Belmont Leaves Handicapper David Ruth Frustrated; Maintains Calder’s 10-cent Pick 6 Wager Is The Best
By Warren Eves
Sometimes a subtle equipment change is the key to picking the winner.
David Ruth is a crack handicapper I spent many days with in Las Vegas betting arenas.
No matter what your age may be, one can learn from guys like Ruth.
“I just whiffed on this one,” says Ruth when the subject of the Belmont came up. ”Blinkers off and Smith stays, was enough to at least consider, but I didn’t. In retrospect, I’m not really sure how or why I totally overlooked Palace Malice. I’m a huge believer in ‘changes.’ I love blinkers on or off, first gelding, first or second off a claim, surface switches, new barn, good rider for bad barn, etcetera.”
Ruth told me many stories about his day of owning and racing in the state of Ohio where I once worked for Ed DeBartolo, Sr., at Thistledown, Randall & Cranwood. He’s got grass roots experience that stays with you during one’s pony playing journey.
“I had an absolute horrible day after having a pretty decent one on Friday,” Ruth began when we asked how things went with his Belmont wagering over the weekend. ”I had Calidoscopio($17) in the Brooklyn on Friday and made doubles to Freedom Child, Orb, Revolutionary, Will Take Charge and Vyjack. I really believed Repole and Pletcher put Midnight Taboo in the race to insure that Oxbow wouldn’t walk in slow fractions on the front end. My thinking on Friday was on Saturday there would still be a lot of moisture in the track and horses getting ‘first run’ or even coming from mid pack would have the best chance.
“I even thought my thinking was still correct on Saturday when I lost a huge ‘bad beat’ in the first race on Cay to Pomeroy who ran second and paid $22 to place and I ended up with absolutely ZERO. I keyed boxed him to six horses and bet him to win and Dehere of the Cat(the winner) was not one of the six….I I end up with absolutely nothing. In hindsight I probably should have used Dehere as Trombetta ’scratched’ the other half of an uncoupled entry.’
Ruth’s recount of how things went reminded me of my late friend Hyram Schneider, whose popular “If Ida” column appeared daily in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner in the sixties. Hy, one of my mentors when I first set foot in the Santa Anita press box. He stood nearly seven feet tall and was a man of even bigger character. His column headline was unique: “Household Hints For Women Only.” Each column was signed ‘Your Uncle Hiram’. Reporting for “Sismary Simpkins.”
Hy was a grand old man who left his homeland of Minnesota at age 14. He set the form charts on the old Montana fair horse racing circuit. He liked to tell the story about how his press was smashed up by one of the largest horse racing form publishers in the land. He was a bourbon drinking, biscuit eating bundle of nicety. He wrote about those “if I had done this” or “if I had done that” stories. Ruth would have loved to held court with Hyram.
“As we all know, there are just days in this game when every move and every decision if wrong…everytime you zig, the race zags and vice versa,” said Ruth regarding his betting over Belmont weekend. ”It was clear as the day went on that speed was getting better and better…..in fact if Maldonado had not run Let Em Shine(a horse my friend Jason really loved), into such a ridiculous early fractions, I might have been able to salvage the day(Saturday). ”
Ruth’s final take:. ”To summarize, the Belmont was not real exciting. The track had become very dull and the race itself was agonizingly slow. Oxbow ran much better than I thought he would and Orb did not like the surface, which was painfully clear. It is a shame all three Triple Crown races were run on ‘off’ surface. I’m not sure we really learned anything except another year has gone by and 1978 and Affirmed are getting further and further away.”
The David Ruth saga ends positively. ”I made a beautiful comeback at Calder(my new favorite track),” he begins. ”I think I’ve told you before how much I love the 10 cent Pick 6. It is the greatest bet in the world for the little guy. I had two tickets yesterday totally $12 and hit it for $538. I’m way ahead of the game on this bet and for the life of me I cannot figure out why more tracks have not adopted this wager. I think Monmouth is trying it although I haven’t tried to play it there yet.”
Ruth, who no longer lives in Las Vegas, is the kind of player horse racing should listen to.
He made me chuckle with the following: ”One day sucks and you’re a complete idiot, and the next day you’re a genius(at least for one day),” says Ruth. Yes, David I think many of us can relate to that.
