SARATOGA RACE COURSE: Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll (8/31/19, WOODWARD DAY)

BANKROLL

BANKROLL: $651.10

I’ll be at the track for the Woodward Day festivities, and joining me will be my mom, stepdad, stepsister, and stepsister’s boyfriend. My mom is basically Teri Garr’s character from “Let It Ride,” right down to the line about watching horses run around the track without betting on them. Combine that with my unhealthy intensity towards my performance in the pick box, and there’s definitely room for animated philosophical discussions about differences of opinion at the racetrack (love you, Mom!).

Kidding aside, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m 3,000 miles away from my family for most of the year, and whenever I get to see them, it’s special. A 12-race program at the greatest racetrack on the planet serves as one heck of a cherry on top, and hopefully we can walk out with a little bit of money.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS: Best bet Dream Passage completely missed the board, which turned $40 worth of exacta tickets into confetti.

SATURDAY’S PLAY: I’m going to key my best bet of the day in exactas again. In this case, it’s #3 THREE TECHNIQUE in the seventh race. I’ll use him in $10 exactas above #5 WAYNE O, #9 KOWALSKI, and #10 TAPAGE. I’ll also play $5 doubles starting there that single Three Technique and use #2 POLICY OPTION and #3 MR JAGGERS in the eighth.

TOTAL WAGERED: $40

– – – – –

BEST BET: Three Technique, Race 7
LONGSHOT: Somes Sound, Race 12

R1

Structor
Sul Moon
Eternal Summer

#4 STRUCTOR: Hammered for $850,000 earlier this year and debuts for powerhouse connections. He’s by Palace Malice, who also threw stakes-winning 2-year-old Crystalle (herself a turf router); #6 SUL MOON: Fell a head short in his debut earlier this meet and didn’t have the best of trips that day. This barn’s horses often improve with experience, and he’s a logical alternative to my top pick; #5 ETERNAL SUMMER: Lost all chance at the break last time out. He’s bred to have some talent, and Velazquez getting on for Pletcher is always worth noting.

R2

Bears Mafia (MTO)
Honey Won’t
No Regrets

#6 HONEY WON’T: Drops in for a tag after chasing allowance foes at this route earlier in the meet. Rosario rides back for Bill Mott, who could be in line for a big day; #2 NO REGRETS: Was claimed out of his last race, when he ran second against similar company at Belmont. He hasn’t won in a while, but he did run well when second at this route last summer; #7 BROCKMONINOFF: Almost certainly needed the race last time out off of a long layoff. This seems like a softer spot, and the Weaver barn is on a bit of a roll as the meet draws to a close.

R3

Break Even
Royal Charlotte
Risky Mandate

#3 BREAK EVEN: Has literally done nothing wrong to this point in her career and will be going for her seventh win in as many starts. She’s got tons of early speed and should be able to dictate terms out of the gate; #5 ROYAL CHARLOTTE: Comes in off an effort in the Grade 1 Test that was too bad to be true. It may have been a bounce off a nice win in the Grade 3 Victory Ride, and a return to that form gives her a shot; #2 RISKY MANDATE: Jumps up in class off of two runaway wins to begin her career. One of those came here against allowance foes, and she’s come out of that with two stellar workouts.

R4

Pagliacci
Fully Vested
Stolen Pistol

#5 PAGLIACCI: Makes his fourth start of the meet for trainer Linda Rice and has run well in all three of his starts for that outfit. He’s closed with a rush in two starts at this route, and the faster they go early, the better his chances figure to be; #1 FULLY VESTED: Seems like the main speed and returns to turf after running second in a race rained off the grass. The rail draw will likely force Jose Lezcano’s hand, and he could get brave on the front end; #9 STOLEN PISTOL: Doesn’t draw a great post but likes this route of ground and figures to be flying late. He makes his second start off the layoff, and he wasn’t far behind my top selection in his return earlier in the meet.

R5

Famished
Risk Profile
Height

#1 FAMISHED: Had a troubled trip in his debut, but still salvaged third money for a barn whose first-time starters aren’t usually fully-cranked. Rosario riding back is a plus, and he may have matured enough to handle the rail draw; #4 RISK PROFILE: Hammered for $260,000 as a weanling in 2017 and is bred to be precocious. His workouts look strong and the barn merits respect, but seven furlongs is a tough distance to debut at and he may be bet down off the 7/2 morning line; #3 HEIGHT: Gets Lasix for the first time after a debut at this distance that wasn’t bad. He ran well late to be fourth and should step forward at second asking.

