Saratoga Picks & Betting Analysis for September 2

Jockey Irad Ortiz rides the favorite for Chad Brown in the P.G. Johnson ... the 'Feature' on Thursday's card at Saratoga Race Course!
Jockey Irad Ortiz rides the favorite for Chad Brown in the P.G. Johnson ... the "Feature" on Thursday's card at Saratoga Race Course!

Saratoga Race Course hurtles towards its final 4 days of glorious racing. Come step back in time with us, as we handicap and give selections for some excellent contests on the Main Track, and over the Inner and Mellon Turf Courses.

At, we will be with you every step of the way, as Labor Day, Monday September 6th marks Closing Day! Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a 10-race card that is sure to bring some major value at the betting windows. Have a look at all of our selections, and targeted analysis by our resident turf-man, J.N. Campbell.

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

Horse Racing Picks

Race 3: Dirt, 6F, Clm16k, F&M 3+

When it comes to this “claimer,” I want Joe Sharp’s trained-owned filly out of Munnings to be my sole representative when it comes to a wager in this race. In for a tag, I like this Virginia bred, and Red Pepper Grill #4 can notch her 1st score since breaking her maiden on debut way back at Colonial Downs last August. Sharp is looking for her to get her running back on track, and against a vulnerable favorite in Mike Maker’s Esotica #2, she can end up being some good value at 7/2 or higher. One other tidbit, that is more than that … the jockey that Sharp is teaming with is the leading rider, Luis Saez. He just continues to get the best out of his mounts, and he should have the chance to get this one home in good order.

Wagering Recommendation: $50 W #4


Race 4: Dirt, 7F, AOC100k, 3+

Exiting the gate on the MT chute, and running quickly towards the temporary rail down the backstretch, this small but compact field is going to be a fun one to handicap. It looks as though the venerable trainer Wayne Catalano has returned once again to Saratoga in search of another win for his well-bred colt out of Hard Spun. Aloha West #4 was a winner last out in an OC80k 6F sprint, but it was only by a slim margin—nose. It certainly makes a ton of sense to back this one, especially considering his form. Most of his back class was built at Oaklawn, Keeneland, and Churchill, so that is pretty impressive company. Joel Rosario will get the call once again for this excellently-owned 4-yr-old for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

I don’t know if 9/5 is really going to suit me, so looking at a couple of other options seems like a solution. Some bettors will be enticed by the class dropping Three Technique #5 from the barn of Jeremiah Englehart. Last out, this colt out of Mr Speaker was way back in the Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga at the end of July. That was a very odd race, but I have to wonder if there is some issue that we do not know about. This happens in racing because information is at a premium … very difficult to obtain outside of the form. Even with Irad Ortiz, this might be a poor play at 5/2. If you are looking for a class dropper, but are not excited by Rob Atras’ logical Nerud (G2) alum American Power #2, I have another one that makes a ton of sense.

I fancy Steve Asmussen’s Sonneman #3, who was running against some stiff competition through the spring. The colt out of Curlin (Asmussen’s finest) faced Chess Chief and Maxfield on 2 separate occasions, gaining valuable experience across the board. Though a dropdown to OC80k Co. was a miss, he could enjoy the change of scenery to Saratoga … a place he knows fairly well after 3 tries already. The price on this one is going to drift toward 6/1 or 7/1 … I am sure of it. With Ricardo Santana and his aggressive riding, plus some rest under him, this could be a prime overlay.

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 3 w 2/4/5


Race 7: Turf, 5½F, AOC80k, F&M 3+

Sprinting on the Mellon Turf Course, going 5½F, we want to find a runner who has some experience at this distance, but also can keep out of traffic troubles. Runners that get caught on the rail are particularly susceptible to being boxed in, so those drawn inside are at a disadvantage, unless they can break exceedingly well. Time Limit #9 for Mike Maker, John Kimmel’s Gotta Go Mo #7, and Motivated Seller #5 out of Chad Brown’s place, are all logical and will take significant money because they can handle this class level. But these fillies’ prices will be very short, and in a race like this one, you never know.

As an antidote to these favorites, I much prefer Junior Alvarado’s mount, a 5-yr-old mare out of sire Requinto (IRE), who in-turn is by the great Dansili (GB). Tiple #6 did not look like much in her 2021 debut for trainer Phil Serpe, but she has talent that lies just below the surface. Besides being well-bred, when looking over her form, she actually has an affinity for the Saratoga grass, winning on 2 prior occasions. I realize this is a different time now, and the class concerns hover silently in the corner like a ghost … still, if you could get 10/1, doesn’t that sound like a bet over some tragically-priced favorites?

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #6 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


Race 9: Turf, 1 1/16th, P.G. Johnson S. $120k, 2F

The “Thursday Feature” rolls in on the Inner Turf, and this one is a highlight of the Meet because it always brings together a good group of young fillies who might be destined for further stardom. Watch and learn … take notes, and all that. Of course, Chad Brown has the Klaravich “KS” favorite, and the economically-named member of this barn was not cheap last year when she was purchased for $313.8k. Seth (Klarman) and the gang are hoping for returns from Expand the Map #3, that include nothing short of this “Non-G” win. Their go-to rider, Irad Ortiz is aboard as usual. He is going to try and get this one home after a debut which saw his mount relinquish the lead at The SPA wire back in July. I will be steering clear of this one … unless somehow … she floats on the tote above 3/1 … probably will not happen.

As for another more attractive selection, why not really give a look to Brad Cox’s entry, Let’s Be Clear #8? Let’s … This filly out of Munnings, and thus Speightstown, has a number of attributes. The humans putting her out on the track are well-heeled and schooled, especially when it comes to entering their investments into tough races like this one. Madaket? Michael Dubb? Cox? Probably the weakest link is jockey Manny Franco, but he can ride some turf routes now and again, so I would not write him off. This filly has a pair of starts under her, and though those were dirt races, they still count of experience. In fact, that last one at Saratoga on 21 July, going 5½F, was a length victory to her credit. I see that race as a nice prep for this longer route … a veritable workout, which also served the purpose to reenforce what they are intended to be doing—racing.

Brown vs. Cox … nothing better on the sod in North America!

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 3/8


Enjoy the final week of action from the SPA! The tradition at Saratoga Race Course marches on …

Horse Racing Results
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