It’s just your typical Wednesday card at Saratoga–one which happens to feature the much anticipated return of last year’s champion two-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia. I’ll get to that race later, but first I have a couple opinions in earlier races:
Race 4: Maiden Claiming $25,000 at five and one half furlongs on the turf
Likely favorite Momentum Investor looks pretty logical in here and figures not to offer much value. Instead, I’m going to try a relatively new face to this division. Big Red Talent (#4) has made one start over turf and it was the best race of his life. That day, he sped out to a clear lead through very quick fractions going a mile and still held on well through the stretch to be second. In his five other starts, he has not run quite as fast, but keep in mind that of those five dirt races, four were originally scheduled for turf. That indicates to me that his connections know this is a turf horse and have just had terribly bad luck with weather. His pedigree certainly suggests that turf is his preferred surface since he is by decent turf sire Orientate and out of a Sky Classic mare that is from a family of capable turf horses. Today he gets blinkers on, and although there is other speed in this race, I’m hoping he is just the speed of the speed and takes this field wire to wire as he relishes the lawn.
BEST BET OF THE DAY: $20 WIN 4 (BIG RED TALENT)
Race 6: Beaten Claiming $35,000 at six furlongs
This is a very tough race in which almost any of the seven left in the race can win, but I have a horse that I’ve been waiting to bet back in the right spot and that is Marvelous Margaret (#5). Two races back, she got in a world of trouble through the stretch as jockey Jose Lezcano tried to will her to go through a hole on the rail. It was a tight spot and she lost many lengths of momentum steadying before she finally got through. She would have won that day and ran much better than her 59 Beyer speed figure would suggest. Next time out, she actually ran a solid race on the turf despite that probably not being her favorite surface and seven furlongs perhaps being a tad too far for her. Today she gets back sprinting on dirt and has enough tactical speed to stay within range of likely favorite Union Victory early.
$10 Win 5
Race 7: NY-bred Maiden special weight at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
My “Horses to Watch” list has been pretty quiet of late as I’ve stepped up my coverage of the Saratoga meet, but I have two that show up in this spot with legitimate chances. The one I prefer slightly over the other is Mr. Cowboy (#6), who was placed on the list after his race three back when he was running on strongly before dropping his jockey. He validated my thoughts about him in his next start when he stepped up to run a respectable third at nearly 12-1 and then had a race rained off the turf last time. Now he gets in a race without a lot of early speed, so he may be at an advantage having shown the ability to run close to the pace early. His turf race two back may be good enough and he figures to be an overlay with the consistent Post Pattern in the gate just to his inside.
Frisky Cat (#10) has been a bit more frustrating since being placed on the list. He came with a late rush going seven furlongs on May 12th to just miss breaking his maiden in an effort that suggested he may be a good horse. However, in two subsequent starts, he has just been dull. He’s also received two not exactly perfect rides from Ariel Smith and today gets Alan Garcia climbing aboard, so I will give him on more chance. His pedigree is the main reason I am keeping the faith, since his dam is a full sister to Riskaverse and he is by good turf sire Tale of the Cat. The potential is certainly there. Frisky Cat just has to put it all together.
$10 Win 6
$6 Win 10
My Miss Aurelia
Race 8: The Mandy’s Gold Stakes at six and one half furlongs
This is the return of My Miss Aurelia and no, I’m not going to pick against, but I also won’t be betting on her. You just have to root for horses like this to return at their best because last year she showed in her final three starts of the year that she could really be a superstar in this division. I know that the time off is a major concern, but reports are that she’s working well and her connections sound cautiously optimistic. Perhaps she’s getting going too late to wheel back in the Test Stakes in just 17 days, but nevertheless, let’s hope this is just a stepping stone to greater things.