Yesterday was just spectacular. Every aspect of it. We made some money at Saratoga and got to see some excellent racing and heartwarming results as Princess of Sylmar secured a championship for her owner/breeder Ed Stanco and Robbie Davis earned his first Saratoga victory with one of my favorites, Sandyinthesun. At Arlington, another favorite of mine took a huge step forward as Stormy Len nearly took down the Secretariat Stakes (G1) and at Del Mar Discreet Marq rated for the first time and beat a pretty salty field of turf fillies.
There’s plenty of interesting racing today once again at Saratoga so let’s get to it:
Saratoga, Race 3: Claiming $35,000B at seven furlongs
There’s a lot of pace in this race so right away I’m looking for a closer. I think the two options that most people will gravitate towards are Invocation and Escape Artist. I much prefer Escape Artist (#7), who has just spent his last six races running on the wrong surface. He’s a dirt horse who got unlucky with a couple of slow paces to close out the first portion of his career running on dirt, but either of his first two races would make him very formidable in here. I don’t know if the distance will be too short, but he should get the right setup today. For insurance, I’ll also use him behind Invocation (#6), who may appreciate the turnback.
$15 Win 7
$5 Exacta 6-7
Saratoga, Race 4: Claiming $20,000B at one mile on the turf
Now that obvious standout Madam I’m Adam has come out of the fourth race it’s really become a wide open affair. I suppose that Life’s a Roar is the horse to beat, but I don’t have the utmost confidence in him. In an attempt to find a suitable alternative, I’ve based my pick in this race solely on the replay of My Pal of Pals’s (#3) last start (replay). He was bumped at the break and taken out of position early. It was an oddly run race in which Bill of Rights went to the front and just galloped away as much the best. Junior Alvarado seemed to have already allowed the thought that My Pal of Pals was not going to have any chance after the start of the race creep into his head and he just made no attempt to ride My Pal of Pals in the stretch. Yes, he had to deal with some traffic, but Junior was far too passive and should have finished at least third. The race looks a lot worse on paper than it actually was. Since I’m not scared of anyone here, I’ll take a chance with My Pal of Pals who should be a good price.
$10 Win 3 (WINNER; Payout: $82.00)
Saratoga, Race 5: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for 2 year-olds
You know I’m a sucker for a great turf pedigree and I found just that in High Ransom (#3). On the surface he’s a Hard Spun out of an Empire Maker mare, but if you dig deeper you find some very classy grass horses in his female family. His dam is a half-sister to Strut the Stage, a Grade 2 turfer who won over $1.5 million on grass. Furthermore, this dam is out of a mare who is a half-sister to the almighty Canadian champion turfer Chief Bearhart, who earned over $3 million on turf during his career. High Ransom had no business running on dirt his debut, gets on the right surface here and should take a huge step forward.
$15 Win 3
Saratoga, Race 6: Optional Claiming $14,000/N1X at 1 1/8 miles for NY-breds
This is another wide open race so naturally I’m going to seek out a price horse. Alcolite (#8) is 20-1 on the morning line and, while I doubt I’ll get that price, I do think he has a big chance to win this race. He’s a horse who really blossomed going two turns over the winter at Aqueduct despite getting some pretty puzzling rides on a few occasions. He was put away for a few months and returned with a race that was obviously a prep for something longer. He ran decently that day and should do better here. The pace of this race needs to be discussed because Saturday Appeal, Read the Proposal, Street Lord, and Beat of the Drum all have some speed. Alcolite doesn’t have to come from the clouds, but he will be sitting off that pace and I think he’s a good horse to try and fool around with at double-digit odds.
