Saratoga, Race 3: Maiden Special Weight at five furlongs for two year-olds
If Pure Sensation (#3) runs nearly as well as he did in his debut he’s going to win this race with ease. The only downside could be his odds, since he’s likely to be a favorite. However, in cases such as this, I think you have to go in with a price in mind that you believe to be fair. I personally think that anything at or above 4-5 would be fair odds on this horse and I’m hoping that he drifts above that price. Many bettors might be fooled by Pecorino, who was dead on the board in his debut and did not show much behind second time starter Big Sugar Soda in a fast race. Pure Sensation did considerably more running in his debut by dueling three-wide with Saratoga Special (G2) winner Corfu in an extremely determined first out effort. If that race didn’t take too much out of him, he’s just going to win today.
I’ll bet him to win at reasonable odds and will use him in the exacta over Enthrone (#5), who races on dirt for the first time after a couple of stakes tries in Canada, and Aarons Orient (#9), if he draws in.
$25 Win 3
$5 Exacta 3 with 5/9
Saratoga, Race 5: Claiming $25,000B at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
I don’t want any horses out of the race on July 26th, in which the posted fractions and final time are both incorrect, and I’m tempted to say the same about the July 5th $35,000 claiming race, which was just pretty weak for the level. Instead I’ll take a horse coming from a different direction.
Mr. Starr’s Report (#5) began his career in New York in the barn of Todd Pletcher, but was claimed out of his second start by Jack Fisher seemingly to be turned into a hurdler. One experiment over hurdles in 2012 didn’t work out as Mr. Starr’s Report refused to start, but he ran respectably in two subsequent flat starts over the turf at Colonial Downs. He was then put away and brought back at the end of June in a claiming race again at Colonial. It may look like a lackluster effort on paper, but a viewing of the race reveals that he was contesting a hot early pace that collapsed before being taken back and subsequently shuffled back all the way to last. Carlos Marquez did not persevere with him and I think it’s clear that he needed the race off the long layoff. With improvement and a return to his 2012 form today I think he could have a say in the outcome.
$10 Win 5
Saratoga, Race 7: Maiden Special Weight at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for NY-bred two year-old fillies
Before Hangingwithsonny (#7) had made her debut I had tabbed her as a horse to keep an eye out for when she switched to turf. Seeing how well she ran that day makes me even more eager to bet her in this spot. After breaking well and showing decent speed from the rail, Bridgmohan sensed that the entire field was about to come over on him heading into the turn and took Hangingwithsonny back. She overreacted a bit, dropping well out to last before Bridgmohan could guide her to the outside to make a late rally. I know she was just passing tired horses late, but I thought it was an encouraging performance—much better than the 36 Beyer would suggest. She’s a half-sister to three turf winners, including $300,000 earner Hangingbyathread, who won 8 times on grass. Blinkers go on and she looks well meant here.
$10 Win 7
Saratoga, Race 8: The West Point Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for NY-breds
I had originally liked Mia Poppy in this race since he had run so well last time and I thought he might break away as the main speed in this race. Without him to deal with, I feel that Street Game (#6) becomes a very interesting alternative.
I think Prado would be wise to just send Street Game to the front in this spot. Mr. Vegas does have some tactical speed, but he usually only inherits the lead through very slow early fractions, Hear the Footsteps is stretching out, but has never been a frontrunner, and Abilio hasn’t displayed the speed he once possessed in his last couple of starts. However, even if one of those horses decides to go, Street Game is perfectly capable of stalking just off their flank to the outside. He loves a little cut in the ground, which he should get today, and, on his best day, is just as good as Lubash and Kharafa. As the likely third choice at or around 5-1, I think he’s a good bet.
$15 Win 6
Saratoga, Race 10: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at one mile on the turf
This is mostly a pedigree play. Razorbill (#3) is a horse that Juddmonte apparently gave up on in Europe and now he’s ended up in John Shireffs’ New York barn. I’m guessing here because I don’t know what the story is with this horse, but his pedigree is something that I just can’t ignore. His dam, High Walden, was a high class turfer who won stakes on grass in this country and placed in a Grade 2. However, she did not quite live up to her siblings, which include Elmaamul, winner of the Eclipse (G1) and Irish Champion Stakes (G1), and English Oaks (G1) winner Reams of Verse. High Walden is also a half-sister to the dam of Juddmonte’s star mare Midday, who won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in this country.
Razorbill gets Lasix today and word is that he’s been training well up here. I like to see Rosario take the call and I think this horse might be live racing in this country for the first time. I don’t think this field came up all that tough and I’m pretty interested in this horse at odds of about 8-1 or higher.
$10 Win 3
Saratoga, Race 11: Maiden Claiming $25,000 at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf
I’m just not thrilled with any of the horses who have been facing each other at this level and I want a new face. I’ll try Smokey Brown (#3), who was very sluggish early over that intensely speed favoring sloppy track on May 11th at Belmont. Some also-rans out of that race have come back to run much better and Smokey Brown really never had a chance that day. He’s bred for turf and has worked decently up here. I think he’s worth a try at double-digit odds.
$10 Win 3