A Sunday at Saratoga translates to some wonderful wagering opportunities. Our turf-man has you covered from the dirt to the turf. The "Feature" on the day's card is the Grade II Amsterdam S., which should be an intriguing opportunity to nab a winner.
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Here is a turf sprint that has all of the makings for a longer priced horse to score. Most in here are stepping up in class, in hopes of being classified as “on the make.” I am not against those types because they can be talented. As for those who have already tried ALLW Co., and have lost badly, I am less inclined to want to back them. My top selection is Karl Broberg’s Jades Gelly #6. The Texas-based trainer doesn’t run a ton of horses up at NYRA, but he has a string there.
Year-to-year, Broberg has the distinction of regularly being the winningest trainer in all of Amercia. Nope, it isn’t Pletcher or Asmussen or Brown or Cox … it is Broberg. His contributions are impressive, though unheralded. In this spot, he has this class climber. Last out, Eric Cancel dueled at Belmont and delivered the conditioner a win. That was by 3-lengths, and the former Wesley Ward sprinter was grabbed by Broberg himself in a claim. I like his chances because bettors are so snobbish about outsiders coming on their turf. The price of 6/1, or higher, should be spot on.
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 6 w 3/4/5/7/8/9/10/11
Race 6: Turf, 1 Mile, AOC80k, F&M 3+
I love a good “drop down” race because it is a real puzzle to see the conveyor belt. Some in this turf mile event are going up, while most are headed down. For the latter, that is not necessarily a negative, nor should it be looked at as a dark mark. Sometimes a “turfer” just needs a reset, and the opportunity for his/her trainer to recalibrate everything. Watching the weather on Sunday morning might be in order, since the Inner Turf took significant moisture at the backend of last week. It could have more than just a little “give.”
The clear class play in this AOC contest is Bill Mott’s New York Girl #1. This filly was a former runner from Ireland who is particularly well-bred for the grass. Her roots go back to the recently deceased Galileo, and HOF Mott has sent the R Unicorn Stable 4-yr-old into some tough US races. With the Endeavour (G3), Hillsborough (G2), Distaff Turf M. (G2), and Just A Game (G1) behind her, that was a pretty good slate. She was competitive in all of them, with the exception of the last, and I am sure she has what it takes to win in her Saratoga debut. I am not keen on the low price because she might not rate as well as we might think. The contrarian in me is after value … and this is not it. Of course, others that will take money include Shug McGaughey’s Enola Gay #7, who has not been seen since Kentucky Downs; Graham Motion’s Amniarix #10, who is a Bjorn Nielsen homebred in her 2nd US race; and of course, Chad Brown’s Miss Teheran #5, who is classy at the OC100k level and will be ridden by super turf jock, Irad Ortiz.
I cannot say I really like any of these because their odds will be way too low. Instead, give me Lake Lucerne #3 or Sun Summers #4. Both these grass specialists come from great barns in Brendan Walsh and Mike Maker, and they are classy enough to handle this competition. The former is a Godolphin homebred that did not care for the traffic down the lane last out at Churchill. The filly out of Dubawi (IRE) is coming in here 3rd off, and Tyler Gaffalione is “riding high.” If you could get 15/1 on this one, that would be a huge overlay, in my opinion. As for Maker’s entry, Luis Saez is aboard for the 1st time, and I like this “Non-G” expert who was unable to deliver a win down in Florida. Maybe the transition to NYRA will be something to celebrate …
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 Win #4
Race 7: Dirt, 6F, AOC80k, 3+
In this high-level OC dirt sprint, there are 7 that will be breaking from the chute … should be an interesting contest. I am inclined to back Dale Romans’ Night Time #7 because the colt out of Majesticperfection was competitive in a 2nd place finish last time at Churchill. At 10/1, that was an overlay, as he took on a field of 10 others. Still, I trust Luis Saez, who rode him in 2020 to victory @The SPA, but I am less enthusiastic about this conditioner. He just doesn’t seem to have the caliber of runners that he used to. Others in here seem more logical. Chad Brown’s Klaravich-owned sprinter could be very game. Cost Basis #1 was laid off back in January, and started rounding into shape back in April. If you like Irad Ortiz, and want to back an Into Mischief entry, then this is your play. I am non-plussed because I am sure he will get bet-down, and just not offer much value.
Layoff horses and those off-the-claim are not out of the question mind you, but I think I want a frontend speed specialist. That has to be Jeff Englehart’s Runningwscissors #4. This is a gelding who is headed to the “Show” after a win over at Finger Lakes. Most will not care for that form, but I like the early, get-to-the-lead ability here. Englehart is like Karl Broberg (who owns/trains #2), he is also an owner. That is not necessarily good for the sport, to have trainers who are also owners, but it does imply a certain “investment.” The addition of Tyler Gaffalione, who is riding well right now, is absolutely a tick in the right box. Who is going to argue with 10/1 or higher!
The Grade II Amsterdam S. gives a nod to New York’s roots that reside in an old history with the Dutch. I am sure the Netherlands wishes they had held on to the former colony … if they had not let the bullish British come knocking, beautiful Saratoga would be theirs! Nothing like some conjectural history on this Sunday …
When it comes to surveying this field, the clear rivalry is between Saffie Joseph’s Drain the Clock #2 and Steve Asmussen’s Jackie’s Warrior #3. The two colts went at it last time in the Woody Stephens (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard. They did not disappoint … it was Joseph’s gutsy sprinter who outlasted Asmussen’s well-conditioned former Derby Trail runner in the end. Now, coming into this one, the 2 will presumably be dueling down the stretch once again. What a difference a year makes for “Jackie’s,” a son of Maclean’s Music, who really started his meteoric rise at Saratoga in the Saratoga Special (G2). The 2-yr-old kept truckin’ all the way through the NYRA “Triple” (Hopeful and Champagne were the Grade 1s in that sequence). Coming to the SPA might do just the trick. As for Joseph’s speedy burner, he is so quick upfront, it will be interesting to see if Irad Ortiz (who takes back over from his brother Jose), can maintain the lead. He has to get to the lead, in order to win … plain and simple.
As for one other alterative that has the class angle, you could back Klaravich’s Crowded Trade #6, who is cutting back after failing to do very much running in the Preakness (G1) back in mid-May. He was one of those Derby Trail-ers that always was bet very well, but did not deliver a “signature” win when he needed to. The Gotham (G3) and Wood (G2) were both misses, as far I am concerned. Javier Castellano rides him once again for Chad Brown (who is having a tough time at this Meet, 6/47), and I am not sure what is going on with his riding. It just is not what it once was, especially before the winter knee surgery that he underwent. Maybe he can take this opportunity to improve … As for one other honorable mention, I like the look for Jeremiah Englehart’s River Dog #1. You get hot jockey Jose Ortiz, and this barn is one of my favorites to play because it gets overlooked. The step into deep waters like this is not impossible. His win in the slop last out in the Mike Lee 125k was inspiring. If he can bottle some of that power, and improve, then this could be a great wager on him.
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1/2/3/6
Enjoy some action from the SPA! The tradition at Saratoga Race Course marches on …