SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (9/5/20)

BANKROLL

BANKROLL: $618.20

As mentioned in yesterday’s bankroll blurb, in celebration of Kentucky Derby Day, J.D. Fox and I produced a special edition of “Champagne and J.D.” Joe Nevills joined us, and we reached out to our friends for videos about their Derby memories and their feelings on this year’s renewal.

The show went online Friday, and we’re thrilled with how it came out. J.D. and I are both incredibly grateful for the support we got from the racing community. You’ll see videos from some heavy hitters in handicapping and turf writing, and I’m confident in saying this isn’t something you’ll find most anywhere else. You won’t want to miss this, especially if you’re just starting to take a look at the Run for the Roses.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS: Raven Rocks ran well after stumbling out of the gate, but could do no better than a “bet him next time at this level” mid-pack finish. Meanwhile, at Churchill Downs, the first of my doubles connected, but the second one fizzled when Swiss Skydiver couldn’t get past Shedaresthedevil (in a stretch run that’ll be in my nightmares for a few months). After scratches, I dropped $28.

SATURDAY’S PLAY: I’m focusing entirely on the Kentucky Derby. If you watched the show, this will sound familiar, but I have two feelings: #17 TIZ THE LAW should not lose, and #3 ENFORCEABLE will hit the board. As such, I’m playing $1 17-ALL-3 and 17-3-ALL trifectas as my primary action. I’ll also box those two in $4 exactas and play a $4 win ticket using Enforceable just in case something insane happens.

TOTAL WAGERED: $40.

ANALYSIS/SELECTIONS

Best Bet: Sifting Sands, Race 7
Longshot: Regular Guy, Race 5

R1

Tackle
Kaz’s Beach
Make Motime

#3 TACKLE: Ran well when second in his debut despite rating behind a pretty slow pace early on. Bill Mott runners tend to improve with experience, and any sort of a step forward would make him tough in the Saturday opener; #1 KAZ’S BEACH: Exits a very fast race at Penn National, one where he ran second behind a next-out winner and thumped the third-place finisher by more than eight lengths. These waters are certainly deeper, but that race came back strong on figures and it wouldn’t be shocking if he was ready to go; #8 MAKE MOTIME: Comes back to the turf, but has shown some early zip and this race seems light on that elsewhere. I don’t think he can win, but hanging on for a piece at a big price doesn’t hit me as inconceivable.

R2

Repole entry
Vineyard Sound
Deep Sea

REPOLE ENTRY: #1 WIN WITH PRIDE hasn’t run a clunker since 2018 and takes a big drop in class. That’s a red flag for some connections, but this is an aggressive owner/trainer combination, so it doesn’t scare me too much here; #4 VINEYARD SOUND: Ran too bad to be true last time out earlier in the meet and was claimed that day by Rob Atras, who does excellent work with new acquisitions. A repeat of his effort two back would give him a shot at a nice price; #6 DEEP SEA: Won here two back before catching a strong group for the level last time out. Orlando Noda claimed him out of that race, and his barn has been on fire all summer long.

R3

Silky Blue
Graetz
Fractorzation

#7 SILKY BLUE: Cuts back in distance and seems like a horse who should relish this route of ground. There’s a lot of speed signed on, and she seems likely to sit a stalking trip and be going in the right direction turning for home; #5 GRAETZ: Ran well in her first start against winners last time out. She was third in what seemed like a strong heat for the level, and Luis Saez sees fit to ride back for H. James Bond; #4 FRACTORZATION: Survived a lengthy inquiry last time out when she herded a foe in the stretch. I think she should’ve come down that day, but it did come back pretty fast on figures and Jose Ortiz returns to ride her here.

