Saturday is Whitney Day, one of my favorite programs each Saratoga season. The feature has attracted plenty of handicap division heavyweights, including Life Is Good and Olympiad, and the rest of the card looks highly competitive.
I’ll be diving into the late Pick Five on the HHH Racing Podcast. We’ll stream live Thursday evening at 7:30 pm Eastern time, and you’ll be able to watch on the podcast’s YouTube channel.
These guys do a lot of work to put forth a strong product, and I’m flattered to have been asked to chime in. If you’re around Thursday night, join us!
WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: Most of my action was cancelled when Bezos and Regality scratched out of the finale. I was left with a single $3 cold exacta, which ran 1-3 when my runner-up lost a brutal photo for second money.
THURSDAY’S PLAY: I’ll play the late Pick Four and try to extract some value out of #5 ART COLLECTOR in the featured Alydar. My 50-cent ticket starts in the seventh and reads as follows: 1,3,6,7,8 with 5 with 1,7 with 1,2,4,7,8.
TOTAL WAGERED: $25.
Best Bet: Art Collector, Race 8
Longshot: Fast Corey, Race 10
#5 SICILIAN GRANDMA: Was bet to favoritism in her debut, and that race is a total throwout given the sloppy track at Ellis Park. She’d shown precocity in a few workouts ahead of that performance, and Mike Maker’s runners tend to improve with experience anyway; #1 LADY QUINN: Has worked well twice since coming up from Monmouth Park for a conditioner that merits plenty of respect. The rail isn’t an ideal draw, but perhaps she’s quick enough to overcome it; #3 ACQUA BELLA: Debuts for Todd Pletcher and may take money because of that, but I have my doubts. This $80,000 yearling purchase runs for $50,000 here, and if she’s a promising dirt horse, why was she worked on turf earlier this month, then sent down to Belmont?
#10 PERSONAL PURSUIT: Showed some speed in her debut on dirt at Churchill Downs and comes in off of a very strong turf drill over the Oklahoma track. This $500,000 auction buy has plenty of talent on both sides of her pedigree, and the experience edge she has over some of this field is a big plus; #4 ALLURING ANGEL: Has a pedigree that’s all-turf in every possible direction. Jorge Abreu has attracted Irad Ortiz, Jr., to ride this filly, one out of a dam that’s kin to European Group 2 winner I Can Fly; #5 COWICHAN: Has shown speed in two downstate starts but faltered as the 2/5 favorite last time out. The blinkers come off, and that’s a strong move from a barn that cannot be ignored in these races, but I need more of a price than I’m likely to get.
W W Fitzy
Boston Post Road
#2 W W FITZY: Comes into this one off of a very strong race at Churchill Downs, where she sat a few lengths off the pace and won going away. With the exception of a race where she was eased, she hasn’t run a bad one since being claimed by Robertino Diodoro over the winter; #6 BOSTON POST ROAD: Comes in off of a third-place finish against stakes foes in the slop at Monmouth Park. That may have been a bounce off of a strong return to the races two back, when she dusted allowance foes at this distance at Belmont in her first start in 14 months; #3 PLAYED HARD: Has just one off-the-board finish in 10 career starts, and it came in last year’s Grade 1 Alabama against Malathaat and Clairiere. She nearly wired a decent group last time out in Kentucky and figures to be prominent from the jump here.
Stormi Cat Lady
#6 ALPINE QUEEN: Goes first off the claim for a small barn that’s already found the winner’s circle at this stand and attracts Irad Ortiz, Jr., who likely had some options here. She’s got four top-two finishes in six starts at this distance, and the July 21st work here jumps off the page; #3 VALLARAND: Likely needed her 2022 debut earlier this meet, which probably came against a better group and was her first start since October. Her winning effort here last season was sharp, and a similar type of performance here would give her a big shot; #2 STORMI CAT LADY: Won big last time out against a lesser group and steps up in class for a barn that’s running very, very well right now. Jose Lezcano has seemed to click with her over her last three starts, and perhaps she’s figuring things out in her 4-year-old season.
