SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (9/7/20; CLOSING DAY)

BANKROLL

BANKROLL: $565.20

As is tradition, I’m using my last bankroll blurb of the season to thank people who truly deserve it. First of all, editor Joe Boyle spearheads production of The Pink Sheet on top of daily sports sections in The Saratogian and The Troy Record, plus a weekly section in The Community News. Managing one daily section alone is a full-time job. I’d wager Joe is one of the hardest-working people in sports journalism, and it’s been a lot of fun working with him.

I’m quick to take the New York Racing Association to task for certain things, but I need to give NYRA credit where it’s due. The racing office did all it could to make the best of a bad situation. It looked different, the stakes schedule was jumbled, and field sizes weren’t ideal, but Saratoga was still Saratoga. Special thanks also goes to the fantastic on-air and live production team working the daily FOX Sports broadcasts. The shows have captured the essence of Saratoga as well as they possibly could have under the circumstances.

Finally, I’d like to thank you, the reader. Whether you’ve been seeing this in print or going to AndrewChampagne.com, I want you to know I appreciate you taking the time to read my stuff. Saratoga is the one stretch of the year where I get to dig in and go head-to-head with some of the best handicappers in the world. Hopefully, I’ve given you a few winners and helped you cash a few tickets. If not…well, we’ve got one more day!

SUNDAY’S RESULTS: I scratched out of most of my action when Caramel Swirl didn’t run in the opener. Majestic West, meanwhile, set the early pace and tired in the third, so I dropped $15.

MONDAY’S PLAY: Okay, if I’m going down, I’m going down in flames. There’s a mandatory payout in the Empire 6, so I’ll have a 20-cent ticket starting in the ninth that reads as follows: 3,4,6,8,9 with 1,4,5 with ALL with 3,7,8 with 6 with 2,3,5,9,10,12. I’ll use the other $25 of my bankroll on the early Pick Five, which begins in the second. My 50-cent ticket goes like this: 2,3 with 4,5,6,7,9 with 2 with 4 with 1,2,3,7,8.

TOTAL WAGERED: $565.

ANALYSIS/SELECTIONS

Best Bet: Proven Strategies, Race 12
Longshot: Wild Banker, Race 11

R1

Iranistan
Bodes Well
Cracker Factory

#2 IRANISTAN: Responded to the class drop last time out with a gritty victory, one where he re-rallied late after doing all the dirty work on the front end. He’s got plenty of back class and may be rediscovering the 2018 form that saw him place in two Grade 1 events; #6 BODES WELL: Did the dirty work when third behind the talented Snap Decision in the Kiser earlier this meet. He gets weight from several other contenders in here, and his best race could win this; #1 CRACKER FACTORY: May have needed his return to the races a few weeks ago, when he was fifth behind Iranistan. He could improve at a price second off the bench, and this barn has had a very strong season to this point.

R2

Fort Worth
Build to Suit
Rice entry

#3 FORT WORTH: Came back running off the long layoff with an easy score, one that hinted he still had plenty of gas left in the tank. That day’s runner-up has since come back to win impressively, and any improvement would make this Pletcher trainee extremely tough; #2 BUILD TO SUIT: Has plenty of back form and has run very well over this surface. If he can channel his 2019 form, he’ll be a major player, but given the last-out clunker and the entry for a claiming price, it’s fair to wonder if this is a dump; RICE ENTRY: I prefer #1A THE CARETAKER, an honest horse with 23 in-the-money finishes in 32 career outings. He was second at this level early in the meet, and sharp first-off-the-claim trainer Linda Rice should have a fresh horse ready to roll.

R3

Domain Expertise
Editor At Large
Mrs. O’Connell

#9 DOMAIN EXPERTISE: Hammered for $200,000 at Keeneland in 2018 and is bred up and down for turf. She’s by Kitten’s Joy, out of a Limehouse mare, and she’s got several very good works for strong first-out trainer Chad Brown; #4 EDITOR AT LARGE: Has plenty of European pedigree and is the other half of Brown’s powerful 1-2 punch in this event. While I prefer the former horse to this one, she’s certainly got plenty of potential; #6 MRS. O’CONNELL: Runs for a barn whose horses often need a race or two to get going, but she’s bred to be a good one. Sire American Pharoah and broodmare sire Distorted Humor are both strong turf influences, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she ran well at a price.

R4

Road to Meath
Kabob
Liam’s Fire

#2 ROAD TO MEATH: Takes a big drop in class for an aggressive barn looking to win the training title. He’s almost certainly better on turf, but it’s not like he’s a slouch on dirt, and it seems like he’s found a soft spot; #6 KABOB: Rallied to break his maiden at a price early in the meet. That race didn’t come back particularly strong, but Ray Handal’s horses tend to get better with experience and this one should be running well late; #8 LIAM’S FIRE: Ran well to be third against $40,000 claimers two back and takes a big drop off a race that’s too bad to be true. A repeat of his two-back effort could give him a big shot at a bit of a price.

R5

Per Capita
Heirloom Kitten
Hunt the Front

#4 PER CAPITA: Has crossed the wire first twice in a row since coming back from an extended hiatus and makes his first start for new trainer Todd Pletcher. He earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for his win last time out at Churchill, and two turns shouldn’t be a problem given his running style; #3 HEIRLOOM KITTEN: Has won two in a row since going to the dirt, both in easy wire-to-wire fashion. This is a class test for him, but he certainly looks like the main speed in this field and he’ll be dangerous if he’s left alone up top; #2 HUNT THE FRONT: Rallied to finish third at this route earlier in the meet, and that came after his connections saw fit to run him in the Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland. He may need more pace than he’s likely to get, but a speed duel would open the door for him to come flying from out of the clouds.

R6

Kantarmaci entry
Life in Shambles
Repole entry

KANTARMACI ENTRY: Both #1 TOPPER T and #1A CLENCH have shown they don’t necessarily need the lead in order to run well. That seems like a vital asset in a race with several very fast horses that will likely go all-out from the moment the gates open; #7 LIFE IN SHAMBLES: Mildly rallied to finish fourth against similar earlier in the meet. He was claimed by Rob Atras that day, and the likely race shape could set things up for this one-run closer; REPOLE ENTRY: #2B WEGOTOLDYOUGOTSOLD is the only one likely to run, as #2 WIN WITH PRIDE raced Saturday. The former hasn’t won in a while, but is a consistent sort that’s done enough to attract Irad Ortiz, Jr.

R7

Army Wife
Mrs Frankel
Freedomofthepress

#9 ARMY WIFE: Was one-paced in her debut going shorter, but her pedigree says she’ll take a big step forward with added distance. She has an experience edge over much of this group, and the recent four-furlong bullet drill jumps off the page; #6 MRS FRANKEL: Chased an impressive next-out stakes winner in her first turf route, and she’s got enough early speed to be prominent from an early stage. Mark Casse has had plenty of hard luck at this meet, but this regally-bred filly certainly seems live; #5 FREEDOMOFTHEPRESS: Sold for $170,000 at Keeneland two years ago and has several strong local workouts ahead of her unveiling. If there’s hesitation here, it’s because young sire Mshawish is still unproven, so we don’t quite know what to expect from a pedigree standpoint.

R8

Breaking the Rules
Largent
Ballagh Rocks

#5 BREAKING THE RULES: Has won two in a row since coming off the bench and looms large in the Lure. He topped eventual Grade 1 winner Digital Age two back at Belmont before rallying from far off the pace here earlier this summer; #2 LARGENT: Has four wins and two seconds in six lifetime starts and goes second off the layoff for Todd Pletcher. He won a similar stakes race at Colonial Downs last time out, and he’s got enough tactical speed to sit an ideal trip beneath Luis Saez; #4 BALLAGH ROCKS: Was one of the top turf milers in the country at his peak and he’s still good enough to make plenty of money in his 7-year-old season. He just missed downstate on Independence Day and stands to benefit if the early pace is faster than expected.

