Saratoga Picks & All-Stakes P5 Betting Analysis for August 7

Kenny McPeek's Swiss Skydiver once again takes on the boys in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga. A Breeders' Cup Classic ticket is on the line! See all the details and then some below ...
Kenny McPeek's Swiss Skydiver once again takes on the boys in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga. A Breeders' Cup Classic ticket is on the line! See all the details and then some below ...

Saratoga's Whitney Day arrives ... with a bevy of Graded and "Non-G" races on the card, it is going to be an incredible day at the historic NYRA track. It should be a fabulous All-Stakes Pick 5 sequence. Here at Horseracing.net/us, we have you covered, as our turf-man takes a look at it all! Have a read ...

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Race 6: Turf, 1 1/16th, Fasig-Tipton Lure S. $120k, 4+

We start this sequence on the Mellon turf with this “Non-G” route. As usual, trainer Chad Brown brings a strong contingent to bear. Probably the best of 3 on paper is Klaravich’s own, Value Proposition #3. The son of champ Dansili (GB) was just a little late in getting up last out in the Forbidden Apple (G3). In theory, this should be a little easier contest than that one, as jockey Irad Ortiz once again takes the controls. I don’t really know how good this horse is (though he can still win) … he truly appears to be one of those that gets way over bet. In actuality, the same could be said for Flavius #5, who will be ridden by Flavien Prat (in-town from Del Mar). The Juddmonte homebred has amazing pedigree lines out of War Front, but the ridgling failed as the short-priced favorite last time in the Seek Again100k at Belmont on 22 May. Both of these are not without flaws …

If you are looking for the Brown “value play” then it must be Delaware #2, who was 3rd in the Forbidden Apple (G3). In my mind, the Frankel (GB) 5-yr-old was better than most might think. I don’t think “mild kick” is the proper attribution to what he did in that race late. Let’s give Jose Ortiz another chance aboard this one. Maybe the price will float toward 5/1, if we are lucky. Tote watch time … This is a Chad Brown race, if there ever was one. I do not see really anyone else that is drawn in here that has the moxie to take on a barn who may not be as “hot” as they can be at The SPA. But that doesn’t mean they are not dangerous in a situation like this one. Brown Trifecta … hmm … possible.

P5 Leg 1 Selections: 2/3/5

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #2 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

 

Race 7: Turf, 1½, Glen Falls Stakes (G2), $250k, F&M 4+

The routing on the turf moves to the “Inner” and it is time to “go the distance” ala Field of Dreams, as these go 1½. Out of these older females it should come as no surprise that Bill Mott’s War Like Goddess #3 will be at the top of most bettors’ lists. She delivered the goods in the Bewitch (G3) last out at Keeneland at odds that were quite short. If Mott has her fit coming from the break, then she could easily scoop up the Grade II.

Of the 6 that are standing in her way, I like Christophe Clement’s Call Me Love #1 because she has a pair of gritty wins under her. She went up in class in the River Memories150k, after running in a much shorter grass contest at the OC100k mark. Most will shy away from her because they think she may not be up for another leap. I beg to differ. Look at her pedigree … it is Sea the Stars (IRE), and that is just on the sire side. Clement has this one going in the proper direction with Junior Alvarado riding her for the 4th time.

One other I want to seriously consider in this spot is Chad Brown’s My Sister Nat #5. Running in classy races has been this one’s modus operandi, even though she has not helped bettors cash many win tickets. She ran 2nd in this race last year, and I think the distance extension will help. Once she gets on track, she could be a leader in this division for owner Peter Brant. Jose Ortiz is more than capable of getting her to the lead when it is time. Let’s not only use her, but make her our top selection.

P5 Leg 2 Selections: 1/3/5

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 5 w 1/3

 

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Race 8: Dirt, 7F, Test Stakes (G1), $500k, 3F

Trainer Bob Baffert won his 3rd Test S. last year with the embattled Gamine, who elicited a fair amount of controversy after allegations surfaced in the wake of her running in Arkansas at Oaklawn Park. Then KYD147 happened, and we still have not received word from the KHC on what will happen to Medina Spirit. Of course, the latest Baffert line pertains to him being able to run in New York. A court, as they tend to do, sided with him. So, he comes to NYRA’s Saratoga with of all horses … Illumination #1. You cannot make this kind of stuff up … This filly is promising, but I would not pick her on top. Not only does she seem out of her depth, but John Velazquez seems to be wandering around in the riding dark. I am not sure why his record is not above 7%.

