Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, August 5, 2018
There’s an 11-race card on this Sunday at Saratoga, headlined by two stakes races. We’ve got myself, managing editor John Piassek (@theyreoff) pinch-handicapping the card today. Best of luck to everyone following along!
Race 1: Maiden Special Weight, 2yo, Fillies, 5 1/2 Furlongs
1/1A- Mo Wheels Up/Lady TNT: Either half of the Joe Sharp entry looks like they can win it. The former turned in a strong bullet workout last time out, while the latter had a rough trip on debut at Churchill Downs after getting strong wagering support.
6- What a Fox: Any Asmussen/Santana horse as of late must get respect. Has a sharp, steady worktab leading up to this race.
4- Tweedia: Arkansas-bred filly comes in here for the Brad Cox barn, which has been off to a hot start at the meet. Worked four furlongs in an impressive 47.4 seconds last Sunday at Churchill Downs.
Race 2: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, NY-bred, 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Turf)
6- Packed House: Ran respectably well at this level last out, losing by 3 1/2 lengths in his second lifetime start. He had an overland journey in that race, may get hung wide again here, but can improve third time out.
8- Paynter’s Prize: Improved his brisnet figure to a 78 last time out when finishing sixth at this level. Trainer Charlie Baker is an impressive 26% with horses running for the third time off the layoff.
9- Constant Knight: Outran his odds against open company in his most recent start. Maragh isn’t a great grass jockey, but in a weak field, he could outrun his odds and and make some noise underneath.
5- Santo Antonio
11- Local Counsel
Race 3: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w2x), 3yo and up, NY-bred, 7 Furlongs
1- Winston’s Chance: Finger Lakes shipper has standout brisnet figures, having run at least a 93 in five out of his last six races. Regular jockey Nazario Alvarado ships in for the mount.
2- Horoscope: He’s led and faded in his last two races at this level, both times as the favorite. He’s got the most early speed in the field, so if he can somehow sneak away to a clear early advantage, he will be dangerous.
4- O Shea Can U See: Crushed a n/w1x allowance group last out, zooming to the front and simply overpowering the field. Trainer Jason Servis has been off to a slow start this meet, and will seek a rebound here.
Race 4: Claiming $20,000, 3yo and up, 7 Furlongs
3- Top of the Page: He was bothered in the stretch run last out, a race that he lost by just 1 1/4 lengths. He’ll cut back in distance to seven furlongs, a distance that he won at back in March at Gulfstream Park. Diodoro and Cohen have been a strong trainer/jockey combination this meet.
1- No Distortion: Has taken the road less traveled to Saratoga, with starts at Thistledown, Prairie Meadows, and Evangeline Downs earlier in the year. He hasn’t been worse than fourth in four races this year, and drops from the n/w3x allowance level. Should prompt the pace from the inside.
2- Scarf it Down: He’s got the best late pace figures in the field, and a hot jockey in Luis Saez. Jeremiah Englehart is 25% with horses running for the third time off the layoff. Fell too far behind the pace over a speed-biased strip last out, and was then forced to run wide on the turn. The winner of that race, The Caretaker, returned to win yesterday.
Race 5: Troy Handicap, 3yo and up, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Mellon Turf)
6- Blind Ambition: After a rough beginning last out, he tried to chase Voodoo Song early on, but couldn’t keep up and dropped back. He’ll cut back in distance from one mile, and there isn’t a horse in this race as good as Voodoo Song. He won the Quick Call Stakes over this track last year.
7- Sandy’z Slew: He ran them off their feet in each of his last two races, and will have to hustle hard to get to the lead from the outside post. If he can do it, he’s a contender.
5- Tomebelaine: Sat a great trip rating off the pace and getting by late last time out. The runner-up in that race, White Flag, came back to win an allowance race at Belmont Park next out. Could sit another great trip off a speed duel.
4- Ready for Rye
7- Sandy’z Slew
1- Square Shooter
Race 6: Maiden Special Weight, 2yo, Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Turf)
3- Speedy Solution: Led briefly after a wide trip on debut, before weakening to finish third. Turned in a decent grass workout a few days ago, and gets blinkers off.
7- Dogtag: One of two Chad Brown entrants in the field, she worked four furlongs in an impressive 49 seconds over the grass back in mid-June. Workouts since then on dirt have been impressive. She looks primed to run a big one.
5- Irish Intuition: Closed well in her debut at Ellis Park last out after a rough beginning. Trainer Ken McPeek is 24% with horses running for the second time.
6- Seek and Destroy
4- Fortunate Girl
Race 7: Claiming $40,000, 3yo, 6 Furlongs
8- American Power: He won very impressively against three-year-old claimers last time out, rating off the pace, then powering through late to earn a gigantic figure of 99. Anything like that here, and this race is over.
6- Joopster: Was well-beaten by American Power last out, but still held on for second and ran a decent figure of his own. The horse that he was mixing it up with on the pace early ended up losing by 17 lengths. Won two races ago after battling on the early pace, earning a sharp figure of 97.
2- Show Me the Bucks: Cuts back in distance and drops in class after a third-place finish in the Long Branch Stakes. Mott/Alvarado always a dangerous combination, and they just picked up a win on dirt yesterday. Could very well become the first Alberta-bred to win a race at Saratoga.
Race 8: Claiming $32,000, 3yo and up, 1 3/16 Miles (Mellon Turf)
9- War Bond: He wired the field at this level last out, bravely holding on after setting the early pace. He’s run above the brisnet class par of 87 in three out of his last four races.
4- Mr. Maybe: Fell behind a loose leader in his last race and didn’t have much of a chance. Nevertheless, he flew on the outside late, closing ground to finish third, losing by just 1 3/4 lengths. Will ideally be kept closer to the pace here.
6- Decisive Triumph: Cuts back after a string of tries at 1 1/2 miles on the grass. Runs for the fourth time off an eighteen-month layoff, and his figures indicate that he is finally starting to round into form.
7- Bad Student
11- Hardly a Secret
10- Master Plan
Race 9: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo and up, 1 3/8 Miles (Inner Turf)
5- Convict Pike: Drops from stakes company at Indiana Grand; finished second in two tried at the level at Churchill Downs prior to that race.
1- Pillar Mountain/1A- Gauguin: The former didn’t fire in his stateside debut last out, but the latter just missed last time out after getting a great stalking trip and pulling clear late, before getting nabbed in the stretch. He’s got a bit of a “seconditis” tendency…in his six starts in the United States, he’s been second or third five times.
9- Three Perfections: He had a good trip rating off the leaders last out, but didn’t fire and finished fourth. It must be mentioned that it was his first start off a 12-month layoff, and the figure of 88 that he earned is still one of the best in the field. Look for improvement second time out.
10- Clutch Cargo
5- Convict Pike
Race 10: Alydar Stakes, 3yo and up, 1 1/8 Miles
4- Kurilov: He hasn’t run worse than 100 in two dirt starts in the United States, and was a grade 1 winner in Chile last year. Should enjoy getting back to his preferred surface after a string of tries on the lawn.
3- Timeline: He tried to wire them last out, but was run down late by the classy Sunny Ridge. You can bet Castellano will try to hustle his mount right out of the gate and try to get clear. If he gets a slow enough pace, he could be gone.
1- Realm: Battled by to win at the n/w2x level last out. He’s been working sharply for his Saratoga debut.
Race 11: Claiming $40,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Mellon Turf)
10- Safe With Me
12- Tres Charmant
4- Shanghai Glory
1- Naples Legacy
5- Miss Sizzle