Saratoga Race Course has 2 days of historic racing left. As we handicap and offer our selections, there will be some excellent contests headed your way on the Main Track, and over the Inner and Mellon Turf Course.
A reminder ... at HorseRacing.net/us, we will be with you every step of the way, as Labor Day, Monday September 6th marks Closing Day! Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a 12-race card that is sure to bring some major value at the betting windows. Have a look at all of our selections, and targeted analysis by our resident turf-man, J.N. Campbell.
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The Sunday card is out, and we are ready to head to the windows with the intention of placing some key bets. This first contest is for females, and it includes a number of young fillies who are jumping into older company. That is never an easy move … it would be like a student who is 2 grade levels below, moving into an honors course. To nab a winner in here, I want to at least find one who is well-bred, and as a 4-yr-old (instead of one who is 3), has some experience under her saddle.
To my eye, Ray Handal has a good one in Kemba #7. She is out of Hard Spun, and that sire produces some proven turf routers. As a conditioner, Handal has had a good Meet with a record of 35/5-3-6. That is not too bad a winning percentage, and the addition of Luis Saez is going to make this one a winner! Nothing easy about this contest, at a track that has played tough for the past month and a half.
In this 2-turn distance test on the MT, most of the betting public will gravitate towards Chad Brown’s Mystic Night #2. Owned by Peter Brant and Three Chimneys, this gelding ran at this level last out at Belmont, “placing” at a short price. I am not sure I want to back him in this spot with Manny Franco riding. These Into Mischiefs are excellent mind you, but at 5/2 it might be best to look elsewhere.
I have found a runner in Rudy Rodriguez’s Danny California #3 that entices. The gelding is up for distance tests, and already has a couple of tries on Saratoga’s MT. It was 2-back that he won coming from behind in fine style. If he can wrangle a lead towards the top of the lane, then he has a better than average chance with Ricardo Santana aboard.
One other to consider in a spot like this one is Todd Pletcher’s Portos #1, who was just out of the money back at Belmont at this level. There is some form in his past that could be useful here. Jose Ortiz will get back aboard this mount for the first time in over a year. The Tapit colt should be a very good price at around 8/1. Including all 3 of these is a good plan, and should offer us a shot at a nice score in the exotics market …
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1/2/3
Race 11: Dirt, 7F, Spinaway S. (G1), $300k, 2F
This race, the Spinaway S., has a certain cache around this time because it means that 2-yr-old filles are readying themselves to possibly take a run at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) contest at Del Mar. Saratoga is a stop on that trip. Tops on the tote when it comes to this field of 9 is Steve Asmussen’s Echo Zulu #3. The HOF trainer just keeps churning out some impressive runners, and this one has the makings of a good one. She won convincingly on debut, and when you break your maiden by 5+ lengths, that is pretty impressive. Maybe the 8/5 designation on the M/L odds is appropriate?
To combat this heavy favorite, there are some other options that might suit, just in case this filly falters. You could take Sequist #8, a half to last year’s champ, Vequist. Dallas Stewart is a crafty trainer who knows how to win up against it. Junior Alvarado gets the call, and he could be sitting on a flyer at a price. If 12/1 is not realistic for you, maybe Norm Casse’s Pretty Birdie #5 would be the logical selection? Getting Luis Saez, she is hoping to make it 3/3, after a splendid go in the Schuylerville (G3) that saw her jockey take her coast to coast. Her chances are excellent for a score in here. Lastly, I might be most impressed with Brad Cox’s Girl With a Dream #2. The filly ran well at Ellis Park in a MSW51k event. I like these runners out of Practical Joke because they seem to be able to handle challenging situations. Cox teams up with Florent Geroux, and when they get together, they have some potent ability. She will be my top selection from a barn that continues to have a banner SPA run! Cox wins …
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #2
Race 12: Turf, 5½F, ALLW90k, 3+ NY Breds
The New Yorkers are going to take us home on the Mellon Turf, and out of these 12 it is going to be a major challenge to find a suitable winner.
My first inclination is to back Linda Rice’s Uncle’s Gem #12 who gets the benefit of being drawn outside. That might help this 4-yr-old filly out of Uncle Mo because she can avoid being stuck down on the rail. Eric Cancel has ridden in a ton of Saratoga races, and although he doesn’t have a particularly sound record, he can toss in a victory now and again. Rice continues to move forward with her training, and that must be difficult unto itself. This one can get home for the NYRA-based conditioner, thus improving on that try last time on the grass course.
One other sprinter that I want to use is Phil Serpe’s King Angelo #6. This colt out of Lemon Drop Kid won last time out at the MSW85k level, and was on the lead throughout. He likes it up there, and that gives leading rider, Luis Saez, a distinct advantage. If she can get clear of the gate, she may well win the day. This pair of runners have 2 contrasting styles, and that makes them interesting to stick on the same ticket. The head bob goes to Serpe’s charge. Let’s finish with a flourish …
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 6/12
Enjoy the final weekend of action from The SPA! The tradition at Saratoga Race Course marches on …