SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (9/3/20)


BANKROLL: $646.20

This space features a public service announcement the racing world needs to hear. No, it’s not about Barclay Tagg saying some regrettable things in Kentucky. That deserves far more space than I have, and I won’t do my disagreement with what he said justice in 100 words or less. Want to talk about it like rational, level-headed adults? Find me.

Instead, I’ll focus on something I spend lots of energy on every year. “Thurby” is not a word. It’s a marketing concept with no place in either horse racing or the English language as a whole. It should not be used by anyone, at all, ever.

Somehow, this became part of racing’s lexicon, and I hate it. The Thursday prior to the Kentucky Derby is indeed lots of fun. The word I shall not use is an abomination that should be terminated immediately.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: We got washed out when the steeplechase was cancelled due to weather.

THURSDAY’S PLAY: I really like the late Pick Four, which hits me as a sequence that could pay stacks given the presence of a few beatable favorites. My 50-cent ticket starting in the seventh reads as follows: 1,3,5,8,10 with 1,4,5,6,7 with 4,8 with 2,6. It’s a bit more expensive than I usually play, but given that I have just one morning line favorite on the ticket, I’ll likely be in line for a nice score if it gets home.



Best Bet: Long Term Thinking, Race 2
Longshot: Miss Lily B, Race 8


Lost in Rome (MTO)
Maker entry
Holy Emperor

MAKER ENTRY: I prefer #1 GLYNN COUNTY, who drops back to the right level after rating in a paceless race against straight maidens. It certainly looks like there’s more speed signed on here, and such a race shape would make him very imposing; #5 HOLY EMPEROR: Did everything but win last time out going far longer, and this certainly seems like a softer spot. Luis Saez rides back, and it certainly seems like he’s got the early speed to make his own trip; #7 COMPLIANT: Exits the same race as my top pick and is another dropping in for a tag for aggressive connections. However, I think he wants even longer than this route of ground, and I can’t endorse this one on top given his likely short price.


Long Term Thinking
Cause I Said So

#3 LONG TERM THINKING: Has several concerns but could win by a city block if he’s anywhere close to the runner we saw last year. He hasn’t raced since November, and the plunge to the bottom is a red flag, but these connections are clearly going for the owner and trainer titles and don’t mind losing horses in claiming events; #4 CAUSE I SAID SO: Was second against similar last month, and it helps that that day’s winner has since come back to repeat. He’s got enough early speed to be prominent out of the gate in a field of runners who may not want to pass others; #2 DREAMONMEBABY: Comes back to dirt after a failed turf experiment, which doubled as his first start for trainer Danny Gargan. He’s run reasonably well on dirt in the past and could grab a piece of it at an OK price.


Plum Ali
Mischievous Dream
Invincible Gal

#2 PLUM ALI: Cruised home to win at first asking going two turns, which isn’t an easy thing for a 2-year-old to do. That day’s runner-up has since come back to run well, and I think this Christophe Clement trainee has plenty of potential to improve in the P.G. Johnson; #3 MISCHIEVOUS DREAM: Ran into a very good horse when fourth behind Tobys Heart in the Bolton Landing last time out. She tries two turns for the first time, but her dam was a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Presious Passion, who did his best work at marathon distances; #1 INVINCIBLE GAL: Came running late to graduate in her unveiling and stretches out to two turns. I’m not sure what she beat that day or if she can stretch out, but the presence of Jose Ortiz is certainly a plus.


Blunt Force
I’ll Take the Cake
Cotton Candy Cutie

#4 BLUNT FORCE: Ran second against similar company last time out and may have bounced a bit off of a lifetime-best effort two back at Churchill Downs. She should sit an ideal stalking trip, which would give her first run on the tiring pace-setters turning for home; #5 I’LL TAKE THE CAKE: Tired badly last time out and takes a gigantic drop in class. She was pretty good in 2019 and the first part of 2020, and a return to that form makes her the one to beat, but the last two outings don’t inspire confidence; #7 COTTON CANDY CUTIE: Hasn’t won in a while but certainly looks like the main speed in here. She has back races that would make her competitive in this spot, and she may be on the lead going into the turn at a price.


