I know it looks like I’m spending a bit today, but I think the races warrant it. I see a few spots to potentially make nice scores. A few of you might say that I should be preserving my bankroll at this point, but what’s the fun in that? If I end up having a winning meet, I don’t want it to be due to me having played it safe over the last few days. In that sense, you have to view it as just another day – just another day at the toughest meet in the country, that is.
Friday, September 4
Race 1: Maiden Special Weight at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf
6 – Ready for You
I’m inclined to gravitate towards those with turf experience, and the one I want most is Ready for You (#6). I was at the track on the day of this one’s debut and he was acting a bit studdish and green prior to the race, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since Ian Wilkes’s firsters are rarely cranked up to win first out. This one should have benefitted from that effort, has worked well since, and will be tough to beat if he improves at all off that debut effort.
$15 Win 6
$4 Exacta Key Box 6 with 4,7
Race 3: Optional Claiming $40,000/N2X at one mile on the turf for NY-bred fillies and mares
3 – Capriana
5 – Graceful Gal
I view Capriana (#3) as perhaps the most likely winner on the card. Her maiden score was awesome and, while her effort last time felt disappointing at the time, in retrospect I think it was a strong effort. Neck of the Moon came back to run a very good 3rd against open company on Travers day and 3rd place finisher Swear By It returned to run a good 4th in the Yaddo.
Capriana’s main competition figures to come from Ack Naughty, but I think this one will be overbet off a visually impressive win against a pretty subpar field. I’ll actually try to beat her out of the exacta with Graceful Gal (#5), who was always out of position last time and wide on the turns.
$15 Exacta 3-5
$10 Trifecta 3 with 1,5 with 1,5
Race 5: Claiming $12,500 at 6 1/2 furlongs
7 – Noble Doss
Bet the Power is the horse to beat, but do you really need him at even money as he once again drops for new connections? My pick is Noble Doss (#7). He has races going back that would make him tough, and maybe racing 3 times in 24 days was just too much off the layoff. Bruce Levine has great numbers both turning back off the claim and with recent acquisitions coming off short layoffs like this.
$15 Win 7
$5 Exacta Box 7,9
Race 7: Maiden Special Weight at 6 1/2 furlongs for NY-bred 2-year-olds
1 – Championofthenile
I’m going to guess that they didn’t pay $840,000 for a turf sprinter and that Championofthenile’s (#1) first start was just a prep. This one was bought for that much off a fast dirt workout and really doesn’t have that much turf pedigree. Linda Rice also does well with maidens switching to dirt in their second starts (5-for-25, 13 ITM, $2.29 ROI over the last 5 years).
As for others, Awesome Gent feels like the live Pletcher runner and Mind Your Biscuits and New York Song would be dangerous if they get in.
$15 Win 1 (Payout: $76.50)
$5 Exacta Key Box 1 with 2,11 (Payout: $88.00)
Race 8: Claiming $35,000N3L at one mile on the turf for fillies and mares
1 – Comfort Level
3 – Tizsational (scratched)
This is the kind of race that makes Saratoga so great: horses coming from different directions, with a lot going on and much to discuss. Willow U looks like the favorite, though she doesn’t figure to get the same comfortable trip she’s been enjoying as of late, so I’m against. There is pace in here and I think the best closer is Swoop (#10), who ran okay last time and may improve again 3rd time off the layoff. However, there are others that I find interesting, at bigger prices.
How about Comfort Level (#1)? I know her turf form doesn’t look like much but she faced a decent field at Kentucky Downs in her second start and is actually bred for this surface. Unlike some others, she drew a great post and goes out for the sharp Danny Gargan, who has already connected with a couple long shots at this meet.
I’m also interested in Tizsational (#3), who figures to be a huge price. I find it intriguing that they’re bringing her back for this race after having shipped out following her off the turf flop earlier in the meet. She’s been okay on occasion and while there’s not significant turf pedigree on the dam’s side, she’s by 21% turf sire Tizdejavu. She’s not the likeliest winner, but worth a look at a price.
$10 Win/Place 1
$5 Exacta Box 1,10
$2 Exacta Key Box 1 with 5,6,8,11
Race 9: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for fillies and mares
9 – Iroquois Girl
For me, this one is all about Iroquois Girl (#9), who would have won last time had she not gotten away slowly. She was good before the layoff and she appears to have returned in fine form. The outside post should allow her to chase Laura Can Disco early and I think she’ll prove better than these.
$25 Win 9 (Payout: $75.00)
$10 Exacta 9 with 2,3,7 (Payout: $104.00)
$4 Trifecta 9 with 2,3,7 with 2,3,7
Race 10: Maiden Claiming $40,000 at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for NY-breds
7 – Heavenly Sun
In the finale, I’m most interested in the maiden special weight droppers, and the one I want most is Heavenly Sun (#7). This horse hasn’t disgraced himself in much tougher races and was basically eliminated at the start last time when he clipped heels. I don’t love the choice of rider, but the low-profile connections should drive up the price.
$10 Win/Place 7
$2 Exacta Key Box 7 with 3,4,8,9