SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (7/12/19)



This section did not make it into the Opening Day edition of The Pink Sheet due to a print error, so some of this will be a rehash. For those of you seeing this section for the first time, I get a mythical $1,000 bankroll to bet any way I wish from now through Labor Day. I’ll also be using this space to expound on relevant matters, so if you have a question, comment, or concern, tweet it to me at @AndrewChampagne.

Also, two reminders: All of my content (picks, analysis, and bankroll plays/blurbs) is available online at, and all plays in the bankroll section involving turf races assume they stay on the grass. If they get rained off the turf, all plays in those races are voided.

THURSDAY’S RESULTS: Gosilently got to the lead but tired badly to finish off the board. As such, we dropped $20.

FRIDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on the early Pick Four, which starts in the second race and ends with my best bet of the day. I’ll play it for a dollar, and the ticket reads as follows: 2,5,6 with 3,5 with 3,8,9 with 4. I’ll also play $4 doubles starting in the fourth using the horses in the last two legs of my Pick Four play (which ensures action in case we’re rained off the turf).


– – – – –

BEST BET: Lotta Ott, Race 5
LONGSHOT: Freudycatfever, Race 10


Oso Negro
Legion Storm
Derby Memories

#8 OSO NEGRO: Takes a giant drop in class for powerhouse connections after burning a fair amount of money in two starts against straight maidens. It’s tough not to see this as an alarming drop, but he boasts the highest last-out Beyer Speed Figure by a clear margin; #2 LEGION STORM: Was a decent second in an off-the-turf event last time out. He was third going two turns (albeit on turf) earlier this year, and Saez returning to ride is a plus; #3 DERBY MEMORIES: Almost certainly needed his last start, which came off a layoff of nearly two years. The recent local workout indicates he’s ready to fire a bigger shot here.


Daddy Knows (MTO)
Worth a Shot
Jimmy Jazz

#2 WORTH A SHOT: Stretches out to two turns off a near-miss at Belmont, and his pedigree hints that two turns should not be an issue. He’s got plenty of early zip, which is always an asset on the inner turf course, and a step forward from the last-out effort would make him tough; #5 JIMMY JAZZ: Was beaten only a neck last time out despite a wide trip and a seven-pound weight gap. He beat the third-place finisher by three lengths that day, and he’s shown he can run well at this distance; #6 CRAZY LIFE: Ran pretty well when third in his first start since August. Several of that day’s rivals show up here, but this is the one that seems most eligible to improve off of that event. DIRT SELECTION: DADDY KNOWS.


Viva Forever (MTO)

#3 COMPLICIT: Hasn’t run since October, but has fired every time out and won off of a similar-length layoff last year. There should be plenty of pace in here to set up for her late-running style; #5 FERDINANDA: Hasn’t finished worse than second in her last six starts and is another that will be running well late. She’s been working well downstate and was second in a similar spot here last summer; #4 DREAM PASSAGE: Has won two in a row over yielding going at Belmont and will almost certainly be involved early. She likely won’t be alone up front, though, and the two-turn trip is a question mark. DIRT SELECTIONS: VIVA FOREVER, BROMAN ENTRY, TANYA’S GEM.


Big Muddy
Lord Simba
Soul P Say

#9 BIG MUDDY: Gets a tepid nod in one of the toughest $12,500 claiming races you’ll ever see. He’s won four of his last seven starts, the most recent of which came last time out downstate, and this barn has been firing on all cylinders this year; #8 LORD SIMBA: Took a step forward last time out in his first start for trainer Eddie Kenneally, when he won for the first time since the 2017 Los Angeles at Santa Anita. It’s tough to imagine a return to his 2017 form, but he could be coming around a bit for a very capable barn; #3 SOUL P SAY: Drops more than 50% in claiming price off of his last race and merits plenty of respect off of his back form. Given the large purse, there’s a chance this isn’t a panicky drop, although it’s jarring to see a $32,000 claim come back for $12,500.


Lotta Ott
Good Shabbos

#4 LOTTA OTT: Has turned heads in the mornings at Keeneland ahead of her unveiling. The gate work on June 26th jumps off the page, and this filly bred by former NYRA jockey Jose Espinoza sure looks like a runner; #2 GOOD SHABBOS: Has an experience edge on most of this group, having just missed last month at Monmouth. I’m not sure what she faced that day, but they ran pretty quickly that day, and this barn knows how to win with 2-year-olds; #1 APURATE: Draws the rail for the Pletcher/Velazquez duo and has a few solid drills over the training track. She’s logical, but the rail is a tough spot for a debuting runner to win from, and the pedigree screams turf, not dirt.


