SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (8/18/19)


By the time you read this, The WAVE, a conference my full-time employer puts on, will have ended. As those of you with event experience can attest, putting on a multiple-day conference is no easy feat. In fact, rather than sending stuff a day in advance, I’ve been so wiped that I’ve had to send picks, analysis, and bankroll plays a morning late.

As I sort of said on Twitter, when my time is done, the phrase, “he wrote 1,500 words about Saratoga, went 6-for-10, worked 16 hours at a conference, and danced horribly at a party in front of hundreds of people,” almost certainly won’t make the first few paragraphs of the obituary. However, I feel as though it should be in there somewhere.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: I’ll have action right away. #1 BLESSED HALO won’t be a big price in the opener, but I’ll look to extract some value by playing him in $5 exactas above and below longshots #2 FULLY LOADED and #7 BETTOR BANK ON IT. Additionally, I’ll play $5 doubles that single Blessed Halo and use #3 IVY’S COLLEGE FUND and #6 CLAIRVOYANT LADY in the second.


– – – – –

BEST BET: Blue Prize, Race 9
LONGSHOT: Bettor Bank On It, Race 1


Blessed Halo
Bettor Bank On It
Fully Loaded

#1 BLESSED HALO: Hasn’t won in a while, but comes back to turf in his first start for new trainer Brad Cox, who does very well with new acquisitions. He’s run fairly well against better company in turf sprints; #7 BETTOR BANK ON IT: Gets some class relief after back-to-back starts in stakes company. The cutback in distance should help him, and a repeat of his three-back win at Belmont may be enough to get him a big piece of this; #2 FULLY LOADED: Showed some zip in a pair of stakes races earlier in the meet and takes a big drop in class. He hasn’t won in a while, but the shallower waters could wake him up.


Ivy’s College Fund
Clairvoyant Lady
Riot Worthy

#3 IVY’S COLLEGE FUND: Goes out in search of her fourth consecutive win in her first start off the claim for Robertino Diodoro. She’s a flexible runner with tactical speed, and she’ll likely be favored; #6 CLAIRVOYANT LADY: Drops back into the claiming ranks after a failed experiment against starter allowance foes earlier in the meet. She’s run well at similar levels in the past; #7 RIOT WORTHY: May be rounding back into form. Her second-place finish earlier in the meet was fine, and this will be her third start off of a long layoff.


Americano Girl
In Good Spirits

#7 SHARING: Rallied to be beaten just a neck earlier in the meet and stretches out in distance for a barn whose horses improve with experience. Her pedigree says she’ll love this trip; #1 AMERICANO GIRL: Debuts for Chad brown and has every right to be a runner. She hammered for $700,000 last September at Keeneland and has a steady work tab; #4 IN GOOD SPIRITS: Fetched $200,000 at auction last summer and has a strong turf pedigree. This barn can win with first-time starters, and she may be a square price.


Coffee Crush
East View

#6 COFFEE CRUSH: Comes back to turf after trying stakes foes on dirt. She hasn’t won in a while, but she’s shown speed against far better horses and could appreciate the class relief; #4 MADITA: Makes her American debut after a solid stint in Europe. She placed in three German stakes earlier this year and gets Lasix for the first time; #8 EAST MOON: Was a solid second against similar foes at Churchill last time out. This barn has been firing on all cylinders this meet, and her flexibility and tactical speed should ensure a good trip.



#8 CHAYSENBRYN: Debuts for a barn that can win with firsters at this level and has worked fairly well. She draws a cushy outside post and attracts Jose Ortiz for her unveiling; #5 SHADILEE: Is bred to be a runner and debuts for Todd Pletcher. However, her pedigree says she wants turf, so this hits me as a possible attempt at a dump; #2 WEDONTBELIEVEHER: Was a close-up second in her debut earlier this meet and was claimed out of that race by an aggressive outfit. This spot appears tougher, but her experience edge over most of these could make her a factor.


Mrs. Danvers
Abilene Trail

#4 FINITE: Edged her primary rival in her debut earlier this meet and has every right to improve at second asking. She showed some early speed that day and shouldn’t be bothered by the added sixteenth; #6 MRS. DANVERS: Didn’t have a bad debut, and her trainer is one whose horses tend to need a little time. If there’s hesitation here, it’s because her pedigree says she wants to go even longer; #7 ABILENE TRAIL: Debuts a year after selling for $400,000 and boasts a very solid local work tab. Like my second selection, though, she may want to go even longer given her breeding.


Still Krz (MTO)
New York’s Finest
Mission Command

#4 NEW YORK’S FINEST: Gets one more shot after misfiring earlier this meet. He’s run very well at this route in the past, and this is the weakest group he’s seen in quite some time; #1 MISSION COMMAND: Was left with too much to do late last time out, but still rallied for fourth. His win two back at this level was good, and he should be going the right direction when the real running starts; #5 FEAR: May not have liked the yielding turf last time out, and that was his first race off a brief freshening. He could certainly improve with drier conditions and the class relief he’ll get in this spot.


Righteous Ruby (MTO)
Hit a Provisional

#1 CONNECTIVITY: Romped when dropped in for a tag last time out and makes her first start for Linda Rice, whose track record with new acquisitions is unimpeachable. Her prior connections ran her in a pair of stakes races, so she may still have untapped potential; #10 HIT A PROVISIONAL: Was a tough-luck second in her first start off the bench earlier this meet. She’ll need to work out a trip from a tough post, but further improvement would make her a major player; #3 KEOTA: Comes back to the turf after struggling in a race rained off the grass. She may, however, be best around one turn, as her two-turn efforts look a bit weaker than her races downstate.


Blue Prize
Pacific Wind

#7 BLUE PRIZE: Has been a familiar face in some very strong races in her division and gets significant class relief. She’s picked up checks in all three of her races this year, which were won by top-class distaffers Elate and She’s a Julie; #1 PACIFIC WIND: Hasn’t won in more than a year, but is another that could find the winner’s circle given the drop out of graded stakes competition. She’s a Grade 2 winner that could sit an ideal stalking trip; #3 TWEETING: Ships up from Monmouth Park for a barn that must be respected. She could sit just off a solid pace and get first run going around the far turn.


Take Charge Tina
Moyne Spun

#5 TAKE CHARGE TINA: Is one of many in here that hasn’t won in a while, but her two races for this barn against similar competition have been improved efforts. She led late last time out in her turf debut in what seemed like a strong race for the level; #9 MOYNE SPUN: Had an eventful journey last time out against allowance foes, and it’s telling that Luis Saez opts to ride back. A repeat of her two-back win at Belmont would make her a factor; #11 O’MALLEY: Must find a way to negotiate a trip, but this barn can win with new acquisitions and she was fourth in a stakes race at this route last summer.

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