I haven’t had the time to write many columns this summer, but I posted one Monday that I’m quite proud of. Another piece of turf writing provoked a strong reaction that I haven’t felt in a long time, and what came out was about 1,500 words pertaining to my thoughts on my place in the industry. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out.
Meanwhile, I’ll be spending most of Wednesday in the air traveling northeast. I’ll be at the track Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and if you see me, don’t hesitate to say hi!
SUNDAY’S RESULTS: Larry’s Baby outran her odds, but couldn’t hit the board. We dropped $25 after scratches refunded a double.
WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: This didn’t hit me as the most exciting betting card. I’ll focus on the seventh race and hope to extract value out of the likely favorite, #7 NIC AND ZOE. I’ll play her in $15 exactas above the Chad Brown-trained duo of #5 JAZZIQUE and #6 SELFLESSLY.
TOTAL WAGERED: $30
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BEST BET: Teodoro, Race 1
LONGSHOT: Bareeqa, Race 3
Go Get the Basil
#3 TEODORO: Hasn’t done much wrong since going to the steeplechase ranks and aired by 14 last time out. He faces winners for the first time, but this is far from the strongest race for the level; #6 SOLUBLE: Has hit the board in his last six starts, including all five this season. He’s got tactical speed and could sit a nice trip just off the pace; #2 GO GET THE BASIL: Was second behind a runaway winner earlier in the meet. He hasn’t won in a while, but he’s got seven top-two finishes in 11 starts over fences.
Jump for Joy
#1 JUMP FOR JOY: Has won four of her last six starts and has enough speed to use her inside post position as an asset. The presence of Irad Ortiz, Jr., is a plus, and she’s a logical favorite; #4 MO FLASH: Chased a runaway winner earlier this month and drops in class a bit for this event. She’s in for the tag, which may not be a great sign, but she could appreciate the shallower waters; #5 LE WEEKEND: Hasn’t won since being claimed earlier this year but has tried some tough spots. Most notably, she was third in a $100,000 stakes race at Delaware last month.
#9 WAR CANOE: Was claimed by a hot barn last time out and should move up. She hasn’t raced on firm turf in a while, and if she channels the form she displayed here in 2018, she’ll be tough; #3 BAREEQA: Loves Saratoga and was a deceptively-good third here earlier this month. She didn’t get much pace to run at that day, and she completes a powerful 1-2 punch for the Gargan barn; #5 FETCHING: Returns to turf after her connections took a shot in a stakes race on the main track. This is her preferred trip, and the rider change to Irad Ortiz, Jr., is noteworthy.
#4 INDIAN PRIDE: Debuts off of a series of strong workouts for Chad Brown and looms large. She seems to have found a reasonable spot, and if she runs to the work tab, she may be tough to beat; #8 RAPIDO GATTA: Was second in a race several of these runners exit last month. She showed speed that day, but it’s worth noting Castellano gets off this one to ride my top pick; #3 DOLL COLLECTION: Will get some play because of her pedigree (she’s out of world-class mare Groupie Doll), but she always seems to find trouble. She gets John Velazquez here, though, and a clean trip would almost certainly get her a piece of it.
#12 DECORATED ACE: Looms large despite the terrible post. She’s run well twice at the meet and may have enough speed to clear most of the field going into the first turn; #4 BRONCO SALLY: Hasn’t won since January but wasn’t far behind my top pick last time out. She’s flexible and can run well from a variety of spots in the pack, and Saez stays on; #9 RETRO STREET: Merits a look at a price. She won three races in a row not long ago, and she makes her first start off the claim for a barn that’s won a few races at this stand.
Blame the Cake
#8 BLAME THE CAKE: Was a good second at a price in his debut and adds Lasix for a barn whose horses tend to move forward with experience. The one concern, though, is Castellano hopping off, and he doesn’t have another mount in this event; #4 LORENZEN: Hammered for $205,000 here last summer and has trained well for Mark Casse. The two local works appear sharp, and it wouldn’t be a shock if he was ready to run right away; #9 CRYPTOGRAPHER: Debuts for a barn not known for working horses quickly, yet sports several sharp four-furlong drills ahead of this event. New sire Honor Code was a multiple Grade 1 winner, and it’s encouraging to see Saez aboard.
Nic and Zoe
#7 NIC AND ZOE: Debuts for first-out maestro Wesley Ward and attracts John Velazquez. She exits a stellar gate work last week, and several other drills on the tab indicate that wasn’t a fluke; #5 JAZZIQUE: Is one of two contenders in here trained by Chad Brown. She boasts a strong European pedigree and has every right to be a runner; #6 SELFLESSLY: Is by More Than Ready, one of the top turf sires in the sport. She completes the Brown tag team, and 8-1 certainly seems like way too big a price on a horse from this barn that’s been working well.
#2 DARK MONEY: Aired last time out at Belmont and was claimed by a sharp outfit following that race. This is a step up in class, for sure, but his two most recent races were very sharp; #6 SMILE BRYAN: Fell a neck short against similar foes early in the meet, and this barn has heated up since then. He cuts back in distance and may get more of a pace to run at; #3 HARDCORE FOLKLORE: Rallied to win going away against a weaker group, and has won four of his last six starts. This is the toughest field he’s faced, but he figures to be going well late at a square price.
#2 OUR COUNTRY: Was extremely impressive when breaking his maiden earlier in the meet. He came home very quickly in the last quarter-mile and is proven to like this route of ground; #1 TUGGLE: Tries turf for the first time but is bred to like it. He may be favored after running third in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special, but demand value on a horse trying a new surface and two turns for the first time; #8 FIELD PASS: Has run well twice, including a maiden-breaking score early in the meet. That day’s runner-up came back to win impressively, which flatters him.
Here Comes Meg
#5 WINIFRED J: Was claimed by a sharp outfit last time out and looms large second off the layoff. A step forward seems logical, especially given the presence of leading rider Jose Ortiz; #6 MIKE’S GIRL: Has run second twice in a row at this level and is certainly logical. She didn’t sit her preferred trip last time out and could be dangerous with a cleaner break; #3 HERE COMES MEG: Took a step forward when third at a big price last month. This barn has quietly hit the board with eight of 16 runners this summer, and she may be a big price yet again here.