SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (7/28/22)


BANKROLL: $860.20

Friday’s Curlin Stakes attracted a field of nine 3-year-olds. It’s a fun race, which is why I don’t like pointing out the benefits to changing it.

By contrast to the Curlin, Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy, the local prep for the Travers, is set to attract a significantly smaller group. Even with the presence of Epicenter, Early Voting, and Zandon, Creative Minister, the 2-1 favorite for the Curlin, would take some money in the bigger event. I want big fields in big races, and the Curlin doesn’t help with that.

My solution: How about we move the Curlin to Travers Day? I’d rather lose 30-1 shots from that race than lose 8-1 shots from the Jim Dandy. Small fields aren’t what anyone wants, and this fix would maximize an important race while also keeping the Curlin on the calendar.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: Disarmed had an absolutely terrible trip in the third, and it was pretty miraculous that he even salvaged a fourth-place finish. Lots of betting money went up in smoke, my $30 included.

THURSDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on the early part of the card and take a stand against the favorite in the third race. #3 BOLDISH hits me as vulnerable, and I prefer both #5 QUICK RETURN and #6 SARATOGA PAL. I’ll use those two in $2 doubles starting in the second with #3 SOUFFLE, #6 SNOWY EVENING, and #7 SHOWEMYOURHEELS, and in $2 doubles ending in the fourth with #6 OCEAN’S RESERVE and #8 DEVIL BOY. Finally, I’ll play a $1 Pick Three starting in the second that uses all of these runners.



Best Bet: Inventing, Race 1
Longshot: Lord Gatling, Race 10


Forever After All
Aunt Naughty

#4 INVENTING: Tries two turns for the first time after trailing a short field in the Grade 1 Acorn. Prior to that effort, she was second against solid groups, and her pedigree says she’ll take to two turns like a duck to water in the Thursday opener; #2 FOREVER AFTER ALL: Stepped forward when second at second asking going longer at Churchill Downs. She was 40-1 that day, and we won’t get anywhere close to that price here, as that 82 Beyer Speed Figure is tied for the best last-out number in the field; #5 AUNT NAUGHTY: Gets back to two turns after a pair of one-turn mile events downstate. She’s another bred for this route, and an effort similar to her runs elsewhere on the circuit would likely get her a piece of this one.


Snowy Evening

#3 SOUFFLE: Is out of a stakes-winning turf sprinter who has already thrown Derrynane, another stakes-winning turf sprinter. She’s been working very well for Christophe Clement, and first-call rider Joel Rosario will be aboard; #6 SNOWY EVENING: Debuted with a strong second at Belmont and was nearly four lengths clear of that day’s third-place finisher. She was close to a pretty slow pace that day and may need to improve here, but her experience edge over many of these isn’t a small advantage; #7 SHOWEMYOURHEELS: Hammered for $350,000 at auction last summer and is out of a mare that won stakes races on dirt and turf. She’s worked well and should be forwardly-placed beneath aggressive gate rider Kendrick Carmouche.


Quick Return
Saratoga Pal

#5 QUICK RETURN: Drops to the bottom first off the claim for a small barn that’s pretty strong with new acquisitions. His two local sprints last summer were pretty sharp, and these shallower waters should be to his liking; #6 SARATOGA PAL: May have needed his return off of a four-month layoff and returns to a track where he’s won twice in three tries. Perhaps he’s over the top as a 5-year-old, but anything close to his form from last summer and fall would give him a big shot; #3 BOLDISH: Returns off a six-month break and drops way down in class. Perhaps he’s just better than this bunch, but this barn struggles with horses coming off of long breaks. At his likely price, I’ll try to beat him.