$10 Win 8
Saratoga, Race 7: Allowance N1X at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for NY-bred fillies and mares
I could have gone a lot of ways in this race and, while I’m really not in love with the horse I picked, I know that I’d be kicking myself later if she won or got into the exacta without my support since she’s just the sort of horse I like to bet. Nonnie Connie (#10) does not have any overwhelming turf pedigree, which is why I didn’t bother to bet her last time, but I think it’s worth watching that race (replay). White Crane, who I picked that day, nearly got it done at 23-1, but she got a perfect trip and I can’t take her again at a fraction of that price. My Uptown Gal had some stretch trouble, but so did Nonnie Connie, who was racing on the rail and just never found any room. It’s hard to say whether or not Irad Ortiz, Jr. had horse because he couldn’t really ride her and she never got off the inside. Maybe she’s not good enough to win and maybe she doesn’t particularly like the turf, but the opposite could easily be true and I have to bet her at what should be a huge price.
$10 Win 10
$2 Exacta 1/2/6/9 with 10
Race 8: The Lake Placid Stakes (G2) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf for 3 year-old fillies
I have the utmost respect for Tapicat (#2). She is the most likely winner of this race and has a significant tactical advantage over this field. That said, I cannot resist betting “Horse to Watch” Caroline Thomas (#7) in this smaller field and with a rider switch to Rosie Napravnik. Luis Saez is a good jockey, but he’s given this particular filly a handful of subpar rides since he got the mount on her over the winter at Gulfstream.
Going all the way back to January in the Sweetest Chant Stakes he sent her to make a three to four-wide run around the far turn to reach contention, losing valuable ground, and she still stayed on well to almost run down Premier Steps and Discreet Marq. Then in her next start, the Herecomesthebride, she had to endure a nightmare stretch run in which horses badly drifted into her path forcing her to be completely steadied out of the race (replay). After a freshening she was brought back in the Sands Point and was puzzlingly taken far off a very slow pace set by a loose on the lead Discreet Marq. Caroline Thomas did some decent running in the stretch, but Saez had already given away any chance of contending. Following that effort in the race named for her dam, Bit of Whimsy, she put in a very strong rally after being rated behind a crawling pace and nearly got it done. That was a very strong effort and signals to me that she’s a special filly. Last time she was again hampered by traffic troubles in the stretch as Saez committed to the rail and never found room (replay).
Caroline Thomas very well may be the second best filly in this race and I feel that many may dismiss her as not classing up with these. As I stated earlier, Tapicat is the filly to beat, but I do wonder if she’ll eventually prove to have some distance limitations given how brilliantly fast she is. A mile and an eighth can be testing for a frontrunner and I’m hoping Caroline Thomas can use her stamina and late kick to make it interesting late. I’ll bet her to win and also use her under Tapicat in the exacta.
BEST BET: $15 Win 7 (WINNER; Payout: $189.00)
$10 Exacta 2-7
Saratoga, Race 10: Maiden Special Weight at 1 3/8 miles on the turf
This is yet another race that feels ripe for an upset and I’m going to take a shot with Giacometti (#6). This son of Dynaformer out of A. P. Indy should love the extra distance he gets today and has run some flat races that hint at a bit of ability. He made a good, but belated late run in October at Laurel and then returned to the races going a grueling mile and a half against seasoned winners in an Allowance race on May 11th. He’s since competed in a couple of hurdle races so you know that he’s fit for this. Thomas Voss is due for some luck at this meet and at his morning line odds of 15-1 I think he’s an intriguing horse to play around with.
$10 Win 6
Saratoga, Race 11: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for 2 year-old fillies
This race clearly goes through the two who already have turf route experience, Kitten Kaboodle and Candy Kitty, but for the same reasons as I was outlining earlier when picking High Ransom, I have to take a shot with Rachel’s Temper (#3). This filly is going to be a huge price based on two non-efforts over dirt, but there is excellent turf pedigree on her dam’s side. Her dam, Fergie’s Folly, won three times on turf, but the real high class grass pedigree lies in the second generation. Fergie’s Folly has five siblings who won on turf as well as siblings who have produced stakes-quality turf horses such as $500,000 grass earner Clearly a Queen. I like to see that Rachel’s Temper had a good turf work earlier in the week and I’ll try to get her to win or place at astronomical odds.
$5 Win/Place 3