Saratoga Thursday Picks & Analysis for July 22

Another week of Saratoga kicks off ... No. 2 is in full swing ... Check out J.N. Campbell's select analysis, as he looks to notch some winners!
Another week of Saratoga kicks off ... No. 2 is in full swing ... Check out J.N. Campbell's select analysis, as he looks to notch some winners!
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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. 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 …

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

Horse Racing Picks

Race 7: Dirt, 6F, Clm16k, F&M 3+

Young and old fillies go for the wire in this one, which has an interesting field of 10 drawn in. Mostly “chalks” get these, but you never know what horse hovering around 10/1 may have the extra drive to get it done. One of the lower-priced favorites in here is a new member of Rudy Rodriguez’s outfit. Traffic Lane #9 was over in Todd Pletcher’s barn, but Repole Stable shifted him over to RR. The Outwork filly is getting “blinks,” being ridden by expert guide Irad Ortiz, and is switching back to the turf after a couple of rides on the grass at Belmont. That all seems a bit tenuous to me.

Instead, I would much rather back a runner like the Schosberg Barn’s Irresistible Girl #2. I know this daughter of Tapiture doesn’t look like much after she took to the Belmont sand last out, and was just run out of the building (7th/20-lengths back). Now 2nd off-the-claim, she should have a much better time of it, shortening up, adding Luis Saez, and with a speedy work under her saddle. She is much better than she looks on paper, and her odds will be out of this world. Don’t forget, when she was with Brad Cox as recently as late April, she won a nice MSW75k contest. What a play!

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Cold, 2 w 9


Race 8: Turf, 1 3/8ths, AOC80k, F&M 3+

The turf routing clan will be presenting their colors, and looking to get on to the Inner Turf to strut their stuff, if they aren’t rained out. Some ‘cappers like to play the frontrunners in this spot because of the physics of the rail, but I am looking for someone who can exhibit a strong rating ability, as well as that late turn-of-foot. Should be a fun one, even though this is not an expansive field—6 will go.

Here is a question … if you hit upon a runner that you truly love, you back them, and then they lose, do you keep providing your support? Hmm … bandwagon jump or be a stalwart supporter? That predicament is precisely where I am with Graham Motion’s Mia Martina #6. Owned by the excellent Eclipse Thoroughbreds, she is a filly who showed much promise before the early March running of the Florida Oaks (G3). Her price was solid at 7/1, but her effort when it counted at Tampa was lackluster. Returning in the Aqueduct Gazelle (G3) in the chill of early April on the dirt, she was eased well before the wire.

Performances back on the grass at Pimlico and then Delaware were not awe-inspiring whatsoever. Arriving at Saratoga, it is time for this filly to right the ship, and get home with her first win since January. With Irad Ortiz, she has her best opportunity, especially considering this company. I like her chances … and I am standing pat. Back your runner … This is an Eclipse Thoroughbred, mind you … and Aron Wellman’s investments are as sound as ever. His leadership continues to impress as the light blue and black make for home.

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

Race 9: Dirt, 1 1/8th, ALLW103k, F&M 3+

Trainer Danny Gargan has a rough customer coming into this race, and the filly out of Palace Malice should be the race time favorite, if bettors choose to spurn the coupled entry of Stop Shoppin Tammy #1 and Played Hard #1A. In lieu of that choice, Ice Princess #3 is mighty strong-looking, and she already has almost $250k to her name in earnings. I respect her, even though she was 4th last time at Belmont. Her numbers look solid, especially where she is in the form cycle. That Belmont tidbit might be a blessing in disguise, as runners that do not hit-the-board in Elmont, might do very well upstate in Saratoga.

I will be willing to take a stand against her in this ALLW Co. spot. In actuality, I like her boxcar-priced gatemate who is right next door at 15/1. Iaintfraidanoghost #4 is a clever homage to her sire Ghostzapper and the movie Ghostbusters. This is one of those fillies who last out was graduating into higher company after running in the MSW ranks. Though she finished 5th last month at Belmont, that was not much worse than what Gargan’s charge did. Sure, the speed figs are not equal, but those are not everything. I continue to argue that Jeremiah Englehart is one of the most underrated trainers in America. Don’t forget about his runners, especially at NYRA courses …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1/1A/2/3


Race 10: Turf, 5½F, MC50k, F&M 3+

The final leg of the Thursday card is a tough turf sprint that is sure to test any ‘capper’s courage. That is going to be particularly the case if the grass is yielding on the Mellon Turf. So as not to beat around the bush, my top selection is Ray Handal’s Stella Mars #12. This 3-yr-old filly, out of Point of Entry and Romance Is Passion, is coming off a lovely 2nd place finish last time at Belmont on the grass at 6F. She is pretty fit after a busy winter and spring, and should be ready to go. Handal’s numbers in turf spots are not impressive, but his layoff runners do well. I would expect her to make this lateral move with no issues whatsoever.

Others like Tom Morley’s Social Whirl #4 will take money, but I don’t think that 3-yr-old is any more suited to the sod than Handal’s entrant. Remember, these Romance-types are sound on the grass, and I like the choice of Joel Rosario. He handles (no pun intended …) grass sprints impressively. This one should be a square price around 3/1, when the “minutes-to-post” hits 0, and it is time to load. This one is a clear winner, in my book!

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #12


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

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