Breaking news from Northern California: An army of ducks has escaped captivity and has taken over part of the grandstand at Golden Gate Fields. In a Friday press conference, one of the ducks said this was a revolt against a leader who took a trip to Saratoga without planning to bring back souvenirs for his friends.
While denying that the beloved Saratoga Goose provided any inspiration, the ducks have stated that if their leader is not at his post come mid-August, their conquests could extend to the Northern California fair circuit, Grants Pass, and possibly even a casino or two in Reno. If any of you see or hear this leader in your travels, please ensure that this message is received. Additionally, if he has not bought himself or his father a copy of The Pink Sheet, guilt-trip him into doing so.
FRIDAY’S RESULTS: Our Pick Four play was cancelled due to races coming off the turf. What was left were the doubles to Lotta Ott, who was shuffled back a bit early and checked in fourth. As such, we dropped $12.
SATURDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on the 10th race and attempt to extract some value out of my best bet of the day. That’s #5 PAYNE, who I’ll key in $5 exactas on top of #4 UBER KIRK, #7 RULER OF THE NILE, and #8 HERSH. Additionally, I’ll play $5 doubles that start there and use #7 PROGNOSTICATION and #8 PATRIOT DRIVE in the finale.
TOTAL WAGERED: $25
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BEST BET: Payne, Race 10
LONGSHOT: Kazmania, Race 7
She’s Not Bluffing
Win the Shake
#10 SHE’S NOT BLUFFING: Took a big step forward when she won by daylight last time out at Belmont. She tries winners for the first time, but this doesn’t hit me as a great field for the level; #5 WIN THE SHAKE: Likely needed her most recent start off of a four-month layoff. She showed some potential in two starts earlier this year at Aqueduct and adds blinkers for this event; #9 WARM: Takes a big drop in class after showing enough to try stakes company earlier this year. If she channels her Tampa form, she’ll be tough, but the drop is large enough that it raises eyebrows.
Mz Seb Pat
#3 MIKE’S GIRL: Did everything but win when second at this level last time out at Belmont. She figures to be the main speed, and the cutback to 5 1/2 furlongs could be what she needs to find the winner’s circle; #2 PRISONER’S DILEMMA: Drops in for a tag for the first time and should relish the class relief. Her race two back at Aqueduct was very good, and a repeat of that effort would make her a major player; #9 MZ SEB PAT: Has run well at this level twice this season and should be moving well late. The post position is a concern, but they should be going pretty quickly early on, which could help.
By Your Side
#5 BY YOUR SIDE: Prevailed in a blanket finish at first asking at Churchill, and that race came back fine figures-wise. The outside post should be a big help, and it could ensure a perfect stalking trip; #3 CUCINA: Rallied in the slop to graduate last time out and may very well be favored here. He’s hinted at talent, but the slop may have moved him up, and such conditions may not be present here; #4 TOMATO BILL: Graduated at first asking at Delaware Park and sports a series of recent five-furlong drills here. He seems like the main speed, but this is a much tougher field than what he faced first time out.
#6 ZYRAMID: Showed plenty of speed in his debut, when he was third behind a next-out winner. His experience should help him, and it’s tough to imagine him being outsprinted early; #3 IRKED: Has worked well ahead of his debut and merits respect at a bit of a price. He’s by War Front, and his dam and second dam both won stakes races as 2-year-olds, so it wouldn’t be stunning if he was ready to run right away; #1 HIGH TIDE: Debuts for Pletcher and Velazquez and sports several solid local workouts. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s due to the rail draw, which isn’t ideal for a first-time starter.
#7 TURF WAR: Gets a tepid nod in what hit me as a confounding turf sprint. Her form overseas was fine, and Europeans getting Lasix in American debuts are always worth a look, especially when they run for powerhouse connections like these; #2 PAPER CLIP: Was sharp in victory last time out at Churchill and faces winners for the first time here. She’s improved in each of her four career starts, and she’ll likely show speed from her inside post; ENTRY: Of the coupled runners, I prefer #1A NOBLE FREUD, who’s won here before. She’s another with early zip, but the layoff is a significant concern. DIRT SELECTIONS: SINWAAN, NOBLE FREUD, OUR CIRCLE OF LOVE.