R9

Speaker’s Corner
Demon
Savoy

#3 SPEAKER’S CORNER: Has turned in a pair of eye-catching drills ahead of his debut for Bill Mott, who doesn’t usually work his horses very fast. He’s bred to go longer than this, but the works say he’s plenty quick enough to win his unveiling; #4 DEMON: Showed speed from the gate in his most recent half-mile drill, and he’s bred to be precocious given the presence of sire Into Mischief. Todd Pletcher’s work with 2-year-olds speaks for itself, and the 8-1 odds seem like an overlay; #9 SAVOY: Has worked consistently and draws well in his debut for Chad Brown. This $160,000 auction purchase originally worked at Monmouth with Brown’s second string, which can be a red flag, but he’s done enough up here to make me think he’s got a shot.

R10

Binkster
Ima Pharoah
Maximiliano

#4 BINKSTER: Hasn’t won in a while but has spent 2020 chasing better horses than the ones he’ll line up against here. He’s got plenty of early zip and was most recently third in a swiftly-run stakes race for state-breds; #1 IMA PHAROAH: Cruised home to break his maiden in his local debut. He earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure that day, and he’s inexperienced enough to where he may still be improving; #5 MAXIMILIANO: Hasn’t been seen since running fifth in last year’s Springboard Mile at Remington Park. He’s worked well of late, though, and he did his best work last season in shorter races. If he’s ready, this Wesley Ward trainee may be a threat at a bit of a price.

R11

No Lime (MTO)
Wild Banker
Scanno

#3 WILD BANKER: Likely needed his return to the races last month at Monmouth Park, where he sat far back before rallying to finish third. This is a step up in class on paper, but it seems like a weak race for the level, there’s some early speed signed on, and Joel Rosario sees fit to ride; #10 SCANNO: Has run well twice at this meet and earned the diploma last time out. The outside post position is certainly a problem, but he’s shown some versatility in his last several starts, and that should give Luis Saez plenty of options; #6 MR. KRINGLE: Has placed in three stakes races and may go favored here. However, he flopped when third at 3/5 odds against similar last time out and didn’t seem to have any tangible excuses. He may just be a pack animal that likes running second and third, and I can’t endorse him on top.

R12

Proven Strategies
Lonesome Fugitive
Succeedandsurpass

#7 PROVEN STRATEGIES: Seems like the lone speed in this route on the inner turf and gets top gate rider Luis Saez. It seems overly simple, but too many turf races this summer have been won by horses like this, and the fact that he may be a bit of a price is very interesting; #3 LONESOME FUGITIVE: Was second in his first start against winners last time out, and that day’s victor came back to finish a hard-luck second in the Grade 3 Saranac. That was an oddly-run race, but he’s done very little wrong to this point in his career and is a logical favorite; #8 SUCCEEDANDSURPASS: Makes his first start for new trainer Graham Motion and looks to snap a year-log winless streak. He has tons of back class, having chased Grade 1 winner Mo Forza twice in California last year, and he figures to be rallying late beneath Jose Ortiz.

R13

Jackie’s Warrior
Mutasaabeq
Reinvestment Risk

#6 JACKIE’S WARRIOR: Led every step of the way in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special, and that day’s second-place finisher picked up another big check when second in the Iroquois Saturday at Churchill Downs. He seems like the speed of the speed and a horse that can steal the Grade 1 Hopeful on the front end; #3 MUTASAABEQ: Had no problems in his debut last month, when he cruised home as an odds-on favorite. This is a far tougher spot, to be sure, but this $425,000 auction purchase has every right to step forward for Todd Pletcher; #5 REINVESTMENT RISK: Turned heads by drawing away to win his debut by nearly eight lengths. He earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure, but he did so while sitting a perfect trip on the rail and capitalizing when room opened up. At his likely price, I’ll try to beat him.

