Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, July 21, 2018
The first of seven Saturdays of great racing at Saratoga is today! Eleven races are on tap, including two graded stakes races: the grade 3 Sanford Stakes, for two-year-olds, and the grade 1 Diana Stakes, for older fillies and mares on the grass. The first race will go at 1:00 PM EDT.
We’ve got FREE picks & analysis of all the action from Mike Mahon (@MikeMahonPA). You can catch Mike’s write-ups of the Saratoga action ever Saturday for the rest of the meet.
Take it away, Mike!
Race 1, 6 1/2 Furlongs, Claiming $40,000
4 Always a Suspect looks good dropping down a wee bit after showing significant improvement switching barns. He’ll need a decent set up in front of him, but looks like a contender. 5 Helooksthepart is coming in first off a claim after finally finding a home following three consecutive claims. It looks like he belongs at this level, and may settle in at the distance.
Race 2, 1 1/16 Mile (Inner Turf), Maiden $85,000
Far be it from me to tell you how to bet a ten horse field when only two of them have run before. The odds are gonna be based on trainers, so look for Brown and Pletcher to take most of the money. I’ll just go with some long-shot exactas and hope for the best.
Race 3, 7 Furlongs, Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000
I like 1 No Dozing on the rail. He’s a bit of a sleeper pick (right?), and he comes off an eight month layoff after going under the knife. He was moderately competitive at a high level, and this looks like a warmup for bigger things to come this meet. 3 Awesome Slew drops in class and sticks with Johhny V on top, and should be in the mix but with fairly short odds. Look for 7 Wonderful Light to land in the money, but realistically can’t win.
Race 4, 1 3/16 Mile (Turf), Maiden $85,000
Is it just me, or does this seem like a very long jaunt for maidens? 7 Windejammer seems have figured out the purpose of these races, and has been creeping closer and closer to her first win. She may get it today, but with likely pretty small odds. 6 Plans to Prosper gained a good amount of ground towards the end of her last two outs, and I like her today if she can keep it up.
Race 5, 6 Furlongs, Claiming $32,000
9 Our Girl Abby ran huge last out against much weaker. She’ll have her work cut out for her today, but barring a significant bounce she could make it back-to-back off the four month break. 6 Miss Katie Bug is the lone closer in a speed-heavy field. She’ll most likely run wide and fall short, but could land in a show position and add value to the trifecta. Look for 7 Aggregator to stay in the mix.
Race 6, 5 1/2 Furlongs, Maiden $85,000
There’s a lot of talent in this one, and most of them offer some pretty convincing angles. 3 Binary looks tempting, coming from a dam with one winner from two starters along with a Violette winning at 22% clip with first-timers. 22% is also the win rate of 6 Fed Fever’s sire, Fed Biz. That looks good until you consider Flashback, the sire of 9 Cromwell Avenue, wins at 33%. The apply named 5 The Big S is tough to bet against on the first Saturday at Saratoga.
Race 7, 1 3/8 Mile (Inner Turf), Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000
I’m not sure who’s gonna want to take the lead in this one, but whoever begrudgingly gets outs front may end up wiring the field. I’m leaning toward 4 Hello Don Julio in that scenario, although he has a tendency to run out of gas down the stretch which may open up the lane for 1 Call Provision. Call Provision is a short favorite at 2/1 with enough patience and the additional benefit of drawing the rail. Look for him to sit back and coast until he’s ready to fly by his contenders. 2 Patterson Cross could manage to land in the money, although he doesn’t offer any real prospect of winning.
Race 8, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf), Allowance $87,000
Turf sprints for fillies and mares are built for gamblers, not handicappers. This is a pretty large field, just whipping around one turn and heading for home. This is a like a coin toss with a ten-sided coin. I’m not sure what that would be called. Maybe a decagon. I’ll watch the board and play some mid-level longshots, but ahead of that I’m looking for value and leaning towards 9 Emerald Quality and 10 Battle Joined. Both of them broke their maiden last out, although the latter was a few weeks back while Emerald Quality took off over eight months. 6 Conquest Tizfire is also worth a play.
Race 9, 6 Furlongs, Sanford Stakes, Grade 3
I don’t want to age myself here, but I remember when racing fans would speculate on a potential Kentucky Derby winner coming out of the Sanford. Pointing wayyyyyy ahead. Gone are the days, my friend. Now some superstar emerges a mere two months before the first Saturday in May.
I like the name 3 Knicks Go because I grew up a John Starks fan, but I struggle to get behind a contestant that’s being associated with one of the worst sports franchises in recent memory. It would be like naming your horse “The Orioles Sans Machado.” Not good. I like 8 Strike Silver because he had to battle a little bit in his first race. 5 Dream Maker is another runner that showed some tenacity to fight for the lead, and managed to pass several others to get there.
Race 10, 1 1/8 Mile (Turf), Diana Stakes, Grade 1
It’s no surprise 6 A Raving Beauty and 1 Sistercharlie are heavy favorites this afternoon. Both are proven performers at this level, and come off good showings with moderate rest. I don’t think they’ll finish 1-2 because some of the speed out front may fall back in between them. As much as I want to get behind 5 Ultra Brat and she’s trying to climb the ranks, she’s outclassed here and should end up towards the back of the pack. 3 New Money Honey struggled for a while there, and hopefully picks it up after the layoff. I’ll put her in between the two favorites and hope for a little luck.
Race 11, 1 Mile (Inner Turf), Claiming $50,000
The last race on the card features some potential giveaways to the discerning owner, as the contestants are running with a $50,000 tag. Any one of them can come back strong later in the meet and win back the cost to claim. I wish you could make a separate bet that the vagabond 8 Souperfast will be claimed for the seventh time in eight races, but instead I’ll settle for putting him underneath in my exacta play. I like 2 Thatcher Street because he’s a speed horse very close to the rail on the inner turf. The pack should be pretty congested behind him, but he could potentially wire this field if he can get in front quickly enough.
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