Once each summer, an army of Scots attacks the track, bringing with it loud noises, plenty of liquid encouragement, and several hangers-on who somehow become part of the loosely-organized chaos that ensues. Today is that day, and this entry acts as fair warning to Saratoga-area establishments that they are, in fact, on the warpath.
Tagging along with them is at least one bystander who may very well wind up requiring swift corrective action. If you see a man stuck in a locked cage being forced to listen to “Hotel California” on a constant loop, it’s a safe bet that he has either reminded everyone he is the four-time club champion at Copake or that he is threatening to begin running golf tournaments again. If the latter scenario ensues, everyone who reads this has my permission to go yell at him.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: For the fourth day in a row, we were washed out of our action when a race was taken off the turf. Thankfully, the weather forecast for the next few days looks encouraging (knock on wood).
FRIDAY’S PLAY: My action comes in the 10th, the Albany Stakes for state-bred 3-year-olds. #2 BANKIT was nearly my best bet of the day, as I think he’ll get a perfect setup going a two-turn distance he’s shown to like. In addition to a $20 win bet, I’ll play him in $5 exactas above #7 NOT THAT BRADY and #9 DOUPS POINT.
TOTAL WAGERED: $30
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BEST BET: Offering Plan, Race 9
LONGSHOT: Veterans Beach, Race 6
#1 DEEPLY ANALYTICAL: Fetched $270,000 at auction, which is remarkable considering she doesn’t have much of a pedigree. She’s worked consistently for Chad Brown and merits respect in her debut; #7 JEN’S BATTLE: Tries turf for the first time and is bred to love it. She has an experience edge on most of this field and comes in off a recent bullet drill; #2 MOANA’S TALE: Is by Bayern, whose first foals have hit the ground running. This barn has done great work this summer, but its track record with debuting runners is a bit spotty.
JERKENS ENTRY: #1 KLICKITAT just missed off of a long layoff earlier this meet. He could take a step forward in his second start off the bench, and stablemate #1A OVERLAND looms large if this is moved to the dirt; #4 WAYNES FOOTSTEPS: Exits the same race as my top pick and also makes his second start off a long layoff. Luis Saez sees fit to ride back, which is a plus; #5 JIMMY JAZZ: Exits a different race than most of these runners, and was last seen running second downstate at Belmont. He figures to be running well late and would benefit from a fast pace.
Behind the Couch
Wait a Minute
#2 NEWLY MINTED: Stretches out in distance for the first time, but the presence of damsire Bernardini inspires some confidence. She’s beaten many of these runners in the past, and a return to dirt should be a welcome one; #5 BEHIND THE COUCH: Hasn’t run a bad race in four career starts and has a pedigree that says she’ll love two turns. Her tactical speed is a plus, as is the arrival of jockey Jose Ortiz; #4 WAIT A MINUTE: Wired a field at this level going two turns at Finger Lakes and seems to have woken up with added distance. This seems like a tougher spot, but she’ll be prominent early and could hang on for a piece of it.
#4 LORD CAMDEN: Showed some late interest in his debut on turf and comes to dirt for his second career start. He has an experience edge over most of these and is bred to get better with seasoning; #8 SCILLY CAY: Has some strong works ahead of his debut, most notably a swift five-furlong move last week. This isn’t the strongest spot for the level, and he may be good enough to win right away; #9 THREE JOKERS: Is bred to be a good one and also comes in off of a flashy drill. This barn’s horses sometimes need a race to get going, but if he runs to the pedigree, he’s got a big shot.
#1 FIFTY FIVE: Drops back into the state-bred ranks after finishing a close second in a Grade 3 event. She’s won several races at this level, and anything resembling her recent races would make her tough; #2 ENGLISH SOUL: Has plenty of speed and won’t be panicked if this race gets switched to the dirt. She’s run well twice against open company this season and will be prominent early on; #6 MUNCHKIN MONEY: Has won three of her last five and takes another crack at my top pick, who has defeated her several times. She’ll likely be going well late and could absolutely snag a piece of this.
Bassman Dave (MTO)
#11 VETERANS BEACH: Draws a terrible post for the second time in a row, but could very well get the setup he wants. There’s lots of speed signed on, and he’s one of a few that figures to be running well late; #4 RED ZINGER: Has run well twice at this meet, including last time out when he was second in his turf debut. He doesn’t need the lead and could sit a strong stalking trip; #12 CALL ME HARRY: Drew off impressively earlier this meet and tries winners for the first time. The post is a killer, but perhaps he’s good enough to negotiate a trip from there.
My Italian Rabbi
#5 FIERCE LADY: Likely wasn’t 100% when beaten a nose earlier this meet. She’s worked three times since that defeat and should be considerably sharper in this spot; #6 MY ITALIAN RABBI: Sprang the upset in the Stillwater, which doubled as her second win in as many starts. The outside post is a plus, and the extra half-furlong shouldn’t be an issue; #3 TIME LIMIT: Lost all chance in the Stillwater when she stumbled badly at the start. Her debut was very good, and if she runs back to that, she could be a contender at a price.
Sky of Hook
#8 SKY OF HOOK: Has rallied in both of his prior starts and beat a number of these runners in the Rick Violette. This barn doesn’t always work horses quickly, so that sharp five-furlong drill is notable; #3 CITY MAN: Debuted with a nice win in an off-the-turf event earlier this summer. His most recent work was a bullet, and he’s bred to improve with added distance; #7 CLEON JONES: Came out of left field (great line, Larry) to graduate here last month. Further improvement could be in the cards as he makes his stakes debut for a strong barn.
#3 OFFERING PLAN: Comes back to the state-bred ranks after being beaten just three lengths in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple. He’s winless this year but could get a perfect trip well behind what figures to be a very fast early pace; #8 DOT MATRIX: Has won five of nine starts since going to the Brad Cox barn nearly two years ago. Joel Rosario has signed on to ride, and he’s another that will likely be doing his best running late; #7 VOODOO SONG: May be going the wrong way but hasn’t tried state-bred competition in a long time. He may have to work hard to get the lead, but perhaps the class drop will wake up this Grade 1 winner.
Not That Brady
#2 BANKIT: Looks like the class of this field, and I’m surprised he’s not favored on the morning line. There’s plenty of speed signed on, and he figures to be running well late over a track he’s proven to like very much; #7 NOT THAT BRADY: Has shown lots of early zip and was second behind my top pick last time out. He was beaten just a head in the Grade 3 Withers earlier this year and he could get brave if he’s left alone on the lead; #9 DOUPS POINT: Has burned plenty of money as the beaten favorite in his last three starts. However, he could sit a nice stalking trip, and such a journey would give him first run on tiring pace-setters at a bit of a price.
The Happy Giant
#2 WACKY PAL: Drops into the maiden claiming ranks after being beaten less than two lengths here earlier in the meet. He’s got plenty of early zip and is a big threat to wire this group; #9 THE HAPPY GIANT: Is another running against maiden claimers for the first time. He’s been one-paced in his prior turf efforts, but those have come against much better groups than what he’ll face here; #10 MR. VINCENT: Misfired thanks to a troubled trip last time out and is wheeled right back for a barn that has had success with similar stock. His race two back wasn’t bad, and a repeat could put him right there in a wide-open finale.