After a day off, Saratoga cranks it back up today for a 10-race card that features a little bit of everything — from grass races, to state-bred races, and, yes, another Stakes race. It could be an interesting day, though, with some legitimate long shots looming as possible throughout the card.
Let’s take a closer look at what may be in store:
1st…If the card is not tough enough on it’s own right, someone is going to put jumps out there on the turf course for this one. I have a hard enough time trying to figure out the flats. It is “hump day,” but you can have the humps and the bumps in this course. Good luck.
2nd…1-7-6-4-2…Spieth (1) and D’ambrosio (7) both come from the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and they should standout in this field today. The former is the preferred choice, having beaten his stablemate in their first matchup last race and will be stalking his barn buddy from the get go. Should have the preferred trip, too. But the latter has been training at Saratoga, and has more familiarity with this surface. Plus, D’ambrosio gets a huge rider switch to JJ Castellano, even though he has been in a prolonged riding slump (for him). Tarpon Bay Road (6) made a very nice run to finish his mile race at Ellis Park in his last out, and faced a standout two back. Don’t throw this one out. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key the 1-7 over/under the 6-4-2. I play one 1-7 exacta box, as well.
3rd…3-5-1A-2…Fire Away (3) made a very nice run in a Stakes race here (Lure Stakes) on Aug. 5 to finish just 13/4 lengths behind a nice winner in a race probably too short for him. Stretches back out to 13/8ths today and he’s thrown up 2 wins in 2 tries at this endurance distance for a top trainer in Shug McGaughey. If he can get any pace at all to run at, he will be tough in this spot for his regular rider. Muqtaser (5) won at this distance last time out on July 21 for his 4th career win in 13 tries. This one has been ITM 8 of 13 starts and has back to back nice ones. Joe Bravo returns for the mount. This one has more pace than the former. Dangerous. Trainer Graham Motion has entered two in this one, but has named the same rider on both — meaning that one will probably be scratched. If Street Fashion (1A) stays in, then I have to use. If he is the one that is scratched out, then I don’t use. Street Fashion has hit the board in 12 of 18 career starts and he ran a solid, stalking presence until the final 1/16th in a small Stakes race at Delaware Park on July 8. Backs up to 13/8ths in this one and that may be enough relief to help him get there. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box the 3-5-1A in one exacta and then key the 3 over/under the 5-1A-2.
4th: 1-3-6…Lady Devil (1) is the best of this entry duo, despite the last race debacle. Gets a new trainer in Brad Cox (which is a huge improvement), and a set of blinkers (which this trainer does well with employing for a first time). Also, this one moves to the dirt from the turf, and she is bred for this surface. Low odds in the ML and the likely PT favorite, as well. Lady Constance (3) nearly went wire-to-wire at Ellis Park in her last out, before getting caught right on the wire. She has run two good ones in a row and gets the drop to her lowest claiming price ever for trainer Dale Romans. Watch out. Jump for Joy (6) has been away from the races since March of 2016 and was vanned off in that one. Works just ok, but goes for a trainer that loves to win at Saratoga. I bet the 1 to win and then box the 1-3-6 in the exacta.
5th: 4-2-6-10-8…My Mr. Wonderful (4) nearly won his last out in a race moved off the grass due to rains. This speedster will try to air them out in this one, with Jose Ortiz back in the saddle. Sicilia Sal (2) goes for the first time for trainer Gary Sciacca. If you go back awhile, this one really showed some nice works in July, and he must look pretty good, too. After all, he brought $45,000 at the OBS 2YO In-Training Sale this April — which is not bad for a son of a stallion that stands for just $2,500. Joe’s Smokin Gun (6) gets back to the grass, where he nearly won two back. Was beaten 8 lengths by the preferred choice in their last affair, but that was on dirt. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-2-6. I take one exacta wheel with the 4-2-6 over/under the 10-8.
