The weekend never ends at Saratoga.  So, on this beautiful day, the track cranks it back up for another wonderful racing opportunity.  Here is a closer look at the today’s card:

1st: 5-2-7-3…Discretionary Marq (5) is 4-5 ML and with good reason. This 3YO son of Discreet Cat made a huge closing run in his career debut on July 3 at Belmont Park, and despite some significant traffic issues look to be the winner when he made the lead late.  Nipped by a nose in that affair as the 5-2 favorite. Shortens up a tad for this tilt and will be running at the end of this one, too. Speightful Kitten (2) is a NY-bred facing open company for the barn of Linda Rice. This one has been out 4 times already, with only 1 third to his credit. Tried a different tactic in his last, by going right to the front. Shortens up a bit here, too.  Note that the horse that ran third in this one’s last race is the horse that beat the preferred choice.  And, this one was very close to him. Not much separation…Side Tracks (7) gets on the grass for the first time after a layoff since last December. Goes for a hot trainer, and this one is working lights out, too. Made a nice closing run in his only start and had a tough trip.  Watch out.  I bet the 2 (take note) to win/place and then box the top three in one exacta. and then the 5-2-3 in another. 2-5-1-3…Hit the Win/Place bets for $6.90 & $2.70 and then two exactas, which pay $5.90 for $1 bet each time. Win 4 bets.

2nd: 8-2-1-5…North Eight Street (8) is a speed ball who will try to take them wire to wire. Shortens up a bit, and that should help her cause. Training lights out downstate, too. Isotope (2) goes for Tom Amoss, who hasn’t won a race here all meet. Takes a small drop in class after a difficult trip in last.  Cold jock doesn’t help. Desirous (1) comes out of a MC victory and faces winners for the first time.  Not an easy chore, but not the toughest field at the meet. Don’t leave out Easy Way Out (5), who gets a slight drop here, too. Had four decent races to start her career and probably worth a claim consideration in this spot. I bet the 8 to win/place and then key the 8 over/under the rest of the numbers. 2-5-3-8…Miss here…Lose 4 bets.

3rd: 6-3-1-1A-5…A Fleet Attitude (6) has hit the board in 9 straight starts with 5 wins in that stretch. Has 12 ITM finishes in 13 lifetime tries at the distance. Number add up to a good one here, and he gets a class drop for this affair. Jock won on him two back. Futile (3) is another class dropper, who has been facing some tough ones all year. Last 3 tries are tough, but two of those were in Stakes company. If he gets back to his winter form, could be tough in here for a barn that has produced only 1 winner in 20 starts here. Cold, but better than that. Both Marriedtothemusic (1) and Story to Tell (1A) have a shot, but one is likely to scratch, since trainer has named the same rider on both. I bet the 6 to win/place here and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. 1-6-4-5…Hit the 6 to place and then hit the exacta over. Place bet pays $3.00 and the exacta pays $10 for $1 bet. Winner/Winner.

4th: 4-5-7-12-6-2-3…If the 1A or the 13 draw in, please take note. If not, I go to Aife, who hails from the barn of Christophe Clement. Gets the drop to the claiming ranks for the first time after two worthy efforts. Cuts back in distance a tad and that should help, too. And, gets a huge rider switch. Watch out. Cleo (5) was beaten by the preferred choice two starts back, but was better in her last try — although she went 7 wide. A better trip puts her in the mix. Final Flurry (7) was claimed for $20K last time out and immediately moves up in the ranks for this try. Trainer is good with first off the claim (.30%) and this one has trained very well twice since that race. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-5 in one exacta and then key the 4-5 over/under all the numbers in two small ones. 4-7-5-3…Winner on Win/Place bets and also hit the exacta once…Pays $4.90 & $3.10, and the exacta pays $16.30 for $1 bet. Lose two exactas; win one. 3 winning bets.

