Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, August 11, 2017
We’re nearing the halfway point of the Saratoga season; today’s program marks day 19 of racing at the Spa. The headliner is the Tale of the Cat Stakes, which will go as the eighth race out of ten.
Paul Hundley (@vapaul67) will be providing FREE picks & analysis of all 10 races. Be sure to give Paul a follow on twitter; he’ll be handicapping Saratoga every Friday of the meet.
Take it away, Paul!
Today marks Day 19 in the 40 day Saratoga meet, so if you’re a math wizard like I am you know that means we’re about halfway through already! We have a nice 10 race card highlighted by the Tale of the Cat Stakes in race 8. We did ok last week with $4.20, $12, and $10.20 winners, the latter our pick of the day. Let’s get into today’s card.
RACE 1: It’s the return of the suggested Pick 5 play! Honestly, I think this 12.5K claimer comes down to 2 horses, 5-LA INESPERADA has what most in here don’t, a win at the 9F distance. Also 3/3 ITM @ Saratoga, including a win there last year at today’s distance at the $25K level. Switches to a higher percentage barn, though not necessarily at this meet so far, in Steve Asmussen. Asmussen 19% first off the claim, 27% dropping in class after a claim, and 27% with horses who were a beaten favorite last out. Also gets a big Jockey upgrade from Dylan Davis to Jose Ortiz.
4- Midnight Bounty is the only other one in here I think could challenge top pick. Has been mainly sprinting, so I look for her to be showing good early speed stretching out, which may hinder the 5 if Ortiz decides they also want the lead early. ‘Bounty Trainer Abigail Adsit is 19% sprint to route, and throw out her 13 races on turf and off tracks where she’s winless on, her Fast dirt record is 14-5-1-3.
6-Kate is a Ten was just a nose behind top choice 2 back at 8.5 F and was well behind 2nd choice in a sprint last out. Does have a win on the course and the distance in past, but Trainer Barbara has only 1 win out of 43 starters in 2017, so hard to endorse. Singling the 5 for the Pick 5.
RACE 2: First turf event of the day, and there’s no sure thing here. 10-DYNAMIC WAR makes 2nd start at today’s level after just missing last out in first time racing for a tag. George Weaver is 20% second off the layoff, and filly is getting Lasix for the first time, which Weaver is 17% at.
2-Barstool Warrior is taking Blinkers off for Joe Sharp (40%!) and stretches out to a route distance for first time since his debut. Also 2nd off the claim (21%) and 3rd off the layoff (22%).
7-Lion in Wait is first off the claim for Raymond Handal, has 3 runner-up finishes in a row at this level. Also using the 6 in the Pick 5 as well as these 3.
RACE 3: I’m not crazy about anybody in here to be honest, The 2 ,5, and 6 come out of a common race at today’s level. Going a different route with 4-BLUE BELT, who has never been on turf but has ran a couple of times on polytrack at Arlington. Though Trainer Larry Rivelli is only 12% first turf, he’s 32% first time having a horse in for a tag(though, I’m not sure if that applies here, since it appears he was in for $75K last out) and does get Jose Ortiz aboard, who rode this 3 year old gelding 3 starts back vs tougher.
6-Alaskan Prince was just beaten at this level last out and is making 2nd start under George Weaver. Should get a solid pace to run at.
3-Kristofferson ran a well beaten 2nd at the distance at Laurel after racing in Canada for his whole career before that. Willing to give this one a shot in the Pick 5 because that race was his turf debut. Using these 3 for Pick 5.
RACE 4: 2-PLAY BIG cuts back to 6 furlongs after trying 1 mile versus slightly tougher last out at Belmont. Is also 1st off the claim for Diodoro (25%) and he’s 22% dropping off a claim. Also 26% sprint-route-sprint.
5-Hard Hitter just missed at today’s level 2 weeks ago here after dropping from 25K, Rice 30% beaten favorite.
6-Star Empire had trouble at this level two back before a decent 2nd vs straight 25K claimers versus 3 year olds. Also using the 4-Swift One for the Pick 5.
RACE 5: I hate to keep eating chalk, but you gotta eat what they give you sometimes or starve. 4-POCKET BOOK (are they running out of names?) led nearly every step of the way in her debut at Gulfstream, getting caught right before the wire by Earth. She was 5 3/4 lengths ahead of 3rd place Seattle Treasure, who won his next outing. That was versus males, so now she gets to try other fillies. Ward not having a great meet but if she runs to her debut hard to see her getting beat.
I will use another for the Pick 5, however, besides her, 8-Cyrielle, a $300K purchase by Animal Kingdom, FTS for Motion(17%) .
While not included on my P5 ticket, 5-Girl’s Night is the other Ward and he has tried twice unsuccessfully to get her on turf. Very good early speed.
Pick 5: 5/2,6,7,10/3,4,6/2,4,5,6/4,8 a $48 ticket
RACE 6: 2-D’FUNNYTHING did fail at this level last out after coming in from Finger Lakes, but was claimed by Charlton Baker (18%) and does have very good early speed. Like the confidence bringing him back in this spot.
6-Bookman gets blinkers and is making 2nd start with Joe Sharp(25%). Only start on a fast conventional dirt track was a win.
4-Benevolence has a trio of 2nds and is probably getting the reputation for being a hanger.
RACE 7: 8-SET ME UP makes 3 year old debut for Pletcher and drops in for tag(35% MSW to MC) and he’s 30% coming back off 90 days or longer. Did run two competitive races on turf as a two year old, one losing to Mo Maverick.
9-Dooley, just because it’s Donk and his last race off the drop was taken off the turf.
7-Bartleby is also dropping from MSW for Mark Hennig
RACE 8: If this is on a fast track, hard to imagine 6-STALLWALKIN’ DUDE losing. Don’t judge by last, was facing probably the best sprinter in the world. Won this event last year and his only challenge I see is Weekend Hideaway, who would move up to top pick if it’s an off track.
RACE 9: 8-10-7
RACE 10: 4-6-2
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