Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, August 25, 2017
New York-breds take center stage on Travers eve at Saratoga: all 11 races are for New York-breds, including several stakes. It’ll be another great day of racing on the next-to-last Friday of the Spa meet.
Paul Hundley (@vapaul67) will be providing FREE picks & analysis of the 11-race program. Be sure to give Paul a follow on twitter; he’ll be handicapping Saratoga every Friday of the meet.
Take it away, Paul!
Welcome everyone to the penultimate Friday card for the Saratoga meet in 2017. Let’s hope for better weather, turf, and bigger fields this week as opposed to last Friday. The only bright spot was we had 4 more top selection winners last week, just inching above the positive which gives us 3 weeks in a row with a positive ROI on our top picks. Today is an 11 race card featuring 6 Stakes races celebrating New York Breds. Let’s dig into today!
RACE 1: So, 2 year olds routing on the turf is not my favorite race to handicap, not going to lie. Only 2 horses in here have been today’s distance, including 2-CODRINGTON, who was 2nd beaten a 1/2 length last out. Trainer David Donk is 21% with horses making 2nd route race, and definitely the experience of having already been in a turf route is immeasurable.
1-Purely Lucky is making 2nd start for Brad Cox (27%) and has won 8 of last 22 with horses making their 2nd turf start. Was the Post Time Favorite in debut. Her Dam has produced 4 turf winners out of 10 foals to race. 5-Silverado Mist went for the lead after about a quarter mile in debut before fading. Will probably be on the lead again today for Bill Mott, who is 15% 1st route.
Also wanted to mention 3-Jody’s Song, a FTS by Scat Daddy who was a $250K yearling purchase. The sire and damsire’s first turf numbers are solid, and the Dam already has a turf winner out of her previous 2 starters.
Going to use the top 3 of these in my early Pick 5. Oh, did I forget to mention I have a Pick 5 ticket? My bad. Well, I have one, and we’re using 1,2,& 5 here.
RACE 2: The first 3 races today could be pretty chalky. 2-BUILD TO SUIT ran a race opening weekend here at the Spa so impressive that some were expecting them to possibly take a shot at the 7 furlong Allen Jerkens, but instead he winds up here. He’s 3 for 4, with the only defeat happening when they tried to stretch out to a mile at Belmont. Usually tries to come from slightly off the pace, but has shown ability to go to the front early as well. It is interesting that Chad Brown is being so patient and not pushing this one into Stakes, even of the state bred kind.
5-Runaway Lute ran 2nd here last out vs similar level and is making 3rd start of 2017. Romped in first two career races, winning by a combined 20 lengths before being put against open company in Hopeful and being well beaten. 3-Eye Luv Lulu well beaten last 2 races on an off track, which isn’t a big deal in itself as long as today stays fast. However, had ran very well on off tracks in the past so there should be a concern this one is off form. Did romp in a similar type of race to today last year at Belmont, but is 0 for 3 at Saratoga. Using the 2 and 5 for the Pick 5.
RACE 3: See first line of Race 2. Only a field of 5 here and even Stevie Wonder can see that 2-SUNSET RIDGE is a clear cut favorite and standout here. Her speed figures put her well above anyone here, and should have it all her way on the front end. The only concern with her is the unknown, specifically, she has never been today’s distance or 2 turns. Still, unless something unforeseen happens, should have no trouble winning.
Will mention 5-Bonita Bianca who is already a 3 time state bred stakes winner and the only one in here with a remote chance of winning should favorite not run her race. Singling the 2 for Pick 5.
RACE 4: This might be the race to spice up the Pick 4 and 5, two year olds sprinting on the turf. 5-SANDLOT STAR is a FTS for Jeremiah Englehart. Is by freshman sire Shanghai Bobby (14% 1st turf) and was a $210 purchase just 3 months ago, the 2nd highest sale for Bobby out of 33 2 year olds at that sale. Love the hidden bullet work 3 works back.
6-Battle Station is a FTS for Wesley Ward(24%) , who is 16% debuting on turf and the Dam has 4 winners from 5 starters. 3-Barbarossa has 2nd career race for Pletcher (27%) and makes turf debut (18%) Sire More Than Ready 13% 1st turf. Also adds Blinkers today, and flashed brief speed in debut.
Also using 2-Iron Johnny, 4-Chasindamoney, and 8-Badaboom for the Pick 5.
RACE 5: The $200K Funny Cide for 2 year olds ends the early Pick 5 sequence, and could potentially be chalk once again. 8-WHAT A CATCH is 2 for 2 for Pletcher, including a 1 length score last out going gate to wire in a $100K stakes for NY Breds. Now has the advantageous outside post, where John Velázquez can clock the speed to his inside. 7-Inalienable Rights won debut 6 weeks ago on a good, sealed track at Belmont, coming from off the pace to win going away. Junior Alvarado and Mark Hennig are 20% together since the former’s return from injury.
6-Morning Breez finished 2nd to top choice last out, switches Irad Ortiz. Was actually favored last race vs WHAT A CATCH, and Trainer Carlos Martin is 26% with beaten favorites. Using all 3 of these here.
Early Pick 5: 1,2,5/2,5/2/2,3,4,5,6,8/6,7,8
$54 Investment on a $.50 play
RACE 6: Another tough NY Bred MC 40K race routing on the turf, going with 2nd time starter 5-NEW CANAAN, who makes route debut for Linda Rice (23%) and she’s 25% second career race. Was off slow in debut, had a troubled trip and got caught 4 wide but still managed to rally to only be beaten 2 1/4 lengths. Should appreciate added distance and 2 turns.
1-Corey Q is 3rd off the layoff for Chad Brown (24%) and goes dirt to turf (21%). Is also making 2 turn debut as well as first time in for a tag on turf.
6-Grandpa’s Arianna ran decent in debut finishing midpack of 12, adds Lasix for George Weaver (18% 1st time) and JRV rides. Another who will benefit from distance and two turns.
RACE 7: The $150K Yaddo Stakes for 3 and up a mile and one sixteenth on the turf. 8-FOURSTAR CROOK has won 8 races in a row, including a Grade 3 last out at Parx, and won last year’s edition of this race on a yielding course. Is 5 for 6 at the distance and 2 for 3 at Saratoga.
10-Freudie Annie comes in from a 2nd at Laurel, beaten less than a length in an OC. Was no match for top choice 2 back, but like that they’re bringing Feargal Lynch in to ride from Laurel. Has very good early speed and if she gets loose could be dangerous.
4-Feeling Bossy either wins or finishes out of the money, but this one cuts back from 1 1/2 mile and 1 1/4 mile races to a distance she’s 3 for 3 at. Jimmy Jerkens hitting at 23% in 2017.
RACE 8: 8-9-3
8-I STILL MISS YOU is already a stakes winner, having won the Astoria in June at Belmont. Last out as a disappointment at 3-10 odds, finishing 2nd in a 4 horse field. Still, on pace figs looks the one to beat. Jeremiah Englehart is 33% with beaten favorites and Castellano to rides.
9-Trouble for Skylar comes off of dominant gate to wire win for Danny Gargan, who is 32% with last 28 starters who broke their maiden last out. Gargan and Carmouche are 5 for last 12 together.
3-Pauseforthecause also won debut gate to wire, though not as convincing as ‘Skylar’. Is by former Stakes Winner SPRITELY. Hard to tell off one race the definitive running style of a horse, so not sure if she loves to be in front or just got the lead by default. The sprint races at this meet so far have been dominated by early speed, so it makes sense to look at the horses that can be on or near the lead.
RACE 9: 3-9-2
This should set up for either 3-GET JETS or 9-Offering Plan. Going with the former, should be a better price I’d imagine. Was 2nd behind Disco Partner last out at a similar level, has only tried 2 turns once but has a pair of wins and a pair of seconds since switching to turf. Johnny V. rides. 9-Offering Plan will also be hoping for a fast early pace and should get it unless the race is gutted by scratches, or the expected pace never materializes. Was 3rd beaten a neck here last year on yielding. 2-King Kreesa is one of many in here that likes to be on the front end early, and seeing as how he will have the rail will probably get early advantage. Won this race last year is making 3rd start for Linda Rice.
RACE 10: 5-4-7
I’m imagining Twisted Tom will be the betting choice here, and for good reason. Won the New York Derby last out by 1/2 length at Finger Lakes. However going with the horse that finished 2nd to him in that race, 5-BROKEN ENGAGEMENT, today. In that race probably moved a bit too soon , and was repelled by the winner. Both were carrying 124 lbs that day, today the 5 only carries 117. Yes Paco has struggled, but still like the switch to him. 7-Minsky Moment was 2nd here last out in an OC, has never been worse than 2nd in 4 career starts. Lost to top pick 3 back in the mud at Belmont.
RACE 11: 10-6-14-4
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