All meet long, I’ve been waiting for the type of performance from a 2-year-old that leaves my jaw on the floor. Those are the races Saratoga tends to produce, and on Saturday, we saw one when Newspaperofrecord pulled her way towards the front early and had plenty in reserve late. She was geared down in winning by a city block, all while going two turns at first asking (which is never easy to do).
We’ve already seen a handful of incredibly impressive 2-year-olds on the west coast (Instagrand and Roadster, to name two), and I’d been hoping for a similar type of performance at some point from a Saratoga 2-year-old. With all due respect to the ones that won earlier in the meet, I think there’s a big chance Newspaperofrecord may be the best juvenile horse on the grounds.
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: Mo Wheels Up was delayed leaving the gate and never really got into the race. We dropped $30.
MONDAY’S PLAY: My action comes in the sixth, which I think is the best betting race of the day (assuming, of course, that it stays on the turf). My top pick is #9 LADY LOVE, and she’ll be the focus of my action. I’ll put $10 on her to win and place, and I’ll key her in $2 exactas above and below #4 REGAL DAME, #6 LITTLE CODE, and #11 ARCH OF TROY.
TOTAL WAGERED: $32
Best Bet: Diodoro entry, Race 1
Longshot: Last Chant, Race 9
The Queens Jules
DIODORO ENTRY: I prefer #1A MOHICAN, who won two back and drops back in for a claiming tag after a run against starter allowance foes. That said, #1 BENEFACTOR isn’t without a chance, as he’ll likely be prominent early; #7 BELGIAN: Has notched three straight seconds coming into this event, but the most recent one came on a sloppy dirt track. This is more his speed, and he could sit a perfect stalking trip; #5 THE QUEENS JULES: Won two back and has shown enough early zip to be a contender going short. Wesley Ward and John Velazquez team up with this one, and that combination always merits respect.
#10 STAY GOOD: Has worked well ahead of her debut and doesn’t seem to have drawn a stellar field in her unveiling. These are aggressive connections, so debuting her for a tag isn’t too much of a red flag: #9 PUFFIN PATTY: Has shown early speed, and in a field with many horses that haven’t shown an ability to pass others, that could be key. Kendrick Carmouche sees fit to ride, and he’ll likely send this filly out of the gate; #11 WAPPINGER: Was third against similar competition earlier in the meet. This is her second start off a brief freshening, so a step forward isn’t out of the question.
Point to Remember
#5 POINT TO REMEMBER: Loved the added distance last time out, and even though he didn’t win that day, he ran very well. A similar effort will make him the one to beat (likely at a short price); #2 BIG MUDDY: Broke terrible in his debut but somehow managed to rally to finish in a photo for third. He likely got a lot out of that race, and he’s bred to go long; #6 DOMAIN: Was third in the race my top pick exits. He’ll race with blinkers for the first time, and that could get him more involved early (which is good since he must reverse a five-length margin on my top pick from the last-out effort).
Miss Hanna Jo
WARD ENTRY: #1 TIMELY fetched $575,000 at auction and has worked well of late for top first-out trainer Wesley Ward. Her 311 turf Tomlinson figure hints that she’ll love the grass, and it helps that Velazquez has signed on to ride; #6 INTRODUCED: Hammered for $310,000 at auction earlier this year despite a very modest pedigree. She must have worked well at the sale, and the drills since then are certainly consistent; #10 MISS HANNA JO: Has every right to be a strong turf horse. She’s by top turf sire More Than Ready and is conditioned by Chad Brown, but she must negotiate a trip from the outside post (which is never an easy thing to do).
#6 MISSLE BOMB: Has won four in a row and seems to be in career form. He can sit just off the pace, which is very helpful, and he actually drops down in class a bit off of his most recent victory; #4 FOREST BLUE: Tired to run fourth last time out, but cuts back in distance slightly and has back races that fit with this group. He was claimed by Chris Englehart last time out, and he could sit a perfect stalking trip just off the speed; #7 KING KRANZ: Was claimed last time out following an effort that was too bad to be true. He won two in a row at Aqueduct earlier this year, and he’s a contender if he can find that form.
#9 LADY LOVE: Benefits from a race with lots of early speed signed on. She’ll likely sit back and make one big late run beneath Joel Rosario, and the faster they go early, the more this one figures to like it; #6 LITTLE CODE: Was an impressive winner in an allowance race at Monmouth last time out. Like my top pick, she figures to do her best running late, and the presence of Javier Castellano certainly doesn’t hurt; #4 REGAL DAME: Was claimed last time out after running second against a similar bunch downstate. She’s got plenty of speed, and she could be the quickest of the quick going into the first turn. DIRT SELECTIONS: HEXAMETER, REGAL DAME, AIKENETTA.
Picture Day (MTO)
#8 FAIRYLAND: Faded quickly last time out against stakes foes and has been rested since that effort. The recent workouts look sharp, and she may be the one they have to run down turning for home; #1 RUMBLE DOLL: May be past her peak, but she loves this route and should be running well late. She likely needed her race last time out, and I’m expecting a step forward; #4 BLACK CANARY: Did everything but win last time out in an off-the-turf race, where she was a game second. This barn is due to get rolling, and if you toss last year’s Natalma, she hasn’t run a truly bad race. DIRT SELECTIONS: PICTURE DAY, BLACK CANARY, PLAY UNIFIED.
Pat On the Back
#3 TWISTED TOM: Likely needed his 2018 debut, which came off a layoff of nearly nine months. He’s done his best running around two turns, and his perfect record at this distance certainly doesn’t hurt; #1 CONTROL GROUP: Is 2 for 2 at Saratoga and has won a pair of races in a row ahead of this one. He’ll likely show his speed from the rail, and he could dictate terms early on; #7 PAT ON THE BACK: Prevailed in a fast renewal of the Saginaw Stakes at Belmont and stretches out to a two-turn route. I’m a bit skeptical and think he prefers a one-turn trip, but a repeat of the most recent effort puts this one right there in a solid renewal of the Evan Shipman.
Edition Farm entry
#10 LEMON BLITZ: Was second two back against similar company, and such an effort could be good enough in a very confusing finale. That day’s winner came back to win again, and he should relish a return to the turf; #8 LAST CHANT: Has certainly had his chances, but he’s shown early speed, which much of this field does not have. He was second at big odds earlier in the meet, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he goes early and leads the field a long way; EDISON FARM ENTRY: #1 RIENDO drops in for a tag for the first time and is bred to love this distance, while #1A LOCAL EDITION likely needed his debut race and has a right to improve if he draws in off the AE list.