Day Results 13 / 3-6-6
2020 Overall 901 901 / 316-301-361
Win % of Top Pick 35.07%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 36.18%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –575-901 63.82%
Top Selection ITM / SAR 24-35 68.57%
Top Selection Win / SAR 12-35 34.29%
Top Selection ITM / Ellis Park 39-55 70.91%
Top Selections Win / Ellis Park 16-55 29.09%
“Key Horses” @ SAR 3-2-1-0 66.67% Win / 100.00% ITM
“Key Horses” @ Ellis Park 9/3-3-1 33.33% Win / 77.78% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 120-42-27-17 35.00% Win / 75.83% ITM

(Since I am at the Lake this week, and expecting my great friend, Dave Baker, to join me later, I thought the best photo to go with this week is this one of me and “Rookie” at “The Breakers.” The Breakers is the best bar/marina (and John Austin likes to throw in “casino,” too) in the world and it’s made so by the man who owns it — “Rookie” — and his top bartender and caregiver “Zeb.” Love these guys. They are “The Best.” They take such good care of us.)

We are back. Headed up to “The Spa” today for a virtual tour and a little “feel good” racing from Saratoga.

So far, we are holding our own at one of the world’s most beautiful and challenging racing venues. We are winning at a 34.29% clip and our top selections have hit “the board” on a nice 68.57% rate.

Here’s hoping that we can land a “big fish” on the card today. Take a look:

3rd: 5-8-9…I didn’t handicap this race, but a couple of horses in here intrigued me, as possible claim prospects. New Day Dawning (5) was entered for the MTO. This one is a 3YO daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and comes from a Stakes-winning dam — who has two winners from two starters. This one has a nice page, and broke the maiden at GP in the winter — against good ones. Was claimed for $50,000. Now offered up for $40,000. Interesting. Make or Break (8) is a 3YO daughter of Flatter and from a winning dam — who has 4 winners from 5 starters and a turf winner, to boot. Was claimed three starts back for $50,000. Won that day by 91/2 lengths over the dirt. Could be handy on the KY circuit and in the breeding shed later, perhaps. Positive Skew (9) was claimed at Saratoga last July off of trainer Chad Brown. New connections had not fared well until the last start, when she nearly won at 11/16-miles. This one is by City Zip. Why go so far? I would love to try this one at KY Downs going short. Worth $40,000, IMO.

4th: 1A-4/6-2/1-3…Ashiham (1A) comes from the barn of Todd Pletcher, who is off to an amazing start to this meet. Has a 8-5-2 record in the first 23 starts and that equates to a win percentage of .35%. This one ran a solid second as the beaten favorite last time out. Barn hits with .25% of those returning to the fray. In 4 career starts to date, has 2 seconds. Should fit nicely here. Lucky Asset (4) has a couple of seconds on the resume, too. Ran a fast-closing 2nd last time out at KEE on July 8. Looks to be improving type and the works are solid coming in. Chance. I bet the 1A to win/place/show and then box the top two numbers in the exacta. I will key the entry and 4 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two shorter units.

5th: 4-1/2-5-7/6-(3)…Dayatthespa Stakes…This is a Stakes for the NY-breds only, and will be contested at 11/16-miles over the inner turf course. If it stays on the sod, I will go strong with my top two numbers here. Classic Lady (4) comes from the barn of Christophe Clement — and he is off to an even better start than Pletcher. In the first 26 starts this meet, Clement has put up a mark of 10-4-5. That is a win percentage of .38%. Rider has booted home .29% of the last 49 mounts for this barn, too. Red. Hot. This one missed by a nose last time out in another NY-bred Stakes event. At this distance, she has a 1-2-2 record in 5 starts. Good. But may be a bit vulnerable at the distance? War Canoe (1) has raced this distance 16 times. Has 3 wins, 3 seconds and 6 thirds. Consistent. Consistent. Consistent. Comes in having run 11/4 lengths behind our top number in the last outing. Made the lead in that one only to get passed late in the proceedings. Top jockey gets back up again. May have learned a bit last time out. I bet the 1 to win/place/show — take note — and then box the 4-1 solidly in the exacta. I will key the 4-1 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed in a smaller unit.

6th: 3-5-6/4/1-7-1A/4…Pete’s Play Call (3) gets the nod here. This 7YO son of Munnings has been out 7 times already this year. Has only one win. But drops back to the $40,000 level after a tough outing last time. Two back nearly won. Three back, this one faced Volatile. Volatile. The best sprinter in the country. That Volatile. Looks well spotted today. My pick. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed in two shorter versions.

7th: 4/6-3-10-5/9-1-8-7-(2)…Sayyaaf (4) is my first Key Play of the Day. This 4YO should relish the cut back in the distance today and goes for a barn that turns out turf winners like McDonald’s does hamburgers. Trainer and jockey have teamed up to go 3-1-2 in the last 11 starts over the past two weeks. Looks perfectly spotted for a big effort here. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the rest of the numbers listed. I will make it more with the 6-3-10-5.

8th: 8-6/2-9-5/1-7/4-3…This is a 11/8-mile contest over the main track only for the NY-breds, and I will go with Danny California (8). This 5YO son of Afleet Alex has a win over this track and returns as a beaten favorite for a barn that wins with .30% of those kind. Four starts back, this one beat “open company,” and has a nice stalking style to his formula. Gets a huge rider switch today. Take note. Blackjack Davey (6) is one of two from the barn of Linda Rice, who is having a very nice meet, too — winning at a .27% clip. Broke the maiden last time out by a whopping 41/2 lengths — and it could have been more if they wanted. Top rider takes the reins back, but must face winners for the first time at low odds. Barn does hit with .22% when moving up in the class adjustment. Chance. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 in the exacta. I will key the top 2 over/under the 2-9-5-1-7 in two shorter units.

9th: 8-1/7-3-4-2/5/(9)-(6)…The feature race of the day is a 11/16-mile contest over the inner turf, and it could easily be rated a Stakes-caliber bunch. I will give the edge to Devamani (8), who ran in the G1 Manhattan Stakes last time out. Nearly won both the G3 Tampa Bay and the G2 Fort Marcy in the previous two. Lost by a neck to the likes of Instilled Regard. My second Key Play of the Day. I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the 8-1 in the exacta. Solid. I will key the 8 over/under all the numbers listed in two shorter versions, but more over the 7-3-4-2-5.

10th: 1-4/1A-6-9/7-2-8…The last event of the day is a 5.5-furlong test over the grass course and I will go with Brad Cox and his French-bred steed Zaccapa (1). This one has run three straight 2nds. The last one came in his NA debut. Barn hits with .23% of those making the 2nd career start for the new barn operation, and with .27% of those making the second start off a layup. New rider up today and that may help with the speed element here. Cut back from 7 furlongs to this distance should assist the effort. My third Key Play of the Day. I will be the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-4 solidly in one exacta. I will key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed in two shorter units — more with the 6-9.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene