SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (8/29/21)


BANKROLL: $863.90

I’m typing this from Boston’s Logan Airport, which I’d always considered to be one of my favorite airports on the east coast. However, that perception changed Saturday afternoon, when I got through security, settled down at my gate, and tried to boot up several different ADW websites. All of them were blocked by the airport’s wireless internet, which apparently prohibits any sort of gambling activity (even what can be accessed through a smart phone not using that WiFi network).

I find this insane. ADW’s are legal in the state of Massachusetts, and the airport itself is a 20-minute drive from what’s left of Suffolk Downs. I haven’t encountered a restriction like this at any other airport, and I’ll take this opportunity to once again thank NYRA for streaming their daily show on YouTube. That allowed me to watch several races on Travers Day when Logan Airport decided doing so through ADW’s would somehow be irresponsible.

SATURDAY’S RESULTS: Third-race upsetter Kitten by the Sea knocked me out of doubles and Pick Fours. I dropped $32.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: I’ll attempt to extract value out of #2 BEAU LIAM, who will be a very heavy favorite in the eighth (and justifiably so). Since I like several prices in the seventh, I’ll play doubles starting there. $10 tickets will start with #4 STANHOPE, #7 DETERMINED FURY, #8 BARDOLINO, and #10 ELUSIVE EDGE.



Best Bet: Beau Liam, Race 8
Longshot: Stanhope, Race 7


High Heater
First Homestead

#2 HIGH HEATER: Was second at this level last summer and makes a lot of sense in the Sunday lid-lifter. His two misfires on dirt for this barn came against higher-level competition, and leading rider Luis Saez rides back when he probably had a few other options; #6 FIRST HOMESTEAD: Has reeled off three wins in a row at Finger Lakes and ships in with his regular rider in tow. That’s one of my favorite angles at Saratoga, and this 6-for-14 gelding certainly fits on speed figures; #1 MOONACHIE: Takes a drop in class and may be favored in this spot, but I have some doubts despite an arrival in shallower waters. The rail draw can be tricky, and while his best is good enough to win this, I simply can’t stomach the likely price given the chance of a less-than-ideal trip.


Charleston Strong
Partner’s Hope
Ring of Fire

#9 CHARLESTON STRONG: Drops in for a tag and cuts back to a sprint distance, and I think he’s going to respond favorably to both changes. His effort two starts back going seven furlongs at Belmont was a career-best one, and anything close to that performance will make him tough; #4 PARTNER’S HOPE: Drops back in for a tag after running fifth against maiden special weight foes just a few days ago. This barn can win with quick turnarounds, and he figures to be heard from late; #3 RING OF FIRE: Has been gelded since his last start and tries turf for the first time for a barn making lots of right moves this summer. His 321 turf Tomlinson rating indicates he’ll relish the grass, and he’s shown plenty of early zip in starts against straight maidens at Indiana Grand.


Analyze It
Breaking the Rules
Dubb entry

#4 ANALYZE IT: Has an abundance of back class and boasts several races that would top this group if repeated. This multiple Grade 3 winner was fancied enough to be favored in last year’s Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, and I think Chad Brown will have him primed for this one; #2 BREAKING THE RULES: Makes his return to the races off a long layoff but presents an alternative to the likely chalk. He did enough to be 9-1 in the Grade 1 Pegasus Turf Cup at Gulfstream Park, and if a faster-than-expected pace materializes, he stands to be the main beneficiary; #1A SACRED LIFE: Has taken a lot of money since coming to the U.S. in 2019, but he’s only won twice and this is far closer to a graded stakes field than most we’ll see at this level. He’s another that will do his best running late, and the Brown/Irad tag team always merits respect, but at this likely price, I’ll try to beat him.


Perfect Munnings
Too Early
Blue Gator

#2 PERFECT MUNNINGS: Comes off the bench and gets Lasix for the first time in this spot. I’m a bit tentative to endorse Aqueduct form given how quirky that track was this winter, but he’s worked well enough over this track and Luis Saez sees fit to ride; #3 TOO EARLY: Seems to run the same race every time out and has established himself as a consistent stalwart at this level. This means he can’t be ignored, but the problem for win bettors is that he’s been at this level for a while because he’s run second on four straight occasions; #7 BLUE GATOR: Is another coming in off of a freshening and getting Lasix for the first time. He ran well against stakes company before going to the sidelines, and the outside draw should give Tyler Gaffalione plenty of options.