Repole entry (MTO)
Keep Quiet

#7 KEEP QUIET: Has had a productive 2019 campaign to date and makes his first start for Steve Asmussen. He’s run well here in the past, and while this isn’t an easy spot, he strikes me as the one to beat; #12 APPLICATOR: Has won three of his last five and may well have been my top pick with a better post. As it stands now, he’ll have to overcome a very wide draw in his first start for Linda Rice, but he may just have the talent to do it; #11 HAY DAKOTA: Is another that didn’t have any luck at the draw, but he ran a big race to win at this level last time out at Churchill. Any speed duel would certainly work to this closer’s advantage. DIRT SELECTIONS: REPOLE ENTRY, HEAVY ROLLER, SUPER DUDE.


Filly Dilly
Saloon Girl (MTO)
Noble Jewel

#9 FILLY DILLY: Romped in her debut, which came in an off-the-turf race last month at Belmont. Her pedigree says she wants grass, and any improvement in her second start would make her a formidable foe; #6 NOBLE JEWEL: Also makes her second start after springing an upset in a turf sprint downstate. That race didn’t have the best field, but she finished very quickly and Joel Rosario retains the mount; #1 SHORT POUR: Merits a look in the exotics at a price. She rallied to be beaten just two lengths in her 2019 debut, and I think she’s eligible to improve second off the bench. DIRT SELECTIONS: FILLY DILLY, SALOON GIRL, LEM ME HAVE IT.


Doups Point
Big Gemmy

#6 DOUPS POINT: Has six top-two finishes in seven lifetime starts and certainly seems like the one to beat. He was second despite a bad break last time out, and two turns shouldn’t be an issue; #2 DREAMZAPPER: Has taken a big leap forward as a 4-year-old, and has run three solid route races coming into this event. His tactical speed is a plus, and that could mean a perfect stalking trip; #3 BIG GEMMY: Has won two in a row for Linda Rice, albeit against weaker competition. I’m not crazy about him being entered for a tag, but he appears to be in good form and he did break his maiden over this surface back in 2017.


Voodoo Song
March to the Arch
Offering Plan

#7 VOODOO SONG: Gets my top pick in the Forbidden Apple as arguably Saratoga’s most notable “horse for course” since Fourstardave. He’s won five of six starts over this turf course, and he should be prominent early in a race that seems pretty light on early speed (outside of #1 GIDU); #5 MARCH TO THE ARCH: Rallied to win the Grade 2 Wise Dan last month at Churchill and seems to be in career-best form. His chances would improve significantly with a speed duel, although I think he may truly want a bit more ground; #4 OFFERING PLAN: Hasn’t finished out of the money in nearly two years, although many of his races have come against state-breds. He’s won twice over this turf course, and his best effort would make him a contender in this spot.


Happy Sophia (MTO)
Linda’s Ballet

#6 LINDA’S BALLET: Gets back on turf and takes a big drop in class for a trainer who has had lots of success with similar stock. Repeats of her efforts two or three back would make her very tough to beat; #1 FREUDYCATFEVER: Missed the break in her debut against straight maidens and is certainly eligible to improve at second asking against a weaker group. If Noble Jewel (who won that June 7th event) runs well in the seventh, it bodes well for this one’s chances; #5 ABBY NORMAL: Has closed well in two of her prior turf tries, most recently earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure last month at Belmont. She should be moving well late at a fair price. DIRT SELECTIONS: HAPPY SOPHIA, SCARLET’S COMMAND, ABBY NORMAL.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 9/3/18 (Labor Day)


BANKROLL: $1,178.20

Closing day is upon us, and there are plenty of people I need to acknowledge. First on that list (whether he likes it or not) is Stan Hudy, who took it upon himself to spearhead production of The Pink Sheet while also helping to produce content for the paper’s conventional sports section. This is not an easy thing for one person to do, especially when it’s tougher than ever to be a journalist at a smaller newspaper.

