SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (8/25/19)


BANKROLL: $708.60

About halfway through the card, I had seen and heard about all the Runhappy mentions I could stand. Jim McIngvale is a first-class guy that’s done a lot of good for a lot of people, but at this point, if the best horse he’s ever owned is anything short of the second coming of Mr. Prospector as a stallion, he’ll go down as the most overadvertised sire in the history of the sport.

Because of all of this, I went to Twitter and did something I’ve never done before. I muted the term, which means that I will no longer see any tweets mentioning that horse. This has proven to be a revelation. Now, if we could only mute certain terms from video feeds as we watch them…

SATURDAY’S RESULTS: Travers Day provided one of those “close, but no cigar” cards. My top picks hit the board nine times in 13 races, but only managed three wins. In this section, we dropped $27.50, as the first two win-place plays were both narrowly beaten, Yo Primo went early and stopped, and Mucho Gusto could only manage third despite a solid effort.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: I really like a price in the seventh race, and that’s where I’ll focus all of my action. #4 LARRY’S BABY could take a big step forward at second asking for a trainer whose second-out maidens are running well at a pretty alarming rate. In addition to a $10 win/place bet, I’ll single her in $5 cold doubles that use #5 GYPSUM JOHNNY in the sixth and #7 BULLETIN in the eighth.


– – – – –

BEST BET: Bulletin, Race 8
LONGSHOT: Larry’s Baby, Race 7


Wicked Whisper
Strike Magic
Paolucci entry

#2 WICKED WHISPER: Fetched $500,000 at auction last year and has a series of strong workouts ahead of her unveiling. This barn knows how to win with 2-year-olds here, and she’s a logical favorite; #3 STRIKE MAGIC: Hammered for $200,000 last fall and is bred to be a good one. She’s by Into Mischief, out of a Smart Strike mare, and comes in off a solid five-furlong drill last week; PAOLUCCI ENTRY: #1A WEDONTBELIEVEHER steps up in class, but has run well twice at the meet. The outside draw is a plus, and she could grab a piece of it at a nice price.


Ahead of Plan
Real Money

#7 AHEAD OF PLAN: Tries turf for the first time but is bred to like it. His dam was a stakes-winning turf sprinter, and he’s hinted at some talent in two prior starts on the main track; #5 TENCH: Also tries the grass for the first time, and his 327 turf Tomlinson rating indicates he’ll thrive on the lawn. He figures to be prominent early and could lead them a long way; #3 REAL MONEY: Cuts back in distance a bit after showing speed in several starts downstate. These connections merit respect, but there are stamina concerns here.


Krewe Chief
Tide of the Sea
No Mans Land

#2 KREWE CHIEF: Gets a tepid nod in what hit me as a puzzling race. He hasn’t won in a while, but he’s run well going very long on turf before and should appreciate the stretch-out in distance; #4 TIDE OF THE SEA: Wired a field of maidens at this route and tries winners for the first time. This is certainly a tougher group, but Rosario riding back for Mott inspires some confidence; #6 NO MANS LAND: Threw in a clunker last time out at Laurel, but ran well when third going long here last summer and loses blinkers here. He could be running well late beneath the rider who piloted him to victory three starts ago.


Ragtime Suzy
Wisconsin Night

#7 RAGTIME SUZY: Hasn’t won in a while, but her lone victory came over a fast dirt track, which she’ll likely get here. She’s spent lots of time on turf, but I think she may simply be a dirt horse; #5 WISCONSIN NIGHT: Comes in off a layoff, but is protected by trainer Linda Rice, who exercises a rule allowing a free shot to claimers coming off of long freshenings. That’s usually a sign of confidence, and I need to use her; #3 QUEENDOM: Drops in class second off the bench and had an eventful journey last time out. Improvement is logical in this spot, and she may be a bit of a price.


Leah’s Dream (MTO)
Violent Times

#8 ORIGINATOR: Came back running off the layoff when victorious at this route last time out. She likes Saratoga runs for an astute barn that usually keeps horses on the right track; #6 VIOLENT TIMES: Was a close-up second earlier in the meet and could sit an ideal stalking trip. She led late in her most recent start and is a logical alternative to the likely favorite; #2 ENTHUSIASTIC GAL: Will be doing her best running late for a barn that’s quietly hit the board with nearly half its runners this meet. The faster they go up front early on, the better her chances figure to be.


Gypsum Johnny
Sir Ballantine
Love That Jazz

#5 GYPSUM JOHNNY: Showed some late interest when fourth in his first start off a brief freshening last time out. He defeated similar company two back at Belmont, and Jose Ortiz rides back for a strong barn; #10 SIR BALLANTINE: Takes a big drop after misfiring in a turf experiment last month. Prior to that, he was an OK third against $20,000 claimers, so this $12,500 claiming event is a logical spot; #7 LOVE THAT JAZZ: Chased a runaway winner when third at this level last time out. He hasn’t won in a while, but he’s got tactical speed and comes in off of a recent bullet drill at Finger Lakes.


Las Ramblas
Larry’s Baby

#14 LAS RAMBLAS: Needs lots of luck to draw in, but would be formidable if she gets to run. She’s bred to be a solid turf horse and has been working well for first-time starter maestro Wesley Ward; #4 LARRY’S BABY: Didn’t do much running first time out, but drops in class and adds Lasix for her second start. She’s got a strong turf pedigree, and Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas has won with several second-out maidens here over the past few weeks; #9 YELLEN: Showed speed against straight maidens before fading to fifth in her unveiling. The blinkers come off, and she may have enough speed to clear most of this field from her outside post.


Front Run the Fed

#7 BULLETIN: Stretches out to two turns for the first time but is bred to like this journey. His dam has also thrown Grade 1-winning router Tiz Miz Sue, and offspring of City Zip can certainly route on turf; #1 FRONT RUN THE FED: Overwhelmed a weak group for the level last time out at Belmont and tries stakes company for the first time. This barn must be respected, but his lone two-turn effort to date was no great shakes; #5 PERFORMER: Is one of several in here trying turf for the first time. However, his 329 turf Tomlinson indicates he’ll like it, and he earned a strong 87 Beyer Speed Figure when he broke his maiden last time out.


Meet Me in L A
Mo Gotcha
Tapit Wise

#2 MEET ME IN L A: Was put up last time out against maidens but has already hinted at plenty of talent. He was a close second behind a next-out stakes winner two back, and his pedigree says he’s been begging for two turns; #1 MO GOTCHA: Hasn’t done much wrong with a win and two seconds in three career starts. He exits a pair of classy races downstate, and this seems like a slightly softer spot than what he’s accustomed to; #7 TAPIT WISE: Was a solid second at this level and route earlier this month and could improve in his second start off the layoff. Irad Ortiz has ridden him well in all three prior mounts, and he’s back aboard here.


Cairo Cutie (MTO)
Art Thief
Augusta Moon

#2 ART THIEF: Makes her first start off the claim for George Weaver and will race with blinkers for the first time. The winner of her last race has since come back to win, and she does boast prior two-turn experience; #4 AUGUSTA MOON: Drops in for a tag for the first time and makes sense given her powerful connections. However, it’s not like she exits classy races for the level, and whether or not Monmouth form will travel north with her is anyone’s guess; #1 COUNTENANCE: Was claimed by Steve Asmussen last time out and goes back to the turf. She ran fairly well on it at Tampa against straight maidens, and I do like when a trainer claims a horse and immediately makes a big change like this.

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