5th: 3-2-10-4-7-1…Golden Seal (3) is a first timer for a trainer who has hit the board with 6 of 15 starters here, but has only 1 win to show for his efforts. This one is training well and cost $200,000 as a yearling. Big Gemmy (2) hit the gate (not brushed) in his only previous start and still managed to come from last up to 5th.  A cleaner trip makes this one dangerous. Honor Up (10) ran a solid race in his career debut and should improve for this one. Mango M goes for a barn that rarely gears them up for a first out.  But this one is training so well he is hard to ignore. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box the 3-2 in one exacta and then key the 3-2 over/under the rest of the numbers in two small ones. 2-10-4-3…Miss the win/place bet and the first exacta. Hit the second exacta, though, which pays $11.10 for $1. Loser. Loser. Loser. Winner.

6th: 10-9-6-4-1-2…Hot and Heavy (10) has hit the board in 7 of his last 9 races — with 3 wins in that span. Doesn’t necessarily like this distance (11/16), and would prefer shorter, but could carry his speed enough against this group today, with a plunge in class. Minister’s Strike (9) does like this route (with 1 win and 1 third in 3 tries at the distance), and is a true closer.  Lost to Voodoo Song, who has won three times already this meet, two back. This is another one getting much needed class relief after running in 4 straight stakes earlier this year. Candy Asset (6) comes out of a MC win for Todd Pletcher. Had a nice win, but that was back in April and was his only career start. Been training down on the Jersey shore. Suspect prospect. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then key the 10-9 over/under all the rest. 1-10-4-9…I get the $3.90 place and $3.10 to show and the exacta of $15.50 for $1 bet. Winner. Winner. 

7th: 8-7-4-3-5-2-9-1…Vigor (8) has been a member of my HTW list for a long time. Broke her maiden in a MSW last out and was training well up to that event. Tough to wheel right back and win against winners, but I take her again. Fire Key (7) is a NY-bred, who has hit the board in 8 of 13 lifetime starts. Ultra consistent type. Buffalo Miss (4) loves the sprint distance with 2 wins in 2 tries — including one here on July 21 against NY-breds only. I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the 8-7-4 in one exacta and wheel those three horses over (only) the rest listed. 7-8-10-2…Get the place bet at $3 for $2…Hit two exactas for $6.40 for $1, two times….Winner. Winner.

8th: 2-3-1-7-5…Snap Decision (2) is my Best Bet of the Day in the Better Talk Now Stakes. He comes into this one off a solid effort in the G2 Hall of Fame here on Aug. 4.  Ran just behind Yoshida (a real good one) in that effort. Anything close to that run from the back of the pack today, and he shines. Turn back to the mile distance doesn’t help, but he has 1 second in 1 try going this far. Hieroglyphics (3) ran a huge one in his last effort here and has 2 wins/3 seconds in 7 career starts. But regular rider jumps off for the preferred choice. Blind Ambition (1) is a horse I love to root for, and, with full disclosure, here’s why: This one is a full brother to the dam of a yearling colt by Birdstone that I purchased from Gainesway Farm at the Keeneland January Sale. He is 2-for-2 on the turf and 1-for-1 at this distance.  Will be close to the pace today and will have first jump on the top pick.  I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-3-1 in one exacta.  I key the 2-1 over/under the others listed. 3-6-2-7…The 6 splits us. No winners here…

9th: 9-10-5-2-6-7-1 (11-13 on AE)…If the two AEs don’t get in, here is how I have it…Lady of Miracles (9) comes in after a terrific run here on July 21.  Worked well since that race and may be tough with a clean trip. Halo Laelia (10) is a first timer for a barn known for cranking them up in the a.m. and having them ready to pop. Works OK. English Soul (5) is another first timer and has been working good too, but sire only gets 7% first out winners. Viradia (2) goes for Linda Rice and she is always tough and Nazay (6) goes for a trainer who has won .40% with 2YO so far this year. Tough one to pick, but I bet the 9 to win/place and then key the 9-10 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in the exactas. 8-5-7 came in the top three. No winners here…

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene