McLean’s Select Selections for Saratoga, Del Mar on Wednesday, Aug. 8

Day Results3-1-1-3
2018 Overall 1107411-406-490
Win % of Top Pick37.10%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.40%

Let’s kick off this spectacular summer week with a little heat of our own, shall we? Here is a closer look at our top selections at both Saratoga and Del Mar today:

Saratoga Race Course:

4th: 3-2-9-8-1…This event is for high-end claimers going a route of ground over the inner turf. If, for any reason, that the turf races are moved off the grass today, I will void my bets and move along. I would suggest you do the same, as well. If it stays on the grass, though, I prefer Morning Stride (3) in this spot. This 3YO colt by Morning Line is coming off a fourth place finish when he was well out of it at the end. But that was against much tougher company and the winner that day is really, really good right now. This one was 5-wide and didn’t have the best of trips. Go two back and this one was a winner, and the race three back he lost by less than 3 to the same horse that trounced him in the last out. Looks to be working super here, as the bullet move over the mud indicates. New rider has done well with this barn, too. Factor This (2) didn’t fare too well when elevated to Stakes competition in the last out. Ran well for part of it before dropping out of contention when the real running began. The runner-up in that one, though, has come right back to win here impressively. Drops back into the level where he dominated two races back. Speedster that day, may try to take them wire to wire again. Dangerous. Jailhouse Kitten (9) will go for the barn of Mike Maker for the second time in his career. Claimed off Maker two races back for $30,000. Won easily while charging late that day. But Maker claimed him right back for $40,000 in the last race when he ran a solid third against tougher. Now, moves up the ladder again. Will have to have a clean run late to make a dent against the top 2. I bet the 3-2 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I key the 3-2 over the rest in another smaller version.

5th: 10-1-9-6-5-2-3-4-7…I will concentrate on the top three numbers in this sequence, led by a horse that gets the unfortunate far outside post going 11/16-miles over the grass. Doups Point (10) was bet down to near favoritism when running on debut on June 30 at Belmont Park. Ran steadily that day, never worse and never better than fourth. But the trainer hits with .23% of those making the second grass start, and the dam of this one is a Stakes Winner who has thrown 3 winners from the first 5 starters — including a turf winner. Gets a new rider today, who is as good as they come when he is on his game. Is he today? Like the move over the grass here in the last a.m. work. Crazy Life (1) is likely to be the PT favorite, since he comes from the barn of Chad Brown. Will be making the career debut, but the trainer hits with .19% of those and with .25% of those running over the grass. Training well, and although the dam is unraced she has 5 winners from 5 starters — including a turf winner. Can’t dismiss. Pier Forty (9) goes for another top grass conditioner in George Weaver. he has hit with .11% of those making the debut on the sod, and with .14% of grass runners overall. This one will be making the debut today, as well, and he scores with .13% of those. Like the works and has grass experience in the a.m. Love the breeding on this one, and the dam does have a turf winner, as well. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

6th: 3-5-4-6…This is a sprint event for NY-breds only, and I will focus in on my top two selections here. Lady Bergen (3) will get the saddle today from top trainer Jason Servis, who has a 2-2-3 record here in just 15 starts. He has won .32% of his races overall this year with 245 starters, though, and this one is coming off a string of races where she has hit the board in four of the last five. Last time out, she was beaten as the favorite, and the trainer hits with .31% of those kind returning. Nice works to boot. Camorra (5) comes from the barn of Todd Pletcher, and has never been worse than second in three lifetime starts. Won the last time out and the trainer scores with .25% of those returning to notch a win again. Super works of late suggest this one is ready off a layup, but this one is moving up in class for this one. Baby Boss (4) has been facing tougher than these in the past, and will get a huge rider switch to Jose Ortiz for this one. This guy has won with .29% of the last 17 rides for this barn. Watch out here. Live. I bet the 3-4 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the 3-4 over/under the other two, as well.

7th: 9-7-2-5-4-3-10-6…A wide open affair here that will demand that I spread out for all of my horizontal plays — such as the Pick 3s, & Pick 4s. I will focus on the top 4 numbers in the sequence, led by Fuel the Bern (9). This 4YO colt by Bernardini has hit the board in the last five tries and has been knocking on the door to pick up the next win in each of the last four tries. This trainer knows how to win races, as his .24% win mark for the year suggests. Will stretch out from a turf sprint to a mile event today, and the trainer hits with .27% of those kind. Has a win and two seconds in four tries at this distance. My pick. Cape Angel (7) goes for the barn of Joe Sharp, who is having a super meet here (5-1-0 in just 11 starts for a .45% win rate). This one has won two in a row, and comes from a dam who has 3 turf winners. Gets a new rider today, though, but he is .33% for this barn over the last 15 mounts. I can’t leave out Flyoff (5) in this one, though. Trained by Weaver, this one is coming out of a MC win and facing winners for the first time. Still, this son of Get Stormy won by 8 lengths in a pure runaway. That was his first start in over a year, and the trainer hits with .23% of those making the second start off this kind of layoff. Better or Bounce? I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under all the numbers. I go more on top than bottom and I do more with the 7-2-5 than the rest.

