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

BANKROLL

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.

TOTAL WAGERED: $20

– – – – –

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

R1

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.

R2

Ahead of Plan (MTO)
Sayyaaf
Declined

#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.

R3

Growth Engine
Potomac
Walkoff

#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.

R4

Indigo Yankee (MTO)
Gosilently
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.

R5

Aubrey Tate
Funfetti
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.

R6

Morgantown (MTO)
Pipes
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.

R7

Giant Zinger
Cartwheel (MTO)
Wegetsdamunnys

#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.

R8

Aurelia Garland
Kiss the Girl
Shippy

#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.

R9

Abyssinian
Sombeyay
Elektronic

#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.

R10

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: 7/20/18

BANKROLL: $1,000

Before we kick things off, I ask for a small favor: Take some time today to think about the friends and families of Mike Jarboe, Matt Graves, and Manny Ycaza, all of whom we’ve lost since last year’s closing day card. All three men loved Saratoga, and they’d have loved to be here on opening day.

Now, a quick introduction for those who are unfamiliar: In addition to the pick box, I’ll do a daily bankroll section with a few paragraphs of commentary and plays for the day. If you’ve got a question, a comment, or something you’d like to see me address here, tweet me at @AndrewChampagne. Finally, if you want to follow me all meet long, content will be posted to AndrewChampagne.com 36 hours or so in advance of each card.

FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on the third race, which houses my best bet of the day. That’s #6 MONTELEONE, who takes a sizable class drop and has run well against much better competition. I’ll put $10 on him to win, and also key him in $2 doubles that start and end there. Those doubles use #1 TOO FOOFOO FOR YOU, #4 DRYNACHAN, and #9 MIKE’S GIRL in the second, and #4 DOMINANT STRATEGY, #6 AZZEDINE, and #9 TERYN IT UP in the fourth.

TOTAL WAGERED: $22

ANALYSIS/SELECTIONS

Best Bet: Monteleone, Race 3
Longshot: Fightress, Race 8

R1

Bad Student
Nobody Move
Halloween Horror

BAD STUDENT: May not have liked the quirky surface at Parx last time out, when he sat close to a solid pace and faded late. He showed strong two-turn form earlier this year at Oaklawn and should be prominent early; NOBODY MOVE: Showed a new dimension last time out when wiring the field at Belmont Park. A repeat of that effort would make him very competitive in this spot, though such a picture-perfect trip is unlikely; HALLOWEEN HORROR: Merits a look in the exotics at a price. His dirt race here last summer was OK, and he drops way down in class after running against much better company in his last three starts.

R2

Drynachan
Too Foofoo for You
Mike’s Girl

DRYNACHAN: Has a stellar turf pedigree and is working well ahead of her debut for the formidable Chad Brown barn. If she runs to her works, she could be tough in her unveiling; TOO FOOFOO FOR YOU: Was second behind a next-out winner last month downstate. That early speed could make her the one to catch, although the rail draw is less than ideal; MIKE’S GIRL: Is by Scat Daddy and out of a mare that has produced a pair of winners. She’s worked well for a trainer that doesn’t always show off his runners’ talents in the mornings.

R3

Monteleone
Fortythreeoeight N
Sicilia Mike

MONTELEONE: Lost all chance at the break last time out, so it’s easy to draw a line through that race. He hit the board in four straight starter allowance events before that and drops down in class significantly for aggressive connections; FORTYTHREEOEIGHT N: Comes back to the dirt second off the claim by Chris Englehart. His dirt races at Tampa this past winter were OK, and he could sit a perfect stalking trip at a nice price; SICILIA MIKE: Has made a heck of a living despite a 1 for 25 career mark to this point, with 10 seconds and five thirds to his credit. With a mark like that, it’s foolish to ignore him in vertical wagers.