R14

Gunman
Bold Gem
Vicarage

#12 GUNMAN: Will need to navigate a very tough outside post in the meet finale but has shown enough to merit favoritism. He was a close-up fourth earlier this meet, and that was his first start since October. A step forward could get him the money against a suspect group; #5 BOLD GEM: Seems to like running second and third, but also appears to be the main early speed in this race. It wouldn’t surprise me if he got out to an easy lead, and that may be dangerous in a field of horses that may not want to pass others; #3 VICARAGE: Comes back to the lawn for the first time since his debut, which came going two turns at Tampa. It’s tough to go that route early in one’s career, and he may have needed that race for seasoning. He’s bred up and down for turf and is worth a shot on deeper tickets.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (9/2/19, CLOSING DAY)

BANKROLL

BANKROLL: $571.10

As usual, my last bankroll blurb of the meet thanks a lot of people I’m incredibly grateful for. First of all, thanks very much to editors Stan Hudy and Joe Boyle, who combine to put out three sports sections a day for two papers during track season. If you think that’s easy, try it sometime. Also, thanks to the boys and girls selling The Pink Sheet outside the track, even those who took it upon themselves to not play along with my shtick Thursday and Saturday!

Finally, thanks to you, the reader. Everything I do is done for the purpose of better educating fans and handicappers, as well as potentially making it a bit easier for one to enjoy a day at one of racing’s last true cathedrals. Hopefully, I’ve helped you cash a few tickets this summer. If not, we’ve got one more shot at it!

SUNDAY’S RESULTS: For the second straight day, my key horse in exactas won impressively, but the ticket did not include the second-place finisher. We dropped $40.

MONDAY’S PLAY: I’ll look to go out with a bang in the late double. I’ll use #3 GREEN LIGHT GO and #5 BY YOUR SIDE (race 10, the Grade 1 Hopeful) and #5 FU PEGCHU, #7 EXCHEQUER, and #8 MINE THE COIN (race 11) in $95 doubles, which will exhaust all but $1.10 from my remaining balance.

TOTAL WAGERED: $570

– – – – –

BEST BET: Green Light Go, Race 10
LONGSHOT: Tadeo, Race 6

R1

Deft (MTO)
Doswell
Malthael

#4 DOSWELL: Was beaten a nose by Good Governance, who used that maiden race as a springboard to the Grade 3 Saranac. He wound up second that day, which bodes well for the horse he edged in this spot; #11 MALTHAEL: Has a tendency to find trouble and draws an outside post on the inner turf. However, his best race would make him a contender if Rosario can work out a clean trip; #6 CONVICTION TRADE: Debuts going two turns, which is never easy, but he’s got the pedigree to be a very good turf horse. He’s by Exchange Rate and out of a Street Sense mare, and goes out for a barn that can win with first-time starters.

R2

Mo Diddley
Giant Boo Boo
Battle Station

#4 MO DIDDLEY: Was claimed out of his last race by Joe Sharp, who promptly drops him down in class and returns him to what’s likely his preferred surface. His last win came going one turn on dirt, and he’d also thrive in the event of rain; #1 GIANT BOO BOO: Loves Saratoga and won here last time out. He’s got plenty of speed, which could make the rail an asset, and Javier Castellano hops aboard; #8 BATTLE STATION: Takes a big drop in class for Wesley Ward, but hasn’t won in a while and did most of his best running, from a figures standpoint, on turf. He does have two wins on dirt, but at his likely price, he’s tough to endorse on top.

R3

Baffin Bay
Days of Glory
Dakota’s Dude

#2 BAFFIN BAY: Comes up from Florida for this event and gets a tepid nod in a wide-open claimer. He’s won four of seven starts since being switched to the turf, and the presence of Joel Rosario is noteworthy; #3 DAYS OF GLORY: Was claimed by Steve Asmussen earlier in the meet and ran reasonable well in his second start off the layoff. Asmussen can move horses up, and he’ll likely be running well late; #6 DAKOTA’S DUDE: Gets a big rider switch to Jose Lezcano and topped similar company two back at Belmont. He didn’t have a great trip last time out, and he may be a slightly-inflated price based off of that effort.

