SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (7/11/19, OPENING DAY)


BANKROLL: $1,000

It’s time for another year of fun in the bankroll section! For those of you unfamiliar, I get a mythical $1,000 bankroll to bet however I wish between now and Labor Day, with all results tracked in this section. Last year, we were fortunate enough to turn a profit here, and I’m hoping for similar results this time around.

I’ll use this space for some fun stuff, too. Got something you want tackled? Tweet me at @AndrewChampagne, and your question/comment may very well wind up in print!

THURSDAY’S PLAY: I’ll keep my first play of the year simple. One of my favorite horses to play at Saratoga is a front-runner in an inner-turf race with very little other speed signed on. This applies in the fourth, as #5 GOSILENTLY could get a dream trip at a fair price. I’ll bet $10 on him to win and place, and as usual, all bets on turf races assume those events stay on the grass.


– – – – –

BEST BET: Giant Zinger, Race 7
LONGSHOT: Elektronic, Race 9


Tiz No Bluff
Real Dan
Curlin’s New Moon

#6 TIZ NO BLUFF: Is the lone runner in here with a win going two turns on dirt and exits an easy victory against weaker foes at Belmont. His tactical speed should be a plus given the added distance; #7 REAL DAN: Drops in for a tag after two failed efforts at Belmont, but it’s possible he may not have liked that track. He was 2-for-2 at Aqueduct, and a repeat of those efforts puts him in the mix; #8 CURLIN’S NEW MOON: Capitalized on a perfect trip last time out at Belmont. It’s encouraging that Jose Ortiz gets back aboard, and he could sit a nice stalking trip.


Ahead of Plan (MTO)

#2 SAYYAAF: Has burned money in his last two starts, but this seems like a far weaker spot. The shortened trip should help as well, and he’ll likely be a popular multi-race exotics single if this stays on the grass; #12 DECLINED: Drew a terrible post, but was competitive in two starts on turf at Churchill Downs. He’s got some early zip, but he may need to use it; #4 HURRICANE JAKE: Adds Lasix and gets a better draw today than he did last time out. He hasn’t run terribly in his prior outings, and we may get a price given the smaller barn. DIRT SELECTIONS: AHEAD OF PLAN, OFF THE RECORD, UP AND ONWARD.


Growth Engine

#6 GROWTH ENGINE: Has had some gate issues of late, but has still taken significant steps forward in each start to date. He’s shown he can win going two turns, and the worktab at Monmouth looks very sharp; #4 POTOMAC: Had every chance on the Belmont undercard when second as the favorite, but he’s run four strong races in a row and won for fun over this track last summer; #2 WALKOFF: Tries two turns for the first time and merits respect given the connections. He’s shown plenty of talent, but may need more pace than he figures to get in this spot.


Indigo Yankee (MTO)
Mr. Discretionary

#5 GOSILENTLY: Has hit the board in 15 of 16 lifetime turf starts and could sit an ideal trip on or near the lead through friendly fractions. The most recent workout hints that he’s ready to go off the bench, and if he gets an easy lead, look out; #3 MR. DISCRETIONARY: Gets a class test after beating weaker foes last time out at Monmouth. Jose Lezcano hops aboard after a tremendous meet at Belmont, and he’s shown an ability to make up ground late; #2 LOCAL HERO: Hasn’t won in a while, but ran very well against similar company at Churchill last month. He could be on the upswing after a trainer change earlier in the year. DIRT SELECTIONS: INDIGO YANKEE, AUTOSTRADE, WILDERNESS GATE.


Aubrey Tate
Love Me Tomorrow

#8 AUBREY TATE: Gets a tepid nod in a wide-open maiden race. Sire Bayern is off to a fast start at stud, and dam D’wild Ride is a multiple stakes-winning sprinter that has already thrown three other winners; #9 FUNFETTI: Debuts for a barn that can get horses ready to run right away. Several of her works hint that she can run, and Jose Ortiz getting the call is encouraging; #2 LOVE ME TOMORROW: Has an experience edge on most of these and was an OK third in her debut. This barn merits respect, and perhaps she’s improved, but that race didn’t hit me as a strong one, so I’ll try to beat her.


Morgantown (MTO)
Generazio entry

#9 PIPES: Comes back to turf in his first start for a new barn and ran well at this route last summer. I’m not crazy about the post, but it’s not as bad as it could be and late-running types can overcome it by saving ground early; GENERAZIO ENTRY: I prefer #1A VETERANS BEACH, who won here on debut last August and cuts back in distance after a failed try against stakes goes. #1 MAGICAL TALE, though, could be a factor if he runs back to his two-back effort; #4 FLED: Aired by more than five lengths at Laurel last month in his turf debut. His connections had been trying to get him on the grass, and it’s possible this is what he’s wanted all along. DIRT SELECTIONS: MORGANTOWN, PIPES, GIANT BOO BOO.