If you are looking for a speedy type whose fractions lead you to conclude that their figs are up to scratch, then look to Chad Brown’s Search Results #7. After nearly besting Pletcher’s Malathaat in the KYOaks, her conditioner switched her to lighter distance duty in the Acorn S. (G1) at Belmont, and she did not disappoint. At low odds she beat Obligatory #4 and Make Mischief #6, 2 rivals that are back again in here. I think she is a special runner, and can win this re-match race. The one runner that looks intriguing, whose price might end up above their 3/1 M/L number is Brown’s other entry, Always Carina #5. She is cutting back after a 2nd place finish in the Mother Goose (G2). Unless she is entered as the rabbit, to provide a hot pace which sets up the Acorn champ, she could be an overlay. Flavien Prat doesn’t ride rabbits … he rides Thoroughbreds. As far as I know, he always tries to win. Once again, we are backing Brown … is he on the verge of a massive Whitney Day?

P5 Leg 3 Selections: 5/7

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 4/5/6/7

 

Race 9: Turf, 1 3/16ths, Saratoga Derby Invitational S. (G1), $1 Million, 3  

Maybe trainer Chad Brown knows when it is time to sit out a turf race. The 2nd Leg of the “Turf Triple” is here, and it is sans Brown. With good reason because this is essentially a 2-horse race between a couple of strong European imports. They come from excellent outfits, and both are just hitting their stride. It would be excellent to see Aidan O’Brien’s Bolshoi Ballet #6 (the Belmont Derby (G1) champ), and Mrs. Jessica Harrington’s Cadillac #4. These colts out of Galileo (IRE) and Lope De Vega (IRE), respectively, will be rolling fast late in the game. Ridden by Ryan Moore and Shane Foley, they have the class rating, and ability to win in this spot. My sense is that Harrington’s charge is ready to make another US appearance after a 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last fall at Keeneland. Foley knows this one through and through, and he regularly rides for this excellent stable. I will be betting horse and rider as hard as I can Saturday afternoon. They get the nod …

P5 Leg 4 Selections: 4/6

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #4 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

 

Race 10: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Whitney S. (G1), $1 Million, 4+

August is a fairly young month so far, but the annual running of the Whitney S. (G1) usually qualifies as the first “big” contest of the month. On the line is an all-expense-paid ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in November. If there ever was a “salty” group to assemble in North American racing, then this is it. That term “salty” can be glib, but not in this case. We have 5 that are entered here, 4 males and 1 female, that are going to route as hard and as fast as they possibly can.

When it comes to tote watching, one has to think that Brad Cox’s Knicks Go #4 and Brendan Walsh’s Maxfield #5 will tussle for the top spot. I do not disagree that this will take place. Of the pair, I much prefer “Max” because I think Knicks Go is seemingly very tired. He needs certain conditions to win, and if he cannot control the pace up front, then it is curtains when it comes to victory. Cox has done a splendid job with this famous claim, but Walsh has his runner primed. The Godolphin homebred was just working out in the Alysheba (G2) and Stephen Foster (G2), so now the true test is headed his way. Jose Ortiz will once again ride him, and he has the hot hand for sure.

As for the lady who arrives, she needs no introduction. Kenny McPeek’s Swiss Skydiver #3 won the Preakness (G1) in 2020 in brilliant fashion, and was the talk of the network. Though she stumbled in the BC Distaff (G1), she returned in the Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita to wow us. Of course, the titanic match with rivals Monomoy Girl and Letruska at Oaklawn in the Apple Blossom (G1) saw her finish a distant 3rd. Now, her excellent conditioner has her recalibrated, and assigns Irad Ortiz the task of riding her. No Robby Albarado … Peter Callahan is hoping his horse can earn a spot in the gate at Del Mar come November.

As for the inside runner, it is not an afterthought whatsoever to include them in a handicapping discussion … last but not least. Bret Calhoun’s By My Standards #1 and Steve Asmussen’s Silver State #2 went head-to-head, finishing 1-2 in the Met Mile (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard in early June. I picked Calhoun’s charge because I have maintained for some time that his class was superb. He was an overlay at 9/1 that day, and his experience speaks volumes about his ability. Last year in this very race he ran 2nd to Improbable. As for Asmussen’s best barn member, the 4-yr-old out of Hard Spun could help the HOF conditioner break the all-time win record set by Dale Baird. His colt is coming into Saratoga with 6 scores in-a-row, which is in itself, an amazing accomplishment. What a versatile distance runner this one is … 7F, sure … 1 1/8th, no problem. Ricardo Santana and these connections are going to be very tough.

When it comes to completing your P5 ticket, hitting the “All” button would not be a poor idea. There are a number of scenarios that could play out early or late in this one, that will decide who visits the winner’s circle. I am skeptical about the “Skydiver” because even though he is a master tactician, McPeek was forced to send her to this race after his barn was quarantined because of a virus outbreak. I am not against Maxfield #5 per se, but I am wondering if those Churchill fields were a little too light on class. As for Knicks Go #4 and Silver State #2, I am going to hope that they are decidedly off their game. Asmussen may break the record, but it will not be in this race.

In the end, I am putting my dollars behind Gabe Saez and Calhoun … By My Standards #1 is my upset pick of the day, and my lone “Single.” I am sticking with the horse that … well, you know …

P5 Leg 5 Selections: 1

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #1

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

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