R4

Ekhtibaar
Rodriguez entry
Heavy Roller

#4 EKHTIBAAR: Has won five of his 10 dirt starts and comes back to this surface while also dropping in class. He’s also 4-for-5 over a wet track, so he’s even more of a threat in the event of closing-day rain; RODRIGUEZ ENTRY: Both #1 CURLIN ROAD and #1A CANDY PROMISES are live, although only one will likely go. I slightly prefer the latter, who won two in a row before just missing at this route in July; #7 HEAVY ROLLER: Didn’t show much last time out, but was claimed by Linda Rice and has some back class. It wasn’t long ago he was 7/2 in a $350,000 race at Oaklawn, and he’s a contender if he finds that form for a high-percentage barn.

R5

Super Silver (MTO)
Zap Daddy
Labeq

#3 ZAP DADDY: Hasn’t won in a while, but goes to the barn of Jason Servis, which can wake a horse up as well as any claim in the game. He’s been competitive against similar foes in the past and merits respect; #5 LABEQ: Seems to be figuring things out as a 4-year-old. He was second behind a horse that’s since added two more wins last time out, and he comes in off of a bullet drill; #1 SNAP HOOK: Won two in a row before settling for second behind a runaway winner here last month. Jose Ortiz gets off, but trainer Eddie Kenneally has seven top-two finishes in 13 Saratoga starts as of this writing.

R6

Gouverneur Morris
Tadeo
Maximiliano

#8 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS: Hammered for $600,000 earlier this year and has worked like a good one for trainer Todd Pletcher. First-call rider John Velazquez will be aboard this son of hot young sire Constitution; #7 TADEO: Is by Sky Mesa, which gives him a right to be precocious, and his most recent gate drill was solid. His trainer’s horses sometimes need a race, but this one has a big chance to outrun his odds; #1 MAXIMILIANO: Fetched $425,000 at auction last September despite a modest female pedigree. Wesley Ward is as good as anyone with debuting runners, but with all the recent turf drills, why is this one debuting on dirt?

R7

Rhode Island
Danny California
Saratoga Colonel

#5 RHODE ISLAND: Was a good second against non-winners of two last time out and drops in claiming price here. A repeat effort will make him tough, and he’s a very logical favorite; #2 DANNY CALIFORNIA: Hasn’t won in 18 months, but was competitive at this level two back before not breaking well last time out. Additionally, he’s got some dirt form, which could come in handy if this race is moved to the main track; #12 SARATOGA COLONEL: Is another that hasn’t found the winner’s circle in a while, but he adds blinkers for George Weaver and attracts Jose Ortiz. It’s a tall task to win from out there, but he’s run well over this turf course in the past.

R8

Hay Field
Miss Lily B
Newport Breeze

#7 HAY FIELD: Goes to Jason Servis after running second at this level earlier in the meet. She’s got tons of back form, has 14 top-two finishes in 23 career starts, and merits respect; #5 MISS LILY B: Has done very little wrong in nine lifetime outings at Finger Lakes, where she’s won five times and finished second four times. Jose Ortiz rides for a live barn that rarely ships horses without a chance; #9 NEWPORT BREEZE: Hasn’t run since October, but beat a number of today’s rivals in that race and has worked fairly well leading up to this race. Weaver can win with horses off of long layoffs, and she was second in a stakes race here two summers ago.

