SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (7/23/22)


BANKROLL: $899.20

In addition to Saturday’s big card at Saratoga, there’s also a huge day on tap at Monmouth Park. It’s Haskell Day, and the main event features a clash between Jack Christopher and Taiba. I sat in on PlayUSA’s Haskell preview show, which can be seen on the PlayUSA YouTube channel.

Dave Bontempo, Bill Gelman, and I were joined by morning line man Brad Thomas and Dallas Baker of BetMakers, and it was a blast. If you’re playing that race, you won’t want to miss it!

FRIDAY’S RESULTS: My Grand Slam tickets went up in smoke when my second-leg single was off the board. As such, I dropped $16.

SATURDAY’S PLAYS: This is an outstanding slate. My action starts in the opener with an early 50-cent Pick Five ticket that reads as follows: 7 with 6,7 with 3,6 with ALL with 5. I’ll also play an early 50-cent Pick Four starting in the second race that goes like this: 6 with 3,6 with 1,3,4,6,8,9 with 5.



Best Bet: Activist Investing, Race 1
Longshot: Prisoner, Race 8


Activist Investing
Coach Petro
Reckoning Force

#7 ACTIVIST INVESTING: Fetched $313,000 at the Tattersalls sale and has some of the best turf breeding of any horse on the grounds. His 451 turf Tomlinson rating is exceptional, he’s been working steadily for Chad Brown, and he looms large; #5 COACH PETRO: Debuts for Brad Cox, who’s enjoyed a stellar meet to this point, and is another with plenty of turf in his pedigree. His dam was a stakes-winner on the lawn, and this female family also threw Grade 2 turf winner Speaktomeofsummer; #9 RECKONING FORCE: Was third in his debut overseas and makes his first North American start for Joseph O’Brien. He’s got an experience edge over the first-time starters, and this dam’s two other foals to race are both winners.


Risk Profile (MTO)
Private Life

#6 PRIVATE LIFE: Ran too poorly to be true last time out in an off-the-turf event. He gets back to his preferred surface and drops in class, and anything close to his two-back win over starter allowance foes at Gulfstream would make him a tough customer; #7 BRAZILLIONAIRE: Capitalized on a perfect trip last time out with an easy four-length jaunt downstate, and his record looks far better if you focus on his sprint efforts. This isn’t an easy spot for the level, but he’s doing what he wants to do, and that matters; #2 ME ’N SAP: Drops back in for a tag on short rest after a start against higher-level competition last week. His win two back wasn’t bad, and David Donk’s horses are generally running pretty well to this point in the summer.


Jane Grey
Bank On Anna

#3 JANE GREY: Had every right to need her first start since September of 2020, but ran a decent second behind an impressive winner. Bill Mott’s horses tend to improve second off the bench, and the presence of Luis Saez is intriguing; #6 REPEALING: Ran in probably the best maiden race of the season last year against champion Echo Zulu and stakes-winner Lady Scarlet, among others. She came back running with a win last month at Churchill Downs, and she goes against winners for the first time here; #1 BANK ON ANNA: Has won three of her last four starts against state-breds and tries open company here. She’s got some versatility and doesn’t necessarily need to be on the lead to run well, which could help her snag a piece of this at a price.


Veronica Greene
Sixth Street

#1 MOZAY: Has been close on a number of occasions and draws favorably in this wide-open turf event. She just missed last time out, when she was involved in a three-way photo at Belmont, and she’s run well going two turns in the past; #6 VERONICA GREENE: Tries the turf for the first time and is bred to love it. Her two dirt outings have been a bit disappointing, but she continues to hint at talent in the mornings and Irad Ortiz, Jr., has been enticed to ride; #9 SIXTH STREET: Is a European export getting Lasix for the first time, which is always a notable angle. She’d been sprinting overseas and stretches out for a very capable barn, and this may not be the toughest race we see at this level this summer.


Secret Oath

#5 SECRET OATH: Had a nightmare trip in the Grade 1 Preakness against boys, which came just two weeks after a smashing score in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. She’s been training forwardly for one of the best to ever condition a racehorse, and I think she’ll be tough in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks; #3 NEST: Wasn’t disgraced a bit when second behind stablemate Mo Donegal in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes going a mile and a half. She’s never missed the board in seven career starts and seems ready to fire again; #4 NOSTALGIC: Didn’t have a great trip in the Oaks, which came after a late-running score in the Grade 3 Gazelle at Aqueduct. She showed tactical speed in a few starts earlier this year, and I think she’s better than her last-out effort indicates.


Full Moon Madness

#5 POWERFUL: Gets a tepid nod in a puzzling 2-year-old maiden race that feels heavy on potential. This son of Nyquist hammered for $525,000 at auction, is out of a mare whose two prior foals to race are winners, and possesses a few eye-catching works for Steve Asmussen; #2 FULL MOON MADNESS: Debuts for Michelle Nevin, whose horses tend to need a race or two to get going, and the inside draw isn’t ideal. However, he’s out of multiple Grade 1 winner By the Moon, and his July 9th work at Belmont Park jumps off the page; #8 PHELPSY: Was a million-dollar baby at the Keeneland sale last September. This son of Into Mischief has an outstanding female family, with a dam that’s kin to multiple graded stakes-winner Private Mission. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because he may want longer than this six-furlong route of ground.


