McLean’s Selections for Saratoga on Monday, July 23

Day Results1-0-0-0
2018 Overall 1021377-376-449
Win % of Top Pick37.00%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.30%

Well, on the heels of handicapping 22 races on Saturday, we examined another 18 on Sunday. We won 6 of those, but we hammered some really nice exactas, along the way.

Here is a closer look at our most favorite race that dots the card at Saratoga today. If it stays on the grass, which I certainly hopes it does, this is the way I see it:

7th: 3-2-4-5-10…Caress Stakes…There can’t be a hotter horse in the country right now — not named Monomoy Girl, mind you — than Triple Chelsea (3). The 5YO mare by Hat Trick has raced five times this year, and has 4 wins and a third to show for her efforts. And, she has carried her “A” game with her to three different racetracks along the way. She has hit the board in six in a row and eight of the last nine. In that mix, she has Stakes wins at The Fair Grounds, Keeneland and Churchill Downs. And, since her last win in the Unbridled Sydney at Churchill in May, she has continued to work lights out — as evidenced by a couple of bullet moves in the mornings. She is also out of a Stakes-winning mare, who has two turf winners from three starters — that have added up to 3 wins and 1 SW. While she has not tried Graded Stakes company as of yet, this one today seems to fit right in her wheelhouse. In 12 tries over the 51/2-furlong distance, this mare has a record of 5-2-4 in 12 starts. That adds up to just one time out of the money. How do you not use this one? Morticia (2) is a 4YO Twirling Candy filly, and a true favorite of mine. I have touted and used her often, if not always. In her career she has raced at this distance on 9 occasions with 6 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third. And, she is a perfect one-for-one over this grass course at The Spa, too. She won last time out at Penn National and has hit the board in the last 10, we know of. She may get a bit more tired at the end of 51/2, but she will be there. I count on it. Lull (4) has the stamina, for sure. She will be shortening up from a G3 Stakes going 7 furlongs to a distance that she has never tried before. In one race over the grass to date, though, she ran second in the G3 Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7. Was beaten by a real good one, who has since returned with a victory. Can’t dismiss this one — who loves the lead, as well. I bet the 3-2 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I key those two over the rest of the numbers in the exacta.


(Well Defined) has a ton of natural talent and I was going to take advantage of that today,” Morales explained. “I wasn’t too worried about where I was going to be because we were really lucky with the draw position on the outside, so I figured I was going to ride a cool race.

“The horse is naturally fast and has a super-long stride, so I was going to come out running, but if somebody wanted to take the lead, I was OK with that,” Morales said. No one did, and he stretched the lead to three lengths from Knicks Go up the backstretch.

“All I wanted to do was ride a cool and collected race and keep my horse running,” Morales said. “I didn’t feel like I was going that fast at all, and my horse was going as comfortable as he possible could.

“I knew he was doing it relaxed and very much on his own. I had a lot of horse going into the second turn, so I figured I was going to ask him a little more and not wait for them to get me. If they were going to catch me, they were really going to have to come running.”

  • 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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