R9

Sacred Life
March to the Arch
Qurbaan

#6 SACRED LIFE: Nearly won his U.S. debut, which came in the Lure last month. He’s since fired a pair of bullet workouts and should get some pace to run at in this Grade 2 event; #1 MARCH TO THE ARCH: Chased Got Stormy when fourth in the Grade 1 Fourstardave, and this certainly seems like a softer spot. A mile is probably a hair shorter than he wants to go, so he should appreciate the extra sixteenth he gets here; #3 QURBAAN: Won this race last year but hasn’t won since despite some good efforts against solid competition. He was third in the Forbidden Apple earlier this meet and is another that would benefit from a hot pace.

R10

Green Light Go
By Your Side
Gozilla

#3 GREEN LIGHT GO: Sprinted clear late in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and comes into the Grade 1 Hopeful off of a recent bullet drill. All indications are that he’s fully-cranked for this event; #5 BY YOUR SIDE: Has shown maturity in two prior victories, one of which was the Grade 3 Sanford. His pedigree says the added distance won’t be a problem, and he could sit an ideal stalking trip; #4 GOZILLA: Capitalized on a perfect trip in his debut, when he scored by nearly five lengths and earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure. Of the recent maiden winners, he hits me as the one with the biggest shot, and he’ll likely be bet accordingly.

R11

Mine the Coin
Exchequer
Fu Pegchu

#8 MINE THE COIN: Was second behind a next-out winner in his first start off a long layoff and was claimed by a high-percentage outfit. Improvement is logical at second asking, and he looms large in the 2019 finale; #7 EXCHEQUER: Was third in that race and would benefit from a lively early pace. Irad Ortiz, Jr., stays aboard, and one would assume he had some options; #5 FU PEGCHU: Debuts off of a bullet workout for Wesley Ward and may not have to be much to pick up a check here. Ward’s one of the best with debuting runners, and this is not exactly the toughest spot.

Santa Anita Closing Day Analysis, Selections, and Tickets: 7/4/17

Tuesday is closing day at Santa Anita, marking the conclusion of a meet that started way back in late-December. The folks in the racing office have put together an interesting card headlined by the Grade 3 American. I’ll be offering multi-race exotic tickets at the end of the article, including a Pick Six since that sequence has a carryover that must be paid out. Do note, though, that this ticket is very budget-conscious. I usually don’t play $2 Pick Sixes, as I simply don’t have the budget, and I can’t give out a huge ticket that I’d never play.

Before I do that, though, I’ll go race-by-race and give my thoughts on each event.

RACE #1: From a betting standpoint, I could not hate this race more (optimistic start, huh?). There’s a standout on paper in the form of Algorhythmic, who’s won three in a row since being claimed by Michael Machowsky. Her best race dusts this group…but she breaks from the rail, which is a very treacherous spot in races contested on the hillside turf course.

With that said, it isn’t like the rest of the field came up all that strong. Only two of her opponents have a win at this route, and that pair features a horse stepping up out of the claiming ranks (Del Mar Ann) and one that hasn’t run since November (Easy Grader). As such, if you’re playing the Pick Five, I think Algorythmic is a “hold your nose” single. I just can’t find anyone who seems like an upset candidate.

RACE #2: Many contenders here exit the same May 21st race, one that fell apart late after some ridiculous early fractions were posted. That day’s runner up, Summer Mischief, is logical, and I’ll use her in my Pick Five, but I’ll take a shot elsewhere with my top pick.

Lady Ninja’s first two races have come down the hill, and they haven’t been bad. She didn’t break well in her debut, but rallied to finish a respectable fourth, and she followed that up with a second-place finish behind a horse named Painting Corners, who was a runaway winner that day and also coasted to victory a few days ago. Flavien Prat stays on, and we may get a bit of a price on Lady Ninja in this spot.

RACE #3: I thought this was the most challenging race of the day. It’s a maiden race for fillies going long on the turf, and most of these horses figure pretty similarly to one another.

Reluctantly, I’ll give my top pick to 12-1 shot California Breeze, who tries turf for the first time and is bred to love it (331 turf Tomlinson rating). Flavien Prat stays on for trainer Phil D’Amato, and I’m hoping she gets brave on the front end.

