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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When these MC75k races come around, it is an intriguing moment to try and a get a winner from a class category that is mucho unusual. This event is on the turf, so it carries even more interest, as far as I am concerned. It is a foregone conclusion that the coupled Klaravich runners will end up the prohibitive favorites. It is probably deserved … Coalition Building #1 and Federalist Papers #1A are both trained by Chad Brown, and each of these fillies looks capable of running away with the victory. Irad Ortiz and Manny Franco will don the red “KS,” and runs at Belmont and Tampa, respectively, are telling. I am not sure I care for the 1/1 M/L designation, so trying to beat this pair seems like an optimal plan.
As far as worthy alternatives, I did uncover a gem in Danny Gargan’s Blue Times #6. Here is a well-bred 3-yr-old out of Not This Time who is going to have the opportunity to try the turf for the first time. In this filly’s debut, she encountered an off-track, and clearly didn’t take to it. Now, in a routing situation, and hopefully on the grass, she has the opportunity to shine. This is the chance for bettors too … you are going to get Tyler Gaffalione’s services, and Gargan’s numbers are sound. I like this play quite a bit because you get the benefit of youth, but at least the one that has a run under her belt.
Don’t just wildly accept such a short price … push the envelope … find some value! Huzzah …
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Cold, 6 w 1/1A
Race 4: Dirt, 6F, Rick Violette S. $100k, 2
The 2021 Edition of the Rick V. (named for the celebrated NYRA trainer who passed away in 2018) comes up with a short, but diverse field of 5. If there are no scratches, then we could have a barnburner on our hands. Trainer Mike Maker looks to have the strongest hand, as he sends a pair of runners into this contest. Retaining the services of Ortiz Bros., Run Curtis Run #1 gets Jose, while Barese #2 draws Irad. Of course, either has the connections and breeding to win, but lest we forget … these are 2-yr-old colts we are talking about. They are still getting the feel of what a racetrack is and does, so back them with caution. Certainly, Maker’s reputation precedes him, but I like another one in here.
Mark Casse comes to Saratoga each year with a potent line-up, despite being based in both Canada and Florida. He has trained some precocious colts over the years, and has collected some important wins along the way. Coinage #3 has the potential to be another great Casse entry in the coming months, and he can notch a significant victory in this race. Out of the “spirited” Tapit, the runner took a nice step forward at Belmont last time on 17 June. Flashing some strong early speed, he rated just off the pace, and fought hard down the sandy lane to a 7-length victory with Junior Alvarado in the irons. Now, 3rd off his debut, he looks ready for a brawl.
One other who warrants consideration is the lone filly entered here, Ready A.P. #5. Owned partially by West Point Thoroughbreds, the well-bred speedster out of More Than Ready made mincemeat out of a field of 5, enroute to her debut win at Belmont 1 July. That was a “going away” type effort, and she won easily by 8+ lengths. Luis Saez was at the controls for that test flight, and he is back aboard once again. Christophe Clement has a developing ace in his barn, and this one could be a ringer in a race full of budding talent. I would give a slight edge to Casse’s runner at this point … but a Paddock watch is certainly in order, as they make their way around the saddling ring. Who will be at the top of the tote come 2 minutes-to-post? That is anyone’s guess in a quality field like this one.
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #3
Race 8: Turf, 5½F, AOC45k, 3+
Here is an ALLW contest in which we have 9 trying the Mellon Turf. These 5-furlong and then some, are hustling sprints that require a balance of urgency mixed with a dosage of patience. Jockeys have a clear choice … go too fast early and you burn out … go too slow early and you may be out of it. A turf sprint creed, if there ever was one.
In this spot, I am decidedly against Three Outlaws #10 (4/1) and Fast Getaway #12 (5/2), who I believe will point towards the top of the tote with 5 or 10 to go. They are overpriced, and they will probably take significant money. Sure, they come from barns like Rob Atras and Linda Rice, but that is not a reason to blindly follow them into the fray. Both of these runners failed to seal the deal the last time they hit the track at Belmont. They will face a bit of a “shortening” @The SPA. That may well be the small angle that could undo them, along with a controlled pace.
I think the antidote to simply playing the chalks (including also Discretionary Marq #1), is to consider an extreme outside … one that will be overlooked because of the lack of any turf experience, and who has 3, count’em, 5th place finishes in a row. Trainer Chad Brown though has a winner in Gandy Dancing #9, and I am going to be there when the gelding out of Flatter crosses the wire. He gets Manny Franco, and should have the opportunity to improve. By the way, this runner already has a win over the MT at Saratoga. Nod to that fact, indeed … Brown knows a thing or two about spotting a horse on the turf, and though he is not known for sprinters like Wesley Ward, this one can make a significant splash … and should.
A tough dirt ALLW Co. race at a good distance finds us, and this one is not for the faint of heart. If you think that Bill Mott’s 4-yr-old out of Speightstown, Forza Di Oro #2, is ready to go off-the-bench, then that is your bet. I would wager that if Don Alberto’s homebred is ready to fire, he could be a cinch to win. His record speaks to being up to that challenge. A case in point was last October when he won at Belmont after being off for virtually the previous year. Mott is a master, no question, but this is still hard to do, even for the most-talented of Thoroughbreds. Accepting 9/5 is a tough one to swallow.
I would much rather back a runner like Highest Honors #3 or Empty Tomb #5 because you know that Chad Brown and Mike Maker will have this race sighted correctly. Each offers strong jockeys aboard in the Ortiz Bros., and they have the ability to win at a class level like this one. Still, it is not quite an aggressive pick, especially because we know Irad’s mount (#5) will get bet down heavily—always does. The same could be said for Kelly Breen’s West Will Power #1, who gets Joel Rosario. The Bernardini colt missed in the Salvator Mile (G3) last out, but his record before that jump was pretty smart-looking. He is lightly-raced, and that might be enticing to some, even though the 3/1 M/L is not exactly “value.”
Trainer Robertino Diodoro once again comes to Saratoga Springs, and the red/green/white racing program (that resembles Ferrari) is ready for action. Diodoro notched a win on the first day of the Meet, and he is looking for more. His entry American Dubai #7 has some real advantages. Out of E Dubai (Mr. Prospector) he can handle the 1 1/8th, and even better news is where he is coming from—Oaklawn. Those races are so tough, and though he was 4th in the Blame150k last time, that was against the likes of Mighty Heart and Night Ops. Those are some names … David Cohen has ridden this seasoned 8-yr-old the past 2 races after he was claimed by the new barn, and the class drop here could make him an outsider with a shot. A real plus … his early speed, which could be used to get out on the engine, and take it wire-to-wire. You know he is going to hover around double-digits. I think he is cranked and ready to score!