Saratoga Sunday Picks & Betting Analysis for August 8

Another Saratoga Sunday arrives with a full card and a set of amazing races. Take a look at these plays from the turf-minded J.N. Campbell.
Another Saratoga Sunday arrives with a full card and a set of amazing races. Take a look at these plays from the turf-minded J.N. Campbell.

The historic NYRA track in Saratoga Springs has some great contests on tap for Sunday. Anchoring the 10-race card is the Grade III Saratoga Oaks Invitational. Here at, we have you covered, as our turf-man takes a look at it all! Have a read ...

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 7: Turf, 1 Mile, Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes, $120k, F&M 4+

A short field of 7 has assembled for this “Non-G” affair. Near the top will certainly be the 2 Chad Brown entries. We have waited patiently for the return to the turf by Viadera #3. Now, a 5-yr-old mare, if she is as sharp as she was last year, then this division of grass milers better watch out. In 2020, as memory serves, her conditioner sent her into the Intercontinental (G3) for her US debut. That was a 4th place finish. I am not sure if that applies in this situation because her professional rise continues apace. I would expect her to be cranked up as the mercurial turf jockey, Joel Rosario, takes up the reigns once again. The Juddmonte homebred has a number of late gears … expect them to be implemented.

As a bulwark against this mare, Brown also sends Peter Brant’s Regal Glory #7 into the fold. This daughter of Animal Kingdom is the same age as her stablemate, but she is much more in form. Though she missed the board in her last race, Just A Game (G1), she has an impressive rating ability. Being forwardly placed is probably needed; maybe being 2-3 lengths from the front would be of assistance. Jose Ortiz knows that is essential when it comes to being in that range by the 1st Call. Both “Browns” are formidable, but I am going elsewhere when it comes to a top selection. Surprisingly, I cannot back Irad Ortiz’s mount. Saffie Joseph is just ice cold right now, and not in a good way, at The SPA. It is hard to think Shifty She #2 can win shipping in from Gulfstream.

If there is a trainer in this race who can give Brown a run, it is Shug McGaughey. The HOF doesn’t enter near as many races, but he has some quality that shines through when it comes to this time of year on the sod. I like Star Command #4 because she is my kind of runner. On the make, the filly out of Orb (Shug’s KYD winner) is ready for this moment. Even though her pedigree is not loaded with turf, she has a set of deep experiences that date back to last year. Her ship list includes NYRA, Kentucky Downs, Keeneland, and Gulfstream. It is time for her closeup … The Phipps machine is alive and well, and I am hoping she can be double-digits when this race goes off. Manny Franco is going to have the call, and once again, he has the opportunity to best the Ortiz Bros, Saez, and Rosario … those are all more accomplished grass riders than he is. I like the fact Shug is entering this one, and though she was forced into an off-track race at Belmont last time, she should appreciate the return to the Saratoga.

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


Race 8: Dirt, 6½F, Adirondack Stakes (G2), $200k, 2F

Sprinting on the dirt takes center stage in this Grade II event, which is a staple on the Saratoga calendar. As 9 rollers go forward, we might be enticed to back a runner like Norm Casse’s Ontheonesandtwos #2, Steve Asmussen’s Wicked Halo #7, or Bob Reid’s Mainstay #8. All of these could win, as they are ridden by stable jocks, and come from excellent barns. I am willing to use them underneath, but when it comes to a top pick, give me the combo of Joel Politi/Tom Amoss/Tyler Gaffalione … they will trot out Microbiome #9, that is a well-bred filly out of Twirling Candy. Amoss is a trainer of immense ability, who plies his trade in Louisiana and other locales. Last out, she broke her maiden 1st off. It was an impressive performance during the early part of the Meet. If she can harness some early speed, she has a definite shot to rise to this Grade II occasion. Gaffalione is having a fine run in New York, and that may well continue …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 9 w 2/7/8


Race 9: Turf, 1 3/16ths, Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3), $700k, 3F

The 2nd Leg and female version of the “Turf Triple” is upon us, and it looks as though the winner of the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), Aidan O’Brien’s Santa Barbara, is nowhere to be found.

That leaves us with Todd Pletcher’s Con Lima #5 (2nd), Chad Brown’s Higher Truth #1 (3rd), Cherie DeVaux’s Gam’s Mission #3 (4th), and Christophe Clement’s Plum Ali #4 (5th), who are back to try and claim the prize. Pletcher’s battle-tested router seems to be a likely choice. Flavien Prat is in town to ride a bevy of entries, and the filly out of Commissioner is more than logical. I don’t see much value in any of these, except Clement’s 3-yr-old. She and Joel Rosario come together once again with Dubb and Madaket hitched up. That is a potent combo, and the price is going to be right. Bandwagon jumpers are off, and that means a better price for those steadfast enough to remain.

Let’s use her on top, but I also like the look of Chad Brown’s Euro import for Peter Brant … Rocky Sky #6. Ridden by Irad Ortiz, the filly is extremely well-bred for the grass, and has the ability to throw a wrench into things. I prefer this one’s US debut … much more so than Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin homebred Creative Flair #7. That one looks promising, but not with Mike Smith in the saddle. His experience on the grass is extremely weak, despite the win in the Just A Game (G1) aboard Althiqa. Clement is the play in the SPA Oaks …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1/3/4/5/6


Race 10: Turf, 1 Mile, ALLW90k, 3+

The Inner Turf is the place to be in this ALLW Co. contest, and recent history tells us to watch out for New York breds that are short priced … but some long shots do have the ability to surprise. For my money, I want to find a runner who can handle the class, get this distance, and whose barn is doing well right now. That is a tough ask in this spot, since we have those that are 1st after a claim, or ratcheting up in this varsity event. I am backing the folks at Sackatoga Stable and their entry Saratoga Flash #5. They know talent, have a history with Barclay Tagg, and these Laoban offspring are quite versatile. The colt hit the board last time at Belmont in an OC80k, and though his kick could have been better, the time has come to turn it up a notch. Jose Ortiz knows what to do. This will be his 5th time to get a leg up. Stretching out a little bit further should not be an issue whatsoever. Tagg’s ALLW Co. numbers are positive, albeit small when it comes to their amount.

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #5


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

Horse Racing Results