Tough Street
Writers Room
Quick Power Nap

#2 TOUGH STREET: Makes her 2022 debut off a long break, but adds Lasix for Chad Brown and finally gets to try turf. Broodmare sire Freud is an excellent grass influence, and her dam is a half-sister to stakes-winning turfer Jazzy Jessy; #8 WRITERS ROOM: Is one of several exiting the same maiden race on June 25th at Belmont and closed at first asking, which isn’t an easy thing to do. Linda Rice’s runners tend to improve at second asking, and a logical step forward gives her a big chance; #6 QUICK POWER NAP: Was second to a good horse in her debut at this route last summer, then went away for 11 months and came back to run third in the race my second choice exits. She figures to be prominent early for a barn whose horses always seem live.


Highly Respected
Favorite Outlaw

#7 HIGHLY RESPECTED: Cuts back to a sprint after getting nailed at the wire in back-to-back races downstate, one of which was the Grade 3 Bay Shore. He’s fired back-to-back bullet drills ahead of this allowance race, and the cushy outside draw is a big plus; #3 PRISONER: Ran a clunker last time out after starting his career with three consecutive wins. Two recent bullets hint that he’s come back to form for Charlton Baker, and repeats of the races he ran earlier this year at Aqueduct would give him a shot at a very square price; #4 FAVORITE OUTLAW: Has a win and two seconds from three lifetime starts and most recently ran second behind a runaway winner at Churchill Downs. He’s run races that would make him very competitive in this spot, and this lightly-raced colt may still have some room to improve.


Uncle Moonlight
Stage Raider
Rising Empire

#1 UNCLE MOONLIGHT: Capitalized on a “lone speed” situation last time out at Belmont and posted a 95 Beyer Speed Figure, easily a career-best. A similar scenario could present itself here, as this one sure looks like the main pace factor in his two-turn debut; #7 STAGE RAIDER: Is best known as Justify’s younger half-brother, but has run several strong figures and may simply be better than this group. However, he’s 0-for-3 this year, and while he was second behind the talented Highly Motivated last time out, he was probably supposed to win the two-back race. At his likely price, I’ll take a stand against him; #3 RISING EMPIRE: Ran a clunker last time out at Churchill Downs, but adds blinkers and has enough back form to suggest that was an outlier. Brendan Walsh got this one going pretty well earlier this year, and the last-out dud may mean we get an inflated price.


Tobys Heart
Star Devine

#5 TOBYS HEART: Could provide some value in a wide-open renewal of the Grade 3 Caress. She was beaten four lengths in the Grade 3 Intercontinental, but early speed held well in that race. This one is 4-for-4 at this distance, likes Saratoga, and should get plenty of pace to chase; #1 CARAVEL: Became the Intercontinental champion (first wrestling reference of the season!) last time out, and we’ve seen her run some sensational races. She can run well on the lead or sitting just off the pace, and it wouldn’t be stunning if she won this race for a second year in a row; #3 STAR DEVINE: Has run second twice in as many 2022 outings, but has chased quality fillies home and could have room to improve. She won a minor stakes race at this route last summer, and John Velazquez certainly knows her very well.


Bold Victory
Catch That Party

#8 CATCH THAT PARTY: Rated behind a pretty slow early pace last time out, but still rallied and was beaten less than two lengths. He ran well here three times last summer, and it’s telling that aggressive connections protect him rather than drop into a softer spot; #7 SHINSUN: Carries an unusual pedigree and bucked a big trend when he won his debut for Barclay Tagg, who doesn’t usually have his first-time starters fully cranked. This gelding by Japanese Group 1 winner A Shin Forward, out of a German mare, could have some talent, and Luis Saez riding back is encouraging; #1 FRONT MAN: Exits the same race as my top pick and was beaten a length by that runner on that occasion. This one has won his lone local start to date, and a repeat of his two-back winning effort would give him a puncher’s chance at a price.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (7/18/20)



Cheap plug time: At the start of the whole COVID-19 thing, I started the “Champagne and J.D.” YouTube show with my friend J.D. Fox. We’ve put together four months of shows with a great lineup of guests, and we’re proud of what we’ve built.

To check out this week’s show featuring TimeformUS figure guru and longtime friend Craig Milkowski, as well as analysis of today’s late Pick Four sequence, head to my Twitter page (@AndrewChampagne) or search for “Champagne and J.D.” on YouTube. Our goal is to put together content horseplayers of all types will enjoy during what’s been a stressful time for everybody. I think we’ve done that, and I hope you give it a listen. If you like what we’re doing, hit the “subscribe” button so you don’t miss any of our weekly uploads.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS: My Pick Five play was rendered null and void by the surface switch in the finale. Remember: Wagers given in this space assume turf races are run on that surface.

SATURDAY’S PLAY: Once again, I have a reasonably-priced Pick Five ticket, so I have to take a swing at it even though I usually don’t play those tickets. This time, I’ll go after the early sequence. My 50-cent ticket starting in the opener reads as follows: 3,5,6 with 1 with 7 with 2,5,6 with ALL. I’m banking on getting two prices home in the final two races of the sequence, which we’ll need to provide value if my two short-priced singles are the goods.



