Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Saratoga (Alabama day)
Today’s one of the most stacked cards of the entire season at Saratoga: Alabama day. The featured event drew a field of nine, headlined by Belmont Oaks winner New Money Honey, Queens’ Plate winner Holy Helena, and Mother Goose winner Unchained Melody. There’s nine other great betting races at the Spa, and it looks like a very fun—and possibly very profitable—day of wagering.
We’ve got Mike Mahon (@MikeMahonPA) providing free picks & analysis of all the racing fun. Be sure to give Mike a follow on twitter!
Take it away, Mike!
1, 8 to win
8 Southside Warrior looks a tad inconsistent, but he’s dropping in class and seems to run well at this level. I expect him to be a contender down the backstretch.
5 Docs Legacy, on the other hand, is stepping up after winning at 1 3/16 on July 30. Even at 8/1 I’m not willing to hope for a repeat. I’d prefer 1 Mills at 8/1 because he won at this distance and level three back, and is coming in second off the claim.
9, 10 to win
Here’s a field of two year maidens going 1 1/16 across the inner turf, in which seven of the eleven contestants are first time starters. Of the four who’ve run before, 9 Discovered really is the only one who ran well in his first out. Of course he didn’t win, but he demonstrated a little bit of fight as he dueled a bit out front and took over the lead, before being passed down the backstretch. Also, Mark Casse’s horses tend to do well in their second races.
In a race like this, I’ll keep my eye on the board and play the odds more than anything else. I’ll keep a close eye on 10 Witch Doctor, though, and jump all over anything close to 10/1. He’s well-bred for the grass, and it looks like he may sneak under the radar in this one.
3, 6 to win
There’s a good amount of speed in this race, and it looks like it will come down to whoever is able to scoot out front between 2 Pico Chick, 4 Wildcat Belle, and 6 Murrell’s Belle. I’m inclined to go with 6 Murrell’s Belle if her odds stay long 12/1 morning line; personally, 5/2 is just way too short to play 4 Wildcat Belle when she doesn’t look overly dominant by any means.
If these three fight out front too much, it may be to the benefit of 3 Paluxy Princess, who prefers to stalk and come on at the end. I see her a most likely second.
5 to win
6 Manitoulin is your morning line favorite. He’s run well after taking the winter off and fought hard in his last out. He’s an obvious contender, but I don’t particularly care for him anywhere near 2/1. I’m looking for value and I’ll go with 5 Doctor Mounty (15/1 morning line). He can go the distance and switched to grass two back. He struggled at first, but ran very well on his second trip on the turf. He’s been training at Fair Grounds over the past month, and I willing to bet he’ll enjoy his return to the cool Northeastern air.
If this one’s taken off the grass, I’ll take 9 Flashy Jewel at even money.
4, 10 to win
Another two-year old maiden race where seven of the ten are first time starters. It’s worth noting 4 First Warrior’s dam (First Passage) has produced two winners from two starters, and Steve Asmussen’s 10 Pure Shot’s dam has produced five winners from five starters including a stakes winner. I’ll go with either of these two if their odds stay long.
8 w 4 w 5
8 Meantime is a very short favorite that needs to get out front to win. He was clearly outclassed in the Belmont, but should easily handle today’s field. I don’t see anyone that can contest him out front at this distance. He should be loose for most of the race.
4 Battle Midway jumps out as the likely second. 5 Hookup is an interesting contestant in this field. He took a big jump in class last out (going to a Grade 2 Stakes after winning a $60k Maiden), and couldn’t compete. I could see this race setting up nicely for him where he could round out the trifecta or maybe manage to sneak in at second.
Nine on the inner turf with three MTOs. 8 Glory to Kitten is in good form and can close from near and far, but my concern here is if she’ll have enough time to come at this one mile distance. I’m willing to take the chance with her at 9/2, but I may look elsewhere if her odds tighten up. I like 3 Great Import because she’s a speed horse that may be able to get out front against this group and potentially wire the field. She’s only run once, but was very impressive as she overcame an early challenge. This is a small stretch out from that seven furlong sprint, but she didn’t look like she was fading there.
If this switches to dirt I’ll play 11 Just Got Out if she stays over 4/1.
Race 8, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf), Lake Placid Stakes (Grade 2) $300,000
6 w 1
I don’t see any scenario where to catch a long price in this short field. 6 Uni is a Chad Brown shipper from across the pond and 3 La Coronel is a consistent contender on the grass. One of these two favorites will win, and I’ll put 1 Coasted underneath.
Race 9, 1 1/4 Furlongs, Alabama Stakes (Grade 1) $600,000
1 w 7 w 6
I’m going to take a chance here and go with 1 New Money Honey. It’s not a huge gamble, but there are a few favorites ahead of her. I think the morning line favorite 3 Unchained Melody is vulnerable because she’s lightly raced, is coming off a big layoff, she’s never gone this distance and she’s never run in a Grade 1. She may win, but I’m seeing too many question marks to take 3/1.
7 Elate could be a live contender if she can stretch to 1 1/4, and she was coming on down the stretch at 1 1/8 last out.
8 to win
We’ll close the card with a handful of filly and mare maidens going a mile on the grass.
I want to like 1 Assertive because she’s run well – she likes out front, but keeps getting nipped at the end. She’s stretching a bit today and I don’t see her as being any less likely to get caught.
8 No Cats Allowed takes a big step up in class after a five month layoff, and has been training offsite. She has fresh rider as well, and I’m going to keep an eye on the board. This could be a nice payout if I’m right.
5 Time to Flirt isn’t going to dazzle anyone on the front end, but she’s a closer and could potentially run into a nice setup today.
If this switches to the dirt, I’ll go with 15 Tapella.
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