I also need to acknowledge my fellow Pink Sheet handicappers. Handicapping every race, every day, is a grind, especially when the horses you really like count the same as reluctant top picks. Heading into Sunday’s action, Liam Durbin and I were tied with 104 winners. It’s been a thrill to compete with him, as well as with Sam Hollingsworth, Dan Feiss, and our avian friend, and I hope we all get the chance to do it again next summer.

Last, but certainly not least, I need to thank you, the reader. Whether you bought a copy of The Pink Sheet or visited, it means the world to me that you read the content I’ve created. That’s a big reason why I look forward to doing this every year, and I sincerely hope I’ve helped you cash a few tickets this meet. We’ve got one more day of racing. Let’s make it a good one!

SUNDAY’S RESULTS: Our win bets went 0 for 2, as Beach Front just missed in the second and Bella’s Game wanted no part of two turns in the fifth. We dropped $40.

MONDAY’S PLAY: Since I don’t have a deadline to worry about, I’m focusing on the late Pick Four and looking to go out with a bang. My 50-cent ticket starts in the eighth race and is as follows: ALL with 1 with 1,3,7 with 2,14. #14 SPRING DRAMA is an also-eligible in the last race, so the ticket cost could easily be halved from $33 to $16.50. Additionally, based on her last-out journey, I must bet #2 LADY CAMILLE in the 11th on her own. I’ll put $20 on her to win and hope we get the 5-1 morning line price. For the final bankroll total, check @AndrewChampagne on Twitter at the conclusion of Monday’s card!



Best Bet: Voodoo Song, Race 9
Longshot: Princesa Carolina, Race 6


Catch Me If U Can
Fly Away Birdie

#7 CATCH ME IF U CAN: Is one of several contenders exiting a race on July 30th, and this one impressed me the most. He was very green that day, but was gaining ground late after sputtering on the turn. He goes to Steve Asmussen and should improve at second asking; #5 GUMP: Was a one-paced third in that race, but did take a step forward off of his downstate efforts. Irad Ortiz sees fit to ride back, and getting off the rail could help him; #2 FLY AWAY BIRDIE: Drops in for a tag after shipping in from Woodbine. He was a prospect for this barn and was bet to 6/5 in his debut, so it wouldn’t be a huge shock if the drop wakes him up, but this barn’s been ice-cold for the past few weeks.


Class Won (MTO)
All Clear
Fast Getaway

#3 ALL CLEAR: Was a competitive second behind a next-out winner in his turf debut back in May and gets Joel Rosario. He’s 8-1 on the morning line, but I’m guessing he’ll drop a bit by the time they load into the gate; #9 FAST GETAWAY: Showed speed against better earlier in the meet before fading to fifth. The yielding turf may not have helped him, and if he channels his two-back form, he’ll certainly be a major player; #11 LA MAQUINA GRIS: Hasn’t won on turf and doesn’t draw particularly well, but his lone recent one-turn turf sprint was a solid second at this level. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him run on late for a piece of it. DIRT SELECTIONS: CLASS WON, COMEONCOMEONCAT, WEGOTTOLDYOUGOTSOLD.


King for a Day
Calumet entry

#2 COMPLEXITY: Fetched $375,000 last year at Keeneland and has been working very well ahead of his unveiling. The inside draw isn’t ideal, but he’s a half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Valadorna and has been working to the pedigree; #7 KING FOR A DAY: Is a half-brother to a stakes winner and is another with some flashy local drills ahead of his debut. The outside draw helps, and the Velazquez/Pletcher tandem certainly merits respect; CALUMET ENTRY: I prefer #1 SOUTHERN PHANTOM, who’s run two OK races to this point. He’ll get plenty of support at the windows for reasons that have nothing to do with his form, but he could certainly run well enough to be a factor.


Deep Sea
Full Salute

#4 DEEP SEA: Has won three of five starts since being claimed by Jason Servis, who’s enjoyed a stellar summer. He actually drops in class off of his win at Monmouth, and if he carries that form up I-87, he’ll be the one to beat; #6 FULL SALUTE: Was claimed out of a race against higher-level claimers earlier in the meet by Gary Gullo, who connects at a high rate with new acquisitions. He won’t be alone on the front end, but he should appreciate the class relief; #1 ROCKFORD: Is a stalwart of the NYRA claiming scene and will make his 54th career start in this race. He was a close-up second against similar foes last time out, and Joel Rosario sees fit to ride him back.


