I’m a proud voter for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and I’m always happy to spread the word about fun events happening at that establishment. One of those is coming up on Monday, when Amplify Horse Racing and Together for Racing International team up to host an educational symposium.
It’s a free event kicking off at 5:30 pm. If you go, you can expect to learn a lot about opportunities within the racing industry and how horse racing and the Saratoga Springs community can work together for the benefit of all involved. If I still lived in the area, I’d be there!
THURSDAY’S RESULTS: In this section, it was a day of body blows. Boldish scratching ruined my entire rationale for these wagers, and while my top pick in that race won, running second in the surrounding races meant $32 in wagers went up in smoke.
FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on the fifth, where bigger prices make up my entire top three. I’ll box #3 STREAMING TAP, #4 MAD MAGIC, and #7 SEBARAY in $2 exactas, and I’ll use all three in $3 doubles that finish with #7 ACOUSTIC AVE and #10 BOBBY THE TANK in the sixth.
TOTAL WAGERED: $30.
Best Bet: Creative Minister, Race 7
Longshot: Sebaray, Race 5
#2 GOLDEN ALCHEMIST: Debuted with a decent second downstate and stretches out to two turns at second asking. His pedigree says he’ll fit this trip, and Flavien Prat winds up here when he had at least one other option; #5 SIDEKICK: Improved in his second start when second going a mile at Belmont. This is his first time going two turns, as well, and his recent drills over the Oklahoma track indicate he’s thriving at the Spa; #7 SOUTHERN FLAG: Almost certainly needed his last-out effort, which doubled as his first start in nearly a year. His 2021 form wasn’t bad, and it’s logical to expect a step forward second off the bench.
#5 MEDIA SENSATION: Gets back to facing state-bred competition after running a close-up second a few weeks ago at Belmont despite jockey Manny Franco losing an iron at the break. This doesn’t hit me as the strongest race for the level, and Franco sees fit to ride back; #7 LOOKIN GRAND: Made a big middle move last time in his first start at this level. That was a strangely-run race, and this one is lightly-raced enough to where further improvement could still be in the cards; #4 SELL SOMETHING: Has a tendency to find trouble that’s…well, troubling, but his last-out effort was his first turf route, and it was easily his best race yet. Perhaps he’s doing what he wants to do, and that could make him dangerous at a price.
#3 FINGAL’S CAVE: Has done absolutely nothing wrong in two career starts, with a pair of wins by a combined margin of 17 1/2 lengths. This is her first try going two turns, but her route-heavy pedigree indicates that won’t be a problem, and the local drills are very sharp; #7 INSIGNIA: Benefited from a race that fell apart last time out at Churchill Downs and tries winners for the first time. Brad Cox’s horses are almost always live, and if nothing else, we know the two-turn route won’t be what gets her beat; #6 SPIKED: Won her first start on this circuit despite dueling throughout, which is far from an easy thing to do. This isn’t an easy spot for the level, and there are pedigree questions as far as this route is concerned, but the grit she’s shown is a real plus.
Happy Hill Lil
#11 HAPPY HILL LIL: Draws an absolutely terrible post but seems likely to get an ideal setup in front of her. She’s a closer in a turf sprint with plenty of early speed, and she sports a win at this route of ground from the 12-hole, so we know this is something she can do; #5 LAOBAN’S LEGACY: Makes her first career start on turf but has a pedigree that says she might like it. Her dam is kin to Grade 2-winning turfer Storm Mesa, and the recent turf drills over the Oklahoma track jump off the page. At her likely price, she hits me as a must-use; #4 BLAME IT ON MARY: Hasn’t won in quite a while but has been competitive at this level of late. Most recently, she was second against similar downstate, and she could sit an ideal stalking trip that gives her first run turning for home.