Best Bet: Yaupon, Race 7
Longshot: Me ’n Sap, Race 11


Mo Mischief
Repo Rocks

#3 MO MISCHIEF: Fetched $500,000 earlier this year and has every right to be a good one. He’s by top sire Into Mischief, hails from the barn of Todd Pletcher, and boasts a series of strong gate drills ahead of his unveiling in the Saturday lid-lifter; #5 HOLLAND: Didn’t do much running first time out at Churchill, but he didn’t have a great start and perhaps he needed a race. Improvement is logical at second asking for strong connections; #6 REPO ROCKS: Has been working very quickly for Bill Mott, who isn’t known for having horses fully-cranked first time out. History says he might need a race, but if the early money is in, watch out.


Mr. Kringle

#1 MR. KRINGLE: Has been running against far better competition and looms large in this spot, assuming it stays on turf. He was last seen chasing multiple stakes-winner Decorated Invader in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge, and anything close to his third-place effort that day will make him tough; #7 ZIPALONG: Took to turf routing like a duck to water with an easy score downstate against maiden claimers. This is a much tougher spot, but it’s entirely possible he’s doing what he’s wanted all along; #4 BATTALION: Beat maiden claimers last time out at Gulfstream and figures to be prominent early. John Velazquez hops aboard and could have him in a strong position going into the far turn.


Money Moves (MTO)
Decorated Invader

#7 DECORATED INVADER: Is a logical favorite off of four wins in his last five starts. He strolled home in the Pennine Ridge, and he’ll likely be a similarly-short price here against what looks like an overmatched group; #5 GUFO: Gets a class test after four wins in a row, including one in the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware Park. Beyer-wise, he’s not far behind his stablemate, and the Clement barn certainly holds a powerful hand here; #6 EVER DANGEROUS: Might be a pace play in here given the likely race shape. There isn’t much gate speed signed on, and this one could inherit the early lead by default at a price.


Lady by Choice
Jump for Joy

#2 LADY BY CHOICE: Goes second off the layoff and first off the claim for Mike Maker here and hasn’t run a poor race in more than a year. Her tactical speed is a plus, and in a spot where I think the likely favorite is very beatable, she could present real value; #6 JUMP FOR JOY: Hasn’t won since this meet last year, but she likes Saratoga and goes second off the layoff after just missing in a similar spot downstate. Jose Ortiz rides back, and it’s not hard to see her taking a step forward; #5 ARCHUMYBABY: Is a fun horse to root for, having won 13 of 40 lifetime starts and banking more than $460,000 the hard way. She beat several of these runners last time out and has proven tough to beat in stretch battles.


Vicarage (MTO)
Summer Tune

#4 CONGLOMERATE: Is bred to be a good horse and makes his debut for Chad Brown. He’s by top turf sire Lemon Drop Kid and out of a stakes-winning mare with a strong pedigree and several classy full siblings, so it won’t be surprising if he’s ready right off the rip; #3 SUMMER TUNE: Has run well in a pair of prior starts and was third in his first time going long at Monmouth. The barn has been cold this year, but it does seem like this one’s headed in the right direction; #10 RED FLAG ALERT: Showed speed in his debut downstate over a yielding turf course. That early zip could prove useful on the inner turf, and Franco riding back for George Weaver is a solid sign.


Rip It
Girl Dad

#1 RIP IT: Has one of the best pedigrees on the grounds. He’s by Tapit and out of Grade 2 winner Riposte, a half to Grade 1 winner Powerscourt. Riposte’s dam is also the second dam of the legendary Frankel, so if this one can’t run, it’s not due to a lack of bloodlines; #9 GIRL DAD: Raced greenly in his debut at Belmont but showed interest late and made up ground. I think he could step forward at second asking, though two turns is certainly a question mark; #5 CATMAN: Makes his debut and is another with a strong pedigree. He’s inbred to the dam of sire Kitten’s Joy, and his female family has lots of class. His dam is a half to multiple Grade 1 winner Exotic Wood, who threw stakes-winning turfer Key to Power.


The Sicarii

#1 YAUPON: Won his debut last month at Churchill, and that proved to be a salty race. Third-place finisher Savvy came right back to graduate at Keeneland, and this one doesn’t seem to have landed in a particularly strong race for the level; #5 CUCINA: Had a very wide trip last time out on turf at Belmont and comes back to dirt for Bill Mott. He was fourth in last year’s Grade 3 Sanford and tried Grade 1 company at Woodbine after that, so there’s some back class here; #6 THE SICARII: Has done his best work here at Saratoga and would benefit from a pace meltdown. He hasn’t run since March, but the recent strong drill at Belmont is encouraging and he’ll likely be a big price.


Creative Style
Musical Heart

#3 CREATIVE STYLE: Is my top pick in a befuddling race solely because I have to have one. He’s won two of his last three starts, though, and he’ll be the one to beat if he can stretch his talent around two turns; #1 HOFFENHEIM: Hasn’t won in two years, but has run in some pretty tough spots. His race last time out was off a bit of a freshening, so it’s not hard to see some improvement coming here at a bit of a price; #6 MUSICAL HEART: Comes back to dirt after a failed try on turf against higher-level claimers. He cruised in an off-the-turf race at Gulfstream, and a repeat might be enough in a race where I have zero conviction (if you’re playing the late Pick Four, the “ALL” button might be your friend).