Notes scribbled across my official program–Sure did like the late surge of Osprey Stable’s 3-year-old gelding Bay King in a maiden route race on May 17 at Woodbine. The Sligo-bay gelding was roaring from last and nearly caught eventual winner Guest Starring. What really caught the eye was the way Bay King blew past the winner into to be clear on the turn. This guy is worth a play next time………………..”Many NSAIDs are preferentially bound in inflamed tissue and their effect in that tissue may be prolonged well beyond the time the level of the drug in blood or urine falls to a very low level,” DVM Brian Stewart on page 251 of his 502 page study on Medication and Doping Control………………..How can major race meets like Belmont put amateurs on a head-on camera? That was the case on May 24 when the field of Mdn $65,000 claimers left the gate. They broke and the person operating the camera had no clue. No much for the head-on shot. We did like the try of Ella’s Kitten for trainer Chad Brown. The colt should graduate soon………………….Harry “The Hat” Hacek subjected himself to listening to the California Horse Racing Board’s podcast on Thursday, May 23. ”Chairman David Israel should hide his head in shame,” writes Hacek. ”Governor Jerry Brown should terminate him immediately. Israel presided over the hearing like a drunk would over his next spilled drink. Recklessly. His behavior and foul mouth belongs at a Rage Party not on a government sponsored webcast.”……………………There was an under the radar effort by a sophomore filly trained by Frank Kirby on May 25 at Arlington Park. Wifeonthewarpath, racing sans blinkers for the second race, stretched out for the first time around two turns and it was a good effort. She had early interest but was snared early and dropped in on the fence. Wifeonthewarpath saved ground around the far turn and once in the straight she found a seam between horses. She rallied gamely inside two and actually had the lead in the shadow of the wire only to be nailed by the late surge of the winner. It was also noteworthy that Wifeonthewarpath was racing with lasix for the first time. It was the War Chant filly’s first try on the lawn so most likely she’ll improve in the straight maiden classification………………..While scanning Twitter on Tuesday I came across notice from The Saratogian the place that my former boss used to own was going to expand it’s casino. I can tell you this that Ernest B. Morris, who owned Saratoga Raceway from 1963 through 1987, would not be happy. He actually paid me when I was his publicity man at Saratoga Raceway to write editorials opposing the proposed OTB terminals. So much for that. Our efforts were squelched. Can’t imagine what Morris, who died at 83, would say when his former raceway announced casino embellishments on March 28…………………..Tiz Teresa sure looks to have an up side even though it was her maiden win. The Tiznow filly was trying two-turns for the first time and was allowed to settle in fourth. Rajiv Maragh had her 3rd inside the 1/8th and when she was cut left handed she took lead and was drawing clear. The leggy sophomore filly was trying and reaching and galloped out nicely after the wire on Belmont turf. Tiz Teresa was going from the bug boy Marco Franco to Maragh but it still was a graduation effort worth noting……………..Congrats to the NYRA on their internet site. We find it easy to pull up and watch the replays on the site. Trainer Bruce Levine brought Rockin Boogie to Belmont on June 6th off a runaway maiden win at Parx. The 4-year-old son of Rockport Harbor had never tried turf before. He got away cleanly from post one, vied inside one for the lead and got separation entering the stretch. Rockin Boogie got a bit weary late but held sway. He might be good for another, especially with an outside draw………..I couldn’t help myself. Even though I no longer rate the three-year-olds leading up to the Triple Crown, I did review the Belmont. I must have looked at the pan and head-on replay at least 40 times. Repole’s Overanalyze broke clean, saved ground, gave up the rail and lost ground to the leaders moving down the backstretch. He regressed from that point forward for no apparent reason………….Joel Rosario and Orb were slow early. Orb had but one foe beat early and appeared comfortable while well in hand. He began his run wide around the sweeping second turn. He reeled in Revolutionary entering the stretch. That’s where Rosario went to left hand urging(like his former agent Vince DeGregory taught him way back when) and Orb was going up and down late……………Oxbow raced head and head outside Freedom Child and showed grit in the run to the wire……………..If you wanted to give Revolutionary an excuse it could be warranted. He was banged around while between horses into and on the first turn. He made a bit of a run to the far turn in fourth and was third with a gap off the top. That’s where he was spanked right-handed and drifted to the railing to finish a no threat well beaten fifth…………..If I were to toss a race out the window it would be the 8th place effort of Vyjack. Everyone knows how the Rudy Rodriguez barn has gone ice but this colt might be worth using next time if given plenty of recoup time. He was jostled and extremely wide early on the first turn. I gave him my consistently conservative (-2) for his early on problems………..Palace Malice broke alert and was four-wide and jostled on first turn and wide to start the backstretch to gain a good early position. The blinkers off worked from that point on as he moved from fourth into third and made his winning run. Smith hammered him for his life in crunch time and while clear for the win it was not pretty.