There’s quite a bit of filler on Monday’s card, but I see at least two races that are worth discussing, including the highly anticipated return of Saratoga debut winner Our Amazing Rose in the eighth race.
Race 1: Maiden Claiming $35,000 at 1 1/16 miles for three year-old fillies
It’s very possible that the gold rail we saw yesterday will carry over into today’s card, but I’m just not the type of handicapper who likes to analyze races assuming a bias will be present. It’s useful to know when surfaces have become biased and keep detailed records of such occurrences, but making money by just blindly betting inside speeds is not what draws me to this game.
I’m assuming that many horseplayers will enter this card having handicapped for the bias and will therefore gravitate towards the probable inside speed Alice and Trixie in this race. On a fair racetrack, I would not like Alice and Trixie at all. She proved on January 17th that she wants no part of a route of ground as she stopped to walk in the final furlong against a field that may have been even weaker than the one she meets today. In all likelihood Alice and Trixe is going to be an odds-on favorite here as many will assume that she will play out to be the inside speed. That may very well be the case, but I don’t see the appeal of betting an underlaid favorite that will need the help of a biased racetrack in order to win.
I strongly prefer Wild Faith (#5). Her debut is better than it looks on paper as she broke about two lengths slowly and, despite not passing any horses in the stretch, actually made up quite a bit of ground in the final quarter mile. (Watch the replay) That field was also tougher than the $16,000 price tag might suggest. The winner that day, Jen’s Miracle, returned to improve her Beyer figure by 12 points in her next start while the third place finisher, Star Magnolia, returned to break her maiden next out with a figure 32 points higher.
Wild Faith is also bred to run much farther than the six furlongs she encountered in her debut. Her sire, Denis of Cork, finished third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes and is a son of promising stamina influence Harlan’s Holiday. Her dam was unraced, but she is by Sarava, the upset winner of the 2002 Belmont Stakes and is inbred to the top broodmare Lady Rhythm, who is also the ancestress of top Canadian racemare Wilderness Song. Wild Faith should love this stretch out in distance and could show more speed if she’s able to break with the field today.
The nature of the racing surface may play a factor in the results, but regardless, I think Wild Faith is the right horse to bet. [Update: Alice and Trixie was scratched, which makes this a slightly less appealing wagering race. However, I’m still very interested in Wild Faith.]
$15 Win 5
Race 8: Optional Claiming $75,000/N1X at six furlongs for three year-old fillies
In case you missed Our Amazing Rose’s (#3) debut last summer at Saratoga, it’s worth taking a look. She wasn’t the quickest filly out of the gate, but she showed excellent acceleration on the far turn to inhale the frontrunner and run off to a large lead by the time she reached the head of the stretch. John Velazquez kept after her as she ran through the wire, but she did so in dazzling time earning a 91 Beyer speed figure.
I was in attendance that day and was thinking I had probably just seen the early favorite for the Spinaway. Things didn’t work out that way as Our Amazing Rose had problems with colic and needed surgery to repair the problem. Pletcher took his time bringing her back, but reports are that she’s been training well down at Palm Meadows. She likely won’t need to be at her fittest today since she’s not meeting any serious competition in this race. She deserves to be a heavy favorite and I wouldn’t play against her on the win end.
I will, however, use a horse underneath to complete the exacta as I believe Go West Marie (#8) is the most likely runner to pick up the pieces late for a minor award. Our Amazing Rose’s primary challengers for the lead—Killaday and Lady Liana—should also be the second and third choices, respectively, in the wagering. Killaday is a horse that you’re supposed to bet against since she rode a gold rail to her maiden victory and we don’t yet know if she’s nearly as good as her flashy win might suggest. Lady Liana won a maiden claiming race of suspect quality at Gulfstream last time and is sure to be sent from the inside under Rajiv Maragh. I’m just not sure that she’s good enough to tangle with Our Amazing Rose early and still hang on for second.
Go West Marie looks slower than those two aforementioned fillies on paper, but her last race is better than it looks as she was forced to make a four-wide move on the turn and, according to Trakus, actually ran a faster race than the winner. That filly, Red Minx, returned to run a respectable fourth in Saturday’s Cicada and at least legitimized the race. I expect Irad Ortiz, Jr. to take her back early and try to make one run.