I must use this space to comment on the antics of two people who have been very nice to me at various points in my racing career. On Wednesday, Laffit Pincay III and Jonathon Kinchen decided to swap wardrobes, leading to Laffit looking like a tourist (albeit one with hair that is somehow always perfect) and Jonathon looking unusually dapper.
I’m going to stay away from the “who wore it better?” discussion that has ensued. To be blunt, nobody can look good in Hawaiian shirts (sorry, guys). Having said that, it was a witty, clever idea that got a chuckle out of a bunch of horse racing fans, many of whom have the same tolerance for humorous fun as the dearly-departed Grumpy Cat. Well done, gents!
WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: Nic and Zoe got cooked on the front end in the seventh, and we dropped another $30.
THURSDAY’S PLAY: My action comes late in the card. I sincerely hope #6 CRYSTALLE doesn’t go favored in the ninth race (the P.G. Johnson), as I think she’s the horse to beat. In addition to a $10 win/place bet, I’ll single her in $5 doubles that end with #5 EIGHTY SEVEN NORTH, #9 MOLLY’S NIGHTHAWK, #12 GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY, and #13 IDEATIONAL.
TOTAL WAGERED: $40
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BEST BET: Business Cycle, Race 5
LONGSHOT: Stunning Beauty, Race 6
#4 MORE GLITTER: Hammered for $340,000 last September at Keeneland and looms large for Pletcher and Velazquez in her debut. She boasts several strong works and seems ready to run; #12 PLAYTONE: Was second at a price in her debut earlier in the meet. She was a bit green that day, may improve at second asking, and merits consideration if she draws in off the AE list; #5 IRISH DANZING: Sold for $120,000 earlier this year despite a very modest pedigree. She’s put together a string of solid half-mile works and attracts Irad Ortiz, Jr., which makes her interesting at a bit of a price.
#6 CROSS BORDER: Will run in search of his third win of the Saratoga meet, and seems likely to get it. He’s a head away from having won five in a row, and his usual race would likely best this bunch; #9 GAMBLER’S FALLACY: Ran well in his first start off the bench back in June at Belmont. He didn’t have much of a pace to close into that day, but still made up lots of ground, and a better setup would make him dangerous; #1 MINSKY MOMENT: Was third behind a runaway winner last time out and should improve off of that effort. He has a habit of collecting minor awards, but this barn merits respect.
Tayler’s the Boss
#1 CAMORRA: Takes a big drop in class for this event and looms large despite a misfire earlier in the meet. She may have needed that race, and these waters are much, much more shallow; #7 GOLDEN VALE: Has run well here before and has hit the board in each of her six starts this season. She has tactical speed but doesn’t necessarily need the lead, which could give her an ideal trip; #6 TAYLER’S THE BOSS: Hasn’t won in a while, but takes a slight drop in class for this race. She’s a closer who could easily clunk up for a piece of it at a bit of a price.
#5 TENURE: Set a very fast pace at this route and tired in the final strides. Rosario rides back for a sharp barn, and he may not have to go quite so swiftly early on in this spot; #7 SURGE PRICING: Wired a weaker field going longer earlier in the meet and makes his first start for Eddie Kenneally. He won going short on turf in his debut, and Castellano retaining the mount is a plus; #6 LUNDQVIST: Rallied to be third in the race my top pick exits. That was his first effort going short on turf, and he could be rolling well late at a nice number once again.
#1 BUSINESS CYCLE: Takes a huge drop for the meet’s leading trainer and ran well here twice last season. He may have needed his last start at Monmouth, and anything close to his 2018 form would make him incredibly tough to beat; #7 MAJOR FLIRT: Came flying late at this level at Laurel and may have simply found his friends. Jose Ortiz will ride, and if my top pick misfires, he might be the one picking up the pieces; #5 MANDATORY PAYOUT: Didn’t have a great start when fourth at this level a few weeks ago. A cleaner break would certainly move him forward.
#7 LEAD GUITAR: Just missed at this route last time out and drops in to face fellow females here. Her last race towers over the recent form of returning runners, and a repeat likely means a win; #6 STUNNING BEAUTY: Will likely be a big price, but she’s bred to like turf, has a few solid workouts, and with the exception of my top pick, it’s not like this is the toughest race for the level. She’s got every right to grab a big piece of this; #8 COREY SCORES: Was second in a race several others in here exit and didn’t have a great start that day. It’s tough to trust the quality of that race too much, but she may be rolling late for the Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz, Jr., tandem.
#11 CRITICAL VALUE: Needs a scratch to draw in, but will loom large if she does. She was beaten a nose in her unveiling and topped that day’s third-place runner by more than six lengths; #8 SARATOGA BEAUTY: May get overbet based on the name but could easily improve off of her debut. She was fourth in the race my top pick exits, but had a terrible trip and goes out for a barn whose horses tend to improve considerably at second asking; #4 MYAWAYA: Showed a bit of speed before faltering in the slop early in the meet. She’s worked well since then for the Todd Pletcher barn and can’t be ignored.
Mr. Dougie Fresh
Ruler of the Nile
#5 MR. DOUGIE FRESH: Has plenty of early zip but has shown he can sit just off the pace, which sets him apart from several others in this field. He was third in a very strong race for the level last time out and may not go off favored; #4 RAY’SWARRIOR: Certainly looks like the main speed in here and exits a win in a minor stakes race at Monmouth Park. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because he’s not the only horse that wants the lead, and if he gets outsprinted early, he may be out of his element; #1 RULER OF THE NILE: Was in a bit too deep in the Tale of the Cat, but won three in a row before that and has two victories over this track. He’s back to the right level and may contend from the rail.
#6 CRYSTALLE: Was the victim of a controversial DQ at boxcar odds earlier in the meet. This barn’s first-time starters don’t usually run like that, and unlike others in here, she’s shown an ability to rate and pounce; #8 SWEET MELANIA: Capitalized on a perfect trip in the first few days of the meet, and that day’s second and third-place finishers have come back to win. She’s a logical favorite, but I don’t like betting last-out perfect-trip winners at short prices; #7 ENGLISH BREEZE: Romped over state-breds in her debut and is wheeled back pretty quickly for this event. Like my top pick, she’ll likely be doing her best running in the final quarter-mile.
Eighty Seven North
#5 EIGHTY SEVEN NORTH: Improved when second last time out in her first start for a tag. She didn’t have the best of beginnings that day, and getting off the rail may help her in a wide-open finale; #13 IDEATIONAL: Will likely be the favorite if she draws in off the AE list, and she certainly merits respect given her connections. However, she hasn’t run since November, and Brown runners coming up from Monmouth are a bit difficult to trust; #12 GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY: Stretches out in distance after getting a bit of a breather. The blinkers come back on, and it’s worth noting her best race so far came off a layoff earlier this year at Aqueduct.