Ocean’s Reserve
Devil Boy
Sinful Dancer

#6 OCEAN’S RESERVE: Has just missed twice in a row at this level and seems like the one to beat here. He’s fairly lightly-raced and may have more room to improve here in what’s just his fifth lifetime start; #8 DEVIL BOY: Has had some gate issues but draws an outside post that could make it easier for him to break cleanly. Toss his two-back clunker off the long break, and the record of this Jeremiah Englehart trainee looks far better; #2 SINFUL DANCER: Has had a bunch of chances and may simply be a pack animal at this point, but the addition of blinkers could wake him up. George Weaver excels with this move, and he’s earned speed figures in the past that would make him competitive here.


Lone Rock

#1 FEARLESS: Stretched out with aplomb to win the Grade 2 Brooklyn on the Belmont Stakes Day undercard. He’s yet to finish out of the top two in five starts this season, and two of those outings were losses to top miler Speaker’s Corner; #2 LONE ROCK: Won this race a season ago and has accomplished a lot running at marathon distances. He didn’t break well in the Brooklyn and settled for third that day. Perhaps a smoother start will give him a chance to turn the tables; #4 PORTOS: Ran fourth in the Brooklyn behind my top two. He hasn’t won in a while, but he’s run reasonably well going long and someone has to run third in here.


Afilada (MTO)
Birthday Time
Brisky Frolic

#3 BIRTHDAY TIME: Rated in an event without much early speed last time out and should benefit from a return to a two-turn route of ground. This seems like a significantly weaker group, and the drop in class doesn’t bother me given the aggressive connections; #13 BRISKY FROLIC: Needs a few scratches to run but merits a long look if she draws in off the also-eligible list. Her races going two turns against straight maidens are fine, and the last-out race was probably far shorter than she wanted to run; #8 ROUNDABOUT: Is worth closer examination at a big price. Her two-back effort going six furlongs wasn’t bad, and John Terranova’s numbers with horses adding blinkers are very good. At a minimum, expect her to be prominent early.


Ring of Fire
Legends Can’t Die
Bustin Shout

#3 RING OF FIRE: Has three wins and two seconds from six turf sprints, and his consistency earns him a tepid nod in a wide-open event. This is his third start off of a long layoff, and Luis Saez lands here when he probably had a few options; #5 LEGENDS CAN’T DIE: Rallied to win his debut by a head downstate and tries winners for the first time. George Weaver’s firsters sometimes need a race or two to get going, but this one tipped his hand with several strong drills, so there’s clearly some talent here; #4 BUSTIN SHOUT: Has run well here in the past and figures to be prominent early. His two-back win at Aqueduct was pretty sharp, and maybe he needed his last-out effort off a bit of a break.


Price Discipline
Windylea entry
Mr Breadwinner

#4 PRICE DISCIPLINE: Broke his maiden easily two starts ago and just missed in his first try against winners. Blinkers go on for his first two-turn endeavor, and any sort of move forward would make him a formidable favorite; WINDYLEA ENTRY: I prefer #1 DANGEROUS EDGE, who’s won two in a row and has progressed significantly since being claimed by Rob Atras in April. This is a tougher group than the ones he’s beaten downstate, but further improvement isn’t out of the question; #7 MR BREADWINNER: Comes back to dirt after two failed turf tries and should love this distance. He’s by Tonalist, out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, and won his last dirt start at Aqueduct.


Kantarmaci entry (MTO)
Mud Pie

#5 BALTHUS: Has clearly figured things out in his last two starts, both runaway wins going long on the lawn at Belmont. When Chad Brown gets horses on the right track, they tend to stay there, and he could have a very, very nice prospect on his hands; #3 MUD PIE: Makes his second start off the bench here, and does so in his first try as a gelding. He was a consistent turf marathoner before the ultimate equipment change, and the faster they go early, the better his chances figure to be; #6 OFFLEE NAUGHTY: Is worth consideration in vertical exotics as a longshot threat. He was an okay fourth in the Grade 3 San Luis Rey at Santa Anita, and he adds blinkers for an astute barn that doesn’t run many horses in New York.


