1st: Another steeplechase that I decide not to chase. Good luck with the jumps and the bumps.
2nd: 3-4-1-2-5-7…Bixby Lou (3) gets the the “dot” here, and the drop into MC after three troubled starts at the MSW ranks for a trainer that wins with .36% of these kind of drops. If she can figure out the start, then this daughter of Harlan’s Holiday (who cost $350,000 as a yearling) is worth the $40,000 tag today. Claim of the Day. Fortunate Queen (4) ran second to It Tiz Well two back and that one may be one of the best 3YO fillies on the West Coast not named Abel Tasman, Paradise Creek, or Unique Bella. Tarquinia (1) had to slow at the 1/8th pole and switch courses. May have compromised that one in her first out. She sold for $270,000 as a yearling. I bet the 3 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers and in the Doubles and Pick 3s.
3rd: 10-7-3-6-4-8-2-1…Wide open event, but I go way outside to Silver Shaker (10) and trainer Chad Brown. This one caught some good ones in her debut and then caught a break until July 2. Closed well in that one and had all kinds of traffic issues or could have won. Maybe easily. I come right back with her, picking up JJ Castellano. Anothertequilashot (7) enters this one off three straight efforts at Churchill Downs, and seems to be getting better each time. The third place finisher in the last came back to win. Odds are likely to sneak up the ladder. Watch out. Jonquil (3) is consistent as they come with 4 placings in the last 5 starts. She seems to hang a bit when the racing gets serious. And, that’s an issue. Cleo (6) shortens up a bit for a HOF trainer that has started this meet cold. They may wake up any time. I bet the 10 to win/place and then key over/under all the numbers listed.
4th: 6-8-4-5-1…Saratoga Mischief (6) is 6-1 ML and may even drift higher. Could surprise in this spot with a return to this level. Has performed well over this track before. Surprise? At Guard (8) is the likely post time favorite for the barn of Anthony Dutrow. Has stopped in each of the last two, but goes as a first time gelding today and has never been this low. Interesting. Hard Hitter (4) goes for one of the best trainers in the country, in Linda Rice. She knows how to train them all, from claimers to stakes winners, and she knows how to spot them. This one gets a nice class drop and may be poised for a good run. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top three: 6-8-4.
5th: 3-2-1-4-10…Puttinyouronthenews (3) gets her second lifetime start today and gets the “dot” in this spot for me. She stalked a good pace at Belmont on June 16, and had to go 4 wide at the top of the stretch. She should benefit from that outing and be fitter today. Cyrielle (2) is a first timer for Graham Motion and his steeds have hit the board here 6 times in 8 tries. This one has been training well at Fair Hill. Talk Softly (1) cost $285,000 this March, and ran at Belmont in May. She spit the bit in that one after cutting all the early fractions and has the heavy favorite. She should be better today. I bet the 3 to win/place and then key over/under the “all button.” I box one 3-2-1.
6th: 1-6-7-3-11-9…Ray’s The Bar (1) and his stablemate Tricked Up (1A) should be very tough in her today, especially the latter. He has hit the board in 5 of 7 outs and comes in off an impressive closing win at Monmouth Park. Chad Brown duo will be bet down hard, though. Task (6) and Taste for Talent (7) have very different styles (the former is a dead closer and the latter is a true speedster), but each may give the Brown duo a run. I bet the 1 to win/place and then box the 1-6-7 in one exacta. I key the 1 over (only) all the numbers, too.
7th: 2-6-4-5…Tom’s d’Etat (2) is a horse I’ve been watching to return after a June victory at Churchill Downs. He was ultra impressive that day, making a sweeping move and running off to a 21/4 length victory. Picks up Joel Rosario today and if he keeps him out of trouble in a 6-horse race, then he has a big shot. The favorite is likely to be Splashtastic (6), who has run two huge ones in a row for Rudy Rodriguez. He didn’t win either one of them, though, and that begs the question of whether this one wants to go by at the end. Far From Over 94) goes for the connections of Pletcher/Castellano and could split the top two. I bet the 2 to win/place and key over/under the rest.
8th: 5-8-6-4…Ava’s Kitten (5) is another Chad Brown entry today and this one certainly needed the May race, coming off a layoff since last September. Hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since May, though, and that’s raises a question. Still, she has been training well and shortens back up to a turf sprint where she is 1-for-1. Could motor all the way. Brown’s other one in here is Ancient Secret (8), who reeled off four straight wins from October 2015 through July 2016. This one really shortens up today, going from 1 mile to 51/2. Never been this distance before and looks like Brown is looking for something to snap this filly back into action. Blue Bahia (6) loves this distance with 6 wins and a second in 8 lifetime starts sprinting on the turf. Jason Servis is a top trainer and I would not dismiss. I bet the 5 to win/place and then box the 5-8-6 and the 5-6-4.
9th: 14th Running of the John Morrissey Stakes for NY Breds: 6-12-10-5-1-11…I put the “dot” squarely on Fish Trappe Road (6), who has but one third in 6 starts this year and hasn’t won a race since last July. But this one has been running against Graded Stakes Company and against some of the best in the country. He shortens up and now will face NY breeds only. His last try, against Limousine Liberal was not bad, either. Watch out for him today and he is 15-1 ML. Celtic Chaos (12) is 6-1 ML for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who is off to a good start here. Ran them all down to win the state bred Affirmed at Belmont in April. Papa Shot (10) goes for Linda Rice and this one has been either first or second 9 times in his last 10 starts. Nice. Gypsum Johnny (5) is another Linda Rice-trainee that you had better look out for, though. This one has faced open company and done quite well. I bet the 6 to win, place and show and then key over/under all the rest. I may take a little 5 across the board, as well.
10th: 6-5-11-10-1…Tiz a Kitten (6) gets the edge here, despite the fact that she spit the bit in her last try against NY breds on June 4. Looks to be training well since then and a return to her four previous races will make her tough here. True Love Is Yare (5) is a Chad Brown filly who just broke her maiden for $75K and now faces winners for the first time. Still could air these with the right trip. I really like Romantic Music (11) — both the horse and the tunes, like Amos Lee — and she could be right there, too. This stalker seems to fire every other race and this would be her turn. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-5-11 and then wheel the 6-5 over/under the 11-10-1.
Good luck &
All the Best/Gene