Giant Zinger
Cartwheel (MTO)

#4 GIANT ZINGER: Gets significant class relief after three straight tries against graded stakes competition. This is a far easier spot, and she showed she could win here a season ago; #10 WEGETSDAMONEYS: Hasn’t won in more than a year, but was fourth beaten just two lengths in a classy NY-bred stakes race in May. She’ll be running well late, and an early speed duel would certainly help her; #6 BAREEQA: Merits a look in the exotics at a big price. She’s shown she prefers two-turn routes of ground and has three wins and a third in five starts over this turf course. Perhaps she’s peaked, but the two-back win hints that there may be more in the tank. DIRT SELECTIONS: CARTWHEEL, MAIDEN BEAUTY, ELEGANT JEN.


Aurelia Garland
Kiss the Girl

#8 AURELIA GARLAND: Won for fun in her debut at Belmont, where she went five furlongs in :57 and change. A repeat of that effort would give her a big shot in a wide-open renewal of the Schuylerville; #9 KISS THE GIRL: Represents the formidable Pletcher/Velazquez tandem and can’t be ignored off a strong win in her debut. Her two works since that race were good, and she gets a cushy outside draw; #1 SHIPPY: Looked like a freak in her debut win at Laurel, after which she was sold and transferred to new trainer Doug O’Neill. If she’s ready, she probably wins, but the one work since her debut win isn’t ideal, nor is the rail draw. At her likely price, I’ll only be using her defensively.



#1 ABYSSINIAN: Has yet to run a bad race and most recently picked up a pair of checks in ungraded stakes on the Kentucky circuit. She faces the boys here, but she’s in strong form and could be tough if she fires her best shot; #10 SOMBEYAY: Tries turf for the first time and is bred to love it. That pedigree (one resulting in an insanely-high 351 turf Tomlinson number) and his late-running style could be enough to overcome the outside post; #2 ELEKTRONIC: Was rated in a paceless race last time out and should get plenty of speed to run at here. His wins two and three back were sharp, and I think he outruns his morning line odds.


Countenance (MTO)
Claddagh’s Run
Darling of the Spa

#4 CLADDAGH’S RUN: Stepped forward on the drop last time out with a strong late move for second and gets two turns here. There’s some speed signed on, and I think she’ll be moving the right way late in the game; #5 DARLING OF THE SPA: Has worked well ahead of her debut and merits respect for strong connections. It’s tough to win going long at first asking, but she may not have to be much to beat these; #9 TO A FRIEND: Drops in class after setting the pace in a turf marathon last time out. Blinkers come on in this spot, and she’s one of a few that figures to want control going by the stands the first time. DIRT SELECTIONS: COUNTENANCE, DARLING OF THE SPA, DOTTIE’S SPIRIT.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 8/9/17


BANKROLL: $970.75

A friend of mine told me this Monday, and I still can’t believe it: Wednesday’s card kicks off the fourth week of racing this summer at Saratoga. What’s more, Saturday’s card is the 20th program of the meet, marking the official halfway point. In a word…yikes.

Got a question or comment? Tweet me at @AndrewChampagne, and you may see my response in print.

MONDAY’S RESULTS: We took a shot with longshot Quanique in the second, but the big price didn’t fire. As such, we dropped $15, but as you’ll see, that hasn’t deterred me from taking a similar approach with another horse I like that could be a very juicy price.

WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: For the first (and possibly only) time this summer, my bankroll play comes in a steeplechase race. #2 PLATED has shown an affinity for distances similar to this route of ground, and he’s been running against better groups. I’ll put $5 across the board on him, and I’ll gladly take his 12-1 odds if I can get them!



Best Bet: Sunset Ridge, Race 2
Longshot: Plated, Race 1


No Wunder
Selection Sunday

PLATED: Has shown an affinity for distances similar to this route. He’s also been running against some classy steeplechases fields of late, and given that this distance is a question mark for many in here, I’m inclined to take a swing; NO WUNDER: Chased stakes foes earlier in the meet and drops down in class. He hasn’t yet beaten winners over fences, but he graduated over a similar distance to one he’ll run here; SELECTION SUNDAY: Would be tough to beat if he channeled his 2014 and 2015 form. He won a stakes race at this distance back in 2015.


Sunset Ridge
Silly Sister
Tiznow’s Smile

SUNSET RIDGE: Has won the first two starts of her career for a powerhouse barn. She’s worked well since an eight-length score downstate in June, and further improvement would make her tough to beat; SILLY SISTER: Has won two in a row since switching to dirt and seems like the main threat to my top pick (likely an odds-on favorite). Her tactical speed is a plus, especially given the rail draw; TIZNOW’S SMILE: Has not finished out of the money since her debut, and that stretch includes a half-dozen tries in state-bred stakes company. This barn has done well to this point in the meet.


