Saratoga, Race 1: Claiming $20,000B at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
I don’t trust the favorites in this race so I’m taking shots with a couple of long shots.
Discreet Code (#1) made his turf debut last time and it’s a race that is worth watching. The comment is correct. He broke about two to three lengths slowly and lingered well back for the early portion of the race. Entering the stretch Guillermo Rodriguez guided Discreet Code down to the rail and he had to weave his way through traffic while trying to rally. Overall, it was not a bad effort and showed that he can handle the turf, which should come as no surprise given his pedigree. Discreet Cat is emerging as a capable turf sire and Discreet Code’s dam’s only win was accomplished over turf. She has also produced a multiple turf winner. Today Discreet Code gets an important jockey switch to Irad Ortiz, Jr., who is riding very well right now. With a cleaner break, I think he can have a say in this race.
I’ll also make another wager on Cash Your Ticket (#10), who has burned me many times. He has a habit of breaking slowly and giving himself too much to do late, but I do believe he has a smidgen of turf ability. Last time he never had a chance to mount a serious rally after encountering traffic trouble at the top of the stretch. I’ll give him one more chance.
$10 Win 1
$5 Win 10
Saratoga, Race 3: Claiming $20,000B at six furlongs for fillies and mares
I very nearly made my two picks here my joint best bets of the day. I’m just very skeptical of likely favorites Pop Pop’s Smyle and Rodinia and think it might be worthwhile to try and beat them. Both of them have seen better days and Rodinia, who might be best on turf, has had trouble finding the winner’s circle over the past couple of seasons.
I’ll make Gritty Gal (#3) my top pick. She is a four-time winner racing against a group N2L claiming types so right off the bat that gives her an experience edge of this field. With the scratch of Talent N Passion, who ran on Friday, Gritty Gal could play out to be the main speed here. I know that Lenderoflastresort and Midnightinpositano have shown speed on occasion, but they’re not as fast as this filly. While it may appear that she went slightly off form at Belmont, I can make excuses for her last two efforts. In the Astonomia Stakes, she was just facing much better fillies going seven furlongs, which is a tad far for her. Then last time, she really ran the best race of all, dueling through blazing early fractions and putting away all the other speed before being swallowed up late by the closers. Mike Maker and Ken Ramsey claimed her out of that effort and have sat on her until today’s race. I’d love to get her at her morning line odds, but I doubt I will.
I also have to use Copper Bluff (#2), who gets some needed class relief here. She was facing much better fillies last time in repeat winner Galiana and She’s Stones Sis, so I can forgive that non-effort. Prior to that she put in a solid return race when a wide, closing third at Belmont. Her two year-old form is really not that bad and with routine improvement I think she is a late factor here at a price.
$15 Win 3
$10 Win 2
Saratoga, Race 6: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for two year-olds
The combination of Patent’s (#7) turf pedigree and Kiaran McLaughlin’s numbers with maidens moving to turf make this an easy selection for me. Patent is a half-brother to Tizaqueena, who won $650,000 in her career with most of her success coming on the grass. There are also two other siblings who excelled on turf and A. P. Indy is more than competent as a turf sire. Over the past five years, Kiaran McLaughlin has won with 19 of 66 starters with two and three year-old maidens moving to the turf for the first time. Again, it doesn’t hurt to have the hot Irad Ortiz, Jr. on his back and I’ll take Patent as the likely second choice here.
$15 win 7
Saratoga, Race 7: Allowance N1X at one mile on the turf for fillies and mares
I’ve always loved Dreaming of Cara (#7). Her effort first time off the layoff this season was exceptional. She was well behind a slow pace and was forced to race through traffic when Jose Ortiz made the foolish decision to try to rally inside. I feel that she could have been a winner that day with a cleaner trip. Last time she was out of position and uncovered, but still ran on well behind the top New York-bred mare Hessonite. She gets some class relief today and I think she has a big chance. I’ll bet her to win and use her under logical favorites Yes It’s Pink (#1) and Sense to Compete (#8).
I also have to throw a few dollars on Lady Clara (#10), who hasn’t done very much so far in her racing career, but has excellent pedigree to take to the grass. Hard Spun is a good turf sire and this dam has produced a turf stakes winner in Ireland. There’s more turf to be found in the second generation and I think she is a live long shot.
$15 Win 7
$4 Exacta 1/8 with 7
$5 Win 10
Saratoga, Race 9: The Adirondack Stakes (G2) at 6 1/2 furlongs for two year-old fillies
It’s hard to form concrete opinions in these races because there is a lot of guesswork to be done in assessing these inexperienced two year-olds. The most you can really do is look at pedigrees and watch these fillies’ races. Fiftyshadesofgold was certainly impressive last time in the Debutante Stakes, but that did feel like a race where many fillies just completely failed to show up. I know the second place finisher in that race, More Than Beauty, finished far behind Fiftyshadesofgold, but she came back to disappoint when fifth behind Designer Legs in the Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes. Fiftyshadesofgold will be a short price here and I’m not sure that she has a huge edge on this field.
After watching the replay of Who’s In Town’s (#4) debut, I cannot pick against her in this spot. I know that she only beat three rivals that day, but the filly who finished second did come back to beat state-breds up here at Saratoga earlier in the week. However, that’s not the reason that I’m picking Who’s In Town. I suggest you watch that debut race (watch replay) because I know that I saw something special. She broke from the rail, took back, and moved outside Con Gee while rating very kindly. You could tell on the turn that Who’s In Town had the winner measured all the way and she took over facilely as the field entered the stretch. What really impressed me, though, was the last eighth of a mile. Who’s In Town had a clear lead but wasn’t really set down by Alex Cintron until late in the race. She strode out beautifully through the wire while accomplishing her final eighth of a mile in 12 flat and then galloped out very impressively far ahead of the field.
I know this is a big step up in class today, but this filly has a very similar look to her that Union Rags did prior to the 2011 Saratoga Special. Who’s In Town impressed in a recent workout over this main track with Joel Rosario aboard and I think she’s a major threat to the favorite. I’ll bet her to win and use her under Fiftyshadesofgold (#2) and Thank You Marylou (#3), who was impressive on turf at Colonial but is bred for dirt.
$15 Win 4
$5 Exacta 2/3 with 4