Classic Colors
Herald Angel
Schwartz entry

#8 CLASSIC COLORS: Was wrangled back to last in a paceless race last time out, yet she was beaten less than a length by a promising filly named Seasons. Rosario rides for Clemente, and she’ll be a contender with any sort of pace to chase; #7 HERALD ANGEL: Ran a good second in her debut for Mike Maker, whose horses tend to need a race or two to get going. She stretches out and has the pedigree to love two turns, being by Exaggerator and out of a Harlan’s Holiday mare; SCHWARTZ ENTRY: #1 MENDHAM comes in off a strong dirt work for Todd Pletcher. There’s some stamina in her pedigree, as her dam is a full sister to stakes-winning router Tiz Now Tiz Then.


Spin a Yarn
The Important One
Officer Hutchy

#3 SPIN A YARN: Has done nothing wrong in four starts at Finger Lakes and heads to Saratoga looking for her fifth straight win. When these horses ship in from central New York, they often mean business, and it’s telling that Jose Lezcano sees fit to ride; #6 THE IMPORTANT ONE: Comes back to dirt after chasing older foes in a turf sprint, and that field was pretty salty for the level. She started her career on dirt and won her debut, so we know the surface won’t be a problem; #7 OFFICER HUTCHY: Takes a jump in class first off the claim for Rob Atras, and there are excuses for her clunkers two and three back. The outside post could be a plus, but that last race was a big move forward, and that has me concerned about a possible bounce.


Wedontbelieveher (MTO)
Music of Life
Five Alarm Robin

#10 MUSIC OF LIFE: Gets a reluctant top pick in a wide-open turf route where one can go many different directions. She hasn’t run a bad race in three starts this year and drops a bit in class after running a close-up third in an optional claiming event at Gulfstream; #5 FIVE ALARM ROBIN: Wired a lesser field in her first start off the bench earlier this meet, but that effort wasn’t a fluke. She’s got 2019 races that would also be competitive here, and we may once again get a juicy price; #1 KITTEN BY THE SEA: Can’t be ignored given the connections and the aggressive drop in class. Perhaps she didn’t like a wet turf course last time out, and her two-back effort at this route saw her run third beaten a neck against allowance foes.


Fair Regis
Miss Lily B
Kept True

#6 FAIR REGIS: Is as consistent as they come, having hit the board 26 times in 36 career races. She was second last time out and beat several horses who also show up in this event, and this may be the spot where she breaks through for her first win since September of last year; #7 MISS LILY B: Has won six of her last seven starts, and the lone clunker is an easy throw-out because she went to the sidelines for 10 months after that performance. She has tactical speed but doesn’t need the lead to run well; #5 KEPT TRUE: May have needed her last-out race, when she tired to fourth after dueling through fast fractions early on. She’s a stakes-winner who has every right to step forward second off the bench.


Foxtail (MTO)

#8 ORGLANDES: Is one of two Chad Brown trainees making their American debuts in this spot, and she got pretty good overseas. She won two in a row going long in France, and Irad Ortiz, Jr., lands on this Brown trainee rather than #7 MISS TEHERAN; #4 TRAIPSING: Didn’t take to dirt when a distant third in an off-the-turf event last month. I liked her on turf that day, and anything close to the form she showed earlier this year at Gulfstream would make her a contender; #1 NIKO’S DREAM: Has run several strong races over this turf course and may have found the waters a bit too deep last time in a state-bred stakes race. She’s got enough speed to be forwardly-placed along the rail, and she may still be improving as a 4-year-old.


My Sweet Wife
Red Light Racer

#6 MY SWEET WIFE: Was wide most of the way downstate last time out, and that day’s third-place finisher has since come back to win. This barn has had a very strong meet, and she’s bred to want this two-turn route of ground; #2 RED LIGHT RACER: Hammered for $525,000 at auction and has every right to run well in her unveiling. She’s by Medaglia d’Oro, out of Grade 1-placed mare Street Band, and debuts for Chad Brown in a spot where the returning runners don’t seem too imposing; #9 APURATE: Wanted no part of the dirt in her first start of the season and comes back to her preferred surface. She ran well going two turns multiple times as a 2-year-old; the question is, can she work out a trip from her outside post on the inner turf?

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