#4 ENFORCEABLE: Has run reasonably well in two sprints and gets two turns, which he’s bred to love. He’s a full brother to multiple graded stakes-winner Mohaymen, who did his best work going long, and with his 300 turf Tomlinson rating, the surface shouldn’t be a problem; #3 FIELD PASS: Rallied to finish second in his debut at Churchill despite a slow early pace. The pace situation is unclear here as well, but improvement is logical at second asking; #2 DECORATED INVADER: Fetched $200,000 at auction and sports a solid series of local drills ahead of his unveiling. This barn isn’t necessarily known for precocious 2-year-olds, but he’s bred to go long, which should help. DIRT SELECTIONS: ENFORCEABLE, GHOST OF THE MAMBO, PLETCHER ENTRY.
#8 RED ZINGER: Cuts back in distance after fading to sixth in his first try against winners. He’s been firing bullets over the Oklahoma track, and this six-furlong trip seems like the one he wants; #7 LUTSKY: Makes his first start for new trainer Jorge Navarro and has shown early zip in the past. Navarro can move horses up with the best of them, and the presence of Irad Ortiz, Jr., can’t be ignored; #3 KAZMANIA: Merits a look in the exotics at a big price. He was third at this level downstate in his first start since January and should be running well late.
Miss You Blues
#6 PEACEFUL: Missed the break in her debut at Monmouth, but still rallied to finish a good second. She doesn’t seem to catch a strong field for this level, and any step forward under Castellano would make her tough; #7 FIRST WAVE: Is bred up and down for turf and ran OK when second in an off-the-turf event back in May. This is likely what she wants to do, and she may be good enough to overcome the outside post; #5 MISS YOU BLUES: Adds blinkers after checking in third at this level at Belmont. She was wide last time out, and the slight cutback in distance could work to her advantage.
#2 RUSHING FALL: Has lost just once in nine career starts, and this trip should hit her right between the eyes. She has plenty of speed, but doesn’t necessarily need the lead, which could come in handy given the speed directly to her outside; #6 HOMERIQUE: Went 2-for-2 at Belmont after shipping in from Europe and certainly merits respect. She overcame slow early paces in both of those events, and if there’s any hesitation here, it’s only because she may want a hair longer than she’ll go here; #4 SISTERCHARLIE: Comes back off a long layoff to get her campaign started in a race she won a season ago. The break is a major concern, as is the likely pace scenario. At her best, she probably wins, but if there’s ever a spot to go against her, it’s now.
Ruler of the Nile
#5 PAYNE: Has yet to run a bad race, and was most recently second behind the classy Rowayton in a swiftly-run allowance at Belmont. He’ll be running well late in a race with plenty of speed signed on, which could make him very tough; #4 UBER KIRK: Has run four solid races in a row and seems to be hitting his peak as a 4-year-old. His win two back going a mile was solid, and he’s another that will be making one run as they turn for home; #7 RULER OF THE NILE: May not have lived up to the $1 million price tag he hammered for back in 2017, but he’s won three of his last four starts and has shown plenty of early zip. He won here last summer, and I think he’s one to use in the exotics at a big price.
Shareholder Value (MTO)
#7 PROGNOSTICATION: Has not missed the board in four local starts and almost certainly needed his last-out clunker off of a long layoff. He takes a big drop in class and looms large in this spot; #8 PATRIOT DRIVE: Has won two in a row at this level since being moved to the Danny Gargan barn. He’s come to hand over Belmont’s one-turn configuration, but he does have a two-turn turf win to his credit from early-2018 at Fair Grounds; #11 BATTLE OF BLENHEIM: Held on last time out after making a big middle move in a race without much early speed. The post position is unfortunate, but his best could very well be good enough. DIRT SELECTIONS: SHAREHOLDER VALUE, CONQUEROR, GRAY SKY.