Remember earlier this week, when I waxed poetic about the virtues of singling heavy favorites in doubles? Take a look at yesterday’s card, specifically the fourth and fifth races. The fourth race was won by an even-money favorite. The fifth race was won by a 4-1 shot in a five-horse field. The $2 double paid $19 and change, a strong payoff given the short field in the second leg and the heavy favorite that won the first leg. The moral of the story: If you’re seeking value, watch double probables like a hawk.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: Thursday was a day where, if you bet my runners-up, you made out like a bandit. Not so, however, for us in this section, as Saratoga Heater failed to fire in the seventh. We saved a bit of money thanks to scratches, but we still dropped $20.
FRIDAY’S PLAY: After that intro, I sort of need to use that strategy here, don’t I? I’ll focus on the opener and single #5 LA INESPERADA (my best bet of the day) in $10 doubles that also use #7 LION IN WAIT and #10 DYNAMIC WAR in the second. Additionally, I’ll play cheaper, $2 doubles that start in the third with #7 JEWEL HEIST (my longshot of the day) and end with #2 PLAY BIG and #5 HARD HITTER.
TOTAL WAGERED: $24
Best Bet: La Inesperada, Race 1
Longshot: Jewel Heist, Race 3
LA INESPERADA: Returns to a track she loves and runs at her lowest level yet for a barn that has a high strike rate with new acquisitions. There doesn’t appear to be much early speed here, and she’s a threat to lead every step of the way; MIDNIGHT BOUNTY: Was third at this level earlier in the meet and stretches out to two turns. She successfully navigated such a route earlier this year at Aqueduct; PERINA’S PRIDE: Merits an underneath look at a price. Her best races have come going two turns on dirt.
Lion in Wait
LION IN WAIT: Has been second three times in as many turf starts and makes her first start for a barn that’s quietly had an excellent meet to date. The blinkers go on, and she could sit a perfect stalking trip; DYNAMIC WAR: Just missed here earlier in the meet and gets Lasix for the first time. That didn’t seem like a particularly strong race for the level, but a repeat performance from a Beyer standpoint puts her right there; SUMMER FALLS: Makes her North American debut and gets Lasix for the first time. Her European form wasn’t anything special, but she may not need to be much to get a piece of this. DIRT SELECTIONS: MADDY’S WAY, DELIGHTFUL LANA, FRONT ROW DEBBIE.
JEWEL HEIST: Tries turf for the first time but has the pedigree to love it. He’s shown significant class on dirt, as evidenced by some of the horses in his running lines (including Derby winner Always Dreaming); BLUE BELT: Has shown substantial early zip and ships in for a high-percentage barn. If his synthetic form transfers to turf, he’s a major player; ALASKAN PRINCE: May be favored and has talent, but has won just twice in 20 career starts. If he’s this short of a price come post time, he may be an underlay. DIRT SELECTIONS: SAME.
HARD HITTER: Just missed at this level and route earlier in the meet. He seems like the main speed in here, and Jose Ortiz riding back is a plus; PLAY BIG: Cuts back in distance after trying a mile against slightly better company last time out. Diodoro is still seeking his first win of the meet as of this writing, but his horses have hit the board in eight of 16 tries this summer; SWIFT ONE: Finished two lengths behind my top pack last time out but was close to a hot pace that day. If they go a bit slower early on, he’s got a chance to improve.
POCKET BOOK: Did everything but win in her debut, missing by a neck at Gulfstream after setting very fast fractions. Improvement is logical at second asking; CYRIELLE: Finally draws into the body of a field after some bad luck at the entry box earlier in the meet. She’s bred well, and I’ve been waiting for her to run to see if she lives up to the pedigree; BRIDALED TEMPER: Is bred up and down for turf and has a few strong local works. This barn hasn’t gotten off to a great start, but these connections can win with first-time starters. DIRT SELECTIONS: GIRL’S NIGHT, LATREVO, WILD N READY.
D’FUNNYTHING: Helped set a scorching pace last time out going seven furlongs. He cuts back in distance and faces a much shorter field that’s significantly lighter on early zip; BENEVOLENCE: Just missed at this level in each of his last three starts. He’ll probably be favored, but he’s burned significant money lately, and I have a tough time putting horses with “seconditis” on top; GAMING: Was beaten less than a length in his 2017 debut, which came off a long layoff. Improvement is logical second off the bench.
BARTLEBY: May have wanted turf all along and drops in class today. He’s been gelded since his last start, and he may be ready to run off the bench; PENCE: Had an adventurous trip in his debut going shorter. He drops in class, gets Jose Ortiz, and is bred to want as much ground as possible; UNCLE CHESTER: Is 0-for-16, but has shown early speed in his route tries and may inherit the early lead in this spot. It’s tough to endorse him on top given the record, but to his credit, he has faced tougher competition than what he lines up against here. DIRT SELECTIONS: BARTLEBY, WONDERMEISTER, MR. MASSENA.
STALLWALKIN’ DUDE: Has been running against much, much better and should relish the class drop into the ungraded stakes ranks. He loves Saratoga and will be tough to beat if he fires his best shot; WEEKEND HIDEAWAY: Has made a million dollars the hard way and is an easy horse to root for. This isn’t an easy spot, but his best effort is competitive; CANDIP: Likely needed his last race, which came off a layoff of more than six months. He was second in a Grade 3 before going to the sidelines, and a return to that form would make him a player here.
Frost Wise (MTO)
OBJECTIVE COMPLETE: Debuted in a loaded maiden race that was won by Morticia, a horse that developed into a multiple stakes winner. She’s been off since then, but the recent bullet workout inspires confidence; KINKY SOX: May have found seven furlongs to be too much distance last time out. Her turf debut going five furlongs was solid, and this route could produce an improved result; SANDY BELLE: Was run down late last time out in what served as a major improvement for her. A repeat effort could win this, but the post isn’t ideal, and a bounce is possible given how big a step forward she took last time out. DIRT SELECTIONS: FROST WISE, HIGH JINGO, TOUGH OLD BIRD.
Maximus Beauty (MTO)
CASHLESS SOCIETY: Drops in class after a disappointing effort at Monmouth. Her debut was sharp, and she drops down in class for powerhouse connections; STORMY ALEXIS: Doesn’t much like to win, but can’t be thrown out. She’s run well here in the past and should be forwardly-placed in a race that doesn’t offer much other early speed; WAR CANOE: Rallied from way back to be beaten less than a length at this level and route earlier in the meet. She’ll benefit if another horse goes with my second selection. DIRT SELECTIONS: MAXIMUS BEAUTY, CRIMSON FROST, SAY CIN CIN.