Wildcat Belle (MTO)
Spectacular Me

LAMONTAGNE: Drops way down in class for this and is a threat to wire the field. Her running lines feature many stakes-quality horses, and this barn is due for a hot streak; SPECTACULAR ME: Likes this route of ground and is another dropping in class. She crossed the wire second in a minor stakes race two back, and her best race would make her a major player; DOUBLE DOSE: Won three in a row earlier this year and would benefit from an early battle up front. The main question marks are the post position and her poor record over this turf course. DIRT SELECTIONS: WILDCAT BELLE, RECKLESS HUMOR, SPECTACULAR ME.


Everybody Loves Me
Hint of Mint
Princess Char

EVERYBODY LOVES ME: Fetched $315k at auction and has been working very strongly ahead of her debut. The rail draw isn’t ideal, but if she runs to her recent drills, look out; HINT OF MINT: Ships in for Midwestern connections and also boasts a series of flashy preps. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because this pedigree seems to indicate longer races, perhaps on turf; PRINCESS CHAR: Boasts a recent five-furlong bullet workout as well as a strong pedigree. Her dam placed in numerous graded stakes races going short, and this one seems well-meant in her debut.


Sidd Finch
Singapore Trader
Fox Strike

SIDD FINCH: Took a considerable step forward in his turf debut, running third going shorter downstate. A nod to brilliant scribe George Plimpton, this gelding could embrace the two-turn route he gets today; SINGAPORE TRADER: Faltered at even money in his unveiling on dirt and tries turf. The pedigree screams distance, and these connections merit plenty of respect; FOX STRIKE: Debuted in a race taken off the turf, which means the lackluster showing is easily forgiven. He’s bred to love the grass and could improve at second asking. DIRT SELECTIONS: SINGAPORE TRADER, CAN’TWEALLGETALONG, EVALUATOR.


Crimson Frost (MTO)
Tiz a Kitten
Fahan Mura

TIZ A KITTEN: Showed speed and stopped badly against better last out at Belmont, but ran very well in her previous four starts. Jose Ortiz piloted her to both of her wins earlier this season, and he’s back aboard; FAHAN MURA: Adds blinkers and has not run a truly bad race on turf since her debut. Clement’s numbers with horses adding hoods are very strong; CHA CHA HEELS: Hasn’t won in a while, but has shown a strong closing kick of late and should benefit from a class drop. The faster they go early, the more this one should like it. DIRT SELECTIONS: CRIMSON FROST, CHA CHA HEELS, NISHA.


Cool as You Like
Verdant Pastures
Three Eighty Eight

COOL AS YOU LIKE: Has improved with every start and rallied from well off a slow pace last month at Belmont. This is a step up in class, but there seems to be speed signed on and this doesn’t seem like a strong race for the level; VERDANT PASTURES: Has worked very well of late ahead of her first start since March. Her best races have come around two turns; THREE EIGHTY EIGHT: Is a short price on the morning line, and her best is competitive, but she hasn’t won in a while. Her lone win came against maiden claimers, so if she’s a short price, she may be a favorite worth trying to beat.


On My Toes
City Section

ON MY TOES: Unsurprisingly took to the grass last time out and cruised home in a swift time at Indiana Grand. She’s by More Than Ready and out of a Theatrical mare, and while this spot is much tougher than her last one, there seems to be potential here; THRICE: Defeated a weaker group earlier in the meet and was claimed out of that race by Mike Maker. She’s yet to finish worse than second in four starts, and her usual race puts her right there; CITY SECTION: Was second against a starter allowance group at Belmont last month and attracts Javier Castellano, who doesn’t ride for this barn much. DIRT SELECTIONS: QUEENOFTHECHANNEL, INDYGITA, ON MY TOES.


The Money Monster
Expedited Vision
Blind Ambition

THE MONEY MONSTER: Has never tried turf, but is a pace play here. The other entrants will likely all be gunning for the lead early. If this one takes to turf at all, he should be running best of all late; EXPEDITED VISION: Has won the first two starts of his career, including a six-length romp on dirt last time out. This is a class test for him, but it helps that he showed he does not need the lead; BLIND AMBITION: Faltered when trying Grade 3 company last time out after winning two in a row. His lone turf effort earned a high Beyer Speed Figure, and these connections mean business. DIRT SELECTIONS: SAME.


Divine Caroline
Ouro Verde

LOOSE: Drops down in class and looks much more appealing if you only consider races run over fast dirt tracks. Her efforts two and four back were okay, and this seems like a far weaker spot than what she’s used to; DIVINE CAROLINE: Debuts in this spot and has several sharp workouts. Given the $75k purchase price, the $20k tag is a red flag, but she may not need to be much to beat these; OURO VERDE: Woke up a bit when dropped to this level last time out. Improvement is logical second off the brief layoff.