R4

My Sister Nat
Eliade
Civil Union

#4 MY SISTER NAT: Broke a long drought when winning the Grade 3 Waya earlier in the meet. That was her first victory in nearly two years, and she seems to have found the form she flashed overseas in 2018, when she raced against the best fillies in France; #5 ELIADE: Saw a big move fall short last time out, when she was beaten a neck at this route of ground. There should be more pace signed on here, and this one completes a powerful 1-2 punch for trainer Chad Brown; #1 CIVIL UNION: Has won two in a row, including a minor stakes race going long at Belmont Park. Jose Ortiz leaves to ride my top pick, but Joel Rosario is no downgrade and she could sit a strong stalking trip just off the early speed.

R5

Munqad
Olympiad
Regular Guy

#1 MUNQAD: Is a reluctant top pick in a 2-year-old race that seems loaded with high-class horses. This one is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Shagaf, who showed promise early in his career. The recent strong gate work also inspires confidence; #5 OLYMPIAD: Debuted with a third-place finish behind the ultra-impressive Reinvestment Risk last month. He’s bred to get better with experience and distance, so I’m expecting a step forward in this spot; #4 REGULAR GUY: Didn’t run well in his debut, but this barn’s runners almost always need their first races. He’s bred up and down to be very good, as his dam has thrown multiple Grade 1 winner Carpe Diem and multiple Grade 2 winner Farrell. Ignoring him at second asking seems like a mistake.

R6

Timely Tradition
Pop a Choc
Carrizo

#5 TIMELY TRADITION: Suffered from a horrible trip last time out and could only manage a fourth-place finish after checking multiple times and making an aggressive middle move. She won three in a row prior to that race, and I’m banking on a clean trip and a return to that form; #4 POP A CHOC: Set a fast pace in her first start against winners, one where she tired a bit to finish third. She seems like the main early speed in here, and she’ll be dangerous if she gets left alone up front; #1 CARRIZO: Hasn’t won in a while but ran well to be second against similar early in the meet. That day’s winner came back to win at next asking, and this one has two wins and two seconds in four starts at the Spa.

R7

Sifting Sands
Fulco
Hidden Enemy

#7 SIFTING SANDS: Is one of several 2-year-olds with monstrous turf pedigrees in the barn of trainer Chad Brown. His 407 turf Tomlinson is one of the highest you’ll ever see, and if he runs to his bloodlines, look out; #2 FULCO: Didn’t show much in his debut after a rough start but may benefit from experience and added distance. He’s by War Front, out of a Smart Strike mare, and runs for a barn whose horses often improve with experience; #9 HIDDEN ENEMY: Flattened out late after rallying in a race with a slow early pace. The outside post position isn’t ideal, but this son of all-world sire Galileo may be talented enough to overcome the draw.

R8

Barleewon
Good Old Boy
Microsecond

#4 BARLEEWON: Runs as a gelding for the first time after a disappointing effort in his first start against winners. Perhaps he’s best at Belmont or around one turn, but I liked him last time and I’m willing to give him another shot at a bit of a price; #3 GOOD OLD BOY: Came back running off a very long layoff to top state-bred claimers earlier in the meet. He’s got three wins and two seconds in his last five starts, and while this is a slight jump in class, it seems like he’s figured things out; #2 MICROSECOND: Took to turf well when winning his first start on the grass last month. He sat a perfect stalking trip that day, but Jose Ortiz rides back for Todd Pletcher and he may have the speed to take advantage of the rail draw.

R9

Dr Post
Happy Saver
Liveyourbeastlife

#6 DR POST: Wouldn’t have been too out of place had his connections opted to ship him to Churchill Downs. However, they opted to run here, and the runner-up in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes looms large in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy; #1 HAPPY SAVER: Completes a powerful 1-2 punch for trainer Todd Pletcher and takes an aggressive jump in class after a pair of impressive victories. He showed he could get two turns just fine in his first start against winners, and he may still have room to improve; #2 LIVEYOURBEASTLIFE: Ran a career-best race in his first start around two turns last time out. Perhaps he’s a cut below these, but Jorge Abreu’s enjoyed a lot of success this summer and maybe this one is getting a chance to run at the route he’s wanted all along.