A Mo Reay

#2 MOMMASGOTTARUN: Ran well in her debut when she was second and topped the third-place finisher by five lengths. She didn’t have it easy that day, as she led through very fast fractions early on, and she certainly looks like a type that will improve given the experience she gained that day; #9 ROSEBUG: Has been working very well for Bill Mott and is bred to be a very sharp filly. This daughter of American Pharoah is out of Grade 3 winner Taittinger Rose, and the times that are on the tab are atypical of most Mott trainees before their initial outings; #7 A MO REAY: Hammered for $400,000 at auction last year and debuts for Todd Pletcher, so she must be respected. She’s got a few sharp gate works on her tab, and the My Racehorse money will almost certainly be in on this filly by top sire Uncle Mo.


Pearl Earring
Gun Boat

#10 VAGARIES: Fetched a bit more than $217,000 at the Tattersalls sale and, like most of Chad Brown’s acquisitions from that sale, is bred to want this route of ground. Her dam is a half-sister to Group 1 winner Mail the Desert, and she’s a tepid top pick in a fun 2-year-old maiden race; #7 PEARL EARRING: Has been working consistently for Michael Stidham and is worth a look at a price. She’s a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Pixelate, her dam is kin to Grade 2 winner Skylighter, and everything says this Godolphin homebred wants to go a long, long way; #3 GUN BOAT: Is a Stuart Janney homebred with a female family many will recognize. Dam Onus was a Grade 3 winner on turf, and her third dam is the dam of top-class turf runners Ironicus and On Leave, so this first-time starter has every right to be a runner.


Determined Fury
Elusive Edge

#4 STANHOPE: Cuts back to a turf sprint, and given the way he ran off last time, that’s probably for the best. His races two and three back were sharp, and I’m willing to take a swing at a bit of a price in what seems like a wide-open event; #7 DETERMINED FURY: Broke his maiden two back in his turf debut and ran a decent third at this level earlier in the meet despite a wide trip. This is his second start off a layoff, so he could take a step forward, and this barn’s one of the best in the business with turf sprinters; #10 ELUSIVE EDGE: Took a big step forward in his first start on the lawn, when he romped by nearly six lengths a few weeks ago at Colonial. These are far deeper waters and he’ll have to navigate a trip from an outside post, but Saez will hop aboard and maybe he’s finally found what he wants to do.


Beau Liam
Night Time

#2 BEAU LIAM: Wouldn’t have been without a chance in the Grade 1 Allen Jerkens Saturday, but winds up in a far softer optional claiming event a month after winning a loaded allowance in his first start against winners. He earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure that day, and anything close to his first two efforts would mean the race is for second; #4 NIGHT TIME: Was nosed earlier in the meet at this level and was certainly good enough to win that afternoon. He’s been running well against tough horses, and his usual effort would likely get him a big piece of it; #1 AMUNDSON: Relished the mud last time out, when he beat a solid group of state-bred optional claiming foes. He’s run very well at this 6 1/2-furlong distance in the past, trainer Horacio DePaz has quietly enjoyed a strong meet to this point, and he could provide plenty of value in the exotics.


Sifting Sands
In Effect

#8 SIFTING SANDS: Was somehow sent away at 28-1 last month and got his nose down over a solid group, one that included a third-place finisher that came right back to win. He’s worked consistently since that performance, and a repeat of that day’s effort would give him a big shot in the Better Talk Now; #6 IN EFFECT: Was third in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame won by Public Sector, who would lay over this group. He didn’t have the smoothest trip that afternoon, and it sure seems like there’s enough pace in here to set up for his big late run; #4 DANZIGWITHTHESTARS: Will go for his third win of the meet in this spot, and he’ll do so taking a big jump in class. He’s run back-to-back career-best races since shipping north, however, and the presence of Saez is a big plus. He’ll be an in-form horse at double-digit odds, and there’s a lot to be said for that.


Mr. Briggs (MTO)

#2 MOLINO: Wasn’t claimed out of a maiden claiming race in May, one he won despite rating behind a pretty slow early pace. That day’s runner-up, another Chad Brown trainee, came right back to win, and this pedigree suggests he’s about to take a significant step forward at second asking; #6 CHULAINN: Was beaten less than two lengths at this level last time out, and I felt that was a pretty classy field. This seems like a slightly softer spot, Joel Rosario rides back, and a clean trip (something he hasn’t had in his last two outings) should move him up; #11 LORD FLINTSHIRE: Came flying from last to run second in his first start against winners, and he’s improved considerably since going to Jorge Abreu’s barn this past spring. The big field increases the likelihood of some pace in front of him, and if the race shape is a closer-friendly one, he and Jose Lezcano could easily factor at a bit of a price.

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