Saratoga Picks & Betting Analysis for July 29

Another week of racing begins from Upstate New York, and J.N. Campbell has you covered!
Another week of racing begins from Upstate New York, and J.N. Campbell has you covered!
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Is there anything better than a summer at Saratoga? It is a complex question, but it has nothing short of the easiest of answers. Once again, NYRA will host one of the most celebrated meets in all of Thoroughbred racing.

We are already into our 3rd week of the Meet, and have witnessed some major upsets and surprising results. As far as the Jockey and Trainer Standings go, Luis Saez and Jose Ortiz are neck and neck for the top spot. Both have acquitted themselves well in the "Non-G" contests. Trainer Chad Brown is rolling, like always, and he will look to add to his totals this week. will be with you every step of the way, as we offer a full slate of selections, and put forth some specific analysis on a select set of races. This time of year, brings the threat of pop-up showers, so be sure to monitor the forecasts each day because it could impact the conditions on the Mellon and Inner Turf Courses. Stay tuned …

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Thursday, be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Race 3: Turf, 1 1/16th, Clm35k, 3+, NW3

If this one remains on the Mellon Turf, then it is going to tough to little route to get a winner. None of these have done much of that lately, but that is the whole purpose of this condition. In spots like these, you could lean on those that have SPA experience, and that is not a poor plan. I like to examine trainer angles in here, because the hot conditioner who is used to winning at a level like this one is probably best. Saffie Joseph’s Mystery Bank #2 fits the bill in many respects because she is a well-bred colt out of The Big Mystery. Though he failed last out at Joseph’s home base of Gulfstream Park after the switch from Orlando Noda, there is no reason to think that Irad Ortiz cannot win aboard this one. After all, she won at Saratoga last year in a MSW72k. One other that seems logical, though he should be a little better price, is Mike Maker’s Auburn Hills #3. The Palace Malice gelding is in-form, and should get a nice trip with Luis Saez aboard. His conditioner is an expert in the claiming ranks, and maybe the 5/1 M/L price will drift a bit. That would help our cause immensely.

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Cold, 3 w 2


Race 8: Dirt, 6½F, AOC80k, F&M 3+

Turning and burning on the dirt, we are sprinting in this opening leg of the Late Pick 3. This high-level OC80k pits mostly 4-yr-old fillies against one another. Of those, of course the coupled entry is going to get most of the play because it is a pair of Klaravich/Chad Brown runners who are both out of Into Mischief. Secondary Market #1 and Motivated Seller #1A we know are well-bred (Mischief), but they are coming off-the-bench, and that should make anyone nervous. It doesn’t mean they cannot rise to the occasion, since they both have back class in races like the Prioress (G2), as in the case of #1, and the La Brea (G1), pertaining to the #1A. Still, unless you are wagering a significant amount of money, accepting 6/5, simply will not do.

Something contrary, if you are in the mood … is Rob Atras’ Stand for the Flag #5. The trainer is hot, hot, hot … after his first “Graded” win last Saturday in the CCA Oaks (G2). He pairs up with Michael Dubb, and this mare out of Super Saver is looking good. I know she was rebuffed last out in an OC80k at Belmont, but it was an off-track that day. Manny Franco will be cutting back on this one too. She has the moxie and the price to get it done. Trust in Atras … when you are hot, you are hot!

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 Win #5


Race 9: Dirt, 6 ½F, John Morrissey Handicap, $100k, NY-Breds 3+

The “signature” event of this Thursday afternoon is the 100k Morrissey Handicap, which assembles quite a mix of older males. Even though they could run in here, 3-yr-old colts would be up against some tough competitors. Trainers know this … so it is probably best that they stay away. Of those who are entered, I particularly like Mark Hennig’s Jemography #8. The 5-yr-old gelding hasn’t raced since early June, but that run was not too shabby—a 2nd in an OC80k. Just 1-length back, I would expect Dylan Davis to keep this one close on the front, and that should put him in the proper position to score. The price should be spot on around 6/1 … if he heads towards 8/1 … that is a major play. I think this runner has much more upside than favorites like My Boy Tate #3, Our Last Buck #4, and Wudda U Think Now #5. Don’t settle for chalk …

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #8 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


Race 10: Turf, 1 1/16th, MC40k, F&M 3+

In MC events, I am interested in a runner that does not have too many under her saddle, but is not a first-time starter. This pick also needs to be able to handle the grass, especially if it from a turf pedigree standpoint. Those are sometimes hard to find in spots like this, but we are going to give it a whirl.

Near the top of my list is Al Stall’s Sum Kinda Pretty #1 with Joel Rosario at the controls. This filly has turf experience running at the Fair Grounds and Churchill, but most important, that last race was a MC75k. That was a high-caliber class contest, and though she finished 5th out of 10, she can use that to her advantage. Stall is a such a master of spotting the right races, and he doesn’t bring a huge string to NYRA. Adding to this pick, which is 9/2 on the M/L, you could also easily make a case for Gabby Squared #8. Out of Jack Milton, who was a heck of a turf star a few years back, she is looking sharp for trainer Chad Brown. Her efforts at Aqueduct and Belmont were not half bad, and with Irad … on the turf … well, you know …

For my money, I want to back trainer Kenny McPeek’s play. The Kentucky-based trainer is finally back at it, after his SPA start was derailed by an outbreak of a virus in the barn area. He had to shut everything down, and now it is time to shine. His 3-yr-old Salino #9 has some solid grass blood in her, and though she really has failed in some MSW Co., she can make amends on this class drop. Getting hot rider Jose Ortiz is going to be a blessing, and he has some good numbers in the rivalry with his brother. Let’s put her on top, and see if McPeek can get rolling. He knows a thing or two about young fillies, doesn’t he?

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1/8/9


Enjoy some action from the SPA! The tradition at Saratoga Race Course marches on …

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