Storm Shooter (MTO)
Lord Gatling

#11 SANDRONE: Runs for a tag for the first time and attracts Luis Saez in a confusing Thursday finale. The post position is a challenge, but there’s also a chance he’s just plain faster than these horses, and that he can clear and save ground going into the turn; #7 LORD GATLING: Makes his first start on turf and is bred to love it. He’s by Noble Mission, out of a Dubai Millennium mare, and exits a winning effort in the mud at Belmont; #2 COUSIN ANDREW: Hasn’t won in a while but has shown a closing kick that could prove helpful in a race that seems to have some early zip signed on. His two-back effort against similar foes was okay, and that day’s pilot sees fit to ride back.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 8/3/17


BANKROLL: $997.25

Earlier this week, a number of members of the horse racing media fell victim to a fake story involving prominent sire Tapit and an, um…interesting way of collecting some of the most valuable sperm in the breeding industry. Search for Tapit on Twitter, and many of the pieces will start to come together.

Long story short: If you fell for it, or even for a second considered it to potentially be true…REALLY?!?!?!?!?!

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: Turning 1/2 odds into 5/2 odds doesn’t sound so flashy, but doing so in the late double led to a nice score. Carina Mia was odds-on, and when she and Todd Pletcher firster March X Press both won, we turned our $30 investment into a smooth $105. By comparison, had we simply bet that $30 to win on Carina Mia, we’d have cashed out for a mere $46.50.

THURSDAY’S PLAY: I’ll keep this pretty simple. I think the fifth is a two-horse race between #2 MAD DOG MATTERS and #5 SENZA TE. I’ll box them in $10 exactas and use them to close out $5 doubles that begin with fourth-race single #2 BECKER’S GALAXY.



Best Bet: Becker’s Galaxy, Race 4
Longshot: Mad Dog Matters, Race 5


Sarah Joyce
For Goodness Sake
Amazing Anthem

SARAH JOYCE: Won two in a row before misfiring last time out over soft ground. Judging by her past clunkers across the pond in races on that kind of turf, she wants it firm, and she’ll be tough if she gets those conditions; FOR GOODNESS SAKE: Beat my top pick two back but got six pounds and a favorable setup that day. That said, her best is good enough to win this; AMAZING ANTHEM: Broke her maiden over hurdles two back. This is a major class test, but she gets a hot rider, and the race seems wide-open for underneath honors behind my top two.


Desert Affair
Love You Dearly

IWISHIRISH: Took a big step forward off a long layoff downstate. The rail draw isn’t ideal for her late-running style, but there’s plenty of speed signed on and these connections merit respect; DESERT AFFAIR: Did all the dirty work and was nailed on the wire last time out. She’s got a habit of collecting minor awards, but she could sit a dream trip if she can clear some of her inside rivals out of the gate; LOVE YOU DEARLY: Showed speed in her debut at Finger Lakes and ships in for a barn that popped with several similar horses here last summer. She figures to be very prominent early on.


Big Rock
Angry Moon

HOGY: Gets the top pick in what struck me as a two-horse race. He’s been running against much better horses for most of his career and exits the Jaipur, where the victorious Disco Partner set a world record; BIG ROCK: Was 2-for-2 at this route last summer but hasn’t won since. The return to this configuration could wake him up; ANGRY MOON: Seems like the main early speed on paper and has a pair of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures to his credit. However, he hasn’t run since November, and there’s a chance he needs a race to get going. DIRT SELECTIONS: ANGRY MOON, ANYTIME ANYPLACE, HEY JABBER JAW.


Becker’s Galaxy
Rodriguez entry
Jet Black

BECKER’S GALAXY: Drops back in to face state-breds after finishing a distant second behind Small Bear, who hit the board earlier this meet in the Curlin. Danny Gargan’s barn is firing on all cylinders, and this one is a logical wire-to-wire threat; RODRIGUEZ ENTRY: I prefer the returning GOOD LUCK GUS to the off-form ROYAL POSSE. The former ran against stakes competition for most of last year and will make his first start as a gelding in this spot; JET BLACK: Has run well at this route before and was claimed by Robertino Diodoro in his last start, which was his first since February. Improvement is logical at a bit of a price.


