & Doug O’Neill combined for only 3-of-24 victories on the week. They were 27-110 coming into last week and 1-2 in the standings. Wake-up calls were answered by Richard Baltas, 6-20 after 8-53 prior at the meet; Phil D’Amato, 4-11 after 6-49 start; and Jeff Bonde, 2-2 after 2-20 to open.
- Trainer Bob Hess Jr. won with his only turf starter last week, upping his grass mark to 5-for-12 at the meet. Three of the grass wins have come with Kent Desormeaux up. Hess was only an 8% Del Mar turf trainer from 2013-’18.
- Sire Twirling Candy’s offspring are 15: 6-1-3 on the dirt at Del Mar this summer, including G2 Best Pal winner Collusion Illusion. All 6 wins have come sprinting (only 2 attempts routing on dirt). He’s a 20% sire on the Del Mar dirt since 2015 with nearly 100 starters.
- If you had Abel Cedillo (14) and Ruben Fuentes (13) as your Del Mar leading jockeys on dirt heading into the last week of August, go collect. They’re both riding at 21% on the main track and lead the standings in wins.
Saratoga Betting Tips
- Overall 23 of 51 races last week (45%) were won by horses who had already started at the current Saratoga meet. Those wins were evenly distributed among all classes. That total jumped to 54% on Travers Week last year.
- There have been exactly the same number of debut winners pay $20 or more this meet (7) as there have been under 2-1 odds (7). Don’t fall into the trap that the money talks on first-time starters. The 4 debut winners last week averaged $13.30 returns.
- Jockey Javier Castellano had his best week of the meet with 30% wins and 52% in the exacta from 23 mounts. Three of the victories came with Chad Brown trainees and all were 5-1 or less. Coming into last week, Castellano was 21% for the meet in wins (38% exacta) and 22% on the win end with Brown.
- Graham Motion was nearly perfect with a 4: 3-1-0 record last week at the Spa. The wins came with all different riders and were in the maiden special weight, allowance and Grade 2 stakes ranks (Varenka). Since starting the meet 2-21, Motion has won with 6 of his last 12 at Saratoga. Incidentally, Motion went 0-7 last week at Laurel and Monmouth.
- Don’t be surprised if George Weaver finally turns the corner at the end of the meet. He’s a woeful 1-for-24 on the season, but flashed 3 runner-ups from 5 starters last week. This was a barn 18% at Saratoga since 2013 with a $1.24 ROI for each $1 bet.
If you like these type of stats and trends angles, be sure to check out our free Xpressbet Travers Wager Guide, available later this week for download at Xpressbet.com. We’ll dissect the data for all the day’s stakes races, including the Midsummer Derby and provides selections and wagering strategies as well.