Saratoga Picks & Late Pick 5 Betting Analysis for August 14

On the turf, the Fourstardave H. is the Grade 1 'Feature' on Saturday's card at The Spa! Our turf-man has you covered, as he makes his selections for the big race and the rest of the card!
On the turf, the Fourstardave H. is the Grade 1 "Feature" on Saturday's card at The Spa! Our turf-man has you covered, as he makes his selections for the big race and the rest of the card!

Saratoga's Fourstardave Handicap arrives, and it is going to be a magnificent day with this Grade 1 race, and a host of other contests, at the historic NYRA track. The Late Pick 5 sequence is sure to have a bundle in the kitty before Race 7. Here at Horseracing.net/us, we have you covered, as our turf-man takes a look at it all!

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

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Race 7: Turf, 1 Mile, Clm40k, 3+

With some AM Showers in the forecast, we will need to keep an eye on the conditions as we kick off this Late Pick 5 sequence. Heading to the Inner Turf, the condition in this opening leg is for those that have never won 2 races … That makes it inordinately difficult to wade through this dozen or so …

As far as favoritism is concerned, I am certain that Klaravich’s Assiduously #3 gets the bob, especially since this is Chad Brown’s entry. Some money was spent on this high-priced 4-yr-old gelding out of Lope De Vega (IRE) after the beginning to the tune of $219k. Since Dec. 2019, the route grass specialist has not done much winning. In fact, in 5 races across Tampa, Belmont, and most recently, Monmouth, it has continued to be a series of misses. “Lopes” can be superb on the grass, as this is a top Euro sire … We see Brown is seriously going back to the drawing board dropping into this spot, in search of a win … With Javier Castellano aboard, he may well get it.

The Brown entry is a major roadblock to get around, and he is going to be a short price. Another one that is in a similar category plummeting, is Todd Pletcher’s Restored Order #4. Out of Frosted, here is a 3-yr-old colt wandering around in the metaphorical dark looking for a win. The last time he was at Saratoga (closing weekend 2020) he got one. The HOF trainer then laid him off until May of this year, and he tried him in a pair of Belmont OC80k events. One of those was washed out, but neither of them were remotely successful. Now, he gets Irad Ortiz once again (who was on him last Sept.), and Pletcher, representing Repole and St. Elias Stables is hoping that will do the trick.

I am unsure when it comes to trusting these two, and though I want to use them in the P5 lineup, I do not particularly care to fully back either of them on the top of tickets. In this vein, I found another more suitable play that could offer some value. I was fairly down on Joe Sharp earlier this year, but the Kentucky-based conditioner has rebounded nicely. He has a smaller string of runners at Saratoga, though in 17 starts the Sharp barn has cut 4 wins. Pairing with Ricardo Santana, whose turf riding confidence seems to be at an all-time high, makes Holy Emperor #11 more than just a hunch bet. The 4-yr-old gelding has some upside himself. Last out at The SPA, he didn’t care for the yielding ground, and the trip was rough enough. Getting the aggressive Santana should assist, as he is learning the meaning behind “settling.” The price of 12/1 may come down because the word is out on Sharp, but I still like the action.

P5 Leg 1 Selections: 3/4/11 (3 Deep)

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #11 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

 

Race 8: Dirt, 7F, ALLW103k, 3+

This high-level ALLW Co. dirt contest has a coupled entry for Todd Pletcher that is sure to take money. Mahaamel #1 is one half that looks well-bred out of Into Mischief, while Ashiham #1A is a Tapit colt heading up the class ladder. Both of these are owned by Shadwell Stable, and though they do not offer much in the way of a bargain, most will pick them because they seek a win. The other entry that should garner some interest is Juddmonte’s own homebred … Ducale #5. Trained by Brad Cox, the colt out of Twirling Candy has upside in that he won last time on this very track at the MSW100k level. That was a nice race with Manny Franco at the controls, and he is aboard once again. Cox’s record at Saratoga continues to grow exponentially … so this is one to seriously consider.

Price plays, these are not … so looking elsewhere is the order of the day … I want to have at least 1 value selection in this spot, and that will be Tom Amoss’ aptly-named Defeater #6. This is a Union Rags colt who has 2 career races under his saddle, and they came back during the middle of the Fair Grounds Meet. This one should be well-rested, and ready to resume some running. His trainer really comes to play at Saratoga, and I like it when he takes on the resident powers like Pletcher and Co. I would like to see Joel Rosario step up his riding game because he appears to be lagging a bit when it comes to wins. He is getting the mounts, but his decision-making is suspect. Maybe a giant sweeping move off the turn will assist? At odds of 8/1 on the M/L, this one is a bet.

P5 Leg 2 Selections: 1/1A/5/6 (3 Deep)

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1A/1/5/6

 

Race 9: Dirt, 6½F, Saratoga Special S. (G2), $200k, 2

Last year, in this very race, Steve Asmussen’s Jackie’s Warrior began his “Graded” career in fine style with a major win on the Saratoga MT. It would be one of several to come. He became the first horse in seemingly an epoch to sweep the NYRA “Triple” for 2-yr-old colts. Now, we are at it again as a new crop of contests this prime 2-yr-old event. Of these 12, most in here have only run a couple of times, so finding a gem is going to take some effort.