8th: 2-5-1-3…Speke (2) is my key play in this spot for trainer Todd Pletcher. This one has a win and two seconds in just four lifetime tries and was wide in the second place run last time out. The time before, he ran off to an impressive victory by over 6 lengths. Son of Pioneerof the Nile should benefit greatly from the stretch-out today to 11/8 miles. My Best Bet of the Day. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the other numbers listed.

9th: 1-11-2-4-7-6-5-8-9-12-3…Quick Call Stakes…Wow. Look at that long string of numbers. You got it. Wide open. But I will try to focus my attention on the top 3 in here, led by the inside horse World of Trouble (1). Although the rail has not been productive for most of the grass races this meet, this one will be running over the sod for the first time for a trainer that hits with .27% of these kind. And, he has been facing tough, tough competition. The race two back, he made all the lead before tiring late and giving way to Quip and Flameaway in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. Came back out of that one to run a game fourth as the favorite in the G2 Woody Stephens Stakes. Promises Fulfilled was third in that one and has since come back to impress. I like how this one has trained up to the race for a top trainer. My top pick. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under the 11-2-4-7-6. I then key the 1 over (only) the 5-8-9-12-3. Let’s go #1.

Del Mar Race Course:

3rd: 8-1-7-6-4…This is a MSW contest for 2YOs over the grass course, and I go to the outside to land on my top pick, Flying Scotsman (8). This is a well-bred son of English Channel who is bred and owned by Calumet Farm, and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. While this one may prefer more distance later on, he goes for a trainer that hits with .18% of all first timers and with .17% of those making the turf debut. Has been training OK for this inaugural run, and the trainer is winning at a .24% clip this meet. Little known rider has won at a .29% clip for this barn over the last 14 rides, too. Oracle of Omaha (1) may be able to get the jump on the outside horse, since he will have the rail in this 5-furlong sprint. And, this son of More Than Ready (I love this sire) has experience over his rivals, too, having run twice already. Ran second on debut and beat the show horse, who has already returned to win. Last race was a let down, but gets a new rider today and will get the blinkers for the first time. Trainer is having a super meet (.27%) and wins with .14% of those getting the shades new. Truck Salesman (7) tired in the first start after pushing the pace early on. If he is fitter from that experience, he should be OK in this spot. The dam is a winner who has 3 winners from the first 4 starters and a Stakes winner. I bet the 8-1 across the board and then box those two solidly. I will key the 8-1 over/under the other three numbers in smaller versions.

5th: 1-2-8…A simpler race for me, as I will key Mongolian Window (1) in this spot. Comes out of the barn of Peter Miller, who is off to a nice start this meet, and I can easily toss out the last race — which was the first one under this barn’s care. Off slow and steadied in that event, which basically ended any and all chances for her to win. If you go back, she was second two starts back when claimed by the new outfit, and had a win and a second at the high end MC ranks. Trainer scores with .22% on the second start off a claim and with .21% with horses making the second start for the barn. My pick. I pick the 1 to win/place and then key the 1 over/under the 2-8.

7th: 5-1-6-3-2-4…A more wide open event in this spot, but I will go with River Echo (5) in this one mile event on the dirt. This one nearly pulled off the win last time out, before tiring late and finishing third to a real good one in Shivermetimbers — from the Jerry Hollendorfer collection. In six starts this year, he has only two thirds to show for the effort, but he does like this distance (1-2-2 in 6 starts) and has a third over this track, to boot. New rider hits with .31% for this barn in the last 13 starts together. Adds up for me. Canadian Game (1) will go for the barn of Doug O’Neill, who is doing well here, too. this one has a second and a first in the last two and has a 1-1-4 record in the 9 career starts. Will need to improve a bit to win in this spot, but figures to be close. Show Me Da Lute (6) has been out only 5 times for trainer Bob Baffert. He ran against our top pick last time out and was a dull fifth. But that was the first start of the year. Work at Santa Anita on July 9 suggests he has a bit of speed, and the trainer hits with .22% of those making the second try off this kind of layoff. After all, it’s Baffert. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the top 3 UNDER the others in a smaller version, in case of a bomb.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene

 

My horse ran great. I did everything I could to get him up,” said Luis Saez, Bravazo’s jockey. “I switched to the left to see if I could get more out of him. I just lost to a better horse today.”

Luis Saez, Rider of runner-up Bravazo
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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