Set Piece
Noble Indy
Digital Age

#6 SET PIECE: Ran in several big spots overseas a year ago (including the Group 1 2,000 Guineas) and flashed lots of talent in his U.S. debut. He inhaled a classy field at Churchill and should get a more solid pace to run at second off the bench; #4 NOBLE INDY: Has proven dangerous at this level and distance on turf, with two wins over similar foes in the past year. He’ll be part of the pace, for sure, and this is a much softer spot than the stakes race he exits where he simply went too long; #7 DIGITAL AGE: Disappointed when second at 6/5 in his comeback race, one he had every right to win if he was good enough. That wasn’t the first time he failed to pass horses late, and that’s concerning, but the Chad Brown trainee has back class and was a good second in a $1 million race here a season ago.


Paris Lights

#6 PARIS LIGHTS: Has blossomed since shifting to two-turn routes with a pair of impressive wins at Churchill. The recent bullet drill hints that she’s still in good form, and I think she’ll be in great shape with a stalking trip behind horses that may not want to go this far; #3 ALTAF: Seems like this race’s lone stone closer. She does take a class jump out of the maiden ranks after a score in Kentucky, but it’s not like this came up as a strong Grade 1, and the race could set up for her; #2 ANTOINETTE: Is a classy sort that runs well on dirt and turf. She’s won one stakes race, finished third in three others, and may provide some value as the “other” Bill Mott trainee.


Top of the Mint
Quick Return
Me ’n Sap

#10 TOP OF THE MINT: Goes second off the layoff for Mark Hennig, who has strong numbers with similar stock. He came running late to be beaten only a length in his first start in more than 10 months, and logical improvement would make him formidable; #3 QUICK RETURN: Was second in his debut, which came against a short field downstate. However, the 61 Beyer Speed Figure he earned stacks up well against this group, and Carmouche sees fit to ride back; #6 ME ‘N SAP: Boasts an improving workout pattern for a sneaky barn that can pop at a price with first-time starters. There are no monsters here, and if he runs to the most recent work, he could stand a chance at blowing up the tote board.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (7/21/19)



My favorite story about the late Marylou Whitney involves Birdstone’s upset of Triple Crown hopeful Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes. She was the winning owner of a horse that just won one of racing’s most prestigious races. Her first instinct, though, was not to celebrate, but to apologize to the crowd that came to see a coronation and largely went home disappointed.

You don’t need to be a follower of racing’s social scene (and trust me, I’m not) to understand and appreciate what Marylou Whitney brought to Saratoga. In addition to being a link to the aristocrats of the mid-20th century that congregated in the Saratoga clubhouse each summer, she facilitated a gigantic volume of service to the sport and those around it while asking for nothing in return.

By any measure, Marylou Whitney lived a full life. She was 93 years old when she passed away Friday, just a few weeks away from her induction into racing’s Hall of Fame as a “Pillar of the Turf.” If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s this: Saratoga is a lesser place without her in it.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS: After many chances, Andretta graduated out of the maiden ranks in the third race and spoiled Pick Four and double tickets. We dropped $30.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: I’ll concentrate on the seventh race, where I like a pair of debuting runners. I’ll key #5 MERITATEN and #10 SEQUIN on top of $3 exactas that include those two, #1 FLY SO PRETTY, #7 MOM’S PASS, and #8 QUEEN OF SHADES underneath. Additionally, as a value play, I’ll use them to finish off $3 doubles that start with #6 MAMMA DEE (my longshot of the day) in the sixth.


– – – –

BEST BET: Guarana, Race 4
LONGSHOT: Mamma Dee, Race 6


Whitman’s Poetry

#1 MARKHAN: Has won three in a row and is undefeated since coming to North America. He seems to be in career form right now, and he looms large as the one to beat in the first steeplechase of the meet; #4 RENOWN: Tossed his rider last time out, but has a solid body of work. Prior to becoming a solid steeplechase horse, he was stakes-placed on the flat and ran third in last year’s John’s Call; #7 WHITMAN’S POETRY: Always seems to fire, but is winless in his last eight starts. He can’t be ignored underneath, but he’s tough to trust on top.


Business Cycle
Brush Country

#6 BUSINESS CYCLE: Has misfired in both of his 2019 starts and takes a gigantic drop in class for this event. There’s a chance he peaked last year, but he did show some late interest last time and may not have to run to his 2018 form to win; #3 BRUSH COUNTRY: Was competitive when third against $40,000 claimers last time out at Churchill. In a race full of class-droppers, he seems fairly logical, especially given that his last two races have both come at this distance; #7 HEYITSNRICOPALAZO: Makes his second start off the layoff here (almost certainly to the delight of track announcer Larry Collmus) and showed some speed last time out. This barn is 2-for-2 so far this meet, and a step forward would make him a candidate to hit the board at a price.


Borough Boy (MTO)
Value Engineering
Bad Boy

#9 VALUE ENGINEERING: Is one of several dropping in for a tag for this barn Sunday, and like most of the others, he looks tough. He’s been very competitive against straight maidens, and several of his prior opponents have come back to win; #8 BAD BOY: Drops back in for a tag and was competitive against similar-quality foes this past winter at Gulfstream. The return to a two-turn route should suit him; #5 CRYPTO GOLD: Merits a look underneath at double-digit odds. He crossed the wire first two back before being DQ’d and should be moving in the right direction late.


