The Curlin Stakes, run at 9f at Saratoga, is ungraded and has a purse of $100K. Along with the Jim Dandy on Saturday, it is a prelude to the Travers Stakes, and the Curlin is especially attractive for late-developing three year olds. To preview, I present four questions that may help you to find a value selection by looking at horses that are morning line of 8-1 or greater that may still have a chance. These questions are designed to help you assess that chance. In fact, it’s not so much the answer that’s important, but the question. Questions typically equal uncertainty, which can then be priced for value.
- What kind of horse will the regally-bred Charge Now (#5, 10-1) be? Overhyped coming into the Iowa Derby, he still ran a relatively productive race after that strangely slow Belmont allowance. Even if you don’t toss that race, he still has every chance to be great. But always demand a price if you’re betting on improvement, especially solely on pedigree. It’s dangerous territory, and typically priced well by the public.
- Do you trust the speed of Joint Custody (#9, 6-1)? It was earned at a different track, but under relatively similar purse conditions. Yet, as with the public, I tend to find that mid-atlantic speed carries quite poorly to these events. Is there any reason to think that Joint Custody will bring his speed north?
- Will Viva Majorca (#2, 12-1) appreciate the added distance, or is he merely a closing sprinter? Pace players may be enticed, and it could very well fall apart. But, beware, it’s not always a given that the style will translate over from sprints to routes. Most, but not all, stretch-outs are built into the price.
- V.E. Day (#7, 20-1) had a terrific comeback last time over the turf and has done very little wrong in his two attempts this year. How will he take to the Saratoga dirt? Certainly have to trust the sharp Jerkins, but he may not know, either. Indeed, it’s a great spot to try something new, especially with the Travers just a few weeks away. He certainly has a competitive chance in here, but make sure you get at least a double-digit price.