Saratoga earned its “Graveyard of Favorites” nickname on Sunday, with winners coming in at $61 (Moon Raven, 2nd), $44.80 (Who’s Willie Fitz, 3rd), $19.20 (Fancy Fiona, 5th), $69 (Marvel Gaye, 7th), and $45.80 (Wishingonadream, 10th).
I started out at this meet doing reasonably well in my $2 bet, $1 exacta box kind of way; I got adventurous and hit two triples, but have gone stone-cold in the last couple of weeks. It helps not at all that the Kittens are not coming through.
I’ve heard that when you’re on a losing streak, it’s a good idea to shake things up a bit: change your strategy, try a new approach, break a pattern or two. So from now on, I’m going to check in with my nephews before I place a wager, because clearly, I’ve got something to learn from them.
The Backstretch nephews spent parts of Saturday and Sunday at the track, and both left with double-digit ROI’s. Thirteen-year-old Mike caught Who’s Willie Fitz in the third, while eight-year-old Chris cashed on Marvel Gaye in the seventh.
“I have no idea why I picked him,” admitted Mike of Who’s Willie Fitz. “I like longshots.
“Sure, 2-1 has a better chance to win, but you make more money with a longshot.”
Brother Backstretch, the boys’ father, exercised financial restraint early in the card, betting $1 to win on Mike’s choice. “He’s 13 years old – he’s a $1 bettor,” Brother explained.
Asked how he felt when he learned that his father had been so cautious, Mike responded, “I was sad.” His father corrected: “Not sad. He was furious!”
On Saturday at the track, Chris had asked how you know how much a horse is going to pay. His father pointed out the numbers on the side of the TV screen, adding, “The higher the number is, the more it’s going to pay.”
Asked Sunday evening how he landed on Marvel Gaye, Chris said, “I went to the paddock and I liked the way he looked. He was calm.
“Then I looked at the odds and decided to bet him.”
Unlike his brother, Chris got the full $2 to win wager. Asked to explain why the budget had changed, Brother Backstretch responded, “You think I was going to make that mistake again?”
“Plus,” he added, “by that point, we were winning.”
I’m not sure who the “we” was; this member of the Backstretch family went yet another day without cashing a ticket, and Mama Backstretch, who picked the winning exacta in the fourth (in which Spina and Lily Meadow dead-heated for second), made a cool .50 profit.
The extended Backstretch family has headed out of town for a few days but plans to return to the track before too long. Chris and Mike will, I understand, be available for brief consulting sessions, and rumors abound that a tip sheet is in the works.
[Note: in compliance with New York State law, neither of the Backstretch nephews made or collected any actual wagers yesterday. Neither did Brother Backstretch act as a bookie of any sort.]