Point of Honor

#1 GUARANA: Certainly seems like the best horse in a below-average group of 3-year-old fillies, and she’s strictly the one to beat in the historic Coaching Club American Oaks. She’s never been two turns, but with her pedigree, such a trip shouldn’t be a problem; #5 POINT OF HONOR: Has won three of four starts and rallied to take a Grade 2 last time out at Pimlico. She may not get as much pace to run at here, but if nothing else, the distance won’t beat her; #3 BOXWOOD: May very well be the lone speed if Guarana’s rider opts to sit back. She was second in a solid optional claimer last time out and could hold on for a piece of it with the right trip.


Per Capita
Majority Rules
Scars Are Cool

#2 PER CAPITA: Tops a strong 1-2 punch for Chad Brown, who may very well sweep the early Pick Four. He was third in a very fast maiden race last month at Belmont and has the pedigree necessary for this two-turn trip; #6 MAJORITY RULES: Was a close-up second in his debut going a mile back in May. The layoff is a bit of a concern, but he boasts a few strong local works and could improve at second asking; #4 SCARS ARE COOL: Tries two turns for the first time after running a close-up third at Churchill Downs. The pedigree says he may want turf, but this barn’s quietly had an excellent year and cannot be ignored.


Mamma Dee
Chestnut Street
Art Buff

#6 MAMMA DEE: Was second against similar company at Belmont and comes back to two turns, a configuration she ran very well at this past winter at Gulfstream. Turf closers have run with aplomb so far this meet, and she figures to get a pace to run at; #1 CHESTNUT STREET: Has not run in nearly 11 months and drops in for a tag for the first time. She showed some talent here a season ago, but neither of those are strong signs for a 5-year-old mare that will likely be favored, so I’ll try to beat her; #9 ART BUFF: Comes back to turf, and while her lone prior turf start was a disaster, there’s reason to think she’ll improve. Her dam was a stakes-winner on the lawn, she boasts a strong 310 turf Tomlinson figure, and this barn’s horses tend to need some time to get going.


Fly So Pretty

#10 SEQUIN: Fetched $500,000 at auction, and the pedigree says she’s a runner. Early returns on young sire Bayern are promising, and her dam is a half-sister to both Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve and Grade 1-placed filly Mother Mother; #5 MERITATEN: Debuts for a barn that can have first-time starters ready to roll. Her dam is a full sister to multiple Group 1 winner The Gurkha, and she was also Grade 3-placed in Ireland; #1 FLY SO PRETTY: Was third in her debut despite a very wide trip and draws more favorably here. Javier Castellano hops aboard, and the Mark Casse barn merits respect.


Three Technique
Yankee Empire

#6 BASIN: Was beaten a nose by By Your Side, who went on to roll in the Grade 3 Sanford earlier in the meet. That flattering result, plus the potential for improvement at second asking, make this one the one to beat; #2 THREE TECHNIQUE: Was a good second in his debut, and the colt owned by Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells is another that could take a step up. The pedigree screams “turf router,” but this barn has done well with 2-year-olds; #3 YANKEE EMPIRE: Ran well when chasing my second selection in his unveiling, and did so for a barn whose firsters aren’t always fully-cranked. The recent bullet workout looks very attractive, and I think he’s a must-use in the exotics.


Bernin’ Thru Gold

#10 HOBOE: Ran well here twice a season ago and has the right running style for how the turf is playing. The outside post isn’t ideal, but he likes two turns and will be rolling late; #7 MORRISON: Is another with solid local experience, as he won an optional claimer here last year before running a competitive fourth in the West Point. He likely needed his last start off of a long layoff, and if you’re looking for a price to light your fire, this one may be it; #1 VARIANT PERCEPTION: Lost a photo last time out at Monmouth, but did so to a next-out winner after coming home very quickly. If he brings that form north, he’s definitely a contender for powerhouse connections.


Restoring Hope
Majestic Affair

#2 RESTORING HOPE: Wired a solid field of optional claimers in his 2019 debut at Gulfstream back in March and returns here. This distance should hit him right between the eyes; let’s just hope his journey here doesn’t spark as much outrage as his last one in New York did; #8 BORRACHO: Rallied to finish third in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens, and it’s a bit surprising to see him turn up here rather than in a stakes race. The faster they go early, the better his chances are; #9 MAJESTIC AFFAIR: Steps up in class off a win for Robertino Diodoro, but loves this seven-furlong trip and gets Jose Ortiz. The outside post and a perfect stalking trip could make him a contender.


Significant Form
Broadway Run

#4 SIGNIFICANT FORM: Overcame a slow pace to win her return to the races in the Grade 3 Intercontinental last time out. The cutback to 5 1/2 furlongs is a question mark, but she showed some maturity in her 2019 debut, and I think she can handle it; #5 MORTICIA: Is the other logical top choice in here and always seems to fire. She’s hit the board in 19 of 22 career starts, won nine times, and has a win over this turf course; #2 BROADWAY RUN: Was a close-up fourth behind Significant Form last time out, but seven furlongs may have been a tad long for her. She won a stakes race at this route a season ago and could relish the shorter trip.


Daddy Knows (MTO)
Bad Guy

#10 PIPES: Gets my top pick in what I consider the toughest race of the meet to handicap to this point. I can’t feel too strongly about anything here, but he checked hard last time out and lost all chance, so if nothing else, this is a value play for me; #11 BAD GUY: Has tried two turns on turf once in the last year, and that race was his lone win in that time span. The outside post is an obstacle, but he should be running well late; #8 INTERNET OF THINGS: Tries turf for the first time and may not have to be much to pick up a check. Chad Brown’s numbers with first-time turfers are strong (shocker), and he’s shown some versatility in the past.


