It’s hard to believe, but after the conclusion of Monday’s card, we’ll only have six days of racing left at Saratoga before everyone packs up and heads back to Belmont. Part of the joy of Saratoga is its nature as a boutique meet, and it’s why serious racing fans are not at all crazy about the prospect of extending the Spa schedule even further. Having said that, it’s tough to see the meet wind down, especially given the weather that battered upstate New York for most of it.
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: I had the right idea going against Parauari, but picked the wrong middle-priced horse. Zorzor never fired, so we dropped $30.
MONDAY’S PLAY: My action focuses on the sixth race. With speed as good as it’s been on turf lately, I need to key #4 DR. SHANE, who’s owned by fellow Pink Sheet handicapper Dan Feiss (though I like Dan, my feelings about the horse are based on his early zip, not his owner!). I’ll put $5 on him to win and place, and also key him in $3 exactas above and below #1 NEW YORK SONG, #3 STOLEN PISTOL, and #6 BAM BAM BLU.
TOTAL WAGERED: $28
Best Bet: Klaravich entry, Race 3
Longshot: Rose’s Vision, Race 8
#5 WOODBURY: Was second behind a next-out stakes winner in the slop last month. I’m taking a stance that the race he comes out of is stronger than the one the other top contenders in here exit; #1 JUST RIGHT: Took a step forward when second last time out after pressing a fast pace. He’s got enough speed to establish inside position for formidable connections; #3 RED ZINGER: Was a nose behind my second selection last time out and was a bit one-paced that day. He ran like a horse that wants more ground, and he gets an extra furlong in this event.
Midnight Tea Time
#5 SARGEANT DRIVE: Was beaten just a length going a mile and a quarter last time out and is bred up and down for the even-longer journey he’ll travel here. He’s by Tapit and out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, and he looms large; #9 MIDNIGHT TEA TIME: Has run a few OK races going longer and runs for new trainer Joe Sharp, who’s enjoyed a solid meet. He may need some pace, but his best effort could win this; #4 WINTER UNION: Has improved since going to the turf and has a pedigree that implies he’ll get this distance. DIRT SELECTIONS: ALKHAATAM, CHATEAU, SARGEANT DRIVE.
KLARAVICH ENTRY: #1 SUPERCOMMITTEE and #1A MERGER ARBITRAGE could both win this. The former ran well in a similar race earlier in the meet, while the latter drops down coming off the bench for Chad Brown; #4 MAMBO DANCER: Was rated far off the pace last time out but made up some ground before running out of gas. She could improve if she’s a bit more forwardly-placed; #2 BIG MISCHIEF: Debuted running third at Monmouth Park on dirt, but has a pedigree that hints she could be a turf horse. She could improve at second asking for the top trainer and jockey at the meet.
Eye Luv Lulu
#1 WEEKEND HIDEAWAY: Loves Saratoga and won a state-bred stakes race earlier in the meet over several of these foes. He’s got plenty of speed and boasts a big recent workout over this strip; #2 EYE LUV LULU: Has plenty of early speed and figures to be the main threat to my top pick. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because of his 0 for 5 record in upstate New York; #4 CELTIC CHAOS: Would certainly benefit from a speed duel should one arise, but he seems to have regressed from his 2017 form. Still, given the pace scenario, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him run on late for a piece of it.
#2 MOBRIDGE: Has had lots of success at this level and makes his first start for new trainer Danny Gargan. He’s never finished off the board in three local starts and is reunited with Jose Lezcano, who piloted him to his two scores last year; #3 VINCENTO: Was run down in an off-the-turf event two weeks ago and returns to his preferred surface. He beat my top pick two back at Belmont and could conceivably do so again in what hit me as a two-horse race; DIPRIMA ENTRY: I prefer #1A PECULIAR SENSATION, who has plenty of early speed and topped allowance foes two back at Belmont. The inner turf can be very kind to horses with zip, and he’ll be a price.
Bam Bam Blu
New York Song
#4 DR. SHANE: Comes back to his preferred surface and should put his early speed on display. This isn’t an easy spot, but aggressive rider Carmouche should get him involved early (good luck to owner/fellow Pink Sheet handicapper Dan Feiss!); #6 BAM BAM BLU: Made it two in a row in his turf debut last time out for a very strong barn. He has tactical speed but doesn’t necessarily need the lead to run well, which is a plus; #1 NEW YORK SONG: Was second in a tough event at this route last month. The rail isn’t ideal for his running style, but it’s not impossible for him to work out a trip and come running late.
Sal the Turtle
#5 RIFF RAFF: Was an impressive winner last time out and was claimed out of that event by George Weaver, who doesn’t claim many runners. This is a tough race for the level, but he could be sitting on a big effort; #3 SAL THE TURTLE: Took a big leap forward last time out, when he romped over much weaker foes and earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure. He had a perfect trip that day, but there’s also a chance he’s returned to his early-2017 form; #1 SUMMER BOURBON: Hasn’t won in a while but has a big recent work and adds blinkers today. It’s odd that he’s never run with them before, and they could get him more involved early on.
#5 ROSE’S VISION: Is 2 for 2 going two turns on turf, and that’s the route he gets here. He could sit a stalking trip off of several horses that need the lead, and that seems like exactly what he wants; #10 PRIORITIZE: Rallied to beat optional claiming foes earlier in the meet and will get plenty of speed in front of him. I’m not crazy about the post, but he could still be getting better given his relative lack of experience; #3 COMBATANT: Has been running against stakes foes to this point in the season and should relish the class relief. His plodding style may not be ideal for the inner turf, but with a fast pace almost certainly assured, he could clunk up for a piece of it.
Surge of Pride
#12 COREY SCORES: Needs some luck to draw in off the AE list, but will be tough if she gets to run. She debuted with a third-place finish in a live race that’s already produced a next-out winner; #4 SURGE OF PRIDE: Debuts for Linda Rice, who can certainly win with turf sprinters. She’s a daughter of Kantharos, whose offspring often have an affinity for the grass; #6 SHORT POUR: Is bred up and down for turf and debuts for a trainer that’s had a lot of success with firsters this year. Most of it has been with dirt horses, but this one seems well-meant.