Two things today. First, let’s all extend a hearty Saratoga welcome to Joe and Natalie Nevills, as well as housemates Nicole Russo and Penelope Miller. You’ll know there are hijinks and/or shenanigans afoot if Joe goes flying through the front door of the home they’re renting in a fashion similar to Jazz from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” This usually means a game of Totopoly (the most intense board game ever conceived) has gone horribly wrong for someone. Pump him full of Big Red Spring water and he’ll likely be fine.
Secondly, news broke Thursday that NYRA will join the list of circuits offering a 20-cent jackpot Pick Six wager. I’m no Pick Six player, so maybe I’m not the best person to comment on this, but I could not hate this move more. Instituting a massive change like this mid-meet is a lousy decision, and given the reported mandatory payouts on August 18th and September 2nd (as tweeted by DRF’s David Grening), there won’t be any time to build up a massive pool. This was a short-sighted slap in the face to an audience racing desperately needs to cater to, and this wager will get none of my betting money.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: Neither horse I used in the fifth race won, and while longshot of the day Lune Lake did outrun her 16-1 odds, she didn’t hit the board. We dropped $26.
FRIDAY’S PLAY: It’s Hall of Fame Day, so it only makes sense that my action revolves around the Grade 2 race named in its honor. It goes as the seventh, and I’ll key #7 GLOBAL ACCESS in $4 exactas above and below #5 CASA CREED and #8 MOON COLONY. Additionally, I’ll use all three of these horses in $4 doubles starting in the seventh that single #2 TOM’S D’ETAT in the eighth (the Alydar).
TOTAL WAGERED: $28
– – – – –
BEST BET: Concrete Rose, Race 9
LONGSHOT: Appealing Briefs, Race 4
Justice of War
Go Get That
#8 JUSTICE OF WAR: Drops in for a tag for the first time and looms large as the likely favorite. He was third in his debut here last summer and seems to have caught a weak field for the level; #6 GO GET THAT: Has shown some speed against better horses and goes out for a barn that’s had some success already this meet. His July 19th work here looks solid; #3 ODIE: Didn’t get off to a great start last time out in the slop and is certainly eligible to take a step forward. He was a good second at this level two back at Keeneland.
Cool as You Like
Promise Me Roses
#3 COOL AS YOU LIKE: Returns to her favorite track and makes her first start for Linda Rice, who has a strong record with new acquisitions. Jose Ortiz hops aboard for the first time, and she’ll likely be prominent early; #1 COVER PHOTO: Ships up from Maryland and drops in for a tag. Her connections thought enough of her to try a stakes race three back, and she’ll be running well late; #6 PROMISE ME ROSES: Is a very tricky read. She was in very good form over the winter at Aqueduct and goes to a barn that’s having a good meet, but she had no excuse last time out against similar-quality opposition.
Light in the Sky
My Sassy Sarah
#3 LIGHT IN THE SKY: Got pinched at the start in her unveiling earlier in the meet. That race was rained off the turf, and provided she gets to run on the lawn, she has every right to run to a pedigree that says she’s a solid grass horse; #7 CAKE: Hammered for $100,000 last August and debuts for Chad Brown. Her 350 turf Tomlinson figure is one of the highest in this field; #9 MY SASSY SARAH: Debuts for a barn that’s due to get going at the meet. She’s by Summer Front and out of a Street Cry mare, so turf should be no problem, and she’s turned in several strong local drills.
#8 WAY EARLY: Hasn’t run since December, but raced in several big spots a season ago. He was second in the Grade 2 Penn Mile, and the most recent workouts indicate he may be maturing as a 4-year-old; #7 APPEALING BRIEFS: Has never finished worse than third in four starts at Saratoga and stretches back out to a two-turn trip, one that should play to his strengths. Jose Ortiz gets the call, and we may get a price; #1 MACAGONE: Makes his second start for Jason Servis, and runs here off of a second-place finish at Monmouth. At eight years old, he may be slightly past his peak, but it helps that the winner of his most recent race has come back to win again.
Chief Know It All
Beyond the Green
#9 PLANET TRAILBLAZER: Has not run poorly in nearly a year and has won five of his last seven starts. He likes Saratoga, and it helps that the last-out winner from his most recent event has since come back to win again; #6 CHIEF KNOW IT ALL: Comes back to the right level after a failed shot for a $32,000 tag. He’s been gelded since his last start, and he beat similar-quality opposition two back at Churchill Downs; #7 BEYOND THE GREEN: Ships in from Finger Lakes for a barn that knows how to win races here. He’s won three of his last four, and we may get a price given the jump in class.
The Green Mo’ster
#7 THE GREEN MO’STER: Drops in class in his first start for a talented young trainer and looms large in this spot. Anything close to the form he showed in his two-back win at Gulfstream would allow him to tower over these; #2 SOULMATE: Prevailed in a slowly-run race last time out at Gulfstream and faces a better field here. However, Wesley Ward knows how to keep horses on the right track, and he could factor into the exotics at a price; #5 BEMMA’S BOY: Hasn’t won in a while but showed improvement when third in his first start for Mike Maker earlier in the meet. Further improvement gives him a big shot to hit the board.
#7 GLOBAL ACCESS: Is a consistent sort that generally runs the same race every time out. He’s run well going two turns before and could appreciate the return to such a route; #5 CASA CREED: Was a close-up third in the swiftly-run Manila Stakes at Belmont. He hasn’t won in a while, but the last-out effort could mean he’s maturing in the latter half of his 3-year-old campaign; #8 MOON COLONY: Faded after setting the pace in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby but is 2-for-2 at today’s one-mile distance. However, both of those wins came over wet turf, conditions he may not get in this event.
#2 TOM’S D’ETAT: Has been running against far better horses for most of the year and will be very tough to beat. He loves Saratoga, and it’s not hard to see his connections using this as a springboard to bigger and better things; #6 CARLINO: Won at this route last year and cuts back after a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont. There’s some speed signed on here, and that could set things up for this one’s late kick; #5 AMERICAN TATTOO: Bounced back from a rough American debut with a win at Belmont in June. He was a Group 1 winner in his native Argentina and could be rediscovering that form.
#5 CONCRETE ROSE: Has emerged as one of the best 3-year-old fillies in the country and seems very tough in the first-ever Saratoga Oaks. The short field should ensure a clean trip, and it would take significant regression on her part for anyone else to win this; #1 OLENDON: Goes to the Chad Brown barn and gets Lasix for the first time. She was bet in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks and was second in a Group 1 at Longchamp two back; #2 HAPPEN: Is one of two invaders shipping from Europe for Aidan O’Brien. She won a Group 3 two back at The Curragh and is another that figures to benefit from first-time Lasix.
#6 RECESS: Was a close-up fourth in her first start for a tag in June. She’s run well going two turns, and Irad Ortiz, Jr., rides back for trainer Todd Pletcher; #7 MRS. ORB: Has had many chances, but came off the bench running when second at this level downstate. Improvement second off the layoff is logical, especially given this barn’s stats with similar runners; #11 FARCICAL: Ran third against straight maidens a few weeks ago at Delaware and is a contender if she draws in off the AE list. Castellano is listed to ride, and she could be running well late.