I had such a great time coming to the track on Friday that I’m making a return trip Monday. It’s my last full day in New York before heading back to California, and once again, it promises to be a fun time. The Monday card is pretty tough from start to finish, and that includes the Better Talk Now, which includes several promising 3-year-olds going two turns on the turf. I’m hoping I can head back to the west coast with some money in my pocket!
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: For the fifth straight day, we cashed a ticket, but for the first time in almost a week, we lost money. One of our $10 doubles hit, but it was the one that returned a paltry $2.05 for every dollar bet. As such, we dropped $19.50.
MONDAY’S PLAY: Once again, I thought this was a very tough card, with very few standouts and, thusly, very few spots to take a stand with a single. I’ll key my best bet in the opener, singling #5 DISCRETIONARY MARQ in $10 doubles with #2 ISOTOPE and #8 NORTH EIGHT STREET. Additionally, I’ll put $3 across the board on my longshot of the day, #5 ENGLISH SOUL in the ninth.
TOTAL WAGERED: $29
Best Bet: Discretionary Marq, Race 1
Longshot: English Soul, Race 9
Heart in Hand
DISCRETIONARY MARQ: Was extremely impressive in defeat in his debut, when he rallied from 10 lengths back to miss by just a neck. That sort of trip is uncommon for debuting runners, and any improvement off of that performance would make him very tough to beat; HEART IN HAND: Is well-bred and boasts some strong workouts ahead of his debut, including a turf bullet last month on the training track. Linda Rice’s barn is firing on all cylinders here; SPEIGHTFUL KITTEN: Showed speed in his first start off a long layoff, when he faded to fifth behind eventual stakes winner Crawdaddy. He was third at this route last summer and figures to be prominent early.
North Eight Street
Easy Way Out
ISOTOPE: Takes a small class drop second off a brief freshening for a barn that’s due to get going. Her win two back was very impressive, and she could sit a dream trip rating just off the pace; NORTH EIGHT STREET: Ran an improved race when dropping to this level last time out. She was second after setting the early pace, and while she hasn’t won in a while, a repeat of that effort would make her competitive here; EASY WAY OUT: Merits respect if you can find a reason to toss the last-out effort. She takes a big drop, and while a return to form would make her tough, that clunker in her lone local start leads me to go elsewhere on top.
A Fleet Attitude
A FLEET ATTITUDE: Ran into two stakes-quality horses last time out at Parx. That form sometimes has issues traveling north, but note that he won two back at Belmont off a long layoff against similar-quality foes to what he’ll face here; RODRIGUEZ ENTRY: I prefer MARRIEDTOTHEMUSIC, who loves Saratoga and has spent most of his career running against better horses. He may not be quite the horse he was in 2014 or 2015, but he should be prominent early; CAUTIOUS GIANT: Became the answer to a great trivia question when his shoe got caught in Gun Runner’s tail during the Whitney. He cuts back to his preferred distance, and it’s worth noting that he’s knocked heads with some top sprinters during his career.
CLEO: Drops down in class off of a race that was rained off the turf. That’s a throw-out, and I think you can toss the race two back as well, since it came off a 10-month layoff. She chased eventual Grade 1 winner Dream Dancing here last summer, and I think she wakes up today; BIXBY LOU: Was claimed by Linda Rice last time out and tries the turf for the first time. I love when trainers reach in with a plan in mind, and she may wind up on the lead in this spot; AIFE: Has run two OK races against straight maidens at Monmouth. She could sit a nice trip just off the pace beneath one of the top riders on the circuit.
HONOR UP: Didn’t run terribly in his debut, when he was fourth behind a well-meant Chad Brown trainee. He should like the added distance here, and this barn’s runners tend to improve with experience; BIG GEMMY: Was bet in his debut last month, but got off to a horrible start. He did salvage fifth that day, and the winner came back to win a state-bred stakes race Friday; MANGO M: Was a $250k auction purchase and has been working very well lately ahead of his debut. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because Shug McGaughey’s horses usually need a race or two to get going.
Hot and Heavy
HOT AND HEAVY: Seems to be the only true speed horse in this field, and this kind of horse is very dangerous on the inner turf. He exits a stakes race at Monmouth and should appreciate the class drop; THIRSTY ACTOR: Is 2-for-2 since switching to the lawn, with both wins coming at Monmouth. This is a class test for him, but he’s done nothing wrong on this surface to date; CANDY ASSET: Won on debut for Todd Pletcher in April at Gulfstream. This is a very different kind of turf course, but this barn can never be ignored.
FIRE KEY: Thumped state-bred company earlier this month at this route, and in fact hasn’t run a bad race sprinting on turf. There’s some speed signed on, and this filly should sit a perfect stalking trip; QUALITY TIME: Makes her U.S. debut and gets Lasix for the first time. She hasn’t run in more than a year, but she was fourth in a Group 3 overseas last spring, so talent is certainly present; ORECCHIETTE: Set a fast early pace at this route two weeks ago and hung on for third money. She won’t be alone on the front end, but of the likely frontrunners in here, I prefer her the most.
SNAP DECISION: Has not run a bad race this year and comes in off a fourth-place finish in a Grade 2. That race featured some of the best 3-year-old turf horses on the east coast, and this is certainly a softer spot for a horse that’s got plenty of talent; HOLIDAY STONE: Was beaten just a length last time out in a similar stakes race at Belmont. He’s another that’s knocked heads with some tough runners, and he was beaten just a half-length in the Grade 3 Transylvania this past spring at Keeneland; BLIND AMBITION: Won a stakes race going shorter earlier this met. He did win going two turns on grass three back, but it’s worth noting he had a dream trip that day, one he likely won’t get in this spot.
Lady of Miracles
BLUE ATLAS: Needs luck to draw in, but will be tough to beat if he does. He found two turns to be too far last time out, and the horse that ran second there came back to graduate on Friday; LADY OF MIRACLES: Was a good second at this route in her debut behind a stakes-placed runner. There may not have been much else in that field, but improvement is logical at second asking despite the challenging post; ENGLISH SOUL: Is bred up and down for turf and has worked well here for a smaller barn that’s tasted some success this summer. She may want even longer, but anywhere close to her 15-1 morning line odds could be a considerable overlay.