R4

Azzedine
Teryn It Up
Dominant Strategy

AZZEDINE: Has run second three times in four tries against maiden special weight foes and drops in for a tag for the first time. Javier Castellano climbs aboard for Chad Brown, whose numbers with similar droppers are astounding; TERYN IT UP: Adds blinkers on the drop in class for Brian Lynch and exits a swiftly-run maiden special weight at Belmont Park. It helps that John Velazquez rides back, and he figures to be in the mix early; DOMINANT STRATEGY: Comes to the turf and drops down in class in an attempt to wake up this $520,000 auction purchase. His turf work a few days ago was sharp, and he’s shown some zip in his prior efforts.

R5

Wild Type
Lyrical Lady
Pletcher entry

WILD TYPE: Didn’t break well in her debut last month but has worked lights-out since then. Improvement is logical at second asking for a barn that’s hitting at a 28% clip with second-out maidens; LYRICAL LADY: Fetched $625,000 at auction earlier this year and has some strong gate drills on her tab. Her dam was Grade 3-placed at two, so precocity runs in the family; PLETCHER ENTRY: Blahnik and also-eligible Always Shopping can’t be ignored, but they’re both bred to go much longer than this 5 ½-furlong distance.

R6

Miss Mimosa
Cypriana
Palladian Bridge

MISS MIMOSA: Bounced back last time out with a close-up second at Belmont Park. The last two workouts show she could be coming into this event in peak form for a barn whose horses tend to get better as they go along; CYPRIANA: Ran a good second in a six-furlong event last month. A repeat of that effort would give her a big shot, but that clunker two back still presents some questions; PALLADIAN BRIDGE: Likely needed her last race, which was her first outing since February. Before that, she had a productive winter, winning twice and running second in a stakes race, and she could provide some exotics value given her last-out performance.

R7

Hollywood Cat
Cumbria
Dancingwithpaynter

HOLLYWOOD CAT: Merits a big chance for one of the hottest barns in the country if she draws in off the AE list. She was third in a stakes race here last summer, and there should be plenty of pace for her to rate behind; CUMBRIA: Hasn’t done much wrong since being switched to the turf three back. She hasn’t been worse than third since then, and she may get first run at the early leaders when the real running starts; DANCINGWITHPAYNTER: Will likely be a big price, but if you toss the two-back effort (her first start off a layoff), she hasn’t run a bad race in four starts on turf. She’s shown some flexibility, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she got a piece of it.

R8

Fightress
Tapping Pearl
Catherinethegreat

FIGHTRESS: Splashed home to a win in her debut at Churchill Downs, but the real draws here are the two workouts since that win. It certainly appears that she’s moved forward of late, and we’ll almost certainly get a nice price; TAPPING PEARL: Went wire-to-wire in her debut and boasts a strong local workout ahead of this event. She may want to go a bit longer given her pedigree, but unlike others in here, she’s not stretching out at all, which could help; CATHERINETHEGREAT: Romped by more than 10 lengths last time out, but that was at Gulfstream Park, over a sloppy track, and against a suspect field. That last-out Beyer Speed Figure (80) is lofty, but I’m skeptical she can reproduce such an effort, and she may need to in what appears to be a wide-open renewal of the Schuylerville.

R9

Daddy Is a Legend
Punked
Altea

DADDY IS A LEGEND: Has been chasing some of the top 3-year-old turf fillies so far this year and is one of many in here that was victimized by a very slow early pace in the Grade 3 Wonder Again. This seems like a softer spot, and she’s shown she can be closer to the pace if need be; PUNKED: Was second in the Wild Applause Stakes downstate and is one of two Chad Brown trainees in the field. The rail draw and relative lack of pace in the race could mean she’s up close early on; ALTEA: Merits respect because of her connections, but is winless in North America and has only won once in eight career starts. The addition of blinkers is noteworthy, but she may need to be up closer to the pace early than she has been of late.

R10

County Court
Prognostication
Lusitano

COUNTY COURT: Takes a big drop in running for a tag for the first time after being victimized by two slow early paces in a row downstate. There’s some speed signed on here, and that plus the class relief makes this one formidable; PROGNOSTICATION: Has never missed the board in five career turf starts, but also hasn’t run since October and drew a dreadful post position. He’s got a few strong recent works, though, and he could be good enough to win if he’s ready; LUSITANO: Is another dropping in class, and he may benefit from a return to a two-turn route of ground. His two races earlier this year at Tampa were solid, and the presence of Javier Castellano is certainly a plus.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 7/21/17

(NOTE: Most days, the bankroll section will be edited in after my picks are posted, as it must wait until the races in question are run the previous day. This doesn’t apply for opening day, obviously, and it won’t apply for Wednesdays either, since Tuesday is the dark day.)

