SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (8/20/21)


BANKROLL: $1,002.90

When a song has a lyric about Saratoga, I automatically perk up, and this is the case whenever “You’re So Vain,” by Carly Simon, plays at my local grocery store as part of the music mix. It’s a classic song, but the more I listen to it, the more I keep coming back to the same conclusion.

If Warren Beatty, the only publicly-named subject of the song, is so vain he thinks the song is about him, he’s probably a jerk, and I’ll happily concede that point. However, since the song IS about him, isn’t he also correct? Carly Simon may have laughed all the way to the bank nearly 50 years ago, but Warren Beatty has probably had the song playing on a loop in his man cave, so who really won here?

If you liked that take, stay tuned for my “Taylor Swift is an evil genius” theory, coming soon to a bankroll section near you!

THURSDAY’S RESULTS: Inevtabl Conection ran his heart out at a price in his debut, but he settled for second behind the second-race favorite I was trying to beat. I dropped $27.

FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on the Grand Slam, which starts in the sixth and ends with a Wesley Ward-trained single in the ninth (the Skidmore). My $1 ticket reads as follows: 2,4,6 with 3,6 with 5,6,9 with 3. I think #3 KAUFYMAKER is going to be very, very difficult to beat in the Friday feature, and that the Grand Slam provides ways to extract some value.



Best Bet: Kaufymaker, Race 9
Longshot: Mister Luigi, Race 8


Mr. Briggs (MTO)

#2 HILLIARD: Makes his first start for Mike Maker in the Friday opener, and I think he’ll respond favorably to the trainer switch. I also believe the likely race shape will work in his favor, and that leading rider Luis Saez will have him moving in the right direction when the field turns for home; #3 FINGAL: Jogged to an easy score in an off-the-turf race earlier in the meet and is slated to get back on the lawn here. His turf races have been fine, and he could sit a perfect stalking trip beneath highly-respected turf pilot Jose Lezcano; #4 CITY MAGIC: Is the “other” Mike Maker trainee and has shown plenty of early speed in the past. He should be on or near the lead early in this event, and at a minimum, that should keep the pace honest for his stablemate.


Empire Lily
Makin My Move
Bells On Her Toes

#4 EMPIRE LILY: Debuts for Jorge Abreu, who can get a first-time starter ready to run as well as any trainer on the circuit. This filly’s dam was a multiple stakes winner who placed in a Grade 1 as a 2-year-old, and she boasts several strong four-furlong drills ahead of her unveiling; #6 MAKIN MY MOVE: Is another with an exceptional work tab, and she may go off favored in this competitive event for state-bred 2-year-old fillies. Her female family includes the dam of multiple graded stakes winner and sire Fed Biz, and she herself is kin to a strong turf stakes winner; #7 BELLS ON HER TOES: Debuts for a barn whose first-time starters often need a race to get going. However, this is also an outfit that wins races in bunches when it gets hot, and if the past week is any indication, everything Charlton Baker sends out will be worth a second look for at least the next few days.


Market Alert (MTO)
Three Outlaws

#5 SCOCCIATORE: Wanted no part of a two-turn mile last time out and cuts back to a sprint for this event. His two-back win going seven furlongs downstate was quite good, and he has enough speed to be prominent from the jump in a pretty wide-open event; #2 THREE OUTLAWS: Isn’t at his best over softer ground, so the yielding going wasn’t what his connections wanted to see last month. If the weather cooperates and he gets a firmer turf course, I think we’ll see a step forward; #6 SCUTTLEBUZZ: Was third in a classy mile event last month and cuts back to a sprint distance. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because he figures to be pretty far back early, and I’m not sure how much pace will materialize up front going into the turn.


Roman entry
My Cousin Rich

ROMAN ENTRY: Merits respect in this maiden claiming event. I prefer #1 ABDAN, who cuts back to a sprint after tiring badly going two turns, but #1A RECIDIVIST has some form going short and makes his second start off a layoff for trainer Kelly Breen; #6 CLEMENZA: Makes his first start off the geld in this spot and has shown some early zip in starts at Monmouth at Aqueduct. Those are far different surfaces than Saratoga’s, to be sure, but this race is remarkably light on early zip and he could make a pretty easy lead; #3 MY COUSIN RICH: Drops in for a tag and hasn’t run a bad race going short on the dirt to this point. Despite the fact that his pedigree says he wants turf, he may have simply been a dirt horse all along, and he may not need to improve much to be a player here.