Thinking of Steve Asmussen, who is now North America’s leading trainer based on the number of wins, has Red Run #12 coming into the “Special.” He is a colt out of Gun Runner (an Asmussen charge of some note …), and did not thrill the crowds last time out in the Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill Downs. I am not sure he really deserves to be 30/1 on the M/L because that race wasn’t horrible. I do not see a reason why he couldn’t rebound in this spot, and run a fine race. Manny Franco is a jockey with experience, so that addition for this Winchell homebred is inviting. The other Asmussen entry is much lower odds and Gunite #2 is also a Winchell/Gun Runner of the same ilk. His fame comes from a signature win in a 100k back at Churchill on 26 June. I am not sure how impressive that score is, especially when compared to some of these other runners. Frankly, I like the higher odds entry more, not just because of the value, but rather for the runback ability.

As for a favorite to either spurn or support, there is no question Rudy Rodriguez’s Doctor Jeff #8 has legs on the track and on the tote. Out of Street Boss, the colt is a Michael Dubb-owned speedster, and last time he did just that at Belmont. Breaking his maiden first out, he wowed us with an 87-speed fig, and Joel Rosario practiced the adage … “clean faces win races.” Let’s put it this way, if he can duplicate that effort, this race could be over quickly. His talent is evident, and Dubb doesn’t do anything lightly. I am against because I want no part of 2/1.

As for a top selection, I am inclined to support Asmussen’s charges or I could go with Todd Pletcher’s Double Thunder #7, who won the aforementioned Bashford (G3) last out … Alas, I cannot support a runner from Phoenix Thoroughbreds, so I am going to instead be bullish with Mike Maker’s Stolen Base #6. The Kentucky-based trainer is a shipping machine from sea-to-sea, and this Bodemeister colt has something I love to see … a win over the MT back in July. That means he is going well, and I see no reason why he couldn’t take a step forward. Bred by Peter Blum, and owned partially by Three Diamonds, I think Jose Ortiz can get this one home at some odds that should pay handsomely.

As for how to play this portion of the ticket, I think going with the “All” button is the best means to save face. Certainly, with Wesley Ward’s Nakatomi #1 and Tom Amoss’ Ottoman Empire #3 present, either of those could notch this win. There are just too many directions to move in. Plus, I have a “Single” coming up that is going to be a cost savings, so it makes sense to spread the action around in the “Special.”

P5 Leg 3 Selections: 1-12 (All)

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #6

 

Race 10: Turf, 1 Mile, Fourstardave H. (G1), $500k, 3+

This year’s “Fourstar” is a matchup of turf titans, as a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Fan Duel Mile is on the line. Here we go, ladies and gentlemen … it is Chad Brown versus Brad Cox … on the line … sod bragging rights. They have been at each other before, but any time you have their best going up against one another in a Grade 1, it means it is for keeps. When the grass flies, and the divots are once again replaced, we will have a winner.

Brown’s entry is one you might have heard of … the accomplished Raging Bull #1. Owned by Peter Brant, this 6-yr-old out of Dark Angel (IRE) missed in the Poker (G3) at Belmont last time. At such a short price, he should have won, but his late set of gears just were not there when it counted. A miss like that is not out of the ordinary, then again, this is not an ordinary miler. A grass specialist at this distance, he is extremely classy, and with Irad Ortiz up again for the 4th time in a row, the connections expect him to deliver a win. Returning to the BC Mile is the goal, especially after such a flop last year at Keeneland.

As for Cox … he brings his typical Juddmonte homebred to the table in Set Piece #5. The 5-yr-old out of Dansili (GB) is equally stocked with bloodlines that speak to turf. The gelding comes in riding a 3-win streak, with the last score in the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill on the Matt Winn. In hindsight that race wasn’t too tough, but a win is a win, and he was up late. Florent Geroux will be coming to Saratoga to ride this one, and this will be his 6th time in-a-row to do so. The cutback in distance should not be much of an issue.

As these 2 converge, there are other horses running, since this is not a match race. Certainly, Blowout #8 (mare), Casa Creed #4, and Got Stormy #6 (mare) are intriguing choices, and might even be termed as highly-logical choices. But I think this is between Brown and Cox. In the end, the “Single” I have goes to Raging Bull #1. He bounces back in this spot, and should win. Is this horse North America’s best turf miler? I am undecided on that point … but stay tuned …

P5 Leg 4 Selections: 1 (Single)

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 1 w 4/5/6/8

 

Race 11: Turf, 5½F, ALLW90k, 3+ NY Breds

The finale on this Super Saturday card is a tough one … How do we square this one? A turf sprint going 5½F on the grass for New York horses starts with John Kimmel’s Dr. Blute #4 at 7/2 on the M/L. Though this gelding is classy at the ALLW Co. level, his record is not terribly inviting. Having Jose Ortiz at the controls might help, but I think value can be found elsewhere.

The same could be said for Jena Antonucci’s Dr. Duke #9, who tried this level last time at The SPA. That loss was significant, so unless you think that the colt can runback differently, this one might be a pass. More inviting is Manny Franco’s ride … Luna’s in Charge #7. Phil Bauer has already had a nice Meet, and that should continue. I would expect this one to get bet down from 5/1. That will not offer much in the way of positive odds in the end.

When it comes to a top pick, I especially like Bruce Levine’s Frat #3. Though not especially built pedigree-wise on the sire side for turf, but the dam … oh, the dam is loaded by way of Scat Daddy. The gelding is on the make, and fresh from winning one of these sprints on the sod at Monmouth. Getting Tyler Gaffalione is a blessing, and he can make a big difference. The price will be more than square.

Let’s use Levine’s runner on top, but also place some of these others mentioned into the mix (plus, Neuro #2). It should make for an interesting close-out to this Saturday.

P5 Leg 5 Selections: 2/3/4/7/9 (5 Deep)

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #3 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

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

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