I was all set to write this week’s edition of “The Dark Day Files” on Justify, Accelerate, and the race for Horse of the Year honors. Unfortunately, something much more important came up when I saw what aspiring journalists at Liberty University are faced with thanks to administrators that are, shall we say, not receptive to the idea of a free press.
As I’ve said in this space in the past, above everything else I’m fortunate enough to do in my professional career, I’m a journalist, and this shook me to my core. If you want to read my thoughts on the matter, head to AndrewChampagne.com, and if you know of a way I can help these young men and women, please let me know.
MONDAY’S RESULTS: Perhaps those young men and women can help me with money management. Lady Love did not fire in the sixth race, and we dropped $32.
WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: This looks like a great card…if the rain stays away. My action focuses on the fifth race, where I’m taking a stand against the likely favorites. Instead, I’ll put $10 to win and place on the entry of #1 BROADWAY BAY and #1A CAUSE I’M ALEX in hopes that we get the 6-1 morning line price.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20
Best Bet: Makin’ Out, Race 7
Longshot: Englehart entry, Race 5
#3 MUTASAAWY: Was a good second against similar company earlier in the meet and won over this course last summer. The distance is a question mark, but he boasts the meet’s top steeplechase rider, who had options here; #1 SURPRISING SOUL: Romped in a Grade 3 when last seen, and it’s clear that this distance should not be a problem. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because of his two clunkers here last year; #6 BOSS MAN: Has plenty of early speed and stretches out for a sharp barn that’s had plenty of success this meet. Mitchell takes off, but this one is a threat to potentially lead from start to finish.
#5 PROMISES BROKEN: Seems best in what appears to be a two-horse race. She didn’t break well last time out, but stayed on well for second and has ample speed in a field that seems light on that quality; #6 SPECIAL RISK: Was claimed out of her last start by Robertino Diodoro, who can move horses up right away. She’s got the talent to win this, but if it rains, note the 0 for 5 mark on wet tracks; #4 CAOIMHE: Merits a look on the bottom of exotics tickets at a price. She comes back to dirt and does her best running over off going.
Achilles Warrior (MTO)
#5 HALLADAY: Showed plenty of speed in his debut, which was rained off the turf. His pedigree says he’ll take to the grass, and it’s good that he came back with a big work August 10th; #7 EGOLI: Has one of the best dam-side pedigrees you’ll see from a 2-year-old turf horse. Her dam was Group 3-placed as a 2-year-old, her second dam was a Grade 2 winner at that age, and this one has a series of strong works for Wesley Ward; #10 STROLL DADDY: Broke slowly in his debut, but rallied soon after the start and was beaten less than three lengths. This is another with a pedigree that screams turf. DIRT SELECTIONS: ACHILLES WARRIOR, HALLADAY, TAPIZARS SECRET.
Hit a Provisional
I Like Your Style
#5 HIT A PROVISIONAL: Came flying late and was beaten just a neck in her debut. This distance is an obstacle to overcome, but it certainly seems like she’s caught a fairly weak field for the level; #7 DANIELLE’S PRIDE: Drops in for a tag after showing flashes of talent against straight maidens. She has every right to wake up on the class drop, and Franco staying aboard is a plus; #6 I LIKE YOUR STYLE: Was up a bit closer last time out in her first try going long, but hung on for third and implied that she’ll like two turns. She gets such a route here, and her tactical speed is a plus.
ENGLEHART ENTRY: While #1 BROADWAY BAY is certainly a contender, I prefer #1A CAUSE I’M ALEX. He came flying late earlier this month at this route, and while this is a class jump, there seems to be plenty of speed signed on to set up for his late kick; #4 MR. BUFF: Has had plenty of chances, but is winless in his last nine outings. He’s shown he can go long, and a repeat of his May 12th effort likely puts him right there, but I’m hesitant to endorse him at his likely short price; #3 TESTOSTERSTONE: Takes a drop in class after chasing significantly better horses for most of the past year. He’s another that will likely benefit from a fast pace, and he moves up on a wet track.
#2 BUSINESS EXPENSE: Generally runs the same race every time out, and that was good enough for a win last time out at Monmouth. The waters are a bit deeper here, but when Chad Brown gets horses on the right track, they tend to stay there; #4 KEEP QUIET: Has lots of back class, but hasn’t won in four starts since returning earlier this year. He’s run up against fast horses, but the barn is ice cold this meet, and that’s a red flag; #8 ZORZOR: Drops in class after misfiring against better horses last time out at Churchill. He won two starts back and could sit a similar trip beneath Florent Geroux. DIRT SELECTIONS: TRUSTWORTHY, ADMIRAL BLUE, SUPER DUDE.
#8 MAKIN’ OUT: Didn’t break well in her debut, but still managed an OK third that day. What I’m most intrigued by are the recent workouts since coming to Saratoga, which are stellar and imply that she’ll take a big step forward; #7 PARLAPIANO: Came back running off a long layoff when third here earlier this month. Franco rides back for Donk, and another solid effort at a bit of a price wouldn’t be a shock; #1 MRS. ORB: Will likely be favored cutting back off a solid effort downstate. However, she hasn’t really shown sprinter-type speed in the afternoons, and that could be an issue given the rail draw.
#5 VORTEX ROAD: Hasn’t run a bad race since last September and returns to her preferred surface here. She’s shown an ability to rate, which could benefit her given the abundance of early speed in this field; #1 BROKEN BORDER: Comes back to the state-bred ranks for Jason Servis, who has enjoyed a stellar Saratoga meet. She’s talented enough to win, but it sure seems like she prefers Belmont’s one-turn configuration; #7 BAREEQA: Is 3 for 4 over this turf course and should be running well late second off the layoff for Steve Asmussen. She’d benefit from a fast pace, and that may materialize.
You’re to Blame (MTO)
#10 CALL PROVISION: Exits a win going long on turf, and his usual race would make him tough to beat. He showed a bit more tactical speed last time out, and he could sit a similar trip here; #6 HARLAN STRONG: Probably went too fast early on in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes, but ran very well two back in the Grade 3 Louisville when pressing a slow early pace. That sort of trip may materialize here, and he could get brave at a price if that happens; #4 FOCUS GROUP: Is undefeated going 11 furlongs or longer in his career and was sharp in victory last month. This is a class test, but the barn must be respected, as does the recent form. DIRT SELECTIONS: YOU’RE TO BLAME, SECURITIZ, EXULTING.
Change of Control
No Limit Babe
The Leeman Dinner
#10 CHANGE OF CONTROL: Has worked well ahead of her debut and draws a cushy outside post for a solid first-out barn. The spotting is aggressive, but not outrageously, and if she runs to her drills, I think she’ll be tough; #2 NO LIMIT BABE: Has shown speed and returns to the dirt, which may be her preferred surface. The class drop into the maiden claiming ranks could also wake her up; #5 THE LEEMAN DINNER: Debuts for Rudy Rodriguez, and offspring of Cairo Prince have done well to this point in the season. This barn doesn’t work horses quickly, so the bullet drill on July 11th jumps off the page.