As the meets winds down towards Labor Day and conclusion, we are now getting to see some of the horses that have already run over the track and have indicated a preference for this surface — which has not been the best in the world, all meet.  So, let’s take a deep dive into the card and see if we can find a gem or two:

1st: 6-7-3-2-9…Special Risk (6) gets the drop from MC40 to MC20 today for a barn that has an OK year going.  Gets back to the dirt, where she ran two straight seconds three and four starts back. Huge rider switch here, too. Communion Money (7) goes for a sneaky good barn operation, and drops back down in class after a confidence boost that didn’t materialize. The second try for a new barn may be the ticket. Renewal (3) starts career at a low level for this barn, and Todd Pletcher’s numbers in the MCL ranks on debut is not overwhelming. Training sessions just OK. But cost a lot of money to start here. Ouro Verde (2) has a shot. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key the 6 over/under all the rest listed.

2nd: 4-8-9-7-1A…Call Provision (4) nearly pulled this trick off in his last outing and comes into this one at 8-5 odds in the ML. Has 6 ITM finishes in 9 career starts and has a win and a second at this endurance test distance. The Pick. Tasit (8) is a first time gelding from the barn of Michael Matz.  This one has started only 3 horses the entire meet and has 2 thirds. This one ran just behind the preferred choice in the last, but had a much tougher trip.  Could turn the tables, even with a cold jock in the irons. Soluble (9) is a German-bred gelding by the great Galileo, but has disappointed ever since he showed up in NA — with the exception of one conditioned allowance win.  If he can ever find his European form again, he may wake up.  I bet the 4 to win/place and then box solid with the 4-8.  I take the 4-8 over/under all the rest of the numbers, too.

3rd: 1-4-3-1A-5-7-6…The entry of Street Heat (1) and Castaway (1A) could both hit the board in this heat. The former had a wide trip throughout in his last, but went 4-wide into the first turn.  Just about eliminated him then. Castaway had it even worse, going 5-wide in the same trip.  Both deserve a better trip and chance here, although the beaten favs in the last. Dunk a Din (4) is a horse I’ve watched since Churchill Downs this summer. Came to Saratoga and won right away, and was claimed, to boot. Goes for a new barn for the first time today, but looks to be holding good form with the a.m. works. Erik the Red (3) could step up with the drop down — in class. I bet the 1 to win/place/show — hoping that both can hit the board. I then box the 1-4-3 in one exacta and then key the 1-4-3 over (only) the 5-7-6 in another.

4th: 6-1-3-2-8-7…Subic Bay (6) goes for a solid grass trainer and has been working well for his second trip around the Saratoga grass course. Watch for nice improvement if she can stake out a clean trip. Drop back to a 1-mile distance should surely help here, too. Summer Punch (1) and Eternal Vow (1A) both have a shot in this one, too. Transaction Tax (3) tired badly in her last, but gets a first try on the green today. Interesting to see how she reacts, but training very well right now. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-1-3 in one exacta and then key those 3 over/under the 2-8-7 in two more.

5th: 9-10-2-8-3-5-7…R Lucky Charm (9) is my first Bet of the Day. This 4YO filly trained by Jason Servis comes into this one having hit the board in 6 of 8 lifetime starts and a near miss in her last when washed off the green. If it stays on the turf today, she will be tough to catch for a top barn operation. Hannah’s Smile (10) is a deep closer who ran a huge one here on Aug. 3.  Had all kinds of trouble in that one, plus being brushed and pushed 7-wide in the stretch. Needs a better trip, but could be tough if she gets it. Misty On Pointe (2) won her last out and now has 2 wins in 3 trips. Both of those came at Laurel, though, and she will face tougher today. I bet the 9 to win/place and then box the 9-10 solid.  I key the 9-10 over (only) all the rest.

6th: 3-6-2-8-7-5-4-1…Seam (3) gets her first chance at afternoon racing since last December. Has been working very well and could makes the winner’s circle today with anything close to her debut effort. Looks to be sitting in a good spot. Chad Brown’s filly, Wise Strike (6), appears to be the toughest competition, although she is shipping up from Monmouth Park and has not been out since June 24, too. Well bred (Smart Strike out of a Bernstein mare; and I love Bernstein as a broodmare sire). Training good here, too. Presumptuous (2) has been out 13 times without a win, but does have 8 place/show finishes. I use underneath. I bet the 3-6 to win/place and box them solidly in one exacta and key over (only) the other numbers in another.

7th: 1-3-6-7-2-9…Moana (1) is a filly I have loved since the beginning. She won her second start ever and then was bet down to 4-1 in her third career start — the G2 Black Eyed Susan. Disappointed on an awful, wet track that day, but has not been the same since. She gets a try on the grass for the first time today and I will be interested to see if she returns to her good form. I take a shot and some good odds. Palinodie (3) is a French-bred filly who had a really nice run in her first NA race last November.  Finished 7th in a G3 Stakes then, but beaten only 11/2 lengths. Now, comes back after that long layoff for a trainer that can tune them up on works alone, and she is working well. Watch out here, at 7-2 ML. Durable Goods (6) comes in off two good races and a MSW win in her last.  Bumps up in class, but this one could be really good. Watch out for this one, too. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-3-6 in one exacta. I hit it solidly. Take the same three numbers over (only) the 7-2-9 in another one, on a much softer scale.

8th: 2-6-3-1-7-4…Patternrecognition (2) had a tough trip in his last and he should be in a better spot today.  Was beaten by Takaful (who just ran in the Allen Jerkens) and Coal Front (another Travers Day runner) in his last two. This one is my second Best Bet of the Day, in a good, competitive field. If you get 3-1 odds here, rejoice. Mr. Crow (6) is likely to take a lot of action over his MSW win last out, when he got a 109 Beyer Speed figure and won by 111/2 lengths.  I don’t doubt the margin of victory or that he is very good. I do doubt — seriously — the speed figure and whether he can duplicate that effort against some nice winners in this bunch. Gray Sky (3) has only 1 win in 24 lifetime starts.  But he has 7 seconds and 7 thirds against the likes of Petrov, Shut the Box, and other nice ones. He will run his race and probably hit the board. Again. I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-6 solidly.  I think key the 2-6 over/under all the other numbers listed.

9th: 5-11-6-7-8-9-10-2…The G3 With Anticipation Stakes…I’m going to try to light up the tote board and the bank account in this one.  I am picking a 20-1 shot in the ML.  Fort Wise Treaty (5) broke his maiden in his career debut at Ellis Park.  He beat a good one that day in Eclipsed Moon, who is trained by Kenny McPeek.  But this one had a troubled trip, finally getting through just in time to come running down the lane and grab the victory.  He was impressive.  Don’t care about the Beyer (rarely do).  Don’t care that it was at Ellis Park.  Racing there is damn good right now.  And, don’t care that the track man made him 20-1 ML.  I love this horse.  My third Best Bet of the Day. Seabhac (11), Irish Territory (6), Machtree (7), and Untamed Domain (8) all have credentials, too. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed and may go again over/under the “all button.”

10th: 9-1-2-7-3-6…Under Suspicion (9) gets the nod in today’s finale. Ran a nice one in the debut on a horrible, muddy track here on Aug. 18.  Comes right back in 11 days and had a work in-between.  Got a little short in that first effort, as the beaten fav.  Should be fitter for this one and may not look back this time. I bet the 9 to win/place and key over/under all the rest.

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene