Is there anything better than a summer at Saratoga? It is a complex question, but it has nothing short of the easiest of answers. Once again, NYRA will host one of the most celebrated meets in all of Thoroughbred racing.
HorseRacing.net/us will be with you every step of the way, as we offer a full slate of selections, and put forth some specific analysis on a select set of races. This time of year, brings the threat of pop-up showers, so be sure to monitor the forecasts each day because it could impact the conditions on the Mellon and Inner Turf Courses. Stay tuned …
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The Sunday card is ready to roll … and Race 4 is a tough little 6F sprint on the dirt. Some logical choices would be the coupled entry of Excellent Timing #1 and Bronx Bomber #1A. Trainers Chad Brown and Joel Rosario team-up with that 1st half and this Dubb/Madaket is cutting back in distance and class. They are clearly trying to get a win at this level, instilling confidence. The latter half of the entry is Rudy Rodriguez’s gelding out of Take Charge Indy. This is a Michael Dubb runner also, and with Irad Ortiz aboard, he is surely going to be bet down even further. This is a lateral move for this one, and I am sure he will appreciate a dry surface … if it happens. Both of these are sensible picks, but their price will be 3/5 … Looking for an alternative, I am shopping for a speedster who can get to the lead and hold it. Moonachie #3 is a sleeper in here, and if Jorge Vargas can catch the break, he might be aboard a double-digit winner. Just because the short prices look like sure bets, doesn’t mean it will happen. Trainer Jeremiah Englehart has his son of Central Banker pointing in the right direction, despite the short time off. The conditioner also has an added incentive … he also owns this one.
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Cold, 3 w 1/1A
Race 7: Dirt, 6F, St.ALLW50k, F&M 3+
The Cox Barn already has 4 winners out of 8, and those numbers add up to 50%. I realize that my math skills are quite advanced for my age … If Kaely’s Sister #7, out of Maclean’s Music, is ready to fire, she is going to be virtually unbeatable. The filly did miss last time out at Churchill, but she was making a move from the Clm ranks into ALLW. Co. In her defense, she only lost by a neck, and has the chops to get this one done in here. Luis Saez’s riding was excellent coming into today, so he should be able to take over the race. If you could somehow get 4/5, that might be an acceptable price. Some will find that abhorrent … If the pace does fall apart, or for some strange reason Saez’s brain gets stolen by aliens, then look for Orlando Noda’s Master of Hope #3 to sweep in and pick up the pieces with Eric Cancel riding. This 4-yr-old filly tried to score last out at Belmont, but didn’t have enough gas in the tank in the end. Worthy alternative …
Wagering Recommendation: $50 Win, 7
Race 8: Turf, 1 1/8th, AOC80k, 3+
Taking it to the Inner Turf, we have an extremely difficult 12-horse grass route that is going to test everyone involved. In these types of situations, I am looking for an entrant who has run at this distance of 1 1/8th, but who is also well-bred for distance events like this one.
I am extremely intrigued by Todd Pletcher’s charge, No Word #12 who will get Jose Ortiz aboard. He has been riding well, trying to keep up with his brother. This colt out of Silent Name (JPN) is solid in the pedigree department. The issue for him is the layoff because we aren’t quite sure how he is going to react to being back in competition. The clue to his fitness level is, of course, his works … those look inviting, since he was ensconced at Saratoga on the Oklahoma training track scene since May. Some of those “dogs out” attempts on the grass were excellent, and that makes me think Pletcher has him in the right spot. Odds of 7/2 look pretty inviting to be honest.
As for Irad Ortiz’s whereabouts, he is riding Chad Brown’s Olympico #3, an appropriate-named runner for this time of year … don’t you think. This router has major NYRA experience, but though he is well-bred on the dam side, he is 0/4 @The SPA. Can Ortiz remedy that with a timely ride? I am not so sure … Maybe his back class will assist?
As for some other options, the directions seem limitless. For instance, you could go the Klaravich way, and invest in Value Engineering #4 (another Brown entry) who draws Javier Castellano. He ran at this distance last time and hit the board in an OC80k at Belmont. Or you could consider the Mike Maker options like Forty Under #7 and/or Conviction Trade #8. Both Three Diamonds and Paradise Farms are this conditioner’s bread-n-butter, and with both of them, they could make some noise with some prices. One other that looks very logical is Joel Rosario’s ride, the well-bred City Man #9. Christophe Clement is bringing him down to this level after he ran 9th in the Manhattan (G1) back at Belmont. The colt out of Mucho Macho Man has the ability to rate well, and can win this race for his connections.
The final SPA stakes of the weekend pits a couple of Chad Brown-trainees against one another … and then there is everyone else. No doubt that both Dunbar Road #4 and Royal Flag #7 are going to take money. Both look accomplished, and even though we have not seen the former since the LaTroienne (G1) on the KYOaks undercard back in late April, she is still a pro. Irad Ortiz rode her for just the 2nd time in a year that day, and coming off-the-bench clearly did not agree with her. Brown recalibrated after that 5th place finish, and is hoping to catch a much easier field today. That may happen, but the other entry from this excellent conditioner might have something to say. She is a Candy Ride (IRE) runner who has done little wrong since the Farish homebred graduated to stakes company last summer. Last out at Keeneland in the Doubledogdare (G3) she dueled with Cox’s Bonny South, and was summarily defeated at a short price. She is going to need more “umph” today in order to face her stablemate. These 2 “Brown-ites” could go 1-2, but what about the “other,” “other,” Brown entry?
What, you say? Another one? Yes … Gold Spirit #2 will have her detractors when they find out that she is coming to the U.S. from Chile for her stateside debut. These types have a hard time measuring up to North American standards, most argue. That is not wholly incorrect, but this one is not a lightweight by any means. She was competing in some tough Graded Co. (G1s and G2s), and her record speaks for itself. I was not supportive of her, when I went through the preview for this race a few days ago, and I thought her stablemate #7 would be a little higher price on the M/L than 5/2. Maybe the value is with the Chilean Brown entry instead? Her price of 8/1, plus the addition of Javier Castellano turns her into the sleeper pick. I like her chances of success, especially if the other 2 fail to show. Bet the import … she has major upside.