It’s a great day to take a 3-day weekend, right?

My answer is always the same. Every week should have a  3-day weekend.

Especially when it comes to Summer Time. Lake Time. Saratoga Time. Del Mar Time. And, this weekend, we add a big day at Ellis Park and the West Virginia Derby.

We need the extra day just to catch up on the handicapping.

Today kicks off our 3-day weekend, with a bang. Three Stakes carded up at Saratoga, and we might as well take a shot. Here’s our looks:

Race 7: G2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes...4-5-8/6-7-1-3...This is a 1-mile event to be contested over the track’s inner turf course. And, it promises to be an exciting rendition of the historic event. I really like Award Winner (4), and I have been promoting since the Spring and he switched over to the grass course for trainer Brian Lynch — one of the most likable chaps that you will ever meet. Won the first time on the sod, over a good course at Keeneland, and now has a 1-2-0 record in 3 tries over the sod. Was nipped a neck after setting all the fractions last time out in the G3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park on July 6. May have needed that race, though, after being idle since May. Gets a new rider today, but won on him to break the maiden — when racing over the dirt. The dam of this one was a Stakes winner and has thrown 4 turf winners — including 2 Stakes winners. This one may join that group today. I will bet the 4 across the board and then key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed — including Sombayay (1). That one could offer some price value.

Race 8: Alydar Stakes…2/8-9/7-6-5/3-1…Not much value in Tom’s d’Etat (2). Currently, he is at 7-5 in the ML. Could drift a bit North off those odds by Post Time, though. This 6YO son of Smart Strike is really very consistent, and very talented, as well. Throw out the G1 Pegasus, where he was a bit overwhelmed, and this one has hit the board in the last 6 tries. Has 4 wins in that mix. In 12 lifetime tries, he has a 6-2-1 mark. At this distance of 11/8-miles, he is 2-0-1 in 4 tries. And, at Saratoga? A perfect 2-for-2. Not a bad resume going into this short field. Has the speed component to dictate his own spot. Ran a huge one against Seeking the Soul in the G2 Stephen Foster last out, too. Will get a new rider today. Last time Joel Rosario was up, they combined to win by 9 lengths in an allowance here in 2017. Has not raced in 48 days, but he can fire fresh. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under the numbers listed. More with the 8-9 than the others.

Race 9: Inaugural Running of the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks…5/1-2-6-3…This looks like a race made perfectly for the mucho-talented Concrete Rose (5). Carded on the grass at 13/16-miles seems to fit right in her wheel house. For sure. In 6 career starts over the sod, Concrete Rose has won 5 times. The only loss came over a very soggy and yielding track at Churchill Downs last November in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Made a middle move in that one, but flattened over the deep going. Over the firm turf at Belmont Park last time out, she looked like an absolute machine. Mowed the grass and the competition to the nub. Will face some newbies today, and that could change the scenario some, especially considering there does not seem to be an abundance of speed in this short field. In fact, Concrete Rose may just find herself on the lead. And, that can be uncomfortable for some. If there is to be an upset here, I may suggest a closer look at Olendon (1). This French-bred filly didn’t muster much of a run against the prohibitive favorite in the G1 Belmont Oaks last time out. But gets a new rider and the addition of Lasix for the first time today. Chad Brown is having an amazing meet, with 15 wins, 15 seconds and 15 thirds in the first 62 saddle jobs. Ran much better than the last out over in Europe. I expect more today, and less than the 6-1 ML odds, too. I bet the 5-1 exacta box, and hit it rather hard.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene