SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (8/4/19)


BANKROLL: $977.10

The early portion of Saturday’s card at Saratoga featured at least two 2-year-olds to keep an eye on moving forward. Second-time starter Our Country had some trouble in his debut but stepped up in a big way in the opener, pulling away with authority late. He covered the two-turn race’s last sixteenth of a mile in less than six seconds, which is no small feat for even an older horse, let alone a 2-year-old making his second career start.

Meanwhile, first-time starter Glory Road reminded everyone that, yes, Todd Pletcher still knows how to train 2-year-olds. The first-time starter came from out of the clouds to win at the seven-furlong distance, which is never an easy one for a debuting runner to navigate. His female family is strong (his second dam is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Finder’s Fee), and sire Commissioner was no slouch, either.

One of the most fun parts of each Saratoga meet is seeing promising 2-year-olds flash immense potential. It looks as though these two could have bright futures, and there are undoubtedly more exciting 2-year-olds coming up later in the meet.

SATURDAY’S RESULTS: We scratched out of everything when World of Trouble didn’t run in the Troy.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: I’ll focus on midday doubles that may extract some value out of my best bet of the day. That’s #4 SANTA MONICA, who is a single for me in the fifth (the Grade 3 Waya). She starts $10 doubles that end with #4 BLUE BELT, #9 SUMMER BOURBON, and #10 SUNDAE ON SUNDAY, all of whom figure to be solid prices in the sixth.


– – – – –

BEST BET: Santa Monica, Race 5
LONGSHOT: Blue Belt, Race 6


Pure Wow
Ill Will
Daphne Moon

#1 PURE WOW: Showed speed when third in her debut earlier in the meet. Joel Rosario hops aboard, and experience is often a huge advantage in 2-year-old races contested at seven furlongs; #6 ILL WILL: Showed late interest on the turf last time out and has worked well since that effort. This barn’s horses often improve with experience, making her dangerous at a price; #4 DAPHNE MOON: Fetched $525,000 at auction and has worked well leading up to her debut. This barn can win with first-time starters, but it’s tricky to back debuting runners at this distance.


Data Driven
Curious Cal

#2 DATA DRIVEN: Makes his first start off the claim for new trainer Danny Gargan, who’s enjoying a strong meet. This is a class drop for him, and he should be running well late (good luck, Dan Feiss!); #5 CURIOUS CAL: Has won two of three starts this year for Jorge Navarro and comes up from New Jersey. He’s won here before and is a threat to go wire-to-wire; #1 ORPHEUS: Hasn’t won in a while, but was a good second at this level earlier in the meet. He should be running well late at a bit of a price.


Gold for the King
Celtic Chaos
T Loves a Fight

#6 GOLD FOR THE KING: Returns to the state-bred ranks after tackling the likes of Catalina Cruiser downstate. He’s got enough speed to press the pace, which will be helpful given the rail draw; #2 CELTIC CHAOS: Likes Saratoga and has a history of doing his best running in the final quarter-mile. His last-out win was impressive, and the 100 Beyer Speed Figure represents a new career-high; #1 T LOVES A FIGHT: Has run well at Saratoga and enters this event on a three-race win streak. This is a sizable class jump, but it’s tough to argue with the connections taking a shot.


Sketches of Spain
Sparkling Sky
Livin At the Beach

#5 SKETCHES OF SPAIN: Is bred to be a strong turf horse and debuts here for powerhouse connections. Irad Ortiz, Jr., rides for Chad Brown, and she’ll be tough if she’s ready; #8 SPARKLING SKY: Fetched $650,000 last September and may be prepared to run a big one right away. She’s worked well over the Oklahoma turf course, which makes sense given that she’s a daughter of More Than Ready; #7 LIVIN AT THE BEACH: Ran third in her debut downstate and stretches out here. Improvement is logical at second asking, and she may be a bit of a price.


Santa Monica
Gentle Ruler
Fools Gold

#4 SANTA MONICA: Looms large in this spot after two straight graded stakes wins this spring. If you toss her Breeders’ Cup dud last fall, she hasn’t run a bad race since coming to North America; #6 GENTLE RULER: Has won four in a row at four different tracks, including a Grade 3 at Delaware Park last time out. There isn’t much speed signed on here, and she may inherit the lead by default; #2 FOOLS GOLD: Was second in a stakes race last time out at Belmont, which came in her first start beyond a mile and a sixteenth. Javier Castellano rides back, and she’s another that could be close to a slow early pace.


Summer Bourbon
Blue Belt
Sundae On Sunday

#9 SUMMER BOURBON: Was claimed back by Rudy Rodriguez and could sit a great trip behind a fast early pace. He’s shown a solid closing kick in several starts at this level, including a romp at Aqueduct back in March; #4 BLUE BELT: Seems like the main speed and hasn’t finished out of the money since November. If you’re playing vertical exotics, he seems like a must-use; #10 SUNDAE ON SUNDAY: Has won two in a row at Finger Lakes and ships in for an astute barn. It helps that he’s a closer, and that could make it easier for him to pick up a check.


Ruler of the Nile (MTO)
Final Frontier
Battle Station

#1 FINAL FRONTIER: Was a close-up third in a swiftly-run race in May that doubled as his first outing since November. He’s crossed the wire first over this turf course before and draws favorably here; #9 BATTLE STATION: Chased the classy Om last time out at Churchill and loves this route. He’s 2-for-2 at Saratoga, including a solid win in an allowance last summer; #2 PAGLIACCI: Rallied to take a starter allowance less than a week ago and is wheeled back quickly by Linda Rice. That’s usually a sign of confidence, although this field seems tougher than what he beat last time out.


Behind the Couch (MTO)
Chiclet’s Dream
Star of the East

#8 CHICLET’S DREAM: Returns to the scene of an impressive victory last summer and almost certainly needed her most recent outing at Belmont. She was running very well late that day, and this two-turn trip should be more preferable; #3 STAR OF THE EAST: Rallied to earn the diploma last time out and tries winners for the first time here. There’s some speed signed on, so another strong effort could very well be in the cards; #2 WAY SMART: Hasn’t run since December but is dangerous if she’s ready. Jose Ortiz gets on for a barn that’s quietly had a stellar season to date.


Henley’s Joy

#4 ROCKEMPEROR: Was closing very well when third in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby and nearly overcame a terrible post. He draws much more favorably here and has every right to turn the tables in the inaugural Saratoga Derby; #10 MOHAWK: Ships in for Aidan O’Brien after capturing a Group 3 event last time out. He’s repeatedly tried some of the best horses in Europe and even won a Group 2 at Newmarket last fall; #1 HENLEY’S JOY: Pulled off a 20-1 shocker in the Belmont Derby and won’t be anywhere near that price here. A repeat effort makes him a contender, but a bounce is logical given that his last-out effort was by far the best he’s ever run.


Magic Dance
Frank’s Rockette
Miss Peppina

#8 MAGIC DANCE: Pulled away to take the Debutante at Churchill last time out and draws favorably in this event. When Asmussen gets a horse good, they tend to stay good, and she’s done very little wrong; #2 FRANK’S ROCKETTE: Romped in her debut in June and jumps into the graded stakes ranks. She’s worked well here and certainly merits respect for Hall of Famer Bill Mott; #6 MISS PEPPINA: Rallied from way back to graduate at first asking last month at Belmont. 2-year-olds don’t often close in their debuts, and she ran like she’ll appreciate the added distance she gets in this spot.


Patagonia (MTO)

#10 DOSWELL: Has been a beaten favorite in both of his starts this year, but doesn’t seem to run up against a strong field for the level in the Sunday finale. He’s got a strong closing kick and figures to be the one to hold off late; #3 MALTHAEL: Came back running when second in a similar spot on Independence Day. His running lines are dotted with the names of stakes-caliber runners, and he’s got plenty of back class; #8 STANDUP: Hasn’t run since a failed shot in stakes company back in February. He’s been gelded since then and is a contender if he runs back to his debut effort.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 8/12/18


BANKROLL: $602.50

Saturday was a pretty horrible day for those in charge of determining both which races would stay on the turf and when to make those decisions. Two races in the middle of the card were taken off the turf just 40 minutes before post time of the day’s first race, while the 11th was taken off the turf after the eighth race was run. The latter decision meant that several multi-race wagers ending in that race ended with an “ALL” payout, which is far from ideal.

We can’t control the weather. I understand that. With that being said, it’s not like those in charge didn’t know about the condition of the turf course and incoming threats to it. If you had a strong opinion in yesterday’s finale on the grass and played it as such in the Pick Six or late Pick Four, you got hosed, as your “ALL” tickets were worth less than others who used multiple horses (and as such hit for multiple combinations). Simply put, there has to be a better way to do this moving forward.

SATURDAY’S RESULTS: I can’t complain with the trip Mr Cub got in the Lure Stakes, but he folded turning for home. The losing streak continues, as we dropped $20.

SUNDAY’S PLAY: I’ll take a shot at the late Pick Four (assuming races carded for turf stay there). It looks like a fun sequence, and I’ll try to extract some value out of #3 SANTA MONICA in the Waya. My 50-cent ticket is as follows: 4,7 with ALL with 3 with 1,2,6,7,9,10.



Best Bet: Malibu Stacy, Race 4
Longshot: Liora, Race 5


Diodoro entry
Take Notice

#5 SLOT: Drops in for a tag for the first time after a failed turf experiment last time out. The Pletcher barn has been unusually aggressive of late, so the drop isn’t necessarily a red flag, and his usual dirt race would make him tough; DIODORO ENTRY: I prefer #2B YOU’RE KILLIN ME, who drops back in for a tag after a pair of OK races against starter allowance foes. Having said that, Cohen’s listed aboard both parts of the entry, meaning one part of it is likely to scratch, and I can’t pick it on top with that uncertainty in mind; #4 TAKE NOTICE: Gets a positive rider switch to Joel Rosario after fading at this route earlier in the meet. That was against a better group, and the lone work since hints that he bounced out of it well.


Singapore Trader
Joe’s Smokin Gun
Sir Frost

#9 SINGAPORE TRADER: Drops into the maiden claiming ranks after several failed tries against special weight foes. He was second behind an eventual stakes winner here last year, and two turns could be the route he wants; #5 JOE’S SMOKIN GUN: Is 0 for 12 with three straight second-place finishes coming into this event. He’s shown improvement of late, though, and Ricardo Santana, Jr., hops aboard; #7 SIR FROST: Merits a look at a price. He likely needed the race last time out off the long layoff, and he showed significant improvement in his first start for Barclay Tagg, whose runners have been firing this meet.


Data Driven
Big Guy Ian

#6 DATA DRIVEN: Was claimed by Robertino Diodoro following a second-place finish against similar foes last time out. His dirt sprints have been solid, and he’d benefit from a wet track if one was to present itself; #1 YOURDREAMSORMINE: Hasn’t won in more than a year, but drops in for a tag for one of the highest-percentage barns in the country. He has back races that would win this if repeated, although those races took place over Gulfstream Park’s surface (which is very different from Saratoga); #2 BIG GUY IAN: Has ample early speed and was claimed back by Rudy Rodriguez. He’ll likely set the early fractions, but the winless local mark is a major concern.


Malibu Stacy
Fire Key
Rumble Doll

#2 MALIBU STACY: Seems like the lone true early speed horse in this turf sprint. She hasn’t won in a while, but she’s run against stakes-quality horses all year and will likely relish the class relief; #3 FIRE KEY: Was 2 for 2 at this route last summer and caught a very wet turf course a few weeks ago, rendering that race irrelevant. She could sit a great stalking trip beneath the rider that piloted her to both of those 2017 victories; #7 RUMBLE DOLL: Is a late-running closer that likes this route and would benefit from a speed duel. There’s a chance she’s past her prime, but this is a high-percentage barn that can’t be ignored.


Multi Strategy
Speedy Solution

#6 MULTI STRATEGY: Fetched $240,000 at auction as a weanling and is bred to be a very good turf horse. Her turf Tomlinson rating of 341 is the highest in the field, and trainer Chad Brown must be respected; #8 LIORA: Closed powerfully in her debut, which was rained off the turf. She’s bred up and down for grass and could improve at second asking; #1 SPEEDY SOLUTION: Didn’t have the easiest of trips in her debut downstate, but was beaten just two lengths despite a pedigree that suggests she wants to go long. A cleaner trip could be enough to put her right there.


Winandyourin Gin

#1 WINANDYOURIN GIN: Gets a tepid nod in an incredibly competitive 2-year-old race. She raced evenly going shorter and should improve with experience and added distance; #8 KISKA: Has worked well ahead of her debut for Todd Pletcher. Her local drills are solid, and progeny of Into Mischief are usually precocious; #3 FEEDBACK: Has been working steadily ahead of her unveiling, and the recent five-furlong drills are telling. She’s hinted at talent, but may want to go even longer than today’s distance.


Frostie Anne (MTO)
Sweet Sting
Transaction Tax

#7 SWEET STING: Chased the talented La Moneda last time out and was third in a stakes race two back. If this stays on the turf, she’s strictly the one to beat based on her recent form; #4 TRANSACTION TAX: Clearly figures to be the one to catch, given her ample early speed. She was third last time out at this level, and while she may be better around one turn, she’s won going two turns in the past; #3 GONDORA: Makes her American debut and gets Lasix for the first time. Her prior connections thought enough of her to try her against some of Germany’s best fillies a season ago. DIRT SELECTIONS: FROSTIE ANNE, STAY FOND, MAXIMUS BEAUTY.


Tight Ten
Call Paul
Sir Truebadour

#4 TIGHT TEN: Cruised to victory in his debut, where he easily dispatched 11 other rivals in wire-to-wire fashion. He’s bred to be very good, and it’s tough to argue with these connections given the success they’ve had this summer; #2 CALL PAUL: Earned this field’s highest last-out Beyer Speed Figure in a debut win at Delaware Park. He sold for $210,000 earlier this year despite a very modest pedigree, and there’s a chance he could be a freak; #5 SIR TRUEBADOUR: Wired the field in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor last time out and certainly has lots of early speed. They did crawl home that day, though, and Santana opts to ride the other entrant from this barn.


Santa Monica
Mom’s On Strike

#3 SANTA MONICA: Has won two of three starts since coming to America and most recently took the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at Woodbine. She beat a pretty good group that day, and a similar performance here would likely make her a formidable foe; #5 MOM’S ON STRIKE: Has won five of her last seven starts and was beaten just two lengths in the Grade 2 New York, a race whose second and third-place finishers have already come back to win. Joe Sharp has gotten off to a great start at the meet, and she’s shown she can get this distance; #1 LOTTIE: May be a cut below these, but is one of only a few that’s ever shown early speed. She was up close throughout last time out, and a similar trip here seems likely.


Ayers Rock (MTO)
Girl at War
Structural Deficit

#2 GIRL AT WAR: Ran well in her debut despite being bred up and down for turf and forced to run on a wet main track. She’s by promising sire Declaration of War and out of a Galileo mare, and she should step forward at second asking in a tough-to-figure finale; #1 STRUCTURAL DEFICIT: Is one of the better-bred 2-year-olds on the grounds, being by the late Scat Daddy and out of a Tapit mare. The pedigree says she’ll take to turf, and she merits respect coming from the powerhouse Chad Brown barn; #6 TRISH THE DISH: Raced evenly in her debut after a slow break and was not helped by a very slow pace. She’s bred to want two turns, and Luis Saez sticking with her is a plus. DIRT SELECTIONS: AYERS ROCK, GIRL AT WAR, STRUCTURAL DEFICIT.