R10

Frank’s Rockette
Center Aisle
Kimari

#5 FRANK’S ROCKETTE: Has never finished worse than second and is a logical top pick in the Grade 2 Prioress. She had her hands full in the Grade 3 Victory Ride, but there’s plenty of back form to go off of here and she may be the speed of the speed; #7 CENTER AISLE: Adds blinkers for the first time and has been training well since coming to upstate New York. If she runs to the impressive work tab, she could be sitting on a career-best effort at a fair price; #1 KIMARI: Ran second in a Group 1 at Royal Ascot in June and comes back to the dirt here. She’s got tons of talent, and perhaps she’s good enough, but the rail draw is a concern given her late-running style and I think she’s better on turf. At her likely price, I’ll try to beat her.

R11

Tacitus
Spinoff
Global Campaign

#2 TACITUS: Put it all together with a big win in the Grade 2 Suburban on Independence Day and has trained consistently up to the Grade 1 Woodward. The 10-furlong distance won’t beat him, and while he’s found trouble several times in the past, it’s tough to envision him losing with a clean journey; #5 SPINOFF: Jumps up the class ladder after a solid win in the Alydar several weeks ago. He’s done his best running over this surface, and he goes like a horse that won’t be bothered by the extra furlong he’ll go here; #4 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN: Re-rallied to win a Grade 3 at Monmouth last time out and may be the main speed in this race. Top gate rider Luis Saez returns to the saddle here; the question is, how much gas will this front-runner have left in the tank turning for home?

R12

Life On Top
Our Country
Kid Chocolate

#8 LIFE ON TOP: Takes a big class drop to run in this claiming event and merits respect given his prior form. He’ll race with blinkers for the first time, and I think he’ll relish the shallower waters in the Saturday finale; #1 OUR COUNTRY: Is another taking a huge drop, and it wasn’t long ago that I liked him a lot in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Perhaps he’s not the same horse he was a season ago, but he may not have to be to run well in this spot; #3 KID CHOCOLATE: Has run well at this level twice this meet after breaking his maiden three back at Belmont. He’s improved with every start since coming off the bench in June and should be rallying late at a bit of a price.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 9/2/18

BANKROLL

BANKROLL: $1,218.20

Heads up, everyone: Due to the 12-race program, post time today has been inched up to 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. The early start and long card both make for a pretty long day, but on the plus side, today’s program is excellent, with a really fun feature (the Grade 2 Prioress) that anchors the late Pick Four.

Out of respect for my editor’s deadline, and given that I like two horses that figure to offer value earlier in the day, I won’t give out a late Pick Four ticket as an official play (the last race goes off at almost 7 p.m., and that’s pushing it). Having said that, if you want a 50-cent ticket to play starting in the ninth race, the one I’d propose (assuming, of course, that races carded for turf stay there) would cost $20. That ticket is as follows: 8 with 4,5 with 2,4,5,6,7 with 1,4,7,10.

SATURDAY’S RESULTS: I got bounced out of the early Pick Four right away, when Dowse’s Beach found his old form at a short price and turned my $36 ticket into confetti.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: I’ll have a pair of $20 win bets on the card, and they both come in turf races. #3 BEACH FRONT looks like an overlay at 7/2 in the second race given his turf pedigree and recent workouts, while #4 BELLA’S GAME doesn’t catch the strongest group in the fifth following a strong maiden win downstate and could provide some value given the presence of likely favorite Sweet Connie Girl. If one of them wins, it’s a profitable day. If both win, we’ll have a lot more to play with on closing day.

TOTAL WAGERED: $40

ANALYSIS/SELECTIONS

Best Bet: It’s a Lovely Day, Race 6
Longshot: Miko, Race 11

R1

Take It to Scale
Merger of Banks
Ruler of the Nile

#8 TAKE IT TO SCALE: Drops considerably in class, but does so for aggressive connections, and the drop isn’t quite as alarming as that of this race’s other likely favorite. He sports a recent bullet work and got a cushy outside draw; #2 MERGER OF BANKS: Took a step forward in his first start for Rudy Rodriguez, which was a win against a much weaker field. There’s a chance these waters are a bit deep, but there’s also a chance he’s finally starting to figure things out following a positive trainer switch; #4 RULER OF THE NILE: Was a million-dollar baby last year but hasn’t panned out, hence the sharp drop in class. If he channels the form he showed in his debut, he’ll be tough, but that was nearly six months ago.

