SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (7/18/19)
There are times where I don’t get Twitter. Tuesday night, I tweeted a link to my picks and analysis (as a reminder, those are available at AndrewChampagne.com every racing day, as are my bankroll plays/blurbs). It was responded to by another user, who said, and I quote, “no one gives a **** what you think.” I went to see who it was…and it turns out he followed me (prior to me hitting the always-handy “block” button, of course).
To review: Someone who followed me saw my tweet, read it, likely clicked on my analysis, and then took the time to tell me that nobody cares what I think. Something sure seems backwards here, doesn’t it?
WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: This section didn’t make it into print due to a printing error (though it was online Monday night, much to the delight of my intern at the chiropractic college where I work!). We had $10 to win and place on Project Whiskey in the fifth, and while she ran OK at a price, she could only manage a third-place finish. We dropped $20.
THURSDAY’S PLAY: This is tough, because we don’t know if they’ll be on the turf. Assuming they are (and with the usual caveat that all bets in this section assume turf races stay there), I’ll play the early Pick Four, which starts in the second race. I’ll play it for a dollar (as opposed to the 50-cent minimum), and my ticket looks like this: 2,4,6,7 with 3 with 2,7,9 with 4,8.
TOTAL WAGERED: $24
– – – – –
BEST BET: Fierce Lady, Race 3
LONGSHOT: Roaming Union, Race 9
#2 SENOR JOBIM: May have just hated Belmont Park, where he didn’t sit his preferred trip. A wet track is likely, and he’s run well over such surfaces in the past; #4 GOLDEN TIGER: Has run well twice at Churchill Downs and has a win over this tricky seven-furlong distance. When Al Stall comes in, he usually means business, and Rosario signing on is a plus; #5 SMILE BRYAN: May need to take a step forward to win, but has the right running style for a race full of early speed. The faster they go early, the more this one figures to like it.
#6 JUSTINTIMEFORWINE: Is the only one in here with any experience and comes in off of a bullet drill here a few days ago. This barn’s horses often need a race to get going, and he may be a bit of a price; #2 BEYOND GONE: Has a series of solid works out of town and sold for a solid $40,000 despite a modest pedigree. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because this barn’s numbers with debuting runners aren’t great; #7 JAMFLOWMAN: Debuts for a conditioner who has quietly had a very strong year to this point. He draws well, and both of his dam’s other offspring are winners.
Jewel of Arabia
#3 FIERCE LADY: Debuted with a very strong performance downstate where she stopped the timer in :56 and change for five furlongs. Simply put, if she repeats that performance, the race is for second; #6 TIME LIMIT: Was also impressive in victory in her unveiling, though that race didn’t come back as highly-rated as my top pick’s debut. She’s certainly eligible to improve at second asking; #2 JEWEL OF ARABIA: Is ambitiously spotted in her debut, but she fetched $140,000 at auction and debuts for a hot barn. She could be ready enough to hit the board at a square price.
Chief Know It All (MTO)
He’s No Lemon
#7 EVERYONELOVESJAMES: Has come to hand for Jonathan Sheppard, winning two in a row downstate against state-breds. This is certainly a class test, but he seems like the lone speed, which is always dangerous in turf marathons; #2 HE’S NO LEMON: Hasn’t run a bad race this year and comes in off of a race where he earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. He’s got experience at the distance and should be running well late; #9 EXTRAORDINARY JERRY: Handled additional distance pretty well when third at this level last time out. He hasn’t won on turf in a while, but the possibility of a perfect stalking trip is enticing. DIRT SELECTIONS: CHIEF KNOW IT ALL, EXTRAORDINARY JERRY, MILLS.
City Man (MTO)
More Like It
#4 BARLEEWON: Is bred up and down for turf and has worked well ahead of his debut. This doesn’t seem like the strongest field for the level, so he may not have to be much to win right away; #8 MORE LIKE IT: Is worth a look based on his strong turf pedigree. He has a few strong works downstate and is a candidate to run well at a price; #10 FLY FLY AWAY: Is a half-brother to world-class turf sprinter Disco Partner and debuts here for the Clement barn. He merits respect based on his pedigree, but the post position is a big concern. DIRT SELECTIONS: CITY MAN, TURBO DRIVE, SHANDIAN.
Smooth With a Kick
#4 SMOOTH WITH A KICK: Was up close to a face pace last time out, and she should get a much easier trip here. She’s taken steps forward in each of her starts, and a front-running trip going two turns should suit her; #3 HIGHTAILING: Ran well twice earlier this year before throwing in a clunker at Belmont. She’s bred to like two turns, so a return to form is certainly possible; #2 KELLEYCANRUN: Made a bit of a move last time out going shorter for a trainer whose firsters often need a race to get going. She certainly seems like a candidate to improve.
Seven Is Heaven
#10 ALPHASTEST: Got caught going seven furlongs last time out, but this shorter trip should be more to his liking. The outside post isn’t ideal, but he could make an easy lead and clear most (or all) of the field pretty quickly; #12 WICKED GRIN: Is another that got burned by the draw, but he drops way down in class for this maiden claiming event. He’s got enough past form to suggest he could overcome the tough post; #4 BETSY’S BEAU: Merits inclusion at a big price. He goes to turf, which he’s bred to handle, and he drops in class for a trainer whose horses often improve with experience.
BROWN ENTRY: I prefer #2B VALUE PROPOSITION, who tired in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge after smashing maiden foes at first asking. #2 SPIRIT ANIMAL also seems well-meant off the bench, and he graduated here last summer; #7 OPRY: Won the Grade 3 With Anticipation here in 2018 and recently returned from a long layoff. His race off the break was very good, and a step forward would make him formidable; PHOENIX ENTRY: #1 KADAR makes his American debut and gets Lasix, while #1A MAGNIFICENT MCCOOL has back class and may be tough if this gets rained off the turf. DIRT SELECTIONS: MAGNIFICENT MCCOOL, OPRY, TAPIT WISE.
#2 HOFBURG: Makes his 2019 debut after a star-crossed 3-year-old campaign where he placed in a pair of Grade 1 races. He’s been training well, should get a setup for his late-running style, and would be tough if he’s fully-cranked; #6 ROAMING UNION: Stretches back out to a two-turn route of ground, and his best races have come at such configurations. This barn is sending out live horses, and while Hofburg would be formidable if he’s ready, maybe he needs a race; #5 VINCENTO: Gets wheeled back quickly by Linda Rice after a win on opening day. He got a perfect setup that day, but he should be on or near the lead early at a price.
Drawing Away entry (MTO)
#11 SADIE LADY: Has shown plenty of early zip in three turf starts, and that would come in handy here given the outside post and likely race shape. Joel Rosario rides back, and I think she could wire this group; #8 MERLINS MUSE: Has a win at this route and comes in off another victory downstate. John Velazquez doesn’t ride a ton for this barn, but when he does, his mounts are usually live; #7 MAMA MARY: Has won two of her last three starts, including a turf sprint at Belmont last month. Her two turf efforts have both been solid, and she could sit a nice stalking trip just off the speed. DIRT SELECTIONS: DRAWING AWAY ENTRY, CAMORRA, MAMA MARY.