I’ll be at the track for the Woodward Day festivities, and joining me will be my mom, stepdad, stepsister, and stepsister’s boyfriend. My mom is basically Teri Garr’s character from “Let It Ride,” right down to the line about watching horses run around the track without betting on them. Combine that with my unhealthy intensity towards my performance in the pick box, and there’s definitely room for animated philosophical discussions about differences of opinion at the racetrack (love you, Mom!).
Kidding aside, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m 3,000 miles away from my family for most of the year, and whenever I get to see them, it’s special. A 12-race program at the greatest racetrack on the planet serves as one heck of a cherry on top, and hopefully we can walk out with a little bit of money.
FRIDAY’S RESULTS: Best bet Dream Passage completely missed the board, which turned $40 worth of exacta tickets into confetti.
SATURDAY’S PLAY: I’m going to key my best bet of the day in exactas again. In this case, it’s #3 THREE TECHNIQUE in the seventh race. I’ll use him in $10 exactas above #5 WAYNE O, #9 KOWALSKI, and #10 TAPAGE. I’ll also play $5 doubles starting there that single Three Technique and use #2 POLICY OPTION and #3 MR JAGGERS in the eighth.
TOTAL WAGERED: $40
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BEST BET: Three Technique, Race 7
LONGSHOT: Somes Sound, Race 12
#4 STRUCTOR: Hammered for $850,000 earlier this year and debuts for powerhouse connections. He’s by Palace Malice, who also threw stakes-winning 2-year-old Crystalle (herself a turf router); #6 SUL MOON: Fell a head short in his debut earlier this meet and didn’t have the best of trips that day. This barn’s horses often improve with experience, and he’s a logical alternative to my top pick; #5 ETERNAL SUMMER: Lost all chance at the break last time out. He’s bred to have some talent, and Velazquez getting on for Pletcher is always worth noting.
Bears Mafia (MTO)
#6 HONEY WON’T: Drops in for a tag after chasing allowance foes at this route earlier in the meet. Rosario rides back for Bill Mott, who could be in line for a big day; #2 NO REGRETS: Was claimed out of his last race, when he ran second against similar company at Belmont. He hasn’t won in a while, but he did run well when second at this route last summer; #7 BROCKMONINOFF: Almost certainly needed the race last time out off of a long layoff. This seems like a softer spot, and the Weaver barn is on a bit of a roll as the meet draws to a close.
#3 BREAK EVEN: Has literally done nothing wrong to this point in her career and will be going for her seventh win in as many starts. She’s got tons of early speed and should be able to dictate terms out of the gate; #5 ROYAL CHARLOTTE: Comes in off an effort in the Grade 1 Test that was too bad to be true. It may have been a bounce off a nice win in the Grade 3 Victory Ride, and a return to that form gives her a shot; #2 RISKY MANDATE: Jumps up in class off of two runaway wins to begin her career. One of those came here against allowance foes, and she’s come out of that with two stellar workouts.
#5 PAGLIACCI: Makes his fourth start of the meet for trainer Linda Rice and has run well in all three of his starts for that outfit. He’s closed with a rush in two starts at this route, and the faster they go early, the better his chances figure to be; #1 FULLY VESTED: Seems like the main speed and returns to turf after running second in a race rained off the grass. The rail draw will likely force Jose Lezcano’s hand, and he could get brave on the front end; #9 STOLEN PISTOL: Doesn’t draw a great post but likes this route of ground and figures to be flying late. He makes his second start off the layoff, and he wasn’t far behind my top selection in his return earlier in the meet.
#1 FAMISHED: Had a troubled trip in his debut, but still salvaged third money for a barn whose first-time starters aren’t usually fully-cranked. Rosario riding back is a plus, and he may have matured enough to handle the rail draw; #4 RISK PROFILE: Hammered for $260,000 as a weanling in 2017 and is bred to be precocious. His workouts look strong and the barn merits respect, but seven furlongs is a tough distance to debut at and he may be bet down off the 7/2 morning line; #3 HEIGHT: Gets Lasix for the first time after a debut at this distance that wasn’t bad. He ran well late to be fourth and should step forward at second asking.
