It Was One Hell of a Travers Weekend At The Spa

If there’s one thing I have to say about the way my weekend ended it’d be this…It’s about god damn time! In case you didn’t see from my barrage of tweets, I played the Empire Pick 6 at Saratoga – which had a total pool of over 7 million dollars – and won a cool $13.6k. Not too shabby for a $130 ticket. 

The winning began on Saturday though, as I hit the Mandatory Pick 5 for an alright payout. In my Travers Day preview, I gave out the $90 ticket that paid $383. Check out the ticket below (note the cheaper ticket sadly did not hit). 

I structured the ticket hoping to find a price early, but it never truly came. That being said – Race 10, the Test, was absolutely beautiful as the favorite Gamine destroyed the field while putting up a 108 Beyer. She was an easy single in the ticket and made lots of bettors happy with the dominant performance. That’s not to take away from Venetian Harbor’s run though – if you take Gamine out of the race it’s still one hell of a route. 

Immediately after Gamine’s win came the Travers…which happened to be just as amazing as the Test, and even better in my opinion. Tiz the Law, the 2020 Belmont Stakes winner, wins it in sensational fashion…one upping Gamine and recording a 109 Beyer. If you know me – you know I am a HUGE fan of Tiz the Law, so it was all smiles from me for the last quarter mile of the race. Jack Knowlton and Sackatoga Stables deserve a pat on the back…this horse is special, and I am so excited to see his future. 

I said it before the race but there’s not a doubt in my mind Tiz goes on to win the Derby, then destroy the field in the Preakness to secure his spot as the 14th Triple Crown winner. If (when) it happens, the horse racing world will have an impossible debate on whether or not it’s a “legit” Triple Crown. Now this is something that I can’t exactly wrap my head around.

In the beginning I was fully on the side of “it’s not a real Triple Crown” with the Belmont being shortened to a mile and an eighth as well as the races being spread out. To be honest, I think that side is more correct. It is not a real Triple Crown, there will certainly be an asterisk on the record…but why on earth should that make it any less impressive? This horse would have dominated the field had the Belmont been a mile and a half. This horse just decimated the Travers in 2 minutes flat, and easily could have beaten that time had Manny pushed him at all in the final stretch. You’re telling me that if this horse goes on to beat a near 20-horse Derby field with the likes of Art Collector, Authentic, and Honor A.P., and then the Preakness, that he doesn’t deserve credit?! Get that nonsense out of here, he’ll be the only one to have done it and also win the Travers. I can’t wait til he does it and then goes on to win the Breeders Cup Classic too. Like my friend Blackjack Fletcher said – it will be the single most impressive calendar year for a 3 year old horse, and I don’t even think that is debatable. 

Here’s the beautiful Tiz the Law victory that I can’t stop watching:

Saturday was awesome and we saw two of the best horses put on amazing runs, but Sunday was a bit more fun for me. It was Mandatory Payout day for the Empire Pick 6 – so I really wanted to nail this card and take home a good ticket. I spent my entire morning handicapping for the later races, and needless to say I was actually pretty confident in my ticket. 

The first leg was the favorite, but a decent price came in the second leg (Race 6) with Javier Castellano on Chad Brown’s Secondary Market. At this point, I was happy, but nervous as hell. I singled the 4 in Race 7, who was not the favorite but I knew that if we could get through this race we are looking decent for the rest. Whaddya know! The 4 comes in after putting on an incredible performance and I am jumping for joy. There’s something about handicapping a race, singling a horse that isn’t the favorite, and winning that makes you feel real special inside. 

At the halfway point, I got pretty excited and posted the ticket to Twitter – fully expecting to jinx myself. I had 3 horses in the next race and FADED the favorite…bold move cotton, but thank the lord it paid off and the favorite finished 2nd. From here it was nearly smooth sailing, I had ALL BUT ONE horse in the next two races – making my hedging opportunities cheap (and eventually unnecessary). 

The 9th race was special – as it was the 3rd race in a row that the HEAVY favorite doesn’t come in. As that race finished, I eagerly awaited to see what the Will Pays would be for this Empire 6. I knew they’d be high, but I honestly did NOT expect a horse besides the 1, 8, or 9 to come in, which all would’ve paid out roughly $4,000 – a nice hit but nothing too insane. 

As the horses made their way down the final stretch I was SCREAMING for #4 Bank Gala to keep on running…It looked like she was going to get passed but right after the final 1/16th pole she kicked it into another gear and had me walking away with $13,618.80. 

Weekends like this one are rewarding as hell. Like I touched upon before, hitting this just made me feel good and reassured me of my handicapping abilities – as weird as that may sound. Obviously the money is great, but I’m finally beginning to be more confident in my selections and am fired up to continue hitting tickets like these in the future. 

The 5 figure ticket goal has been accomplished…let’s see how long it takes to bring home that 6 figure one though, cause that’s next up!

Thanks for reading everyone, and be sure to give me a follow on Twitter @SpaSaturdays to keep up with all my plays! 

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