A Saratoga Saturday arrives ... the calendar flips to Alabama Stakes Day! The stretch run at The SPA is going to be full of wagering opportunities, as we head towards Labor Day!
Our turf-man will be with you every step of the way ... all 11 races! Watch the weather forecast because race conditions will be affected, as we have periods of heavy rain in the forecast through the weekend. Many of the grass races have the potential to be taken off, so stay tuned ...
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.
Coming out of the backstretch chute, we find ourselves in the middle of this claiming battle. Starting out this Late Pick 4 in this fashion is never easy, but that is why horizontal wagering is not for the faint of heart. Quite a few dollars early on will be flowing into the coffer of one Identity Politics #4. The Chad Brown-trained Klaravich runner is dropping significantly out of OC80k Co. (on the turf, mind you), and that can be interpreted as a sign of victory, or something highly suspicious. I choose the latter because although making the surface switch should be doable, I still wonder if this 6-yr-old has this one in the bag. Let’s use him, but I want to pair him with Brad Cox’s entry. I like the look of first-time gelding Vulcan #3. As a 3-yr-old it will a challenge to runback in this spot, but I think his back class will shine through. He gets Tyler Gaffalione, who is riding quite well, and races at Remington, Prairie Meadows, and Churchill add balance to his resume. Out of Munnings, a nice sprinting sire to say the least, I think he is one to place on the top of any ticket. Should be a 2-horse race in my opinion. Cox v. Brown … once again … Win goes to the former …
As we take to the Mellon Turf, of course the question will be what are the conditions like? There will be moisture, and whether it is good, soft, or yielding is anyone’s guess. We will know when we know, in other words. In years past, the Lake P. has been a tough test for fillies. Interestingly enough, Chad Brown has only won 2 of these editions; while, others like Christophe Clement, Graham Motion, Brendan Walsh, and Jimmy Toner, have enjoyed their own wins ... just to name a few. The point? This is anyone’s game ... Having typed that speech, let’s also face the fact that Brown is here to play, as Technical Analysis #2 is entered with Jose Ortiz in the saddle. Well-bred out of Kingman (GB) the filly won the Lake George (G3) last out on 23 July. That was a nice score at a price of 8/1. That is precisely why the Klaravich runner is 6/5 on the M/L this time around. Like the prior race, I am willing to look elsewhere because the red-lettered silks of “KS” gets over bet.
For my money, I am looking for as solid a price as possible. That is one reason why I like the look of Bill Mott’s Lovestruck #5. Godolphin possesses some great turf horses in their international stable, and this one could be a budding star. Most bettors will not care for her performance in the Wild Applause100k at Belmont back on 26 June, and too right. She lost her spot starting on the backstretch, and never was able to recover. In her defense, that effort came after a lengthy layoff. Mott last sent her out at Aqueduct last November! That was a win for her in the Tepin100k by-the-way, so the Tapit filly should be considered talented. Needing a race is a viable excuse … coming into this spot, a G2, will not be easy, but I actually like the choice of John Velazquez. Even though his Meet numbers are not where they should be, he still can perform well on the grass late. If you could get 8/1 on this one that would be a wonderful price.
As for others to include, maybe Walsh’s Ego Trip #3 is one to nom for your ticket, especially considering Tyler Gaffalione’s ability in turf routes. This one already had a good outing last time @The SPA.
LP4 Leg 2: 2/3/5 (3 Deep)
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 2/3/5
Race 10: Dirt, 1¼, Alabama S. (G1), $600k, 3F
Saturday’s “Main Event” at Saratoga is the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, and it is going to provide all of us in Thoroughbred-land with a titanic rematch of the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1). Last time that Todd Pletcher’s Malathaat #6 met Rob Atras’ Maracuja #4, the pair of fillies went head-to-head late. Atras’ 3-yr-old out of Honor Code just nudged the wire first, giving her conditioner his 1st major Grade 1 score. It was an impressive display of speed and power from off-the-pace.
As the dust settled, pundits went to work deconstructing the contest, and many cried that Pletcher’s prize actually ran a more game race in defeat. They said she had a tougher trip, and showed great heart in the end. I don’t necessarily disagree with that point, but I do think that jockey Ricardo Santana really took the fight to the heavy favorite with Johnny V aboard. That counts for something, especially when you consider she was 15/1.
Coming into this race, even with some new players entered, I am going to back Shadwell runner out of Curlin because I think she is simply the best. Her performance back in the KYOaks (G1) still speaks to me, and I think she was taken out of her late-running element in the CCA SPA tour. This time it will be different. A clear “Single” if there ever was one. I will expect her to be back in the NTRA Top Ten by sundown!
LP4 Leg 3: 6 (Single)
Wagering Recommendation: $50 W #6
Race 11: Turf, 1 Mile, MSW100k, F&M 3+
Rounding out this LP4 ticket, we hopefully will be on the grass for this finale. That is not certain, so planning accordingly is a great plan. One to include right from the start is Chad Brown’s So Enchanting #9. Partly owned by Peter Brant, this filly out of More Than Ready is going to be up against what for right now should be considered a full field. She has the back class and grass experience to handle this crowd. With Irad Ortiz in the irons, you know he is going to be aggressive late. The only downside to “Singling” her is that she has not won in 4 tries. Does that mean she has an aversion to it? Will see … The same could be said for the other Brown entry, Split Then Double #4. The Dubb/Madaket router is another just miss type, and
Including this pair seems like a given, but I also want some others to fold in here because they will offer much better value than 3/1. If we are talking about long shots, then Jena Antonucci’s entry has major upside. Give me Good Talk #2 who draws my favorite turf jockey of all-time, Javier Castellano. This filly has way more potential than is reflected in her PPs. Adding “blinks” should be a nice adjustment too. Antonucci does have a win at the Meet, and it would be excellent to see her add another one. As for an alternative to Brown’s cadre, I like a first-time starter for Brad Cox named Gauff #1. The well-bred filly should be an excellent price come post time, if she doesn’t get scratched. Tyler Gaffalione gets first crack at her in a live race, and he can handle inexperienced entries just fine. I don’t normally back ones like this, but she is too good a price to pass up.
That should cover us to include these runners, but just in case this gets moved to the MT, I want to also not miss out on Ralph Nicks’ Perfect Grace #12. The Tapit filly will be a short price if she gets in, but with her skills, she could be an easy winner. If you are constructing multiple tickets, you might want to “Single” her if you know she is entered.