#4 GLOBAL ACCESS: Runs pretty much the same race every time out, and such an effort may be good enough here. He’s won at this distance three times and was a solid third in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame earlier in the meet; #2 GOOD GOVERNANCE: Graduated in his debut and jumps into the graded stakes ranks at second asking. It’s a big jump, and it didn’t seem like he beat much in his unveiling, but he’s bred to be good and Chad Brown can’t be ignored; #6 SEISMIC WAVE: Didn’t run well here earlier in the meet, but this seems like a softer spot. Still, given his solid form at Belmont, it’s fair to wonder if he perhaps prefers a one-turn trip.
#3 THREE TECHNIQUE: Has run well twice in a row and looms large as the likely favorite. He was second behind the talented Basin last time out and blitzed the rest of the field, as the third-place finisher was more than six lengths behind him; #9 KOWALSKI: Set a fast pace before fading to second last time out, and is one of several 2-year-olds that improved significantly with experience for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. Further progression would make him a major player, and he’s bred to handle the added distance; #10 TAPAGE: It’s tough to debut at this route, but it’s also tough to find a better-bred horse on the grounds. He’s by Tapit and out of the mare Hystericalady, who won eight stakes races during her career (including a Grade 1).
#3 MR JAGGERS: Gets a tepid nod in what hit me as a two-horse race. He was a good third in his debut early in the meet, and that day’s runner-up has since come back to win pretty impressively; #2 POLICY OPTION: Was second in his unveiling behind the talented Our Country. He’s bred to get better as he gets older, and Irad Ortiz, Jr., rides him back for Chad Brown; #1 GET SET: Stretches out and tries turf for a barn that’s quietly had a strong meet with a small barn. He had a solid turf work on August 16th, and Javier Castellano has been enticed to ride.
Take Charge Aubrey
#2 PROXIMITY BIAS: Came back running when third behind Risky Mandate in her first start since September. She was pretty wide that day and should improve with that tightener under her belt; #1 HALLAWALLAH: Comes back to one turn after finding Grade 3 waters a bit too deep. She won her debut going six furlongs, and this strikes me as her preferred trip and class level; #11 TAKE CHARGE AUBREY: Returned off the layoff in the same race my top pick exits. She was well-beaten that day, but she ran well here twice last season and figures to be a nice price.
#4 SANTA MONICA: Didn’t have the best racing luck (nor, to be frank, the best ride) when third in the Grade 3 Waya. She checked and was forced to go very wide, which is rarely a recipe for success, and she’s got past races that would beat this field; #5 MRS. SIPPY: Ships in from Europe and gets Lasix for the first time, which is always intriguing. Her two starts against high-level foes this year weren’t great, but she showed some talent last year and is a contender if she can channel it here; #2 FOOLS GOLD: Capitalized on my top pick getting a poor trip in the Waya when she upset her stablemate. She sat pretty close to the pace that day and may once again get a favorable stalking trip.
#7 YOSHIDA: Returned to form in the Grade 1 Whitney and will attempt to win the Woodward for the second consecutive year. He seems to love Saratoga and should get plenty of pace to run at going into the far turn; #5 PRESERVATIONIST: May have bounced a bit in the Whitney off of a career-best effort in the Grade 2 Suburban. He was also on the lead that day, and he probably prefers to sit just off the pace; #3 VINO ROSSO: Was third in the Whitney after shipping west to take a Grade 1 two back. The blinkers come off, which is a bit puzzling given some of his antics last year, but perhaps he’s matured as a 4-year-old.
#8 FREE ENTERPRISE: Has run second in a pair of swiftly-run races to start his career and seems to have found a softer spot here. The outside draw should help him, and he figures to be a very short price; #4 TOLERANT: Is bred to be a good one and has several eye-catching workouts on his tab. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because he’s bred to go longer than today’s distance and this barn’s horses sometimes need a race to get going; #1 SOMES SOUND: Showed brief speed in his unveiling and gets Lasix at second asking for a barn whose horses improve with experience. He’s worked well since his debut and may be a square price.