One More Baby
#3 SENSIBLE JIM: Goes first off the claim for Joe Sharp and seems eligible to improve in a bottom-level maiden claiming race with many horses that seem like they’re being dumped. His best race came going two turns, he’s been working well up here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on or near the lead in a race with horses that don’t like passing others; #8 ONE MORE BABY: Had an excuse last time, when he didn’t break well and was much further back than he prefers. His runner-up finish two back was fine, and the horse he chased that day came right back to win at next asking; #2 MISTICAL CURLIN: Was fourth for a higher tag last time out in a race run out of the Wilson chute. He’s not without a chance in here, but while it looks like he was gaining late, they ran the last quarter-mile in more than 27 seconds that day, so that’s a bit deceptive.
New York Panther
#5 FIRE KING: Goes long at first asking, which isn’t an easy thing to do. However, he’s in the hands of a trainer whose horses can do that, and his July 8th turf drill indicates he could have a lot of talent. Being by Belmont winner Palace Malice, I don’t think two turns will bother him much, either; #8 NEW YORK PANTHER: Rallied to run second going five furlongs downstate and has a right to improve stretching out to a route distance. His experience edge is a plus, and his pedigree indicates he’ll only get better with more ground; #9 TWIRLING CHARLIE: Was one-paced in his debut, which is the same race my second selection exits. This barn is aces with runners stretching out in distance, and a Parx-based rider comes north for just one mount. These connections did this last weekend with a 2-year-old that ran second.
Short Summer Dress (MTO)
#6 MAIL ORDER: Stepped forward in a big way last time out, when she cruised home to top allowance foes while earning an 89 Beyer Speed Figure. Bill Mott’s runners tend to get better as they get older, and if another step forward third off the bench is in the offing, look out; #1 BYE BYE: Hasn’t won in a while and gets a tricky rail draw, but she’s run well twice downstate this season and was a close-up third in a stakes race at this route a season ago. There’s plenty of speed entered in this turf sprint, and nobody’s been riding these races better than Joel Rosario; #8 HIT THE WOAH: Hasn’t run in nearly six months but was a winner when last seen at Gulfstream Park. Her only other turf sprint to date was the Grade 3 Soaring Softly in 2021, where she was beaten less than two lengths by Bye Bye.
#5 ART COLLECTOR: Makes his first start since a failed trip to the Middle East for the Saudi Cup and will look to win the Alydar for the second year in a row. He’s been working very strongly ahead of his return, and if he’s at anything close to his best, this race is for second money; #6 MASQUEPARADE: Was third in last year’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy behind Essential Quality, then went to the sidelines after a clunker in the Grade 1 Travers. His two outings at Churchill this season have been fine, and he could sit an ideal stalking trip just off the favorite’s flank; #1 MYSTIC NIGHT: Is 2-for-2 this season and comes in with a consistent local work tab for Chad Brown. A repeat of his last-out performance at Keeneland would give him a puncher’s chance, but it’s fair to wonder if he’s too pace-dependent for this event, which doesn’t have much apparent zip signed on outside of the overwhelming favorite.
#7 GOOD GOVERNANCE: Hasn’t been out of the barn since February, but is a handful when he’s right and has placed in a pair of graced stakes races here over the years. I’ve taken stands against Brown trainees shipping up from Monmouth, but several of those have won coming off of long layoffs this summer, so perhaps it’s not as much of a red flag as it used to be; MADAKET ENTRY: Both have a shot, but I prefer #1 EMARAATY, who’s 2-for-3 here (including one of my eight wins the last Friday of last season). He ran well when second behind the talented Sifting Sands downstate, and 6-1 seems like far too big a price given what he’s capable of; #2 ATONE: Has run well in three graded stakes races and was second in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple here just a few weeks ago. On talent, he fits, but the outside post is a concern, and while Dylan Davis is enjoying a breakthrough year, it’s worth wondering why Flavien Prat got off to ride Emaraaty.
#7 MISS DOMINA: Was entered in a very tough spot off a long layoff last time out and ran like she needed the tightener. That day’s third-place finisher came back to win a stakes race earlier in the meet, and if this one’s back to her mid-2021 form, she could step forward and benefit from a closer-friendly race shape; CORMS ENTRY: Both #1 STUCK ON KITTEN and #1A MISPELLED MOOON fit here. The former goes second off the bench for a barn hitting at 26% this calendar year, while the latter graduated last time out and figures to be prominent early; #8 FAST COREY: Was a best bet of mine on opening day, when she took money against claimers, broke a bit slowly, and didn’t sit her desired trip. She was claimed that day, gets protected here, and has the zip to be the speed of the speed in this spot. Maybe that’s not enough to win, but I wouldn’t construct vertical exotics tickets without her involved.