R2

Beach Front
Pipes
Quick Charge

#3 BEACH FRONT: Is bred up and down for turf and has been working well for a barn that’s had success with debuting runners. His 319 turf Tomlinson is the second-highest number in the field; #12 PIPES: Was a close-up third less than two weeks ago and will be tough if he draws in off the AE list. He’ll need to work out a trip from an outside post, but a repeat of the most recent race may be good enough to win; #5 QUICK CHARGE: May not necessarily be bred for turf, but he’s worked very well ahead of his unveiling and is a half-brother to seven winners. It wouldn’t be a shock if he’s ready to run right away.

R3

Almithmaar
Fully Vested
Mac Jagger

#5 ALMITHMAAR: Was up close to a very fast pace earlier in the meet going slightly longer. The cutback to six furlongs should help him, and he may prove tough to catch with a clean break; #2 FULLY VESTED: Led all the way last time out and makes his first start against winners. He may have been moved up by the muddy track, but that situation could present itself again here; #1 MAC JAGGER: Won first time out for a barn that isn’t necessarily known for success with those runners. He hasn’t been seen since April, and the rail draw isn’t ideal, but he’s worked well ahead of his first start in more than four months.

R4

Off Topic
Dance Club
Graceful Princess

#7 OFF TOPIC: Boasts a series of very strong workouts ahead of her unveiling. She’s not exactly bred in the purple, but she is a half to two winners, and these connections merit respect even in what could be considered a “down meet” for them; #1 DANCE CLUB: Had every reason to quit first time out following a lousy break, but rallied a bit and salvaged third. This barn’s horses tend to improve with experience, and the most recent work indicates that she’s taken a step forward; #4 GRACEFUL PRINCESS: Is by Tapit and out of Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, which alone ensures that she’ll take money. Her recent five-furlong drills are sharp, and this barn unveiled eventual champion Caledonia Road around this time last year.

R5

Solitary Gem (MTO)
Bella’s Game
Sweet Connie Girl

#4 BELLA’S GAME: May not have beaten a ton last time out, but did so in visually impressive fashion and seems to have come up against a very light group. The pedigree says she may get this trip, and she could still be improving given her relative inexperience; #12 SWEET CONNIE GIRL: Drops in for a tag after running third here earlier in the meet. Her closing kick may have been dulled by the yielding surface, and her best race may win this, but she’ll need to work out a trip from an undesirable post; #8 SHE DOESN’T MIND: Merits respect given her recent form, but while she’s collected plenty of minor awards, she hasn’t won in nearly three years. Her most recent race at this level was OK, but I can’t endorse her on top. DIRT SELECTIONS: SOLITARY GEM, TIZ PRICELESS, HAVANA AFFAIR.

R6

It’s a Lovely Day
Take Me to Hardoon
Girl of Tosconova

#9 IT’S A LOVELY DAY: Brought $185,000 at auction here last year and has every right to be a runner. Her dam was a stakes winner, and also a full sister to two other stakes winners; #6 TAKE ME TO HARDOON: Has been working well ahead of her unveiling, and the two most recent works really stand out. The full field will likely ensure a square price; #7 GIRL OF TOSCONOVA: May have hinted at some ability with her August 23rd workout, which was the second-fastest of 63 at the distance. She’s kin to five winners, and a full sister of stakes-placed runner Our Super Nova.

