If you read Saturday’s Pink Sheet, you saw a cool article on fellow handicapper Sam Hollingsworth. He’s a very good horseplayer, but an even better guy that puts up with almost-daily requests from some annoying dude based in California to pass along the pick box. If you missed the article (written by this year’s hardest-working man in show business, Stan Hudy), it’s up on The Saratogian’s website.
SATURDAY’S RESULTS: Engage looked to be in perfect position turning for home in the Amsterdam, but Promises Fulfilled had something left in the tank, repelled the charge, and turned the $20 double ticket into confetti. One note: While California Swing ran second in the second race, that $5 win-place bet was cancelled when the race was switched from turf to the main track. If you’re curious, I would’ve made a whopping 75 cents on that wager.
SUNDAY’S PLAY: From a betting standpoint, this hits me as an excellent card. I’ll focus on the late Pick Four, where I’ll attempt to get a pair of singles home to finish off the program. My 50-cent ticket starts in the seventh, and is as follows: ALL with 1,2,5,6,10,11 with 4 with 1. I’ll also play a cold $5 double linking my two singles (Wow Cat in the ninth, Powerstroke in the tenth).
TOTAL WAGERED: $32
Best Bet: Wow Cat, Race 9
Longshot: Uno Mas Modelo, Race 7
#5 LOU’S CHARDONNAY: Hated turf last time out and comes back to dirt while also taking a steep drop in class. It’s always tough to predict if Churchill form will travel, but the recent local workout inspires some confidence; #6 SUMMER PUNCH: Has never missed the board on dirt and recently drilled a weaker field downstate. She’s been off for a bit, but this barn connects at a high rate with similar returning runners; #7 PROMISES BROKEN: Hasn’t won in a while, but cuts back in distance and takes a slight class drop third off the layoff. She’s shown ample early speed in the past, and the cushy outside post is a plus.
#2 MIKO: Is one of many in here exiting a strangely-run race on July 4th. I’m not crazy about the race itself, but this one seems like the lone early speed in the field. She won over this turf course last year and could sit a picture-perfect trip; #10 ULTIMATE CAUSE: Stretches back out in distance after finishing fourth against better turf sprinters downstate. The outside post isn’t idea, but John Velazquez getting the call should mean she gets a chance at an OK trip; #1 LADY LOVE: Found her form at Tampa this past winter/spring and ran on well in her first start for Charlton Baker. The lack of early speed hurts, but when this barn gets horses going in the right direction, they tend to stay on the correct path.
Leah’s Dream (MTO)
#8 FACTORING: Won two in a row before a wide trip last time out. She finished fourth behind a next-out winner that day, and if this race stays on turf, she strikes me as the horse to beat; #7 GLOSSY: Beat weaker foes pretty easily last time out and is another that would benefit from a fast pace. She’s worked well downstate and is certainly a major player; #6 TEXAS MUSIC: Seems like the main pace presence here off a win at Presque Isle. Ricardo Santana, Jr., has gotten off to a strong start this meet, and she could get brave on the front end. DIRT SELECTIONS: LEAH’S DREAM, TEXAS MUSIC, PARANOIA.
Into the South
#6 ALWAYS SHOPPING: Debuts for Todd Pletcher and is bred to be a good one. She’ll be ridden by John Velazquez and has worked fairly well leading up to her career debut, where she’ll likely be a short price; #3 INTO THE SOUTH: Was disqualified from second in her career debut at Churchill Downs, but unlike #1 MERADA (who exits the same race), she’s worked well since then. Improvement is logical at second asking; #5 ROTATE: Is very intriguing, even though Bill Mott runners often need a race or two to get going. She’s worked very well leading up to her unveiling and could be a square price.
#4 ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: Fetched $280,000 at auction despite a modest pedigree and has worked well ahead of her debut. She boasts an impressive 336 turf Tomlinson rating and should love the grass for live connections; #10 TAPPING COLORS: Has had her chances, but stands a big chance here if she can repeat her efforts downstate. She’s been second at this level twice in a row and should be coming late; #7 MY BRONX TAIL: May have bounced last time out after a strong effort two back off the layoff. She has plenty of zip and could show the way early. DIRT SELECTIONS: ANAZARA, FACE IT, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY.
Strike Me Down
#5 STRIKE ME DOWN: Gets my top pick in an event that hits me as the best betting race of the day. He had a nightmare trip in the Queen’s Plate, but still rallied to finish fourth behind Wonder Gadot, one of the top 3-year-old fillies in North America; #12 OWN AGENDA: Graduated last time out and tries winners for the first time, but is bred to love the turf and should be pretty prominent early. With that in mind, he strikes me as an overlay at anywhere close to his 15-1 morning line price; #4 PRIORITIZE: Won at first asking going two turns at Gulfstream, which is never easy to do. His most recent race wasn’t bad, and it came in a fast race for the level, so there’s reason to believe there’s talent here. DIRT SELECTIONS: RUGBYMAN, PONY UP, PROVEN RESERVES.
Uno Mas Modelo
LERNER ENTRY: I prefer #1 RUNAWAY LUTE, although #1A HONORABLE TREASURE could win, too. The former earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure in a big win over state-breds, and a repeat performance would make him a major player in this wide-open event; #8 UNO MAS MODELO: Cruised home at this distance last time out at Churchill, and his record looks much better if you toss the two-turn races. His flexible running style is a plus, and I think he merits a look at a price; #5 HAVE ANOTHER: Missed the break a bit last time out and won two in a row before that effort. He’s 2-for-2 at this distance, and it certainly looks like he’s in career form.
New York’s Finest
Battle in Seattle
#6 NEW YORK’S FINEST: Has not lost in four races at Saratoga, which makes him a must-use in all multi-race wagers. He looked sharp last time out at Monmouth, and he should be prominent early on; #2 BATTLE IN SEATTLE: Just missed when flying late last time out at Belmont, and the ample early speed signed on could set things up for a closer. He’s improved in all three American starts and could keep progressing here; #10 ROCKET HEAT: Is incredibly fast out of the gate and was second in back-to-back stakes races ahead of this event. The outside post hurts, as does the other speed signed on, but it’s tough to ignore him.
#4 WOW CAT: Did not lose in eight starts in her native Chile and has been working very well for Chad Brown. This isn’t a field of pushovers, but all indications are that this filly is the real deal; #7 FARRELL: Has run very well in a pair of high-profile races lately, and she looks like the main speed in this race. It’s likely that she’ll be the one to catch going around the far turn; #6 PACIFIC WIND: Won two in a row before chasing Abel Tasman in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps. Her best race would make her a player here, although it’s fair to question if she’s better around one turn.
#1 POWERSTROKE: Seems like the lone speed, and on the inner turf, that makes him very, very dangerous. He was a good third in his first try at the level, and he may have things all his own way early; #14 SINGAPORE TRADER: Merits a long look if he draws in off the AE list. His races against maiden special weight foes were OK, and his best effort may have come here last summer when he was second behind a talented horse (eventual stakes winner Evaluator); #10 CROSS MULTIPLY: Ran the best race of his career last time out, when he was second at a price downstate. A repeat of that effort gives him a shot, but this is his first try going two turns, which isn’t an easy thing to do.