RACE #4: This is a fun starter handicap featuring some speedy horses going five furlongs. Forest Blue is a considerable favorite based off of some strong recent races, but he’ll face Percy’s Bluff, who reeled off eight straight wins before trying a distance that was probably too long for him. Those two could tower over the field on the odds board, and I think they do just that on paper as well.

RACE #5: I’ll focus on a few class-droppers in this claiming event, one that starts a Pick Six sequence that boasts a mandatory payout. Getoffmyback comes back to this level, one where he just missed to a next-out winner two back. I’ll use him, but he hasn’t won in a while, and his 9/5 morning line seems pretty short given that.

My top pick breaks to the likely favorite’s inside. Atomic Action was protected three back, won two back, and then ran up against a very strong field last out. The winner and third-place finisher from that race have both come back to win, and the waters are much more shallow here.

RACE #6: This is the Grade 3 American Stakes, and it features the return of Om, who just missed in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He’s run well fresh before, and there aren’t many heavy hitters signed on for his 2017 debut.

What could work against Om is the likely pace scenario. There’s plenty of speed signed on, and it wouldn’t be shocking if Flamboyant sat a picture-perfect trip. He hasn’t won in a while, but he may have been going a hair longer than his preferred trip for most of 2016, and he just missed at this level last time out at Golden Gate despite a wide trip.

RACE #7: The late Pick Four starts off with a real puzzler. This is a 2-year-old maiden race that’s drawn a full field of Cal-breds, and this is a spread race for me in that aforementioned sequence.

I like a pair of second-time starters most. Powerful Thirst may go off favored after an adventurous debut where he broke slowly and rallied to be fourth, while Oh Jerry took lots of money on debut and runs back fairly quickly. Still, this is a race where I think you need to buy lots of coverage if you can afford it.

RACE #8: This is a grass grab bag, and the field of 13 guarantees a tremendous betting race. I’ll use several in the late Pick Four, but I’ll be salivating if my top pick goes off close to his morning line price.

My Man Chuckles is 12-1 on the morning line, and I’m not entirely sure why. He won going down the hill two back, and ran an OK race last time out despite a post position that wasn’t ideal. Inside posts are undesirable at this route, but he was still beaten just a length and a half. The better draw in this spot should help him, as should the ample amount of early speed that appears to be lining up. I’ll gladly take double-digit odds if I can get them.

RACE #9: We’ve got an undefeated favorite in this race, and as much as I want to find holes in her resume, I can’t do that. G Q Covergirl is 3-for-3, and she came back running last time out off a long layoff. In that win, she rated a bit, which she hadn’t done in her two prior starts. There’s some speed to her outside, but Martin Garcia should have some options depending on how the race unfolds out of the gate. Improvement can be expected here, and if she steps up off her last race, she’ll be pretty tough to beat.

RACE #10: We end with a turf route that’s drawn a big field. Your guess is as good as mine with regard to who will be favored, and I like a few solid prices in here.

My top pick is I’m Living Proof, who’ll make his first start for new trainer Richard Baltas. Rafael Bejarano signs on, and he’s been gelded since his last outing, which should be a big plus. I also like 10-1 shot Insubordination, who’s flashed ample speed going down the hill. The outside draw isn’t great, but there doesn’t appear to be much early zip signed on, so he could lead them a long way.

– – – – –

$0.50 Pick Five: Race #1

R1: 1
R2: 3,6
R3: 2,5,7,8,9
R4: 3,6
R5: 1,2

40 Bets, $20

– – – – –

$2 Pick Six: Race #5

R5: 1,2
R6: 4,8
R7: 5,10
R8: 7,9,11
R9: 7
R10: 10,11

48 Bets, $96

– – – – –

$0.50 Pick Four: Race #7

R7: 3,5,7,10
R8: 6,7,9,11,13
R9: 7
R10: 5,10,11

60 Bets, $30