Another wonderful day of racing. Saratoga is loaded with great stakes. The WV Derby goes later. And, Ellis Park has a really nice card for those that want to take a picnic lunch out to The Pea Patch for a little Saturday “Fun in the Sun.”
So let’s get started at Ellis Park
1st: 5-1-3-6…Forest Mist (5) ran a horrible one as the favorite in his last on July 7 here. But takes a plunge to the bottom for a trainer that knows how to win races. E.M. Maximus (1) has toiled at this level for some time. Won at Prairie Meadows for this tag level three back. A stalker with a grinding style may have enough punch against these today. Nobadeer (3) gets a new trainer for this one today and hopes to regain the form he had back in March at Oaklawn Park. Did have a useful move over this track on July 26. I bet the 5 to win/place and then box the 5-1-3 and the 5-1-6.
2nd: 1-2-5…Playing a Joke (1) gets the edge here. This is the deepest of deep closers, but has won 12 of 36 starts at this distance and comes off a good closing 2nd in his last here. A similar effort today may get this up home first. Shaboxxo (2) makes his Kentucky debut after some time at Lone Star Park in Texas. This one can take to the front, if need be, and that may help in this tilt. Likes the distance with 4 wins in 7 starts at a mile. If he can find the same form as two back, then he will be OK. Seba’s Dancer (5) is a stalker and should be in-between the first two choices above in the early going. Will have first crack at the turn for home, if he has any gas at all. I bet the 1 to win/place and then box the three in the exacta.
3rd: 6-3-4…A good MSW event has attracted a solid field, led by Steve Asmussen’s Attribute (6), who is 8-5 in the ML and likely to do down in odds. But this one ran a nice fourth against Silver Dust back last November at Churchill Downs. That one will be running in the WV Derby later today. Senior Investment — who was third in the Preakness Stakes — was third in that race, as well. This one has been training like a good thing at Churchill and looks ready for his 2017 debut. My Best Bet of the Day at Ellis Park. Insurgent (3) was previously trained by Asmussen before being moved to the barn of young trainer Chris Davis. This one lost to Pocket Square (our “Pressbox Power Play” colt, who was scratched out of an allowance race at Saratoga yesterday). Has speed. Fault Line (4) is a first time starter for Victoria Oliver, and it appears he is training well at Keeneland. I go with the 6 to win/place and then key over/under the “all button.” I will take a solid 6 over the 3/4, as well.
4th: 5-4-3-2-8…Polar Bear (5) is a first time starter at age 4 for the barn of Dale Romans. Has a long series of works and should be fit as a result. This one sold for $70,000 as a yearling, and is bred for the grass. In this field, he will have a shot to pop in his debut. Asmussen may make it back-to-back in this one with Pontastic (4), who is looking for career win #1 in his 14th start. Has lodged two seconds and two thirds in the first 13 efforts, but has never hit the board in 4 turf efforts. A closer type will need racing room to have a shot. Magician Man (3) moves up in class to the MC14 level after nearly pulling off his maiden victory here on July 8. Came running at the end in that one and was only beaten a half length in first effort on the grass. Got a low Beyer in that one, but still fits with these — even on the move up. Silver G T O (2) is taking a huge class drop and is bred for the grass, too. I have to use. I bet the 5 to win/place and then box the 5-4-3, and the 5-3-2 in the exactas.
5th: 4-5-7-8-2-1…Indian Trick (4) goes for one of the hottest barns at this meet, and they picked up another one on Friday. This filly has run three straight seconds and has hit the board in 6 of 8 starts…Ran a big one against Karmic Destiny, who can run, two back as the odds-on fav. Retains the bug boy, but may find the circle — finally — today. Jeanne’s Speight (5) was claimed last time in New York and makes the trip south for the new trainer, Bernie Flint. He has hit the board with all 10 of his starters this meet, including three winners. Puts the blinkers on for the first time today and she may be in a very good spot, despite the slight improve in class. Rocket Girl (7) goes for a red hot barn of Brad Cox, who has 10 winners here in 21 starts. This one has faced some good ones in her first four starts, and she has a couple of thirds to show for her efforts. She is 9-5 ML fav, but it won’t be easy. Class Connect (8) is trained by Rick Hiles and he is known to blow up the scoreboard from time to time. Could do it again with this filly, who is owned by the Track President. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key the 4-7 over/under all the numbers listed. I take one 4-7 box, as well.