Wow Cat
She’s a Julie
Golden Award

#5 WOW CAT: Gets a tepid top selection in a very strong renewal of the Grade 3 Shuvee. I don’t like the layoff, but there’s a lot of early speed signed on (including her stablemate), and that could set the table for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff runner-up; #1 SHE’S A JULIE: Has developed into a very good 4-year-old for Steve Asmussen and won a Grade 1 two back at Churchill. She was second in last year’s Alabama, so we know she likes the track, and she should have enough speed to use the rail to her advantage; #3 GOLDEN AWARD: Has a resume that looks far better if you draw a line through the Grade 3 Doubledogdare. She was a good second last time out, when she was beaten a nose by a next-out winner at this level, and the recent bullet workout is attractive.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 7/22/18



You’ll notice a slight change to my analysis, as I’ve officially begun putting numbers next to the names of horses, just for the sake of clarification. This was a suggestion from a Twitter follower of mine, and I’m all for doing things that make my content easier to digest.

Periodic reminder: If you’ve got a suggestion, question, or comment, tweet me at @AndrewChampagne. I enjoy hearing from people who read my stuff, and you may even see a response to it in this bankroll blurb!

SATURDAY’S RESULTS: In one of a few “backwards exactas” in the pick box, Tee Up nosed Our Girl Abby in the fifth, which ruined our lone remaining double ticket following the scratch of Shape Shifter. We dropped $10.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: Given the rain that’s in the forecast, it’s worth a reminder that all plays in this section assume turf races stay there. With that in mind, I’ll dive into the early Pick Five and play the following $0.50 ticket that begins in the opener: 2 with 1,2,4 with 1,2,6 with 4 with 2,3,5,6,8. Singles TIED UP and ADULATION will likely be heavy favorites, but hopefully we can get a price or two home around them to make this pay a bit.



Best Bet: Tied Up, Race 1
Longshot: Stealth, Race 5


Tied Up
Pure Praise

#2 TIED UP: Has been off since an easy score against similar competition at Keeneland. A repeat of that effort would make her incredibly difficult to beat, and it’s tough to see anyone here challenging her early on; #7 PURE PRAISE: Rated well behind a slow pace last time out in her first start for Jeremiah Englehart. Her lone win came over a sloppy track, so she could benefit from any rain that hits the area; #6 NORTHERNSTREETGAL: Drops in class, comes back to the dirt, and has run her best races over wet tracks. She could hit the board at a bit of a price.


Casse entry
Two Dozen Roses
Mott entry

CASSE ENTRY: #1A CHOCOLATE KISSES seems better meant than #1 TOY MOON, but either can win. The former is a half to top-notch turf horse Synchrony, and her dam won stakes races on both turf and dirt; #4 TWO DOZEN ROSES: Has a series of turf works, and her second dam threw Beholder, Into Mischief, and Mendelssohn. The five-furlong drills indicate she may want today’s distance; MOTT ENTRY: #2B GLAZE is bred to love this distance and could improve off of her debut, while main-track-only entrant #2 ROTATE has a chance if this is rained off the turf.


No Need to Appeal (MTO)
La Moneda

#1 LA MONEDA: Has turned into a sharp turf horse and won two in a row downstate in impressive fashion. Javier Castellano regains the mount, and anything close to her last-out effort would make her formidable; #2 COMPLICIT: Has improved with every start and followed up her two-back maiden score with a win last month at Belmont. She overcame a very slow pace in the most recent race, and this barn’s certainly formidable with turf routers; #6 DOLCE LILI: Looks much better if you draw a line through the Grade 3 Valley View, which was followed by a six-month layoff. She may benefit from a return to a two-turn route of ground. DIRT SELECTIONS: NO NEED TO APPEAL, RILEY’S CHOICE, LA MONEDA.



#4 ADULATION: Drops in for a tag for one of the most well-known owners in Saratoga. The last two races weren’t great, but he’s been competitive against much better in the past and Javier Castellano hops aboard; #1 CAVALLOTTO: Prevailed against weaker company last time out at Belmont Park and may be going in the right direction. He’s 2 for 3 in dirt sprints, and he may be a bit of a price; #2 BENEFACTOR: Is another dropping way down in class, and he’s been gelded since trailing a much better group. He’s got plenty of early speed, and a repeat of his effort three back would likely get him a piece of this.


Point to Remember

#5 DOMAIN: Has finished second in a pair of swiftly-run races at Belmont Park and has a pedigree that says two turns should not be a problem. His 85 Beyer Speed Figure from the most recent race is the top last-out number in the field; #8 POINT TO REMEMBER: Is bred up and down for distance and should improve in his third start of the season. He may be a bit more forwardly-placed in this spot; #3 STEALTH: Completely missed the break in his debut and has earned two bullets for workouts since then. Ian Wilkes charges tend to move forward with experience, and this one could present real value in exotics.


Ventry Bay
Fuel the Bern
Bam Bam Blu

#3 VENTRY BAY: Loves Saratoga and exits a strong race for the level where the winner and second-place finisher both won at next asking. Wesley Ward’s on a bit of a cold streak in New York, but this one has back form that more than fits; #8 FUEL THE BERN: Has found his form of late and cuts back in distance for the strong Danny Gargan barn. It helps that he doesn’t need the lead to run well, and he could get first run turning for home; #5 BAM BAM BLU: Romped in the slop at Monmouth last time out and tries turf here. His pedigree says he could like turf, and he certainly merits respect if this race gets moved to the main track. DIRT SELECTIONS: BAM BAM BLU, CHANGE OF VENUE, WIN WITH PRIDE.


