What a beautiful morning…And, a great day to do a little racing…
So, let’s get to it. Here’s a closer look at today’s card at Saratoga:
1st: 3-1-9-8-2…Pinchbeck (3) hasn’t missed the board since being treated with Lasix, three starts back. If not for some significant traffic issues in the last, she very easily could have back-to-back trips to the circle. Gets back to her regular rider in Irad Ortiz, after the Paul Revere ride last out and that should help immensely. Table for Six (1) is an ultra consistent filly, who has hit the board in the last 8 tries — with 6 seconds. But she has a tough time getting up in the end. Has hit the board in 9 of 11 lifetime tries, and one of these days she is going to be first. Tiz a Kitten (9) is a filly that I have watched for a long time, and she got on a roll at Gulfstream Park this Spring. Was claimed out of her last one by Bruce Brown and he immediately takes the blinkers off. Interesting move back up the ladder for this try. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and box the 3-1 in one exacta and then key the 3-1 over/under the 9-8-2.
2nd: 1-2-7…Special Jo (1) has hit the board in 7 straight — with 5 wins in that string. Has been claimed four times in that span, as well. Was picked off in his last by Robertino Diodoro, who is having an ice cold meet with winners — but has his fair share of seconds and thirds (with nine total placings in 18 starts at The Spa). Was heavily favored in the last and gets a solid drop today. Watch out. Nonna’s Boy (2) gets a drop, too, and that’s off an impressive wire-to-wire win in his first try on dirt after a failed experiment on the grass. Lots of speed in this tilt, though, and that could compromise both the top two. The benefactor could be Tug of War (7), who will be running late and who loves Saratoga (3 wins and 2 thirds in 9 starts here). This distance (6F) is not ideal for him, but the pace could be. I bet the 1 to win/place and then box the 1-2-7 in the exacta.
3rd: 2-6-8-3…Purely Boy (2) has not been to the track in the afternoons since April of 2016, or, in other words, a long, long time. But this son of Purim has been working steadily toward his return and look at his record on grass: 16 starts with 10 wins, 2 second and a third! Wow. If Mike Maker has him fit, he will be tough at 10-1 ML. Boss Man (6) is the 2-1 ML favorite and will likely go down in odds. The horse to beat, for sure. Has never been off the board at either the distance or at Saratoga and goes for a red hot trainer in Jason Servis. He and Jose Ortiz have teamed up this meet to win .42% of their tries together. Solid. Silver Dagger (8) is a speed/stalker who was crushed by rider James Graham in his last try at Churchill Downs. Was in tight throughout, and then steadied on his toes in the stretch. The last three tries have all been compromised by traffic issues. If this one gets clear, he can run. I bet the 2-6 to win/place and then box the 2-6-8 in one exacta box and key the 2-6 over/under the 8-3 in another.
4th: 7-6-5-1-3-4…El Dulce (7) was super impressive in his career debut, going wire to wire to win a grass sprint for trainer Todd Pletcher and his top rider, Johnny Velasquez. What makes it more impressive is that Pletcher does not have the same kinds of win numbers on the grass, especially with first timers. Ton of speed in here, but this one has come right back to train well, too, and cost $200,000 this spring at OBS. All is adding up to another huge effort, and that makes this one my Best Bet of the Day. Dial One (6) is another Pletcher entry, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream after all the big barns left town. But this one did come back to run third in a stakes at GP on July 1, too. Has speed and it will be interesting to see how the two Pletcher horses hook up — early? Flameaway (5) broke his maiden on the poly at Woodbine in May. Hasn’t been seen in the afternoons since, but has trained well here on the grass training track. I bet the 7 to win/place and then key the 7-6 over/under all the other numbers listed. I take a solid 7-6 exacta box, too.