R7

Stand for the Flag
Utiki
Takecharge Mirella

#9 STAND FOR THE FLAG: Has been putting forth big efforts in the mornings ahead of her debut, and she’s bred to be a nice one. Her second dam is My Flag, making her dam a half to champion Storm Flag Flying; #6 UTIKI: Hammered for $175,000 earlier this year despite a very modest pedigree, which hints that she worked extremely well. Her recent gate drills have gotten stronger, which is always encouraging; #4 TAKECHARGE MIRELLA: Was second behind the very impressive Feedback in her debut and finished five lengths clear of the third-place finisher. She could improve at second asking, but given the well-meant firsters in this event, she may have to.

R8

Killeen
Year of the Kitten
Phone Funky Munky

#7 KILLEEN: Drops in class for this event after finishing third against higher-level runners here last month. Javier Castellano hops aboard, and he could sit a perfect stalking trip behind several that figure to battle for the lead; #8 YEAR OF THE KITTEN: Hasn’t won since a successful debut in November, but has had bad luck by rating in paceless races. He could get a much more favorable race shape here at a square price; #5 PHONE FUNKY MUNKY: Is another that’s been compromised by slow paces of late. He’s won over this surface before and could benefit from a switch back to the turf.

R9

Indy Union (MTO)
Mighty Scarlett
Too Cool to Dance

#8 MIGHTY SCARLETT: Drops down in class after chasing graded stakes foes in her last two starts. She’s shown she can get this distance, and her usual race would make her very tough to beat; #3 TOO COOL TO DANCE: Is the other half of a strong 1-2 punch for trainer Chad Brown. She’ll likely go early, and her two-back win downstate shows that she can get this distance; #7 FAST TRACK KATHERN: Is a “feast or famine” type that throws in clunkers sometimes, but when she runs well, she runs really well. This is a class test for her, but she’d benefit from an early speed duel, which could happen given the fair amount of zip some of these runners have shown. DIRT SELECTIONS: INDY UNION, GOODBYE BROCKLEY, FAST TRACK KATHERN.

R10

Mia Mischief
Dream Pauline
Dream Tree

#4 MIA MISCHIEF: Did everything but win in the Grade 1 Test, when she helped set a fast pace and was beaten a neck by a multiple Grade 1 winner. She cuts back to six furlongs, and it helps that she doesn’t necessarily need the lead in order to run well; #5 DREAM PAULINE: Came off the bench running with a win in a swift allowance race earlier in the meet. Javier Castellano rides back, and she figures to be running well late; #8 DREAM TREE: Went 4 for 4 over the fall and winter before an injury sidelined her. This barn must obviously be respected, but it’s worth noting her two most recent wins came over suspect fields.

R11

Out of Trouble
Transaction Tax
Miko

#2 OUT OF TROUBLE: Hasn’t run a bad race since going to the Brad Cox barn last fall. She’s got three wins and three seconds in six starts since then, and her tactical speed is a big plus on the inner turf; #5 TRANSACTION TAX: Was third in a similar spot early in the meet after setting a very fast pace, but she’s won going two turns in the past. If my top pick doesn’t fire, this is the one that could benefit from an easy early lead; #7 MIKO: Prevailed over a weaker group a few weeks ago and has won twice in three local outings. She’s shown improved tactical speed of late, and this barn’s beginning to heat up as the meet draws to a close.

R12

Turco Bravo (MTO)
Master Plan
Sycamore Lane

#10 MASTER PLAN: Ended a long drought with a win at this route last month, when he prevailed by a nose over soft going. He’s probably better over firmer ground, and this may actually be a lesser group than what he beat in that aforementioned race; #1 SYCAMORE LANE: Takes a gigantic class drop after chasing a pair of Grade 1 winners in each of his last two outings. These waters are much shallower, and the recent bullet workout is a big plus; #4 NEOCLASSIC: Has won two of his last three races and makes his first start for Patrick Reynolds, who doesn’t claim many runners but reached in for this one back in June. He’ll do his best running late, most likely, beneath solid turf rider Luis Saez. DIRT SELECTIONS: TURCO BRAVO, MASTER PLAN, EXTINCT CHARM.