Golden Award
Big Birthday

#5 GOLDEN AWARD: Stepped forward in her second start, when she held on for second despite setting a very fast pace. She’s worked well since then, and she could benefit from the cutback in distance; #9 BIG BIRTHDAY: Ran well in her first start off the bench, finishing third in a sprint at Belmont Park. She could step forward in her second start back, and the outside draw could allow her to work out a trip; #4 COMMUNAL: Was second in a race that features many runners that also show up in this spot. This barn’s horses tend to need a race to get going, so it’s a good sign that she was ready right off the bat.


Critique (MTO)
Dancing Breeze

#5 DANCING BREEZE: Ran third behind La Moneda last time out in her first start since November. She was a good second in a $150,000 stakes race before going to the sidelines, and a return to that form would make her tough; #2 STAINLESS: Is Grade 3-placed and could benefit from what seems like a lot of early speed. This barn does well with horses coming off of long layoffs, and she may be going best of all late; #4 QUEEN MUM: Has never finished worse than third in four starts to date. She tries turf for the first time, and her 353 turf Tomlinson number says she could love it. DIRT SELECTIONS: CRITIQUE, STAINLESS, QUEEN MUM.


Monomoy Girl
Midnight Bisou
Gio Game

#4 MONOMOY GIRL: Seems like the lone frontrunner in a small field, which is almost always a tough combination to beat. She seems to be getting better as she goes along, which is a scary thought since she’s a neck away from being 8 for 8; #2 MIDNIGHT BISOU: Aired by six lengths in the Grade 2 Mother Goose, which doubled as her first start for trainer Steve Asmussen. It was good to see her win while close to the pace, but these waters are much deeper; #5 GIO GAME: Was third behind Monomoy Girl in the Grade 1 Acorn, an effort validated when the second-place finisher came right back to win the Indiana Oaks. Her lone misfire came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and she may be on the improve.


East Moon

#9 COMPETITIONOFIDEAS: Just missed last time out in a fast race for the level. The outside post is a bit of an issue on the inner turf, but she’s shown enough talent to indicate she could overcome it; #2 COMPRESSION: Was third in that same race despite not having much running room turning for home. She could easily improve enough to win this race, although she’s found trouble twice in as many starts, which is a concern; #10 EAST MOON: Finished an OK second in her first start going long and tries turf, which her pedigree says she could take to. If this race gets rained off the turf, she figures to be the one to beat. DIRT SELECTIONS: EAST MOON, KIDORO, THAT’S SPEIGHTFUL.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 7/23/17



Give many talented jockeys a single multiple Grade 1 winner to ride, and most would be ecstatic. For Mike Smith, it’s another day at the office. He’s in town today to ride Coaching Club American Oaks favorite Abel Tasman, who comes in off of back-to-back Grade 1 wins. Currently, he’s also the regular rider of champions Arrogate and Songbird, as well as likely Allen Jerkens favorite American Anthem, Travers probable West Coast, and sleeping giant Unique Bella, among many others. Nice work if you can get it!

SATURDAY’S RESULTS: Someone knew Voodoo Song was sitting on a big race, judging by the odds plunge that one took in the last flash of the tote board. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that person. My early Pick Four was toast right away, and I dropped $21.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on my best bet of the day, which comes in the fifth race. #1 THEBIGFUNDAMENTAL may be a short price, but I’ll try to maximize my profit. I’ll put $15 to win on him and single him in $5 doubles that use #2 QUESTEQ, #5 THRICE, and #7 PRADO VISION in a sixth race that seems wide-open on paper.



Best Bet: Thebigfundamental, Race #5
Longshot: Rapid Red, Race #4


Our Girl Abby
Kitty Kat Kate
You People

OUR GIRL ABBY: Tries turf for the first time and has a surprising foundation for such a young horse. With every horse trying two turns for the first time, that could be a big help, and her tactical speed is another plus; KITTY KAT KATE: Merits respect if she draws in off the AE list. Her effort two back was solid, and she’s got the pedigree to stretch out effectively; YOU PEOPLE: Is a first-time starter from a barn whose horses sometimes need a race to get going, but her dam was a Grade 3 winner going long on the turf, and the presence of Jose Ortiz is intriguing. DIRT SELECTIONS: OUR GIRL ABBY, IN THE MOOD, ORBOLUTION.


Tiz Shea D
Scarf It Down
Chubby Master

TIZ SHEA D: Takes a big drop in class, and it would be surprising if this Grade 2 winner was not claimed. He comes back to the dirt, and even a repeat of his 2016 dirt races would make him very tough; SCARF IT DOWN: Makes his first start for new trainer Robertino Diodoro following a win over lesser company at Churchill Downs. Seven furlongs is an unknown, but he could sit a dream trip just off the pace; CHUBBY MASTER: Took a step forward when second at this level downstate. He was a close second at this route last year and could rally for a piece of it at a price.


Mr Classical
Weather Wiz
Uncle Mojo

MR CLASSICAL: Didn’t break well when backed heavily in his debut, but still rallied to finish third behind a stakes-quality runner in Emancipation (Orb’s little brother). He should love this two-turn route of ground and is the one to beat; WEATHER WIZ: Adds Lasix after finishing third in his Independence Day unveiling. His pedigree says he wants as much ground as possible, and improvement is logical at second asking; UNCLE MOJO: Re-rallied to finish second in his first start off a long layoff. He likely needed his debut back in January, and his July 8th bullet indicates he’s coming into this well.


Rapid Red
Main Road
Phi Beta Express

RAPID RED: Gets my nod at a bit of a price in a wide-open starter allowance. He hasn’t run a bad race on dirt, the outside draw is a plus, and while he’s got tactical speed, he doesn’t need the lead in what figures to be a race with plenty of early zip; MAIN ROAD: Makes his first start for trainer Ron Moquett after a pair of sharp races at Churchill Downs. How he’ll take to the Spa is anyone’s guess, but his usual race from Churchill or Oaklawn would put him right there; PHI BETA EXPRESS: Took a big step forward in his local debut earlier this month, leading every step of the way and earning an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. Regression is possible given the departure from his previous form, but he can’t be ignored.


Royal Posse

THEBIGFUNDAMENTAL: Couldn’t have been much more impressive downstate, where he won two in a row by daylight. He tries two turns for the first time, but seems to be one of the few in this field that is going the right way from a form standpoint; SECURITIZ: Ran a big race first off the bench last month and is eligible to improve. He tends to run second a lot, but he’s got several strong local efforts on his resume; ROYAL POSSE: Has struggled of late, and it’s alarming to see him in for the optional claiming tag, but he’s 5-for-7 over this surface, and the change in scenery may wake him up.


Skyline Drive (MTO)
Prado Vision

THRICE: Has done very little wrong in three career starts and makes her first start for new trainer George Weaver. She’s won going two turns before and should be flying late; PRADO VISION: Drops back in for a tag after running fourth against better at Churchill. Like my top pick, she’ll benefit if an early speed duel ensues; QUESTEQ: Draw a line through the last-out effort, which came against much better horses and may have been a bounce off of a career-best performance. Castellano returns to ride her, and he’s piloted her to her two top efforts. DIRT SELECTIONS: SKYLINE DRIVE, QUESTEQ, CRIMSON FROST.


Honor Way
Kissin Cassie

HONOR WAY: Takes a big drop in class after fading to fifth in her first start against winners. Her races against maiden special weight foes were very solid, and she was second here last summer in her unveiling; COURTMEWITHCARATS: Is one of many in here who figure to be gunning for the early lead. She’s improved considerably since moving to trainer Danny Gargan’s barn for her 3-year-old season, and a second straight wire-to-wire win could happen; KISSIN CASSIE: Merits a look underneath at a big price off of some OK performances downstate. As mentioned, there’s a lot of speed signed on, and the faster they go early, the better this closer figures to like it.


Verdant Pastures (MTO)
Lem Me Dance
Table for Six

LEM ME DANCE: Was a debut winner here last summer and has progressed this season, recorded a pair of in-the-money finishes. She tries two turns for the first time, but she had no problem with distance in her most recent outing; TABLE FOR SIX: Has been at this level a long time and seems to enjoy running second or third. She’s a must-use in exotics, though, especially if there’s any zip up front early on; BREE’S GOT HEART: Took a big step forward last time out in her first start over a firm turf course. She’s another who isn’t necessarily a “win type,” but she’s stakes-placed going two turns and isn’t without a shot at a piece of the purse. DIRT SELECTIONS: VERDANT PASTURES, ABOUT THAT BASE, BREE’S GOT HEART.


Summer House (MTO)
Animal Appeal
Miss Katie Mae

ANIMAL APPEAL: Has plenty of early speed and loves this route of ground. Her lone bad race since the start of 2016 came off a long layoff in a stakes race on Preakness weekend, and this is the spot she’ll likely relish; MISS KATIE MAE: Boasts plenty of back class and has run up against several top-class turf sprinters of late. While her recent rash of runner-up finishes is concerning, the faster they go early, the better her chances should be; NITE DELITE: Is another with stakes experience, and she ran several very fast races in Florida earlier this season. DIRT SELECTIONS: SUMMER HOUSE, GINGER N RYE, SPELLKER.


Abel Tasman

ABEL TASMAN: Emerged as a top 3-year-old filly with back-to-back Grade 1 wins this past spring. She’s certainly the one to beat, but the relative lack of early speed signed on here could be a concern given her late-running style; SALTY: Threw everything but the kitchen sink at my top pick in the Acorn and was well clear of that day’s third-place finisher. She may prefer one turn, but she’s got plenty of class; ELATE: May be the pace-setter by default here. She was visually impressive when winning a minor stakes at Delaware, and she may get a chance to dictate the early tempo.


River Deep (MTO)
West Point entry
Nile Prince

CHAPIN: May take a taxi to the winner’s circle if he improves off his comeback effort earlier this month at Belmont. It’s not (30,000 pounds of) bananas to think that he’ll improve second off the long layoff; NILE PRINCE: Had no chance in his debut after a horrible start, but he did rally to be beaten just five lengths. That came against a better group, and John Kimmel trainees tend to improve at second asking; PROGNOSTICATION: Has run second in back-to-back races at this level. Two turns is a question mark, but Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz are a powerful combination. DIRT SELECTIONS: RIVER DEEP, COOKIE CRISP, MAJOR FORCE.