Another week in Saratoga Springs, New York is upon us ... Some of the best Thoroughbred racing in the world is at The SPA! Today, we have a juicy Late Pick 4 on tap for you. Also, check out our full slate of selections, plus our signature plays and in-depth analysis. It is going to be some excellent racing!
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These types of turf sprints are difficult to say the least, but that only makes them all the more inviting to wager on. The main issue is that we have some younger 3-yr-old colts facing older horses for the first time. Jockey weights could also play a factor as we have a difference of 4 lbs. between those age groups. You might consider that too.
It would be easy to just “Single” Montauk Daddy #1 out of the hot barn of Rob Atras. Let’s face it, this grass specialist was 2nd last time in at race at the same class level as this one. At 8/5, the colt gets that price probably because of who is riding him—Irad Ortiz. Even as a 4-yr-old, I am not convinced that this frontend-er is the pick. Use him … maybe … but the play could be elsewhere. Speaking of others, I like the look of Christophe Clement’s Determined Fury #8. This 4-yr-old colt has some mediocre sod lines through Tale of the Cat and Majestique. This one though had a solid MC40k win last time, and the best news is he is part-owned by West Point Thoroughbreds. Terry Finley and his excellent team always put together a quality set of investments for all involved. Manny Franco is aboard once again, and his grass ability is slowly improving. This is one to watch.
One longer shot that should not be overlooked is Rusty Arnold’s Seussian-named, Thing #12. The gelding is one of those 3-yr-olds. Out of Frosted, this is a sire that I think has the capability to be one of the best in North America. These are versatile runners, and they can move quickly when they need to. The reason this one is such a high price on the M/L (15/1) is that though he won last time, it was at Indiana Grand. I like the angle because he really held up nicely in an MC30k. That may not exactly equate with that same level at Belmont, but Luis Saez is aboard. His riding at The SPA is pretty impressive at the top of the heap. Let’s see if he can get the job done on the Mellon Turf.
Race 8: Dirt, 7F, Shine Again Stakes, $120k, F&M 4+
The leg of this sequence that might seem the easiest probably isn’t. Making a case for Bill Mott’s Aunt Kat #2 appears quite simple. The older filly has 3 wins under her belt of late. My problem with those is that no one really got after her late, and she was continually throttled back towards the end. No doubt the factions were hot, so she was “sent,” and then it was over. I would imagine that quite a bit of money will be headed into her coffers. One other problem is her speed figs … that last race was a digression, and you never like to see that.
Instead of backing her, I want to put my weight behind the “co-favorite” because Bayerness #1 is a great class choice based on her background. She was up against some stiff company as she ratcheted upwards in the Bed ‘o Roses S. (G3), and I do not think she came out that worse for wear. Her energy was impressive up against the likes of Lake Avenue and eventual winner, Estilo Talentoso. A debut at Monmouth was a 2nd place in the Regret S. to Steve Asmussen’s Honey I’m Good … only losing by a neck. I think she is a worthy favorite in this instance, and a “Single.” Using her in other exotics along with long shot Honor Way #5 who likes Saratoga, makes a ton of sense.
Pick 4, Leg 2: 1
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1/2/5
Race 9: Turf, 1 1/8th, AOC100k, 3+
If you are looking to take a turn on the Inner Turf, here is a distance contest that will probe the very depths of your ‘capping ability. Of these 7 that are tabbed for the grass, favoritism resides with Todd Pletcher’s En Wye Cee #1 … license plate? Competing last out in the Knickerbocker (G2) at Belmont last October gives her a class nod in this AOC100k, but that is a ton of time off. Even with Jose Ortiz’s skill of late on the sod, that is an “ask.” Pletcher tried it last year on this surface at 1 Mile, and the 5-yr-old, finished 3rd. These Declaration of War-types are excellent on the turf, and they seem to get better with age. No doubt one to include … As for a top selection, you could go with the obvious ones … Brown-Ortiz with L’Imperator #2 or George Weaver’s Ever Dangerous #3. Those make a ton of sense, and I think betting them is plausible. But the odds are going to be watered down by post time, and you would do well to look elsewhere.
To think differently, what about Jonathan Thomas’ Burning Bright #5? He is a conditioner with major upside, and he uses Turfway Park effectively as a winter base. Augustin Stable has this homebred ready for the turf, and he would have tried it back at Belmont in late May, but it rained … a bunch. Out of wily super sire Empire Maker (whose slop running is well documented in his offspring), I think he can get this done. His price will drift up from 6/1, and he could settle around 9/1. Manny Franco is not the best on turf, but he is thoroughly tolerable in my estimation. Thomas is a go … One other to think seriously about is one of my favorites … Bodecream #7. Mike Maker is quite simply one of the best because he trust his teams out there at racetracks outside his home in Central Kentucky. This runner out of Bodemeister for Repole Stable was down at Gulfstream plying his grass trade back in the spring before heading to NYRA. He can be dangerous with Tyler Gaffalione riding.
What a mix we have here …
Pick 4, Leg 3: 1/2/3/5/7
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #5
Race 10: Turf, St.ALLW50k, F&M 3+
As we did in the 1st Leg, this race brings together a mix of ages. This time around, the condition dictates that female runners will face one another, as they battle it out in this wide-ranging age group. Out of this large field of 12, going as deep as possible might be the play, and if you can afford it.
One to include is the lightly-raced filly out of Temple City, from the excellent barn of Jonathan Thomas, who I just mentioned in the prior race. Obviously, Be Up #2 is well-bred for the turf (aptly-named for a grass runner), the Augustin Stable-owned router was over at Delaware Park for her debut, and she broke her maiden rather easily. Thomas then upped the ante and sent her into a “Non-G” 75k contest, where she finished off-the-board. That was not an easy contest, so dropping into this spot sounds like a plan as Luis Saez takes over the riding duties. I like her, but want to explore some other options too.
If you are looking for a runner with deeper experience, then the folks at Repole Stable have once again paired with Todd Pletcher to bring us the Ramsey bred, Kitten by the Sea #5. Kittens just keep coming … This one is a 5-yr-old mare with some extensive NYRA experience, and though she hasn’t won at The SPA, she has hit-the-board 2x. Having Jose Ortiz aboard makes her an even greater contender. If he can rate her properly throughout, then he might have a shot late down the lane.
My top pick though comes from Wayne Potts’ outfit—Evidence Based #8. He has a filly out of More Than Ready, and the former Chad Brown/Klaravich turfer did not get to do any running on the sod for her new establishment last time at Saratoga. It was an off-track that day, and she was clearly non-plussed by having to get her shoes dirty. Now, coming into this spot, it looks like an inviting prospect, especially with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons. Let’s not forget how good he was a at Keeneland and Churchill. His decision-making can be on par with the very best. The filly comes into this race in what is essentially 3rd in the form cycle. Who doesn’t like that angle?
Pick 4, Leg 4: 2/5/8
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 2/5/8
Enjoy some action from the SPA! The tradition at Saratoga Race Course marches on …