Didn’t we just get here? Monday’s card marks the 10th day of the 40-day Saratoga meet, meaning a quarter of the meet will be over at the conclusion of racing today. Part of Saratoga’s charm is the boutique nature of its meet (note to NYRA: change this at your own peril), but it’s striking how quickly the action comes and goes. Hopefully, you’ve been enjoying yourself and have cashed a few tickets along the way.
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: We didn’t hit our cold late double, but we still made money. New York’s Finest prevailed at 5-1 in the finale, J.S. Choice was second in the ninth at 7/2, and we cashed out for $63.25, up $38.25 from our $25 investment.
MONDAY’S PLAY: I’ll play a 50-cent late Pick Four ticket built around my best bet of the day. I’ll use #1 CHARMING CLARE, #5 FROSTY LADY, and #10 MY GOOD VENEZUELA in the sixth, single #6 MINSKY MOMENT in the seventh, include #1 LET IT RIDE MOM, #3 NO MORE BABIES, #5 INDIA MANTUANA, #6 EPPING FOREST, #8 MORTICIA, and #9 LADY ALEXANDRA in the eighth, and end with #1 DAB, #9 I MISS MY FATHER (hi, Dad), #10 MARTINO, and #16 BROOKLYN MAJOR (if he draws in) in the ninth.
TOTAL WAGERED: $36
Best Bet: Minsky Moment, Race 7
Longshot: Frosty Lady, Race 6
BATTLEMENT: Is strictly the one to beat if you only consider this filly’s sprint races. She’s pace-dependent, but there figures to be plenty of early zip signed on; MISS KENTUCKY: Has showed ample early speed to this point in her career. She tries turf for the first time, but she’s got the pedigree to do well on the lawn; TRUE CHARM: Has run several clunkers on dirt but gets back to her preferred surface and route in this spot. She ran well here twice last year and could be a decent price. DIRT SELECTIONS: MISS KENTUCKY, PRAY FOR BOURBON, BATTLEMENT.
Now in a Drive
PEACE SPEAKER: Showed huge improvement in his first turf start, getting nailed near the wire in his first-ever route. The post position isn’t ideal, but he seems like the main speed in here and may be tough to run down if he gets comfortable; NOW IN A DRIVE: Was edged by my top pick last time out. A repeat of any of his 2017 races could win this, but given that he’s had plenty of chances of late, I’m hesitant to take low odds on him; MOHICAN: Makes his first start since October, but showed some talent as a 2-year-old. Both winners of his two 2016 turf races won at next asking, and he’d benefit from a faster-than-expected early pace. DIRT SELECTIONS: ITSABIGBOY, TARPON BAY ROAD, PEACE SPEAKER.
MOANA: Has been running against much better of late and takes a big class drop here. She was last seen running third in the Mother Goose, and she may say “you’re welcome” to Todd Pletcher for finding a softer spot; SMILE BIG: Is a consistent router who always seems to show up. She could be forwardly placed today given the likely race shape, and these connections must be respected; BLENHEIM PALACE: Finally broke through last time out after burning plenty of money in maiden races. She comes back to dirt for her first try against winners, but this turned out to be a pretty tough spot.
SHANE’S JEWEL: Showed some speed in his debut at Monmouth, which came over a sloppy track. He was bet a bit that day, and John Servis has excelled dropping horses into the maiden claiming ranks; JOOPSTER: Is a well-bred firster with some flashy works, which makes his debut in a maiden claiming race pretty puzzling. Debuting runners from this barn must be respected; FACTOR THIS: May be bred for turf rather than dirt, but has a series of OK works downstate for a barn that has popped at a price here in the past.
AKTABANTAY: Was in a bit too tough last month, but drops to the level he probably wants here. He reeled off two straight wins against claimers before that race, and there should be plenty of speed signed on to set up for his late-running style; STARSHIP WILDCAT: Tried Grade 3 company earlier this month and drops to a more appropriate level here. He did strong work earlier this year at Gulfstream, including running a close second behind the talented Pay Any Price three back; PADILLA: Makes his first start for Chad Summers and has been competitive throughout a busy campaign. The post isn’t great, but he’s a contender with the right trip. DIRT SELECTIONS: RAY’SWARRIOR, FULL SALUTE, NO HIDING PLACE.
Just Got Out (MTO)
My Good Venezuela
MY GOOD VENEZUELA: Drops in for a tag second off a layoff for an aggressive barn. She hasn’t run a bad race going long on turf for this outfit, and she gets my top selection in a race that seems pretty wide-open; FROSTY LADY: Was nearly my top pick and may be the controlling early speed in here. She prevailed against state-breds last time out, is a perfect 2-for-2 over this turf course, and seems like a must-use; CHARMING CLARE: Takes a big class drop in her circuit debut for Mike Maker. The rider is one to get familiar with if you’re not already, and she could be a player if the Midwest form comes east. DIRT SELECTIONS: JUST GOT OUT, MERILORE, FLICK OF AN EYE.
Blame the Thief
MINSKY MOMENT: Hasn’t done much wrong in three starts and broke through last time out in the slop at Belmont. He tries winners and two turns for the first time, but this doesn’t seem like a tremendous group, and a repeat of either downstate race should be good enough to win; BLAME THE THIEF: Comes back to dirt after two so-so turf efforts at Belmont. His win three back was pretty good, and he could go early, especially with an aggressive rider on his back; WINSTON’S CHANCE: Has won two in a row going long at Finger Lakes and was a daylight winner in his last effort. It remains to be seen if he can rate, but he merits a look in the exotics at an OK price.
INDIA MANTUANA: Was a close-up third last out at Woodbine in what was a pretty steep cutback in distance. She did have a solid setup that day, but with ample early speed signed on here, she could see a similar trip today; MORTICIA: Has yet to run a bad race on turf, and her only loss in five starts on the lawn to date came to the talented La Coronel. She’s a logical favorite, and it helps that she rated a bit last time out; LADY ALEXANDRA: Makes her first start for Tom Proctor and has shown potential to this point in her career. She’s a stakes-placed filly that could sit a solid stalking trip just off the speed. DIRT SELECTIONS: NO MORE BABIES, LET IT RIDE MOM, LADY ALEXANDRA.
BROOKLYN MAJOR: Needs two scratches to draw in and has not races in more than a year, but the most recent work indicates he may be ready to run. This would be his first start for a tag, as well as his first start as a gelding; DAB: Comes back to dirt and adds blinkers, which could be handy given the rail draw. He was an OK third at this route in his debut, and he may get the early lead by default given the relative lack of speed in this field; MARTINO: Has been busy this year, having already made 12 starts as a 3-year-old. His most recent outing was probably his best race to date, and it’s encouraging that Castellano stays aboard.