Saratoga Sunday Picks & Betting Analysis for August 22: Dirt Edition

Saratoga Sunday ... nothing better! Take a look at our selections!
Saratoga Sunday ... nothing better! Take a look at our selections!

A Saratoga Sunday is here! Travers Week is almost upon us too. The stretch run at The SPA is going to be something, as we head towards Labor Day!

Our turf-man will be with you every step of the way! All 10 races ... Watch the weather forecast because race conditions will be affected, as we have periods of heavy rain in the forecast almost everyday this week. Many, if not all, of the grass races may be taken off, so stay tuned ...

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

Horse Racing Picks

Race 3: Dirt, 6F, Clm20k, 3+

With the deluge of rain all week in Upstate New York, the grass courses have taken a beating. What with all that moisture it is probably better to focus on the dirt races, and hope for clear skies for Travers Week. In this claimer, we have a salty group of 6 who will be blowing and going down the backstretch. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez has a 3rd of the field … one is the short-priced Clench #4. This 5-yr-old out of The Factor is heading down from running in a Clm40k event. That is a suspicious drop, and it might mean that something is amiss.

Even with Joel Rosario aboard, that might not be enough to turn the ship around. As for the other Rudy “Rod,” I like the first off-the-claim angle with Bronzed #2, and the fact this one is an unknown quantity is intriguing. The Fed Biz offspring has not been seen since 2019, but I am betting he still knows his way around an oval.

Using both of these guys is sensible, but I really am impressed with Wayne Potts’ latest find. He just took over the training duties from Chad Summers. Strolling #5 was strong for the one race he ran for him, and now the gelding out of Stroll (Pulpit) is heading out at the same class level. He has some solid late ability, and with those gears, Jose Ortiz should be around at the wire. If we could get 3/1, then that is a bet. Potts has some excellent numbers when it comes to repeating.

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


Race 5: Dirt, 6F, Clm25k, F&M 3+

Switching over to the females for this claimer, there is a good group of runners marshalled for this race. A fair amount of money is going to flow to Gary Sciacca’s Florida bred, Miss Peppina #1. The filly draws Luis Saez, and she was dropping down from AOC Co. into an Aqueduct Claiming race. She has the ability to come off the bench, and best this field. As always though, the layoff is a concern. Instead of backing a presumptive favorite, why not take a look at Tom Amoss’ Thief of Hearts #7?

The 3-yr-old filly out of Congrats is owned by the excellent Maggi Moss. She invests in some good ones, and Amoss is an expert in situations like these. Last out, in a Starter Allowance, she missed, turning in a speed fig that was poor. Dropping down should be a “good thing,” and Eric Cancel might be sitting on a live one. At 8/1 on the M/L, that is a super price … if you can get it. The works look pretty inviting to me also … if you can run a sub-.48 at 4F for this class of horse, that is very solid. Betting this one looks like a great play in a race that appears wide-open.

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #7 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


Race 6: Dirt, 6F, MC75k, 2F

A high-level MC75k contest is on the docket, and sorting out this race is going to be a tough one. However, I have a very strong opinion, and in 'capping, when that happens, you have to stick to your pick. See it through, and do not let anyone try to talk you off of it ... Right from the word go, I am pretty interested in Kelly Breen’s Opening Night #2. This is a 2-yr-old filly who is owned by the Wests, already got her maiden race out of the way, and even though she failed to hit the board at a short price, it was still an opportunity to start a career. Though that Monmouth race was poor, Breen can recalibrate with this homebred, and now his charge gets Tyler Gaffalione. What can a hot rider do for a mount? A ton … The daughter of Flatter has some good works on her tab too. I see this race coming up rather weak as far as the class rating, so if we could get 7/2 on the tote that would be pretty impressive. What a bet!

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #2


Race 9: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Summer Colony S., $120k, F&M 4+

The “Feature” on the Sunday card is this “Non-G” 120k race … a short, but compact field is going to really test us. Looking through these, it is obvious that Horologist #2 from Bill Mott, and Dunbar Road #3 and Gold Spirit #6, both out of Chad Brown’s stable, are the frontrunners at the top of the tote. All of these are alums from the Shuvee S. (G3). Each one of them was looking at Royal Flag by the end. Mott’s runner led 2/3rds of the way, and she relinquished the lead at the top of the stretch. Junior Alvarado gets aboard again, and Mott has this one as fit as can be. Maybe the mare is a bit tired after 4 races, one each month. Still, she is one to take seriously.

As for the Brown pair, the #3 is owned by the excellent Peter Brant, and she missed terribly in that Grade 3. Her ability is without question, and she has the opportunity to get back on track with a win here. I would not count her out at all. She has the class to shine through. As for #6, the 4-yr-old filly came from Chile and was just turned away from hitting the board at the wire in the Shuvee (G3). Switching jockeys to Joel Rosario is a good move. I remember liking this one very much because her 11/1 price was excellent. I think she can make the biggest step forward of all of these. Others in here look interesting too, like Saffie Joseph’s Gibberish #4, but I want to stick with these alums. The Chilean import from Brown’s midst is still on my radar. Maybe the price will be too!

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 2/3/6


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

Horse Racing Results