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Friday, 08 July 2016 13:22

Handicapping the Field: Part One Fifth Annual Finest Fillies & Some Colts – Wednesday, July 20

Note: The Finest Fillies and Some Colts field has been drawn, and an all-star prodigious slate of entries awaits your bets – all to benefit Jake’s Help from Heaven (JHFH – visit: www.JakesHelpFromHeaven.org). This is a field so incredible that it will take two issues to sort through this lineup. To help with this supreme test of handicapping acumen, we enlisted the aid of JHFH’s Heather and Brian Straughter. Heather provided great color commentary about some participants whom I was not familiar with; Brian’s primary role was to smile and giggle at our remarks – a role he filled quite excellently!

SARATOGA SPRINGS – AG: Welcome to the festivities. We have quite a task before us. We need to handicap this field so people can make their bets on their favorites intelligently – and of course, help Mr. Tom Durkin, a new MC for these proceedings, understand just what he has gotten into.

HS: Uh-oh!

AG: Well, no worries. We will sort it out for him, and have some fun along the way. Let’s start off by saying that any of the nine entrants – each team with a “racer” and a trainer – can win this. And in fact, they are ALL winners for putting themselves out there for Jake’s…

HS: Amen!

AG: So Heather, before we handicap the field – and today we are going to do post positions 1-4; and 5-9 next week – tell us a little about the game itself.

HS: The game that people will see on event night (Wednesday, July 20, from 7-9 p.m. at Vapor Nightclub) is quite similar to Wheel of Fortune. In addition to Tom being MC, I will play the role of Vanna…

AG: I see – excellent casting all around. And will who provide “Vanna’s” wardrobe?

HS: Natalie…

AG: That would be Natalie Sillery of Saratoga Trunk – who is a former MC of the Finest Fillies, and lo and behold – “racer” number 8! Hmmm – well, that adds another layer of interesting dimension – and we’ll get to her team next week. But meanwhile…

HS: If I spin your number, your team advances one position. The first to the end wins – but wait, there’s more!

AG: I bet we’ll be saying that a lot today…

HS: In addition, all the teams are competing for most money “bet” or pledged to them. And this is where it gets interesting… So you know, these people aren’t in the habit of losing. AG: Indeed… HS: So, many of the teams are having early-bird fundraising events to up their totals (see below), and this where some really creative, fun stuff is happening!

AG: OK, that’s a good short course. As we said, all these teams are winners for participating. Having said that, let’s analyze their strategy, chances and maybe rip them a little as the situation warrants … let’s start with post-position 1.

HS: Beth Alexander. Third consecutive Finest Filly. Won the game last year. Looking for her first $$ raised title. Making a Major statement here.

AG: Indeed. I know this team. And Beth is not fooling around, with her drink special at Hattie’s – nor, in her trainer! One Lars Huus-Skladzinksi … Oy! Talk about a first round draft pick out of stud-muffin central casting! Server at Hattie’s / Associate at Julie & Co Realty… Gee, Heather – as we sit here today, who is leading in the fund-raising to date?

HS: Them… and they have no intention of being headed.

AG: Yes, we’ll see… but if form holds, and, as Mr. Durkin would say, the rail is good – this could be over!

HS: Except…

AG: Exactly. So let’s consider PP #2: Two first-time starters with outstanding pedigree… Angela Amedio and Katie Nemer. I know Angela – but tell me about Katie – all I know is that she probably drives a really nice car…

HS: Katie is also at Julie & Co, as is Angela…they’ve got two fundraisers on the schedule and I don’t think they feel like rookies…

AG: So the Julie stable entry is pretty impressive, much like herself… and let me say this about Angela, who owns Saratoga Cycling Studio as well. She is a fierce warrior…

HS: Yes, as game as game can be!

AG: …and if this were a real race, she would dust everyone! Probably circle the game board 58 times before some of these go one lap! The only question I see is experience – but these two could be anything – so therefore, it couldn’t be classified as an upset if they pull off either win. On the other hand…

HS: Uh-oh!

AG: Well, what do we have here at #3? An all-colt entry, again first-timers… Michael Billok, trained by Todd Shimkus. Tell me about Michael’s pedigree…

HS: Attorney. Partner at Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC.

AG: I see… well, hopefully I won’t get sued, but I have a little question about strategy here… I like that they’re doing an event, but Colt 45? For 45 minutes? Seriously?

HS: Yeah…

AG: And, of course Todd – well, I’m a Todd guy most of the time. He’s always there when you ask, and always comes up with creative stuff, so maybe there’s some alchemy that I’m not getting… but OK I’ve had enough. They pay me to have an opinion here, and in this case, I feel that the fillies – all of them – experienced and otherwise – are going to carve these guys into finger sandwiches… and, then guess what they’re gonna do…

HS: Oh, no!

AG: Yes, in every race, someone’s gotta be last – and I say this is it. Sorry… in fact, I’ll go further… It may be controversial, but it comes down to this: Todd roots for every WRONG sports team on the planet! All this New England/ Red Sox stuff – outta here! No, I’ve been waiting, and the Evil Empire is throwing his hex on these blokes… Not only last - I see a possible DNF: I have a vision of a bad future here… I predict Michael, probably a nice guy, halfway through the proceedings, throwing his hands up and exclaiming: “I’ve been had!”

HS: Oh, boy…

AG: We will drink their beer though – I hear it’s great for washing down finger sandwiches. Next!

HS: Post 4. Colleen Carlson. Trained by Mary Gavin.

AG: OK, Colleen. Saratoga TODAY Woman of Influence. Former “Vanna” in earlier Finest Fillies, when she was “Plinko Queen.” JHFH Board Member. And, home field advantage at Vapor. Wow! Stand back! How about Mary?

HS: Vice President at Gavin and Lavigne, Inc., Healthcare Capital Financing Specialists. Married to Jim LaVinge, who was my former trainer when I was a filly.

AG: So really, if I understand – Colleen has set herself up with a training TEAM…

HS: Essentially. And both of them support this event strongly They reach out to everyone they know – and I think they know everyone! So this is the epitome of a contender!

AG: Agreed… well, the producer’s waving to us. Time to wrap up for today… but we still have the second half, and a lot of strong entries to cover next week… So, any final thoughts?

HS: Yes – thank you for playing. Bet early and often! See you at all these great events… Bye!

Bet Early – Bet Often!

Upcoming Pre-event Fundraisers

 As of Press Time:

 

- Ongoing:  “Jakes Crazy Cardinal Cocktail” at Hattie’s…

$10 cocktail with all proceeds going to JHFH to support Beth and Lars (PP 1)… Also an internal competition among Hattie’s staff for whom can sell most drinks.

 

- Monday, July 11, 3:30-7 p.m.: Natalie Sillery’s (PP 8) “Porch Party” at Circular Manor

- Monday, July 11, 5-5:45 p.m.:  Mike and Todd’s (PP 3) “Colt 45 - It works every time!” Event at Gaffney’s. 

 

 

- Friday, July 15,  -6 p.m.: Car Wash Party at Nemer Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of Saratoga held by Katie Nemer and Angela Amedio (PP 2)… Katie and Angela will wash cars for $5 and Nemer will match every donation.

 

 

- Saturday, July 16 – 10:30 a.m.: “Rooftop Karma Spin & Yoga” on top of Washington Building, 422 Broadway. Angela Amedio (PP 2). A complimentary class, donations accepted to benefit JHFH. 

 

 

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