The weather has made it tough to hunt doves, and great to watch football.  But it is even better for horses. They love the cool mornings and the fresh air. And, this has perked them up and our interest, too. What a day at Saratoga. Let’s take a look.

And, remember…

We are better than this guy:

1st: 1-9-3-5-7…Driven By Thunder (1) gets the “must use” dot from me in this spot. Has hit the board in 4 of 6 lifetime starts and gets the class drop from a top barn to the lowest level ever.  Working good, too. Going to key this one in Double and Pick 3s early. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers.

2nd: 2-9-10-6-3…Watch out for the AEs in this one. If the 12-13-14 get in (especially the 14), watch out. If not, here is how I go…Oroscopo (2) is a son of Orb, who is off to a great start at stud — but, in particular, a great start with turf runners. This one cost $325,000 at OBS this spring and has been training well for a barn that does crank up early. Telecommunication (9) is training well for a hot trainer all year (although Saratoga has a way of cooling anyone off). Maraud (10) is a first timer for Pletcher, whose numbers drop with those that debut at this distance.  That is a concern with this one. I like Say the Word (6) to sneak a peak. By a very nice turf sire. I bet the 2-6 to win/place/show and then key them both over/under all the rest. I take one solid 2-6 exacta, too.

3rd: 3-5-9-7-2…Bluegrass Jamboree (3) gets a solid nod in this spot for a hot trainer. Comes into this one with 2 wins and 2 seconds in 4 career starts, and picks up a great jockey switch. Watch out. Palladian Bridge (5) is 6-1 ML and could surprise in this spot. Throw out the turf run in the last and this one has the back class to pop back up the ladder today. Frosty Gal (9) comes out of a Stakes race for state-bred and goes for a trainer having a good meet. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.

4th: 7-11-2-5-1-12…Dancetrack (7) gets a huge class drop and a huge pick up in jocks. I throw out the last and a much needed try, and this one finds a good spot here today. Watch out. Turbo Street (11) goes for an ice cold trainer here, but looks to be rounding into better racing shape.  Finds a much easier group, too. Shalako (2) is a pick-up from the claiming ranks for trainer Linda Rice, and she does well with the first timers off the buy. Slim Shady (5) is an old-timer that may wake up a bit at this level. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-11-2 in one exacta and then key the same three over (only) the rest of the numbers.

5th: 8-3-1-5-4-11-6-10…If the 13 gets in, reload.  He will go into the top 2 mix. If not, I land on J.S. Choice (8). Has faced some of the best (like Oscar Performance) and comes into this one off a nice race. Should be sharper today. Fantastic (3) comes off a MSW win in just his second start (but first try on the grass). I love the sire on the turf and with any improvement at all, he will be tough facing tougher. Lunar (1) is 10-1 ML, but I like his race two back, when he lost by only a length to Bricks and Mortar (one of the favs later today in the BIG Race). Watch out here. I bet the 8-1 to win/place/show and then box the 8-3-1 in one exacta and then key those 3 over (only) the rest of the numbers.

6th: 6-5-2-7-9-3…Bourbon Resolution (6) is one of my UPSET PLAYS OF THE DAY. I really liked his first race at Churchill for a top trainer, who normally doesn’t crank them up for first outs — especially with the babies.  Came back at Saratoga and was wide in the turn and the stretch.  A better spot today and this one could be tough at some odds. (8-1 ML). Slot (5) goes for Pletcher and should be better after a horrid trip first out.  Was wide and steadied and then wide again. Watch out. Biblical (2) is one of the two sons of Tapit in here and should be running from the rail, although the one to his outside (Hofburg — 3) has been training better in the a.m. Tough race, but I go with the 6-5 to win/place/show and then key the 6-5 over/under all the other numbers listed. I bet a solid 6-5, too.

7th: 3-6-1-4-9…Warrior’s Club (3) is another one of my UPSET PLAYS OF THE DAY. He is 8-1 ML, but just lost to Neolithic (who will face Gun Runner a bit later in the card) by just a neck. And, the latter had to get up in the last jump to do that. This one does put back-to-back good races together and he should fire again if that scenario plays out. Gift Box (6) should be a huge favorite, but it is his first time back from last year (when he ran in the G3 Discovery and the G1 Travers) and the distance may be a bit short for him. Looks to be a tightener for other spots down the road going longer. Still, he is good enough to be a presence here and is training spot on. Still Krz (1) and Bitumen (1A) have shots, too. I bet the 3-6 to win/place/show and then key those two over/under the rest of the numbers. I bet a solid 3-6, too.

8th: 6-4-2-5-9-1…Thais (6) is a French-bred who will be making her first NA start for a trainer that really knows how to win races — in Chad Brown. This one gets Lasix for the first time and is coming off a Stakes win in France on June 10. Working well for this spot. Create a Dream (4) is another Brown student and won the Chelsey Flower Stakes at Belmont last fall. Could need one, but will be tough for her new roommate to beat. Wild About Harry (2) goes for Linda Rice and stretches out for this one. Watch this one at some odds. I bet the 6-4 to win/place/show and then box those 2 in one exacta and then key them over (only) the rest.

9th: 2-4-5-3-1-6…G3 Saranac Stakes…Yoshida (2) is my Best Bet of the Day. Ultra talented and had trouble in her last start, when second to Bricks and Mortar. Should redeem herself today with a serious run. The latter is undefeated for Chad Brown. So, go figure. I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-4 solidly.  I then key them over (only) the other numbers as a potential saver.

10th: 1-4-3-5…G1 Spinaway Stakes …Pure Silver (4) is undefeated in 3 starts and has never been headed. Yet. Today, I go with Separationofpowers (1), who comes in off an impressive 113/4-length victory over 7 rivals in her MSW victory here on July 30. Has trained well since and will test the odds-on favorite in this one. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key the 1 over (only) the 4-3-5.

11th: 2-4-1-3…G1 Woodward Stakes…This is Gun Runner’s last prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and all he has to do is run the way he has been this year — capturing the G1 Stephen Foster and the G1 Whitney by open lengths and run-away style. If he does that again, he will go into the BC Classic as the favorite and the horse to beat. And, he should step all over this field today, too. The one I like to give him a try, though, is War Story (4). He swung way too wide to give Gun Runner a try in the Whitney. Picks up Irad Ortiz today, and he is a better rider right now than JJ Castellano. I bet the 2 in the exacta only with a 2-4 box. Odds too low for anything other than that, and a key in the Picks Wide.

12: 8-7-4-6-5-2…G3 Glen Falls Stakes…Harmonize (8) should redeem herself nicely in this spot today. And, if the ML odds of 7-2 hold, I will take it very nicely.  She hasn’t hit the board in 4 starts this year, but has been facing the toughest of the tough ones. Much better spot here today, and I like the way she is coming into the race — off a very nice work here on Aug. 27.  Another Best Bet of the Day here. Sarandia (7) is a German-bred who stuck around the States after a tough run in the G1 Beverly D at Arlington Park.  Will like this track better, I think, and the company, too. I bet the 8-7 to win/place/show and then key those two over/under the rest of the numbers.

Good Luck &

All the Best/Gene