Peter Fornatale at Saratoga

After an excellent last Saturday of Saratoga tipping from American racing expert Peter Thomas Fornatale, Peter bids to keep the hot-streak going at another fine Saratoga Saturday meet.

  • Saturday 17 August
  • Blog
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The rains came late in the day yesterday and chased us from the downstairs tables up into our private area, officially known as The Veranda at the Post Bar. But this year it’s been christened with a new name: the DG Lounge at the Paddock Bar.

I love writing about racing for both the USA-based audience and an international one but it can be tricky because the vernacular is different in each place. English racing fans don’t know what a route race is and Americans aren’t sure if running a blinder is good or bad.

I try to write in a lingua franca for the most part, staying in a sweet spot of vocabulary that is similar enough that it can be intuitively understood in each jurisdiction. But I’m not sure that’s the case with the term “DG.”

If you don’t know, DG is shorthand for degenerate. It’s a term horseplayers use to describe ourselves. Almost all of the time it is used with irony and thus great affection, a caricature of the way the world sees us, at least in the United States.

My great friend Mike Maloney, with whom I had the pleasure of collaborating on his book, Betting With An Edge, explained the societal stigma against gamblers in the United States perfectly.

“When you’re a professional horseplayer and you go to the neighborhood cocktail party, you’re likely to get seated next to the local drug dealer.”

Mike tells a great story about a show-and-tell day at school where all the kids have to get up and say what their parents do for a living. His son reported that his Dad made a living by betting on horses. He was given detention for lying.

The next day Mike himself went in to class to explain that his boy was telling the truth. He was a professional horseplayer. The teacher didn’t believe him either and would have given Mike detention if she could.

You will occasionally hear one of us use the term closer to its unironic meaning, “That guy’s a real DG, don’t leave your wallet out around him,” or you might say, “That DG makes me look like a boy scout,” but for the most part if you’re a DG, it just means you’re in the club, this strange fraternity of horseplayers.

We see people at Saratoga from all walks of life and every economic stratum. From different parts of the world, with different ethnic backgrounds, different levels of education. Outlaws and lawmen, they all fit in. That’s because at the DG Lounge we can all bond over a simple question:

Who do you like in the Double?



For Saturday’s card, take note that the first and third races are off the turf.

In Race 6 (8:47), I think SAYYAAF looks dangerous right back as he’s got the speed to control the race and may have found a home going this short.

In Race 7 (9:20), IRISH MIAS ran a winning race last time and was stuck behind a dawdling pace. The addition of blinkers and added ground should help his chances here. Would be a strong play at the 5-2 of the Morning Line.

In Race 9 (10:26), I’m looking for VARENKA to make another big run and get an overdue Stakes victory. The price should be square with two from the Chad Brown barn in here diverting money.

She’s run well every time when you consider the trouble she faced at Churchill in June and at the Breeders’ Cup last Fall.

In Race 10, the Alabama (10:59), I really like POINT OF HONOR and I think she’ll be overpriced with Dunbar Road being a strong favorite. Race dynamics didn’t suit Point Of Honor last time and she still ran very well.

This added race distance and the presence of other speed should make all the difference. Another strong play for me at 5-2 or higher.


I wanted to make a quick note that we have watch horses entered on Sunday as well. In Race 3 (7:06), SHARING is back, and in Race 6 (8:53), MRS DANVERS makes her return to the races. I will be betting both second-time out based on their strong debuts.

For more from me, check out and be sure to watch all the action from Saratoga live on Sky Sports Racing Stateside.

Peter Fornatale at Saratoga
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