6th: 7-6-4-3-2-1…Wide open race here, where a number of them could end up in the winner’s circle. I finally settle on Saratoga Wildcat (7) after trying several different ways to try and beat him. He was claimed out of the last by a trainer that does very well with first timers after the buy. And, he has three really nice runs — with two wins — in his last five outs. Picks up a huge rider change, too. Rockford (6) was shipped over to Suffolk Downs after being claimed two back and ran second after the drive. Now back in NY and back in the claiming ranks, where he belongs. Don’t be shocked if he runs another good one. Paden (4) gets a small class drop for a solid trainer, who is looking for his first win at Saratoga this meet. Ran two really good races in a row at Churchill Downs and now will try to convert that run to The Spa. Don’t dismiss. I bet the 7 to win/place and then key the 7-6 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed. I also take a solid 7-6 exacta box.
7th: 1-1A-4-7-6…Commend (1) and his partner Vici (1A) both have a shot to impress in this very nice turf sprint allowance. The former is the preferred choice, though, coming out of a Stakes race at Woodbine, where he faced the very, very talented Green Mask. Commute, another good one, ran third in that race, as well. This one will be coming late, but must negotiate a clean trip after drawing the rail. Vici will be coming late with his barn buddy, too. This gelded son of War Front has just missed in his last two and will have the services of Irad Ortiz, again. Amelia’s Wild Ride (4) doesn’t match the first two if you only look at the last two races. But go three back and this one put up a heckuva fight against Richard’s Boy — who is very salty. Two back, he was “very wide,” and I can dismiss that one, too. Gets a new rider in Paco Lopez. This one could be a nice ticket at 6-1 ML. Zoo Suit (7) gets a new rider on the ship in from the Jersey Shore, and End Play (6) found himself too far back in his last here. I bet the 1 to win/place/show — hoping to get both ends of the duo in the money. I box the 1-4 solid and then play the 1-4 over/under the 7-6.
8th: 3-6-2-1-7…Mobridge (3) finally got back to state-breds in his last and the 7YO suddenly remembered how to win again with a nice stalking victory. Finds NY-breds only again in this spot and looks to be tough here, too. Damage Control (6), who was beaten a length by the preferred choice in their last encounter at Belmont Park, loses Castellano, but gets Irad Ortiz. This son of Hard Spun should be on the lead, where he has run most of his races. If he can do that and make a comfortable lead, he will makes things uncomfortable on our top choice. No Teting (2) whipped Damage Control by 41/2 lengths five back before finishing behind him in the last out. But No Texting had a horrendous trip in that one, and gets a new rider today. I bet the 3 to win/place and then key the 3 over/under all the other numbers listed.
9th: 8-1-6-4-3…The Bolton Landing Stakes…My Best Bet of the Day comes in this one and with a horse that is 5-1 ML and could drift even higher in the odds game. I love Buy Sell Hold (8), who captured the Kentucky Juvenile at Churchill Downs in June on the dirt for trainer Steve Asmussen. (Asmussen’s Copper Bullet won the 2YO Stakes here on Sunday in style). After that one, though, the 2YO filly ran a very tiring 5th in the G3 Schuylerville Stakes here on July 21. Yet she had a big excuse for her performance after jockey Florent Geroux simply burned his horse up early on. They made the lead, but it took suicidal fractions to do so, going :214/5 for the first quarter. Unfortunately, Geroux gets to return to the saddle for this try, but with any patience at all, he can guide this speedster all the way in front in his first try on the grass. Fairyland (1) is a high-priced daughter of Scat Daddy, who beat the colts in her first out this spring at Keeneland. Trainer Wesley Ward took her to Royal Ascot and she tried to burn them up overseas, too, but only burnt herself out. She will gas it from the rail and try to hold on. Sugar Queen (6) goes for Todd Pletcher, who is not the greatest turf trainer in the world. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.
10th: 3-2-6-5-7-8…Irst (3) gets the nod here, largely due to the fact that Pletcher is dropping this colt from the MSW ranks to MC20. If that doesn’t shake this one up, I don’t know what will. After all, he cost $180,000 at OBS last Spring. Borsa Vento (2) was steadied twice in his last try and that all but killed his chances to mount any serious run. Anything close to his runs that he put up in his races three, four or five back and he laps this field. Scott (6) gets another small bump down the ladder after tiring in his last. Should be fitter for this one. I bet the 3-2 to win/place and then key those two over/under the rest of the numbers listed. I also box the 3-2 in one exacta.
Good luck &
All the Best/Gene