Kulin Rock
Honey Dont
Dominant Strategy

#9 KULIN ROCK: Drops in for a tag after chasing allowance foes for most of the year. He’s a one-run closer, and that could benefit him given the abundance of early speed that appears to be signed on; #5 HONEY DONT: Bounced last time out in his first start against winners, but ran a big race two back in his lone effort against claimers. He will likely sit a stalking trip and could get first run on the pace-setters turning for home; #4 DOMINANT STRATEGY: Wired a field of maiden claimers earlier in the meet in a race that doubled as his turf debut. He may be coming around as a runner, but the chances of him sitting a perfect trip and setting a slow early pace aren’t great.


Seek and Destroy
Princesa Carolina
Toy Moon

#8 SEEK AND DESTROY: Is bred to be a turf horse, but debuted with a solid effort going seven furlongs on dirt. She’s a half to graded stakes winner Tammy the Torpedo, and she should improve with a start under her belt; #4 PRINCESA CAROLINA: Didn’t do much running in her debut on the main track, but she’s bred up and down for grass. Her dam is multiple Grade 1 winner Pure Clan, who did her best work going long on turf, and there are no quibbles with top sire Tapit; #7 TOY MOON: Has gotten plenty of seasoning, and this will be her sixth start of the season. Her lone turf route race wasn’t bad, and that experience could help her.


Barely Impazible
Charlie McCoy
Discreet Mission

#7 BARELY IMPAZIBLE: Was impressive in his debut here last year, but went to the sidelines after that victory. He’s been working well at Monmouth and may have taken a step forward from age two to age three; #6 CHARLIE MCCOY: Exits a live race earlier in the meet, one where he ran second behind a next-out winner and directly ahead of another next-out winner. Manuel Franco returns to the saddle, and getting off the rail could help; #1 DISCREET MISSION: Responded to the sharp drop in class with a romp over a suspect group of claimers. He returns to a level he’s struggled at in the past, but there’s a chance he got some confidence from the recent victory.


Saratoga Colonel
Major Attitude
Four Knights

#1 SARATOGA COLONEL: Gets a tepid top pick in a wide-open turf route. He exits a decent state-bred allowance race, and his efforts two and three back were both pretty sharp; #3 MAJOR ATTITUDE: Comes back to turf in his first start for Marcus Vitali, whose recent numbers with new acquisitions aren’t the best. However, his numbers over the years have been quite good in that regard, and it’s not like this is the strongest race for the level; #9 FOUR KNIGHTS: Put it all together last time out in his first start off the claim for Joe Sharp. He faces winners for the first time, but this barn may have him going in the right direction.


Voodoo Song
Inspector Lynley

#1 VOODOO SONG: Is 5 for 5 at Saratoga and became a Grade 1 winner in this year’s Fourstardave. He seems like the lone speed in this race, and between the pace scenario and his back class, he’ll be very tough to beat; #5 INSPECTOR LYNLEY: Hadn’t won in more than a year before he took the Lure Stakes earlier this summer. He’s 2 for 2 at Saratoga and would be the chief beneficiary if another runner in here challenged my top pick early; #2 PROJECTED: Is a consistent sort and runs for the always-dangerous Chad Brown barn. He’s run second behind each of my top two picks in his last two outings.



#7 MUCHO: Put forth one of the most impressive efforts by a 2-year-old this summer when winning by nearly 10 lengths. This barn isn’t necessarily known for his success with young runners, but a repeat of his last-out effort would make him the one to beat; #3 NITROUS: Won a maiden race last time out that featured a pretty solid group. He’s worked well leading up to this race for an outfit that must be respected; #1 SOMBEYAY: Overcame some adversity to take the Grade 3 Sanford in the opening stages of the meet. The rail draw isn’t great given his running style, but he’s yet to run a bad race and should be moving in the right direction late.


Spring Drama
Lady Camille
Grand Banks

#14 SPRING DRAMA: Is strictly the one to beat if she draws in off the AE list. She’s run well against maiden special weight foes in the past, and this certainly seems like a much softer group; #2 LADY CAMILLE: Was third when favored at this level, but she did not have a great trip that day. The added distance is a bit of a concern, but I’m betting that she sits a cleaner trip beneath new rider Manuel Franco; #10 GRAND BANKS: Is 0 for 21 lifetime and has run second in three of her last four outings. She’s impossible to endorse on top, but her usual race likely gets her a piece of the meet finale.