Mad Dog Matters
Senza Te
Lady Blessings

MAD DOG MATTERS: Has several strong drills in her worktab ahead of her debut for Rudy Rodriguez, who has snuck several talented 2-year-olds past maiden claiming ranks in the past (including Condo Commando for this ownership group a few years ago). 6-1 would be a very juicy price; SENZA TE: Is trained by Wesley Ward, who’s among the best in the game with first-time starters. The pedigree and workouts are both strong, and she could be ready to go right away; LADY BLESSINGS: Gets the services of Javier Castellano in her debut. This barn’s numbers with debuting runners aren’t great, and neither is the rail draw, but the workouts show that this filly may have some talent.


Avery Maeve
May Flowers
R Lucky Charm

AVERY MAEVE: Gets my reluctant top selection in a race where I’d strongly advise hitting the “ALL” button in multi-race wagers. She’s yet to run a bad race on turf and won at this route last summer; MAY FLOWERS: Ended a long winless drought last time out at Belmont and returns to a turf course she’s had success over in the past. Jose Ortiz stays aboard, and she’s a big price on the morning line; R LUCKY CHARM: Nearly prevailed in an off-the-turf event last time out and may be the main speed from her inside post. This barn can get hot in a hurry, and if she gets loose early, look out. DIRT SELECTIONS: R LUCKY CHARM, HEXAMETER, FIRST APPEAL.



KAHRUMANA: Graduated last time out while well in hand, and she hadn’t done much wrong in two starts before that, either. Her flexibility is a plus, and she could still be improving; DANCELAND: Closed well to be second last time out downstate, and her lone win came going a two-turn route of ground. There appears to be some speed to her inside, and the faster they go early, the better this one should like it; TAMIT: Was beaten less than three lengths in a Grade 3 two back and was up against it in a paceless race last time out. She’s another that will benefit from some early zip in front of her. DIRT SELECTIONS: COLORFUL CHARADES, OVERNEGOTIATE, CRIMSON FROST.


Tu Brutus
Turco Bravo

TU BRUTUS: Will likely scratch to await Saturday’s Whitney but is too good not to put on top in case the connections call an audible. Anything close to his races two or three back would make this a rout; SCUBA: Was probably the best marathoner in the country late last year but has disappointed in three 2017 outings. This barn has been hot lately, though, and if he finds his form, he’ll be tough; TURCO BRAVO: Won this race last year and should relish a return to this route. Javier Castellano was aboard that day, and he climbs back on here.


Whiskey Seven
Runaway Posse

WHISKEY SEVEN: Generally runs the same race every time out and has run into some solid fields for this level of late. He gets my top selection in another turf race that doubles as a real handicapping puzzle; SEIZE: Showed speed in his 2017 debut before fading to sixth. He ran a nice race here last year from a tough outside post and could enjoy a return to this route; RUNAWAY POSSE: Merits a look in the event of a pace meltdown, which could happen given the big field that’s signed on. This barn has had success of late, and we may get a price. DIRT SELECTIONS: WHISKEY SEVEN, CURIOUS CAL, POP THE HOOD.


Wish Upon
Scarlett Jo Hansen
Paz the Wine

WISH UPON: Took a huge step forward when second at this level downstate. There’s a chance at a bounce here, but a repeat of that performance could win this wide-open finale; SCARLETT JO HANSEN: Was beaten a nose by my top selection in her last effort, and like my top pick, she took a big step up that day. The question with her is if there’ll be enough early speed to set up for her late kick; PAZ THE WINE: Stretches out to a route after some solid races going shorter at Belmont. She was third in a two-turn race last year at Aqueduct and may have more tactical speed than she’s shown of late. DIRT SELECTIONS: MAJESTIC MAC, SCARLETT JO HANSEN, GOT THE GIST.