Ryan Dickey’s Saratoga “Spot Plays” for Wednesday, July 17

(Ryan Dickey)

While the first week of my “spot plays” at Saratoga got off to a decent, though not the greatest start, I feel I owe my readers an apology for Saturday’s choices. While I did put in my normal handicapping efforts (I didn’t “mail it in”), my choices on Saturday were unimaginative, low-priced, and, most damning — they were losers.

On Sunday, I decided that if I didn’t find anything that I really “fell in love with,” and I would leave well enough alone. And it was all for the best, as I didn’t fare the greatest on Sunday, either. But we’re back to weekday racing, on today’s first Wednesday card of the meet.

And the weather looks rainy, so be careful betting those turf races.

I have a pair of true blue, honest to goodness “spot plays” on tap at Saratoga today, and both should go off at decent odds. No more of this “single this best of the two shortest odds” drivel that I threw at you on Saturday.

RACE 2 — The second scheduled race for the day (the first race is a steeplechase race that may get cancelled) is slated for 1:25 pm ET and is the newly-branded Rick Violette Stakes, a $100,000 stakes race for 2-year-old New York breds going six furlongs on the main track.

This race drew only five entries, and two of them are at short odds on the morning line. #2 LISTENTOYOURHEART is an Afleet Alex colt trained by Christophe Clement and is 8/5 on the morning line. #3 MISSION WRAPITUP is a Mission Impazible colt trained by Bruce Brown and is 7/5 on the morning line.

While both of these colts won their debut (as four of the five horses in the field accomplished — only the maiden  #1 THEITALIANAMERICAN failed to win at first asking) and received higher speed figures than my top-choice in this race, I’m going with one that will win AND bring decent odds.

#4 SKY OF HOOK, a colt from the hard-nosed Tapiture is the fourth-choice on the morning line at 6-1, but if this colt runs anything like his sire, this is the horse I want my money on in this spot.

Although none of these freshmen have tried the slop before, if the main track is even the tiniest bit muddy, Sky of Hook represents plenty of value, since most bettors will be throwing money at the higher speed figures of the top two “contenders”.

Bet Sky of Hook.

RACE 9 — I’m taking another #4 horse today, and this time, we’ll be looking to get double digit odds.

#4 SKAMANIA had been a favorite in her last three races, and she won two of those three before finishing fifth last time out. With three wins in seven career starts, she’s only been double digit odds once before, when she finished fifth in her debut at Churchill Downs at 28-1.

There’s an even-money favorite in this race that will definitely go to the post as the odds-on favorite in #6 TALK VEUVE TO ME. She was last seen on Kentucky Derby day finishing a well-beaten (by 21 lengths) seventh in the Humana Distaff. While the drop in class is appreciable, the 74 day layoff after a poor effort (she’s basically been a no-show in her graded stakes races since winning a Grade 3 at Indiana Grand last July) may not be enough.

Talk Veuve to me hasn’t shown much in the five published works she’s had since the first Saturday in May and is a “play against” for me today. And that brings us to Skamania, who, like the even money morning line favorite, didn’t fare well last out.

Skamania is returning to the dirt, which appears to be her surface of choice.  She also is running at a distance that is in her wheelhouse, as she has won twice and finished second once in four career starts at six furlongs. Also, trainer Al Stall has a positive ROI on horses in their next race after being a beaten favorite. But what may be the clincher today for Skamania is the addition of blinkers.

While others may try to beat Talk Veuve to Me with the #5 HONOR WAY (9/2) and #2 CARRERA CAT (5-1), my spot play in race 9 at Saratoga is Skamania, and we’re hoping to get at least 10-1.

Best of luck.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Ryan Dickey

    Ryan Dickey

      How many people have the courage and passion to quit their job of 17 years; pack up all of their belongings; and moved to another state to follow their dreams? Well, we want you to meet Ryan Dickey, “The Pressbox’s” newest addition, and latest friend. The man is on a ...

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