BANKROLL

BANKROLL: $1,000

It’s great to be back! For those who missed this segment when it debuted last summer, I’ll be making bets in this space all summer long, hopefully growing my starting bankroll as the meet rolls on (NOTE: All wagers on turf races are contingent on those races staying there).

Additionally, the kind folks at The Saratogian have given me some space to expound with some thoughts, and that’s where you come in. Got a question, comment, or rant? Tweet me at @AndrewChampagne, and I may answer it in print. Some ground rules: No politics, and no potshots. Breaking these rules could get you mocked and/or ridiculed. You’ve been warned.

FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’ll wait until the final two races of the day and play $10 doubles. Mark Casse holds a strong hand in the ninth (the Lake George), and both of his entrants are reasonable prices on the morning line. I’ll use #10 VICTORY TO VICTORY and #11 DREAM DANCING there and single Chad Brown class-dropper #8 SWEET CONNIE GIRL in the 10th and final.

TOTAL WAGERED: $20

ANALYSIS/SELECTIONS

Best Bet: Sweet Connie Girl, Race #10
Longshot: Victory to Victory, Race #9

R1

Indycott
Rich Daddy
Marriage Fever

INDYCOTT: Was second in the slop against slightly better last time out downstate. He’s won twice here, including a race at this level and route last summer, and he should sit a dream trip just off the speed; RICH DADDY: Is a 10-time winner with 30 in-the-money finishes in 45 career starts. He’s relished the class drop he took earlier in the year and would benefit from a pace meltdown; MARRIAGE FEVER: Has run some of his best races around two turns and could relish a return to such a route today. He could hold on for a share at a bit of a price.

R2

Trouble for Skylar (MTO)
Scatback
Misty Forest

SCATBACK: Is by strong turf sire Scat Daddy and seems to have found a fairly soft spot for her unveiling. She’s a half to three winners, and her dam is a half to Grade 3 winner Z Humor; MISTY FOREST: Fetched $67k at auction last year and has a few workouts downstate that hint at some talent. Trainer John Kimmel can pop at a price with 2-year-olds; BEAUX ARTS: Was second at a big price in her debut at Monmouth Park and tries turf here. Sire Freud can throw turf runners, but the cold barn is a concern. DIRT SELECTIONS: TROUBLE FOR SKYLAR, BEAUX ARTS, SCATBACK.

R3

Point Hope
Offlee Brawn
Planet Trailblazer

POINT HOPE: Took a big step forward in his first start for Robertino Diodoro, romping against a weaker group. Regression is logical, but his record looks considerably better if you toss the inner track and turf races, so it’s not like his last effort is totally out of place; OFFLEE BRAWN: Is the main speed in this race on paper and routed lesser company at Monmouth when last seen. Paco Lopez and Kelly Breen do great work together, and he could be tough to run down if he shakes loose early; PLANET TRAILBLAZER: Has never missed the board in six dirt starts and was third behind a next-out winner last month downstate. The lack of a win since the debut is discouraging, but he can’t be ignored in exotics wagers.

R4

Patternrecognition
Reason to Soar
Via Egnatia

PATTERNRECOGNITION: Chased possible Amsterdam favorite Coal Front last out after winning his debut in April at Aqueduct. He’s worked very well since then and looms large for powerhouse connections; REASON TO SOAR: Didn’t take to the turf downstate but ran several strong races against restricted stakes company earlier in the season. He’d benefit from a fast early pace, which could happen given the speed signed on; VIA EGNATIA: Makes his U.S. debut for Bill Mott and gets Lasix for the first time. He’s a half to sire First Defence, the dam is a half to Belmont winner Empire Maker, and the workouts indicate he could be well-meant.