5th: 2-8-5-6-1…Missbigtimes (2) gets back to the track for the first time since June, after an eventful, troubled trip in her only start to date. She was well supported that day at the windows, and has since come back to train lights out for a solid training operation. Figures to be tough in this spot today, with a cleaner trip. Tayler’s the Boss (8) is a first time starter for a trainer that is kicking butt at this meet and cost $110,000 as a yearling at Saratoga. Has been training very well and this guy (Danny Gargan) has won with .22 of his debut runners this year. Should like the outside post for this one. Watch out. Missimpazi (5) is another first timer and gets a rider who has not had a mount all meet, but has won .34 of their races this year. Must be coming over from Finger Lakes? Droselmeyr’s Smile (6) goes first out for another hot trainer, in Charlie Baker. Training good, too. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key the 2-8 over/under the other three numbers listed.
6th: 6-7-1-4-3-12…Lucullan (6) is a dead closer from the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin, who will need to avoid another overland route like his last. But he picks up a huge rider switch for today’s race and he has the talent to run away from these in the stretch. Harlan Strong (7) comes off a stakes effort at Monmouth in his last, and, after stumbling at the gate, he may a nice run to make a race of things. Ran a very good one, against good company, to break his maiden in the try before that at Churchill Downs. Don’t Over Look (1) has hit the board in 6 of his last 8 outs and has been ITM in 6 of 9 career starts. Another closer who is shipping up from the Jersey Shore to try this spot. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box with the 7 in one exacta. I key the 6-7 over/under the other numbers listed in one more.
7th: 4-1-6-7-5…Tommy T (4) gets my slim edge in this spot, coming off a solid effort versus a colt who wheeled right back to win again. This one has trained lights out for a cold, cold barn. But may prefer the shorter distance in this spot. The entry of Fully Vested (1) and Old Dubai (1A), both, have a shot of hitting the board in this one. The former will be stalking the lead and should like the turn back, too. The latter goes for a barn that does well with second time outs, and, does even better with those getting the glasses. This one is both. Arch Daddy (6) hit the gate in his first career start and lost all chance, but this trainer does much better with second outs, too. Training very well. Watch out for this one. The big favorite is likely to be Commandeering — who is likely to drop from the 6-1 ML to near the favorite’s roll. He ran second to Tapwrit (this year’s Belmont Stakes winner) last year, but has struggled in two ’17 runs. Got a vacation from Pletcher and shortens up. But this may be a tightener for something down the road — since he worked this one on the grass in his last morning prep. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-1-6 in one exacta. I take the 4-1 key over the 6-7-5 in another.
8th: 1-3-5-6-7…Pete’s Play Call (1) has run two good ones since being shipped East from Santa Anita. I think he’s capable of carving out a good spot from the rail, with a good break. Likes this distance just fine, too. Luna de Loco (3) ran a good one on the move up in class after a claim. Gets the drop back down in here today and should be making a serious run at the end. A Fleet Attitude (5) had an interesting race line in the trip to Parx. Gets back to NY today and his regular rider in JJ Castellano. Both should help. I bet the 1 to win/place and then box the 1-3-5 in one exacta and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers in another.
9th:6-4-7-9-2-10…Wide open affair here, but I finally settle on Wild About Harry (6), whom I’m not really wild about. She is a NY-bred facing open company in a tightly grouped bunch, but she is trained by Linda Rice, who places her horses very well and wins at a good clip. This closer should be making a nice run of it and should benefit from the race on July 8 — first out of the year. Gets a rider who has had great success with her in the past, too. Miss Katie Mae (4) has run two good seconds in a row and could find the top spot in here, with a similar effort. Silvertoni (7) had a horrendous start in her last, and this daughter of Tapit should be gunning on the front end in here, witch is not overladen with speed types. Don’t discount True Charm, at 20-1 ML. I really like her last race and she has won 4 times, too. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-4-7 in one exacta and then key the 6-4-7 over/under the 9-2-10 in another.
10th: 2-3-5…Sanavi (2) gets the class drop from the Pletcher barn. Should benefit from that class perspective and fit better with these. The one to beat at low odds. Prize Fight (3) is another getting dropped down the ranks and after three poor performances in a row, if this doesn’t shake him up, I don’t know what will. Showed some talent back in the winter and needs to relocate it today to have a shot. Mister Hayes (5) broke hi maiden in his last out for MC20. Not a ringing endorsement, but a soft group. I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-3-5 in one exacta and then key the 2 over/under the “all button” in another.
Good luck &
All the Best/Gene