R6

Global Access
Good Governance
Seismic Wave

#4 GLOBAL ACCESS: Runs pretty much the same race every time out, and such an effort may be good enough here. He’s won at this distance three times and was a solid third in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame earlier in the meet; #2 GOOD GOVERNANCE: Graduated in his debut and jumps into the graded stakes ranks at second asking. It’s a big jump, and it didn’t seem like he beat much in his unveiling, but he’s bred to be good and Chad Brown can’t be ignored; #6 SEISMIC WAVE: Didn’t run well here earlier in the meet, but this seems like a softer spot. Still, given his solid form at Belmont, it’s fair to wonder if he perhaps prefers a one-turn trip.

R7

Three Technique
Kowalski
Tapage

#3 THREE TECHNIQUE: Has run well twice in a row and looms large as the likely favorite. He was second behind the talented Basin last time out and blitzed the rest of the field, as the third-place finisher was more than six lengths behind him; #9 KOWALSKI: Set a fast pace before fading to second last time out, and is one of several 2-year-olds that improved significantly with experience for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. Further progression would make him a major player, and he’s bred to handle the added distance; #10 TAPAGE: It’s tough to debut at this route, but it’s also tough to find a better-bred horse on the grounds. He’s by Tapit and out of the mare Hystericalady, who won eight stakes races during her career (including a Grade 1).

R8

Mr Jaggers
Policy Option
Get Set

#3 MR JAGGERS: Gets a tepid nod in what hit me as a two-horse race. He was a good third in his debut early in the meet, and that day’s runner-up has since come back to win pretty impressively; #2 POLICY OPTION: Was second in his unveiling behind the talented Our Country. He’s bred to get better as he gets older, and Irad Ortiz, Jr., rides him back for Chad Brown; #1 GET SET: Stretches out and tries turf for a barn that’s quietly had a strong meet with a small barn. He had a solid turf work on August 16th, and Javier Castellano has been enticed to ride.

R9

Proximity Bias
Hallawallah
Take Charge Aubrey

#2 PROXIMITY BIAS: Came back running when third behind Risky Mandate in her first start since September. She was pretty wide that day and should improve with that tightener under her belt; #1 HALLAWALLAH: Comes back to one turn after finding Grade 3 waters a bit too deep. She won her debut going six furlongs, and this strikes me as her preferred trip and class level; #11 TAKE CHARGE AUBREY: Returned off the layoff in the same race my top pick exits. She was well-beaten that day, but she ran well here twice last season and figures to be a nice price.

R10

Santa Monica
Mrs. Sippy
Fools Gold

#4 SANTA MONICA: Didn’t have the best racing luck (nor, to be frank, the best ride) when third in the Grade 3 Waya. She checked and was forced to go very wide, which is rarely a recipe for success, and she’s got past races that would beat this field; #5 MRS. SIPPY: Ships in from Europe and gets Lasix for the first time, which is always intriguing. Her two starts against high-level foes this year weren’t great, but she showed some talent last year and is a contender if she can channel it here; #2 FOOLS GOLD: Capitalized on my top pick getting a poor trip in the Waya when she upset her stablemate. She sat pretty close to the pace that day and may once again get a favorable stalking trip.

R11

Yoshida
Preservationist
Vino Rosso

#7 YOSHIDA: Returned to form in the Grade 1 Whitney and will attempt to win the Woodward for the second consecutive year. He seems to love Saratoga and should get plenty of pace to run at going into the far turn; #5 PRESERVATIONIST: May have bounced a bit in the Whitney off of a career-best effort in the Grade 2 Suburban. He was also on the lead that day, and he probably prefers to sit just off the pace; #3 VINO ROSSO: Was third in the Whitney after shipping west to take a Grade 1 two back. The blinkers come off, which is a bit puzzling given some of his antics last year, but perhaps he’s matured as a 4-year-old.

R12

Free Enterprise
Tolerant
Somes Sound

#8 FREE ENTERPRISE: Has run second in a pair of swiftly-run races to start his career and seems to have found a softer spot here. The outside draw should help him, and he figures to be a very short price; #4 TOLERANT: Is bred to be a good one and has several eye-catching workouts on his tab. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because he’s bred to go longer than today’s distance and this barn’s horses sometimes need a race to get going; #1 SOMES SOUND: Showed brief speed in his unveiling and gets Lasix at second asking for a barn whose horses improve with experience. He’s worked well since his debut and may be a square price.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 9/1/18 (Woodward Day)

BANKROLL

BANKROLL: $1,254.20

In any industry, one is prone to bonding with colleagues. Horse racing is no different, and I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by some extraordinary people over the course of my career. One of them is making his maiden voyage to Saratoga for Woodward Day, so it’s appropriate that I dedicate this section to him.