Achilles Heel
Kingdom On Paws

#8 ACHILLES HEEL: Took a big step forward in his turf debut, when he rallied to be beaten just a neck in a paceless race. He has since been switched to the barn of Brad Cox, and further improvement in his third lifetime outing would make him tough to beat; #9 KINGDOM ON PAWS: Outran his odds when fourth at 36-1 last time out and gets a huge jockey switch to Joel Rosario. He’s bred to be a strong turf horse, and I think there’s a chance he’s getting to do what he wants to do; #6 MAKART: Didn’t do much running in his debut earlier this month, but his pedigree says he’ll like the turf and Mike Maker’s first-time starters aren’t always fully-cranked. Sire Klimt has had a few foals show talent on the grass to this point, and he may have learned something in his unveiling a few weeks ago.


Singita Dreams (MTO)
Flighty Lady
Sister Otoole

#2 FLIGHTY LADY: Won her stateside debut in April before getting stuck behind a very slow pace in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico. This is a significantly softer spot, she’ll be receiving Lasix here, and this Group 3-placed filly has shown she can get a distance like this one; #6 SISTER OTOOLE: Topped allowance foes going a mile and a quarter last month, so this is another one for whom the distance shouldn’t be an issue. Luis Saez sees fit to ride back, and I think she’s got a bit more speed than she showed last time out, when she stalked from afar through a swift opening half-mile; #9 ENJOYITWHILEWECAT: Has won once in 15 starts since the beginning of 2020, but she’s had a history of strange trips and was a late-running fourth in the Grade 3 Modesty at Arlington. That came at this distance, and she moves up if an unexpected pace battle materializes going into the first turn.


Lokoya Road
Road to Success
Gimme Some Mo

#3 LOKOYA ROAD: Is a tepid top pick in a puzzling $25,000 claimer. He was claimed out of his last effort by Juan Vazquez, who hits at a 20% clip with new acquisitions, and his lone two-turn dirt race to date was far from a bad effort, as he earned the second-best Beyer Speed Figure of his career in that spot; #1 ROAD TO SUCCESS: Earned the diploma last time out at Belmont and tries winners for the first time. This is a tough spot for the level, and the rail draw can be tricky, but he’s making his first start for Rob Atras, who has enjoyed a tremendous meet to this point; #6 GIMME SOME MO: Is certainly better than his last-out effort, when he showed speed and tired badly going long over a yielding turf course. He’s got plenty of early zip, Irad Ortiz, Jr., rides back for Todd Pletcher, and this is the lowest claiming race he’s ever run for.


Mister Luigi
Repo Rocks
Critical Threat

#6 MISTER LUIGI: Exits the Grade 2 Amsterdam, which was won by runaway winner Jackie’s Warrior. However, while this one ran fifth of six that day, he was beaten only about three lengths by runner-up Drain the Clock. This is a significantly weaker spot, and on speed figures, this Ghostzapper colt certainly fits; #5 REPO ROCKS: Was a bit one-paced when third against similar very early in this stand. He’s since been gelded, and that may help him focus in this spot, where he’ll need a clean trip in order to find the winner’s circle; #9 CRITICAL THREAT: Won first time out at Keeneland back in October but hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since then. However, Brendan Walsh does great work with horses coming off of long breaks, the Ellis Park works look very fast, and the first-time gelding and first-time Lasix news items cannot be ignored.


Pure Panic
Barone Cesco

#3 KAUFYMAKER: Was highly-regarded enough to take money in the Group 2 Coventry at Royal Ascot, where she split the 17-horse field in eighth and was beaten just four lengths. She showed plenty of potential in her debut win at Keeneland, and the most recent turf work is a huge one; #8 PURE PANIC: Rallied to top fellow maidens in his debut at Ellis Park last month. That day’s runner-up was six lengths clear of the third-place finisher, and he’s since come back to win, which certainly seems to flatter this one ahead of the Skidmore; #1 BARONE CESCO: Led a field of maidens every step of the way earlier this month and tries winners for the first time in stakes company. I’m not sure he’s fast enough to break on top again, but the inside draw is a plus given his early zip and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes early and hangs on for a share.


Gabby Squared
Sweet Mission
Exotic Cat

#3 GABBY SQUARED: Sure seems like she’s in a “now or never” situation in the Friday finale. She didn’t step forward much in her first try for a tag, but her two best races have come going two turns, and I think she’ll enjoy a return to that configuration here; #9 SWEET MISSION: Was one-paced when fourth against similar last time out, but she was claimed out of that race by Mark Hennig, who doesn’t reach in to take many runners. She finished just a head behind my top pick last time out, and she’ll likely be a far bigger price than that one; #4 EXOTIC CAT: Is a huge price but merits a look given a few races she’s come out of and her pedigree. She’s bred to want to go two turns, and she’ll do that for the first time in this spot. A little improvement may give her a shot to hit the board at a large number.

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