#7 SEBARAY: Has a pedigree crying out for turf, and he finally gets it here. He’s a half to a pair of graded stakes-caliber turf runners, and his first start for Ray Handal was easily the best race of his career. Further improvement gives this gelding a big shot at a big price; #4 MAD MAGIC: Goes first off the claim for Ian Wilkes, who doesn’t claim many horses, and is another trying a new surface he should handle with aplomb. His dam is kin to Grade 1-placed turf runner Globetrotter and stakes-winning turf sprinter Slew’s Exchange. Turf was clearly the plan, and he’s worth using; #3 STREAMING TAP: Stretches out to two turns in his second start off of a brief freshening. He’s run decent races going long in the past, this barn is white-hot at the moment, and he’s another that will be a big price in a race with several favorites that hit me as vulnerable ones.
Bobby the Tank
With Know Name
#7 ACOUSTIC AVE: Hammered for $200,000 earlier this year and comes in off a pair of very fast half-mile works. Offspring of Maclean’s Music tend to be precocious, the draw in the outer half of the field should help, and I think there’s plenty of potential here; #10 BOBBY THE TANK: Has been working steadily here for Chad Brown following a $65,000 purchase earlier this year. A few of those drills stack up favorably with others in this field, and anything this barn sends out is worth a long look; #2 WITH KNOW NAME: Debuts for Mike Maker, whose outfit is firing on all cylinders this summer. Maker’s not known for success with debuting runners, but several works hint at some talent and this one has precocity on both sides of his pedigree.
#7 CREATIVE MINISTER: Was third in the Grade 1 Preakness before running a one-paced fifth in the Grade 1 Belmont, and it’s a long distance between the likes of Mo Donegal and Early Voting and this bunch. I think he’d have stood a chance in the Jim Dandy this weekend, and that his usual race would make him an extremely formidable chalk in the Curlin; #8 BE BETTER: Has moved forward in every start and is 2-for-2 this season at Monmouth Park. Todd Pletcher brings him up from New Jersey for this event, and he’s enlisted Luis Saez to ride; #9 ARTORIUS: Jumps up in class after topping a field of maidens downstate. This son of Arrogate and Paulassilverlining can’t be bred much better, and he’s got some gaudy speed figures, but he’s got something to prove in his first start against winners and first time going two turns.
Mexican Wonder Boy (MTO)
#4 FAUCI: Is one of many in here that hasn’t won in a while, but he’s been tackling some very stiff competition. Most recently, he was second behind the ultra-consistent Artemus Citylimits, and he was a close second to Arrest Me Red in a minor stakes race at this route last summer; #2 XY SPEED: Was beaten two lengths in a minor stakes race last time out, and his only non-stakes outing to this point in 2022 doubles as his lone win of the year. This is another closer getting some class relief, and he’ll likely be a square price; #6 DANCING BUCK: Sat a picture-perfect trip to win a seven-furlong event last time out, and he cuts back in distance here while rising up the class ladder. It helps that he’s shown some versatility, and the continued presence of Joel Rosario doesn’t hurt, either.
On the Hill
#5 ON THE HILL: Hasn’t finished outside the top two yet this season and gets a monstrous rider switch to Luis Saez for this event. In each of his last two starts, he’s run second while well clear of the third-place finisher. He may not have to move forward at all to win this, and I think he could run a career-best race; #9 BALTASAR: Cuts back a bit after being reeled in last time out. Manny Franco knows this gelding well, having ridden him in all four 2022 outings, and he has the early speed to be prominent from a very early juncture; #7 DARK TIMBER: Hasn’t won since March of 2021, but his two-back effort at Churchill was sharp and his last-out turf try is a complete throw-out. He’s been competitive at this level and is doing what he wants, which may make the 12-1 morning line price an overlay.
Maybe Later (MTO)
#6 STELLA MARS: Stretches out to two turns and ran OK in her lone prior two-turn turf try last November at Aqueduct. She generally runs the same race every time out, and such an effort would put her right there in a wide-open finale; #5 MORE MANGO: Has run well going long on turf multiple times, and this smaller barn has landed Luis Saez here. She sports a win at a similar route from the 2020 season, and it’s not illogical to think the new pilot may get the best effort out of her; #12 MIA AT MIDNIGHT: Draws a terrible post in her local debut but ran a pair of decent races at Santa Anita earlier this year. Peter Walder can win with new acquisitions, and Irad Ortiz, Jr., sees fit to ride, which indicates this invader may have a chance in a puzzling Friday nightcap.