Danny Kovoloff is one of the kindest, most good-hearted people you’d ever hope to meet. He kept me sane for several years at a prior stop in my career, and was one of a few people I leaned on during a particularly rough situation about a year and a half ago. I owe him a lot, so here’s my request: If any of you readers out there run into him today, please ask him many questions about the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic, which doubles as his favorite race of all-time.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS: We were alive to OK will-pays in our doubles, but could do no better than third in the second leg and dropped $20.

SATURDAY’S PLAY: I think today’s Pick Four sequences are pretty attractive, and I’ll focus on the early one starting in the second race. My 50-cent ticket is as follows: 7,9 with 4,8,9 with 2,4,5,8 with 1,4,7. I’m trying to beat morning line favorite Weather Wiz in the payoff leg, and if that one fails to win, this could pay pretty well.

TOTAL WAGERED: $36

ANALYSIS/SELECTIONS

Best Bet: Raging Bull, Race 9
Longshot: Hence, Race 11

R1

Signalman
Frolic More
Fed Fever

#6 SIGNALMAN: Ran on late to be second behind an eventual graded stakes winner in his debut. He’s coming off a bit of a layoff, but he’s been working very well here for a barn that’s done well at the meet; #5 FROLIC MORE: Has been working lights-out here for a trainer that won with a debuting runner on Travers Day. If he runs to the work tab, he’s got a big shot to win first time out; #8 FED FEVER: Was bet a bit at first asking and finished well behind the promising Nitrous. He’s worked well since that race, and improvement seems logical at second asking.

R2

Platinum Prince
Zoot Suit
Natural Order

#9 PLATINUM PRINCE: Was claimed last time out by Robertino Diodoro, who has strong numbers with new acquisitions. He hasn’t won in a while, but he drops to run here for aggressive connections; #7 ZOOT SUIT: Hasn’t run in a while and drops in class, but he could be tough if he channels some of his back turf form. He’s got plenty of early zip and should be prominent early; #8 NATURAL ORDER: Cuts way back in distance, but has some back turf sprints that aren’t bad. This barn has done well with a limited number of runners this meet, and Franco sees fit to ride back.

R3

Business Cycle
House Limit
Brasstown

#4 BUSINESS CYCLE: Has run well in both of his career starts and looms large in this spot. His most recent race was his first outing since November, and any movement forward off of that race would make him incredibly tough to beat; #9 HOUSE LIMIT: Has been working very well ahead of his debut and draws well towards the outside. This isn’t the easiest spot in the world, but this barn’s gotten hot lately and must be respected; #8 BRASSTOWN: Makes his first start for Jorge Navarro after several outings at Woodbine. His lone dirt effort saw him check right out of the gate, which makes it an easy throw-out, and his recent works are sharp.

R4

Team Colors
Attribute
Night Prowler

#5 TEAM COLORS: Came flying late to miss by just a half-length last time out. He was claimed by Robertino Diodoro, and he could benefit from a race shape that figures to be kind to closers; #8 ATTRIBUTE: Certainly seems like the main speed in here, especially given the presence of aggressive rider Kendrick Carmouche. He chased a very talented horse home last time out, and he could overcome a pace that will likely be swift; #4 NIGHT PROWLER: Hasn’t won in nearly two years, but drops in class and adds blinkers for Chad Brown. He’ll likely get a pace to close into, and these are shallower waters than he’s used to.

R5

Plainsman
Uncle Sigh
Wooderson

#7 PLAINSMAN: Makes his first start following a trainer switch to Brad Cox. This is a pace play, as while he hasn’t won in a while, every other horse wants to be on or near the lead, which could set things up for this one to pick up the pieces; #1 UNCLE SIGH: Was second against similar foes earlier in the meet and generally runs the same race every time out. He may need to go early to secure position from the rail, but his best could certainly win this; #4 WOODERSON: Graduated earlier in the meet, and while he sat a perfect trip, he came home very quickly. Rachel Alexandra’s younger half-brother may be coming into his own, but he’ll likely need to go much faster early on.

R6

Noble Spirit
Noble Nebraskan
Spirit Animal

#2 NOBLE SPIRIT: Was a solid third in his debut going two turns, which is never an easy route to travel first time out. George Weaver saddles a pair of contenders in this race, and this one’s worked well since his unveiling; #7 NOBLE NEBRASKAN: May finally get a chance to run for Weaver after scratching several times earlier in the meet. He’s bred up and down to be a strong turf horse, and I’ve been waiting for him to debut for weeks; #3 SPIRIT ANIMAL: Was a distant fourth in an off-the-turf event, and every bit of his pedigree says he’s a grass horse, so I can draw a line through that race. This seems like the trip he wants, and these connections merit respect.

R7

Long Haul Bay
Uno Mas Modelo
Devils Halo

#6 LONG HAUL BAY: Ran terribly in a state-bred stakes race, but that was such a departure from his prior form that I’m ignoring it. I think it’s likely he bounces back to his early-season form, and if he does, he’s got a big shot in a wide-open event; #3 UNO MAS MODELO: Has won two in a row, including a swiftly-run allowance race earlier in the meet at a big price. Javier Castellano rides in this spot for a barn that’s hit with four of its 12 local runners this summer; #7 DEVILS HALO: Has won two of his three starts and has shown a lot of early zip. This is a class test, but he’s bred to get better with experience, and the outside draw could be a big help.

R8

Strike Me Down
Hizeem
Vegas Kitten

#4 STRIKE ME DOWN: Made a big middle move last time out against similar-level foes, only to be beaten a neck. He always seems to fire, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he shows a bit more early speed in this spot; #10 HIZEEM: Broke his maiden earlier in the meet and tries winners for the first time. He’s worked very well since that race and has a big shot, but he must negotiate a trip from the far outside post; #2 VEGAS KITTEN: Add blinkers for the first time after an OK showing at this level in late-July. His lone win came when he was close to the pace, and the blinkers could get him involved early on.

R9

Raging Bull
Therapist
Golden Brown

#3 RAGING BULL: Had a lot going against him in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame, but rallied and got up in the last jump over yielding going. The faster they go early, the more he figures to like it, and there’s some speed signed on here; #7 THERAPIST: Has won six of eight career starts, and while he’s beaten weaker groups in his last two outings, there’s a chance he’s peaking coming into this race. His flexibility is a plus, and he may be a bit of a price given the class jump; #4 GOLDEN BROWN: Prevailed in the Grade 3 Kent two back, where he beat eventual Grade 1 Secretariat winner Carrick. A dirt experiment in the Grade 1 Haskell didn’t go well, but this seems like the right level and spot for him.

R10

Chasing Yesterday
Restless Rider
Virginia Eloise

#7 CHASING YESTERDAY: Is the younger sister of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and ran very well in her debut at Del Mar. Baffert and Smith mean business when they come to Saratoga, and she’s been working very well ahead of this Grade 1 event; #11 RESTLESS RIDER: Has done nothing wrong to this point, as she’s gone 2 for 2 with two daylight wins. She has a recent bullet work to her credit over the training track, and the outside draw could be a boost; #3 VIRGINIA ELOISE: Made up lots of ground in the Grade 2 Adirondack, where she missed by just a half-length. There’s a ton of speed signed on, and this one’s bred to want the additional distance some of her opponents may be dreading.

R11

Gunnevera
Seeking the Soul
Hence

#9 GUNNEVERA: Came back running against a much weaker group at Gulfstream in a prep for this Grade 1 event. He was second in last year’s Travers and won the 2016 Saratoga Special here, so the surface isn’t a problem, and there’s a chance he’s only getting better in his 4-year-old campaign; #10 SEEKING THE SOUL: Missed by a head last time out in his first start since January, but that race was not the goal. He’s worked very well since that race, and he figures to be going the right direction late; #5 HENCE: Is inconsistent and sometimes throws in dull efforts, but when he’s right, he’s quite good. He could clunk up for a piece of it in a wide-open renewal of the Woodward.

R12

Santa Monica
Onthemoonagain
Lady Montdore

#5 SANTA MONICA: Has won two of three starts since coming to North America, including the Grade 2 Dance Smartly. She’s taken steps forward in every one of those outings, and her best race would make her very tough; #3 ONTHEMOONAGAIN: Had a rough trip in her North American debut, where she did not get through along the rail. She should improve off of that showing, and her races in France indicate that the added distance won’t be a problem; #8 LADY MONTDORE: Romped at this route earlier in the meet in a race that doubled as her first start in 11 months. A bounce is possible, but she’s another that showed potential overseas and could simply be putting things together with experience.

Saratoga Race Course Analysis, Selections, and Bankroll: 9/2/17

BANKROLL

BANKROLL: $878.35

Closing weekend is upon us at Saratoga, and as usual, there’s a lot going on. Saturday’s card boasts two Grade 1 races, one of which is headlined by the top handicap horse on the grounds. Meanwhile, the Labor Day program features the Grade 1 Hopeful, and that’s an intriguing race considering the relative lack of standouts in the 2-year-old male division to this point. This’ll be fun, and hopefully we’ll cash a few tickets along the way!

FRIDAY’S RESULTS: We had nothing behind New York’s Finest in the seventh, and Lem Me Dance was off the board despite an OK effort (missed the break and ran wide). We dropped $30.

SATURDAY’S PLAY: I’m going to keep this simple with a pair of $25 plays. I’ll punch a $25 double using top Spinaway pick #1 SEPARATIONOFPOWERS with #2 GUN RUNNER in the Woodward, and I’ll play a cold $25 exacta using Gun Runner with #1 NEOLITHIC.

TOTAL WAGERED: $50

ANALYSIS/SELECTIONS

Best Bet: Gun Runner, Race 11
Longshot: Always a Suspect, Race 7

R1

Driven by Thunder
Borsa Vento
Honor Thy Father

DRIVEN BY THUNDER: Drops way down in class for aggressive connections and has never run a bad race on a fast dirt course. This trainer/jockey tandem merits respect, and he seems like the one to beat; BORSA VENTO: Graduated last time out and was claimed out of that race by Steven Asmussen, who does strong work with new acquisitions. This is his first outing against winners, but his most recent effort was solid; HONOR THY FATHER: Drops down in class, and he made some noise as a 2-year-old when running in a few stakes races. It can be argued his best effort was in the Ellis Park Juvenile, which was run around one turn, and he comes back to that route here.

R2

Maraud
Oroscopo
Say the Word

MARAUD: Is bred up and down to be a very good turf horse. He’s a half to graded stakes winner Arklow, his female family is very distinguished, and he’s got a few strong local works on the tap; OROSCOPO: Fetched $325k at auction earlier this year and has the pedigree to love turf. He’s by Orb, whose first offspring have taken to the lawn in a big, big way; SAY THE WORD: Is another bred for the grass, and he ships down for a Canadian owning and breeding institution. A trip through the pedigree leads to third dam Dance Smartly, one of the top Canadian thoroughbreds in history.

R3

Bluegrass Jamboree
Frosty Gal
Palladian Bridge

BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE: Has yet to run a bad race in four career starts. She was second at this level despite a rough trip, and the rider switch to John Velazquez is notable; FROSTY GAL: Has run in three stakes races this season and should find this level more to her liking. Several local workouts are solid; PALLADIAN BRIDGE: Hasn’t won in a while, but comes back to her preferred surface after chasing a next-out stakes winner on turf last time out. She should be prominent early, and her best is good enough for a piece of it.

R4

Slim Shadey
Docs Legacy
Indebted

SLIM SHADEY: Stood up last time out at this level and route, winning a swiftly-run race for the level. This veteran did get an ideal trip that day, but there’s plenty of speed signed on here and he could come running once again; DOCS LEGACY: Pulled off a 31-1 upset against similar foes earlier in the meet and cuts back in distance. He needs some luck to draw in, but must be respected if he does; INDEBTED: Ran second behind my second selection last time out and was claimed out of that race by a small barn that’s done tremendous work with new acquisitions. He’s another closer that needs a pace to run at, but he should get it.

R5

Phi Beta Express (MTO)
J. S. Choice
Funtastic

J. S. CHOICE: Was a solid second last time out in a weirdly-run race. The winner got loose on an uncontested lead early on, and this one didn’t miss by much. There’s plenty of speed signed on here, which is a plus; FUNTASTIC: Graduated last time out in his turf debut, and this trainer/jockey combination has been tremendous all meet long. He could be good enough to beat winners in his first start at the level; LUNAIRE: Has run against much better horses for most of this season and was way too far back last time out at Delaware Park. He should appreciate the class relief he gets in this spot. DIRT SELECTIONS: PHI BETA EXPRESS, LENSTAR, SOUND OFF.

R6

Lionite
Slot
Venezuela

LIONITE: Chased the possible Hopeful favorite last time out in his debut for a barn whose runners sometimes need a race to get going. He could take a big step forward today, and his pedigree suggests the added distance won’t be a problem; SLOT: Ran on well late to be third in his debut behind a few live runners, including one that runs in Monday’s Hopeful. This is another that should improve stretching out at second asking; VENEZUELA: Seems the most live of all of the first-time starters in here. He fetched $300k at auction last year, has worked well, and has a strong female pedigree (his dam, second dam, and third dam were all stakes-winners).

R7

Always a Suspect
Gift Box
Servis entry

ALWAYS A SUSPECT: Came off a brief freshening last time out and ran well, finishing less than a length behind Woodward entrant Neolithic. There’s a lot of speed signed on here, so I’m inclined to pick a horse that doesn’t need to be on or near the lead to run well; GIFT BOX: Was a highly-regarded 3-year-old in 2016 and ran fourth behind Arrogate in the Travers. He hasn’t run since, and while his best race likely wins, he also probably wants to go much longer than this route; SERVIS ENTRY: I prefer STILL KRZ, who was third in the Decathlon behind two next-out winners. One of those horses was Vanderbilt winner El Deal, so there’s lots of back class here.

R8

Thais
Create a Dream
Dubb entry

THAIS: Makes her North American debut after showing plenty of class in Europe. Her prior connections thought enough of her to try her against boys in last year’s Group 1 Grand Criterium, and she’s since hit the board in two Group 3 events; CREATE A DREAM: Makes her 2017 debut after a solid 2-year-old campaign saw her win a stakes race and run fourth in two graded events, including the Albany at Royal Ascot. Chad Brown could easily run 1-2 in this spot; DUBB ENTRY: TRUTH IN THE LIES steps up in class after an impressive win in her first start for these connections, while LITERATA won a stakes race here last time out and is the one to beat if this gets rained off the turf.

R9

Bricks and Mortar
Yoshida
Voodoo Song

BRICKS AND MORTAR: Is 4-for-4 and looked great in winning a Grade 2 here earlier in the meet. He’s improved with every start, and is strictly the one to beat in here; YOSHIDA: Was beaten less than a length by my top pick last out and is another that seems to be improving with experience. He’s hinted at major talent in the past and can’t be ignored; VOODOO SONG: Has won three times at this meet and takes a step up in class in his search for a fourth local win in less than two months. I’m not sure he’s got the talent of my top two, but he figures to make the early lead, and at least you know he loves this turf course.

R10

Separationofpowers
Pure Silver
Lady Ivanka

SEPARATIONOFPOWERS: Was probably the most impressive maiden-breaker of the entire meet. She dominated an overmatched field earlier in the meet, and if she improves off of that performance, look out; PURE SILVER: Ran away with the Grade 2 Adirondack and will likely be favored. A repeat of that race would make her tough, but I’m just not sure what she beat that day; LADY IVANKA: Romped by eight in her unveiling last month. She looked great that day, but the runner-up threw in a clunker at next asking, and that’s a red flag.

R11

Gun Runner
Neolithic
Rally Cry

GUN RUNNER: Is arguably the best older horse in the country and romped at this route in the Grade 1 Whitney. He should sit another perfect trip, and his best race wins this handily; NEOLITHIC: Clearly needed the race last time out when all-out to top optional claimers going shorter than he probably wants to go. He was third behind Arrogate and Gun Runner in Dubai, and I think he’ll take a big step forward in his second start off the layoff; RALLY CRY: Was very sharp in winning the Alydar, and he’ll likely take most of the “wise guy” money from those looking to go against my top pick. However, that race was a considerable step forward, and he didn’t beat a lot there, so a bounce is very possible.

R12

Sarandia
War Flag
Estrechada

SARANDIA: Ran well in her North American debut when beaten less than three lengths in the Grade 1 Beverly D. by several top-notch runners. I’m taking the stance that that was a much tougher race than the ones others in here exit, and as such, she gets my top pick in a wide-open race; WAR FLAG: Was a close second in the Grade 3 Matchmaker, and among those she beat was Grade 1 winner Miss Temple City. She’s bred to go this route of ground, and note the presence of Jose Ortiz; ESTRECHADA: Beat many of these rivals in the Grade 3 Waya at a similar route. Javier Castellano rides back, and she merits respect.