6th: 1-1A-5-8-7-9…The Asmussen entry has the same jock named on both, so one is likely to run and the other not. Doesn’t matter to me. I think they are the best two in the race. Candir (1) is dropping all the way to the C10K ranks after an allowance victory at Lone Star in his last. Has been good all year, with 2 wins, 1 second and 2 thirds in 5 starts in ’17. Steal case (1A) has won over $460,000 in his career, and the 8YO can still throw up a good number. He has hit the board in half of his 8 starts this year, including four of his last five races. Northeast Bound (5) goes for Dale Romans, who will give a leg up to the jock from Hong Kong in this one. Gets class relief today and should be closing hard for a shot in this one. Rod McLeod (8) is coming off a tough beat here on July 3, when he led nearly every inch of the 1 mile heat until the wire. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key over/under all the numbers listed.
7th: 4-3-5-2-1…Ship Disturber (4) has won four races in a row and there is no reason to think he can’t make it a fifth in here. The stalker has moved steadily up the claiming ranks and has aired his competition easily in the last two — one of them coming here on July 7. I go right back to the well. Favorite Coach (3) goes for a good barn operation and gets class relief here. Will need to pick it up, though. Medal of Courage (5) caught the slop in his last, but will be dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time since he ran at Remington Park in November of last year. He won that day by 3. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key over/under the other numbers listed.
8th: 13-9-11-5-7-10-2-6-4…Katie’s Reward (13) is 3-1 ML and will most likely go down from there and go off as the post time favorite for trainer Brad Cox. Ran a huge one in her career debut, before tiring late and running second to Laudation. Any improvement off that one makes her tough in here. Majestic Bold (9) is a first timer for the Asmussen barn. Working very nicely at Keeneland before being shipped here for a breeze that went well, too. I have to use her. Vida Leva Eu (11) is likely to slide up in odds for the barn of Eduardo Caramori, but this one may shock at a price in here. I bet the 13 to win/place and then I key over/under all the other numbers. I may take one 13-9-11 exacta box, too.
9th: 6-4-2-7-1…A nice one to finish the day, and I go with Valentine Wish (6), coming off an impressive second in her last here on July 2. Worked very well going into that one and with any luck at all today, will be right there from a nice stalking position. American Cowgirl (4) is one of my favorite fillies for one of my most favorite trainers, in Buff Bradley. This filly has hit the board in half of her 16 career starts, but appears to be getting ready to take her first this year. Wolf Gourmet (2) goes for Romans, and this one will be closing. Will need racing room, but is good enough. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers listed.
Around the Country:
- West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park: I go with McCormick in the upset. This one ran a huge one in the Iowa Derby, only to give in to Hence in the final 200 yards. Should benefit from that one. I box him with Colonelsdarktemper, Lookin At Lee, Patch and B Squared.
- G1 Whitney at Saratoga: I go with the improving Gun Runner, who swept to an easy 7-length victory in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs this summer. I bet him over/under, too, with War Story and Breaking Lucky. I toss out the ultra inconsistent Keen Ice, who will be over bet, IMO.
- Test Stakes at Saratoga: I love American Gal, who ran a huge one to Abel Tasman last year. If she can duplicate that type of run here, she will be very good. Bob Baffert ships in Faypien, and he is always tough on the move East. I bet those two in a exacta key over the field.
- De La Rosa at Saratoga: I go with Elysea’s World and Light in Paris in this one. I think they will upset On Leave. But I box the 3 of them, just in case.
- Lure Stakes at Saratoga: I go with another upset, picking Camelot Kitten and Black Type to edge Projected. Again, I will box the 3 of them, but I like the first choice the best.
Good luck &
All the Best/G