SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (7/31/19)



I live in Northern California, about 90 miles north of the small city of Gilroy. As you likely already know, the city’s annual garlic festival was rocked by a shooting Sunday afternoon. I was nowhere close to the festivities, but the tragic events have shaken the millions of Bay Area residents that knew someone who was there (or could have been there).

I won’t go political on you here. That’s not what this section is designed for (honestly, even days later, I’m still struggling to understand why this happened, so I don’t know what I’d write in that vein even if I tried). Having said that, keep the city of Gilroy, and its residents, in your thoughts. The garlic festival is their Saratoga, an area’s cultural touchstone that brings people together in a unique atmosphere. Maybe that’s part of why it’s hit me so hard.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS: My Pick Four ticket tried to beat Fooch, who came again to win the third. We dropped $24.

WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on the eighth race, a fascinating turf sprint that does not figure to have a short-priced favorite. I’ll box #3 SHORT POUR, #6 THEATERINTHEROUND, and #10 AILISH in $3 exactas, and I’ll use all three in $4 doubles that start with #2 MASCHA (my best bet of the day) in the seventh.


– – – – –

BEST BET: Mascha, Race 7
LONGSHOT: Downstream, Race 10


Joy of Treasure
Seaside Dancer

#4 JOY OF TREASURE: Came flying late to be beaten a neck against similar-quality foes at Churchill Downs. There’s a lot of early speed signed on here, and that could set things up for her; #8 SEASIDE DANCER: Has won four races in a row since April and makes her East Coast debut for a sharp barn. She figures to have company up front, but it’s safe to say she’s in career-best form; #7 KEOTA: Was claimed by Jason Servis after a wire-to-wire win at Belmont in May. She had a perfect trip that day and beat weaker foes, but anything that goes to this barn must be respected.


She’s Not Bluffing
Movie Score

#8 SHE’S NOT BLUFFING: Was a solid second against similar earlier in the meet and was claimed out of that race by Gary Gullo, who knows how to win with new acquisitions. The outside post is a plus, and Saez rode her to a victory two back at Belmont; #5 MOVIE SCORE: Takes a drop in class to run against non-winners of two after finishing third against straight $25,000 claimers earlier this month. She hasn’t won in a while, but Rosario rides back and she may appreciate the shallower waters; #1 ZANDORA: Showed speed against better last time out and comes back to dirt for Brad Cox. Her lone win to date came on dirt, but this may be a bit short for her.


Risky Mischief
Aubrey Tate
Sister Beauty

#1 RISKY MISCHIEF: Fetched $350,000 at auction last summer and has worked well for a trainer that can get horses ready to go right away. This isn’t an easy spot, but she seems prepared for her debut; #4 AUBREY TATE: Was bet ahead of her planned debut, but was scratched at the gate. Offspring of Bayern look like runners, and her work tab appears pretty sharp; #7 SISTER BEAUTY: Warrants a look in exotics at a price. This barn’s horses often need a race to get going, but she’s worked well at Belmont and attracts Rosario.


Newly Minted (MTO)
Kid Is Frosty

#5 KID IS FROSTY: Took to turf very well against many of these last time out, when she prevailed by a neck at Belmont. Two turns is an unknown, but she’s out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare, which hints that she’ll like the route; #4 SUBSIDIARY: Tries New York-breds for the first time and has run some strong races in the past. She’ll likely be on or near the pace, which doesn’t figure to be fast; #7 NIKO’S DREAM: Was beaten a neck by my top selection last time out and has never run a poor race against state-breds. She’ll likely be running well late, but I’m not sure if the front-runners will be backing up. DIRT SELECTIONS: NEWLY MINTED, SUBSIDIARY, KID IS FROSTY.


Morality Clause
Kit Kat Katie

#9 MORALITY CLAUSE: Has hit the board twice in two career starts and was second last time out at Belmont. The post position is an obstacle, but the experience edge she possesses is notable; #8 KIT KAT KATIE: Was a victim of horrible racing luck last time out when she was caught outside a horse that bolted. Her debut was good, and she’s a contender if she runs back to it; #4 GIRLNTHEYELLOWTAXI: Seems the best-meant of the two Wesley Ward trainees in this race. She’s worked well on dirt at Keeneland, although I question if this event is shorter than she wants to go given her pedigree.


Slam Dunk
Figure of Speech

#4 SLAM DUNK: Fetched $450,000 at auction and has worked very well leading up to her unveiling. These barn’s horses sometimes need a race, but she’s worked like a good one and gets a tepid nod in a wide-open event full of first-time starters; #2 TULANIAN: Has also been working very well for a capable barn and looms large as one of the likely favorites. She hammered for $120,000 last September and could be ready to run; #6 FIGURE OF SPEECH: Debuts for Chad Brown and has worked like a runner. She’s by Into Mischief and out of an Elusive Quality mare, which gives her every right to be precocious.


Stay Fond (MTO)

#2 MASCHA: Makes her American debut for Chad Brown and showed plenty of potential overseas. She was second in a Group 3 last summer, and that race was won by multiple graded stakes winner Homerique; #8 ALTEA: Hasn’t won since 2017, but tackled some tough fields last year and gets some class relief here. Among other efforts, she was second in the Grade 3 Lake George over this turf course; #1 ENGLISH SOUL: Ran a solid second in her seasonal debut last month at Belmont and could improve second off the bench. This isn’t an easy spot, but she won two stakes races last summer and could be improving. DIRT SELECTIONS: STAY FOND, ENGLISH SOUL, SILVER SHAKER.


Short Pour

#10 AILISH: Rallied to top starter allowance foes last time out and is back in with state-breds here. She won at this route last year and should get plenty of pace to run at; #6 THEATERINTHEROUND: Wired a field of claimers going longer last time out, but her game may very well be to sit off the pace. She’s won three of seven and will almost certainly be a square price; #3 SHORT POUR: Almost certainly needed her last start, which doubled as her seasonal debut. Her turf sprint efforts are solid, and if she can rediscover her 2018 form, she could be rolling late beneath Jose Ortiz.


Special Relativity
Talk Veuve to Me
Mr. Al’s Gal

#1 SPECIAL RELATIVITY: Has never lost at Saratoga and sprang a 7-1 upset over her primary rival in this spot last time out. The rail draw may not be ideal, but she overcame it last time out and could be sitting on another big effort; #2 TALK VEUVE TO ME: Came up short when beaten here earlier in the meet, but gets wheeled back pretty quickly for this event. Perhaps mud was her undoing last time, so betting her back isn’t the worst idea in the world; #4 MR. AL’S GAL: Has won half of her 22 career starts and is 3-for-3 at the seven-furlong distance she gets here. This is certainly a class test, but she merits a look in the exotics.


To a Friend

#8 TO A FRIEND: Drops in class after showing speed against straight maidens last time out. She ran pretty well in her debut and may appreciate the class relief in a puzzling finale; #7 DOWNSTREAM: Is another logical part of the early pace, and a horse that could improve second off the bench. John Velazquez hops aboard, and she may be well-meant at a price; #4 MORELIKELYTHANNOT: Is logical based on the class drop and powerhouse connections. However, she’s had plenty of chances, and some of Brown’s droppers this meet have misfired at short odds, so I can’t trust her too much.

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