R5

Amazing Belle
Honey Glow
Sunny’s Funny

AMAZING BELLE: Has run two strong races in as many career outings. She’s a half to Grade 1 winner Unrivaled Belle, the dam of Unique Bella, and experience counts; HONEY GLOW: Is a regally-bred Todd Pletcher trainee who could win on debut. The worktab is solid, but the pedigree suggests she may want to go longer, and I doubt we’ll get the 7/2 morning line odds; SUNNY’S FUNNY: Was a decent third on debut at Churchill Downs for a trainer whose horses sometimes need a race or two to get going. Improvement is logical at second asking.

R6

Itsinthestars
Swayed
Buffalo Miss

ITSINTHESTARS: Ran a clunker last time going long, but cuts back to a distance that should be more to her liking. There’s a ton of early speed here on paper, and she should be rolling late; SWAYED: Is another coming in off a dull effort, but she likely needed the race off a long layoff. She gets Lasix for the first time and is another who would benefit from rating off a hot pace; BUFFALO MISS: Romped at this route last summer. Her best race could win this, but John Terranova isn’t great off of this type of layoff, and she figures to have company up front early on. DIRT SELECTIONS: INGRID, SWAYED, MO PROMISE.

R7

Brown entry
Highland Sky
Messi

BLACK SEA: Likely needed his North American debut, which came going shorter than his preferred distance. He’s been gelded since that effort, and anything close to his 2016 form would make him a major player; HIGHLAND SKY: Has had the misfortune of being a stone closer in a paceless race twice this year. He’ll be formidable if he gets a setup in front of him, but the fear of another dawdling pace means I can’t endorse him on top; MESSI: Was third in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy two back before running a distant ninth in the Grade 1 United Nations. He may be a hair past his peak, but he wouldn’t be a shock in what’s turned out to be an incredibly tough optional claimer. DIRT SELECTIONS: SPLASHTASTIC, RED RIFLE, BACKSIDEOFTHEMOON.

R8

Snowfire
Buy Sell Hold
Stainless

SNOWFIRE: Has something the rest of this field doesn’t, which is a win at today’s six-furlong distance. She drew away powerfully that day and turned in a strong local workout on July 14th that could bode well for today’s co-feature; BUY SELL HOLD: Prevailed against boys in stakes company last time out at Churchill Downs and is a logical favorite. She turned in a bullet three works back and showed an ability to rate in the aforementioned win; STAINLESS: Was an easy winner on debut at Gulfstream, and the runner-up came back to win at next asking. Trainer Todd Pletcher swept the local graded stakes for 2-year-old fillies last year, and this one could continue the winning streak.

R9

Victory to Victory
Dream Dancing
Sweeping Paddy

VICTORY TO VICTORY: Is one of two Mark Casse trainees in the field and should love the two-turn route and race shape she should see here. She figures to be the main speed, she shouldn’t have to go as fast early on as she did two back against similar, and we may get a bit of a price; DREAM DANCING: May have bounced last time out after a very strong second two back to La Coronel, who’d probably be favored here. She should appreciate the return to a two-turn route, and she may be talented enough to overcome the bad post; SWEEPING PADDY: Broke through in a big way last out when taking the Grade 3 Regret. A repeat would put her right there, but that was a substantial jump from her prior form, meaning a regression could be coming here.

R10

Sweet Connie Girl
Submit
Joyful Joyful

SWEET CONNIE GIRL: Drops in for a tag for the first time after a pair of evenly-run races at Monmouth. This doesn’t seem to be the toughest field for the level, though, and the addition of Javier Castellano is a big plus; SUBMIT: Ran an OK fourth at this level downstate when returning from a long layoff. Jose Ortiz hops aboard, and she should be running well late; JOYFUL JOYFUL: Merits a look at a big price. She has some races from 2016 that would make her competitive in this spot, and she didn’t embarrass herself when third last out at Monmouth in her first start for a solid barn. DIRT SELECTIONS: PINCHPENNY, GRAND BANKS, MIZZENCAT.