Saratoga Thursday Picks & Betting Analysis for August 12

Thursday at Saratoga dawns ... another super card is headed your way ... Check out these selections and our signature analysis ...
Thursday at Saratoga dawns ... another super card is headed your way ... Check out these selections and our signature analysis ...

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The Saratoga Meet rolls on ... Yesterday, the Pick 6 blossomed to over $500k, and that is what makes this Meet so special. How many other tracks could boast such a figure? We are back at it ... looking for some long shots, and giving you the bettor our very best plays. Take a look below, and see where we land ... Enjoy a SPA handicapping feast with our resident turf-man!

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Race 3: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Saratoga Dew H., $100k, F&M 3+

This early feature, the Saratoga Dew is a “Non-G” affair that has a short field, but there are some intriguing angles to examine. The first is the presence of Kenny McPeek’s Simply Ravishing #2 who turned a number of heads last year by rattling off 3 wins in-a-row starting with her debut. The first 2 were won at Saratoga, and then she shipped to Keeneland, winning the Alcibiades (G1), in fine style. She missed taking on Vequist in the BC Juvenile Fillies (G1), and her conditioner benched her after finishing off the board in the Golden Rod (G2) @CD. The Ashland (G1) at Keeneland (a 6th place-19 length loss) back in April was her only start this year. Which McPeek runner will show on Thursday? I haven’t a clue …

When it comes to favoritism, I am certain that Mrs. Orb #5 will be near the top of the tote come race time. She is a mare, of course, out of Kentucky Derby winner Orb, and Michael Miceli is a conditioner looking for his 1st win of the Meet. It could come in this spot, especially since his 6-yr-old is in peak form after a couple of preps. The last one was a score in a 100k “Non-G,” so that bodes well as she gets former rider Dylan Davis who climbs aboard. Miceli might not have an expansive setup, but there is form (6/0-3-1). The same could be said for this experienced older female as she has a pair of “places” at The SPA. She can win …

Spurning a short price, I think I want to tote watch, and hope that Jorge Abreu’s Espresso Shot #4 drifts up a bit from the M/L price of 5/2. The mare out of Mission Impazible might … that is if, the others in here take money. Her conditioner has had her running in some stiff competition, including some Belmont races last time around that were extremely tough on her. She didn’t acquit herself well, but maybe the stretch out will be to her liking. John Velazquez is going to have his work cut out for him … luckily, he is a Hall of Fame jockey, who has been in almost every scenario one could imagine around a racetrack. He is more than capable, despite his latest record at the Meet.

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #4

 

Race 8: Dirt, 7F, AOC80k, 3+

Here is an OC that is up next, and it is another short field … though not short of offering a puzzle. Each one of these (except for Jeremiah Englehart’s Mojovation #1), has proven ability to win at or near this level, and that makes for an intriguing wager. I am a little skeptical of Steve Asmussen’s Shoplifted #5, since this is a colt that has missed significantly in most of his 2021 races. Maybe shifting tack to The SPA will assist. Jockey Ricardo Santana is having a solid go of late, and he already has experience with her. Into Mischiefs take money because of their versatile nature. Personally, I wouldn’t bet this one on top under 5/1 … so tote watch.

As for a “win” pick, I like Mike Maker’s Chocolate Bar #6 because she should run nicely on the dirt … plus, with Jose Ortiz in the saddle, he should be able to rate nicely. This jockey and Maker form a solid team, and both are near/at the top of their respective standings. Cairo Prince is turning out to be a quality sire, and that might surprise some … Maker proves he is not just a “turf guy,” and that he can make surface switches when he has to. His dominance at the Meet is impressive to witness, and if I could get 4/1 on this one, that would be inviting … Kick in Brad Cox’s Mihos #2, who is also a “Prince,” might make a super Tri Box …

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

 

Race 9: Turf, 5½F, Turf, ALLW90k, F&M3+ NY Breds

New York racers that are born and bred on the Empire soil will be on display in this speed turf event. I wish I had some crazy long shot in my back pocket to give out, but I can say that I would like to take a stand against Linda Rice’s Uncle’s Gem #1. I rarely play the #1 hole in grass sprints for several reasons. The main one … getting caught along the rail is not particularly inviting. This one out of Uncle Mo is bred well for the lawn, and of course, with Irad Ortiz you are getting an Eclipse Award winning rider. All this adds up to a runner that will be over bet. I want no part of it.

Instead, I much prefer Christophe Clement’s Snicket #10, who offers better value, with Joel Rosario aboard. When this trainer and rider get together, they can form a powerful combination. Getting back to the turf should suit, as last time the filly was forced off due to rain. Still, she ran well in that ALLW90k, and only lost by a nose in her 1st visit to Saratoga. The Clement Barn can get hot quickly, so one wants to have pots of cash ready to go at a moment’s notice. I am just hoping Rosario can make the right call when the chips are down. Sometimes his top of the lane decisions to switch leads or cut them out, doesn’t take. I will take him this time …

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

 

Race 10: Turf, 1 1/16th, MC75k, 3+

As we head to the Inner Turf, we have a real slugfest on our hands to round out this Thursday. It is time to come to play, and if you cannot make a decision here, then it is probably time to take it to the house. There are some logical ones that I am sure will take money … look to Chad Brown’s Amano #3 to lead the cash infusion … This is one of the colder colts, and the gelding out of Temple City gets Irad Ortiz in the saddle. That is not a reason to back him because though his conditioner is impressive, there is a long layoff to contend with coming into this race. I would look elsewhere because he probably needs one, even against this field.

Another one that entices is Mike Maker’s Group Hug #4, who is doing the opposite of what his trainer did in an earlier contest—switching from the dirt to the turf. That could be a dicey proposition since the colt has not really flashed much ability of late. Races at Churchill (2x) and the last at Saratoga, were lackluster at best. I am not convinced this choice is the best. Still, I must say that Ricardo Santana is riding on the grass as well as I have seen him in recent years. He is taking some pointers from the likes of Irad and Luis Saez … but in all seriousness, it is great to witness.

I want to use these 2 runners, but my top selection comes from Todd Pletcher’s midst, and this one could be dangerous. I realize that like Maker’s entry, Abaan #12 will be taking to turf after running on the dirt. I much prefer the bloodlines traveling through this one compared to the former. Plus, Pletcher did this just yesterday, and that entry won nicely in Race 7. Now, I understand that is a lateral comparison, but I think it could hold here. Seeing the Eclipse Thoroughbreds colors of black, light blue, and white sleeves is a welcome sight for this gelding who is coming down from the MSW100k level. I like that “dogs out” work from a week ago. A .48 is sharp … The real news is Luis Saez, the leading rider at The SPA, is back aboard and ready to go. His turf riding skills are on par with the very best in the North American game. Nice set of angles, if you ask me …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 3/4/12

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

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