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Monday, September 1, 2014
As we turn the calendar to September on this Labor Day, it’s hard to believe that the end of the Saratoga meet is upon us. It’s been an amazing six weeks featuring horses emerging with impressive performances in just about every division. On Monday, a nice group of 2-year-old colts will have an opportunity to make statements of their own in the Grade 1 Hopeful.
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Best of luck to everyone playing along! Take it away, Jason…
Closing Day: The weather does not look promising we will assume sloppy and off the turf but have planned for either scenario at the time of publication.Top Plays of the Day:R4 #5 I Spent It (2-1)
R6 #13 Summer Sunset (5-2) MTO
R8 #10 Successful Runner (7-2)
R9 #9 Lunar Rover (Wet Track) #10 Wallyana (Turf)
Boxcars of the Day:R5 #6 Shinnecock Bay (15-1)
R10 #2 Social Saul (15-1)Race 1
Wet Track: 3-5-7-1
The first leg of the pick five is 1 1/8th scheduled on the Mellon Turf Course. Clearbrook (6) is the ML favorite here. She has turned in a couple of even efforts after a GP campaign in the spring. She prefers to take back and make one late run but the race appears very light on early speed type. Cushion (2) gave way in her last after changing her running style and vying for the lead. Expect her to take back today and make one run for Clement and Rosario. Keening (3) ran very well in her race off the freshener lagging behind a loose front runner who wired the field after establishing slow fractions. This Curlin filly has more speed than she demonstrated that day and can beat this group if she is forwardly placed for a trainer who does well 2nd off the layoff. We think she can win this on a wet main track as well. Kitten’s Queen (1A) got it done at the N1X level after running into Crown Queen two back. However, Keening (3) has handled this one in their two prior meetings. Our top choice was better than Lady of Gold (8) in the last and we will assume she can be again today. This filly might be more forwardly placed as well today and could surprise.Race 2
Race 2 is a maiden special even for NY bred fillies and mares going 6F. Mike Hushion is fantastic with 2nd time runners like Moonlight Fantasy (5) who was blasted in her debut by her barnmate the very talented Girlabouttown. That one as well as the runner up that day flattered with return wins. This horse should love the off going and won’t look back with a clean break. Joshans Giant (2) is the program pick and goes route to sprint and turf to dirt for Linda Rice, but we are unimpressed with the races she exits and she is sure to be an underlay here. We are also not in love with Brad’s Ruby (1) who has had seven chances already and has stopped in just about all of them. Her last race was a debacle as the favorite in the slop so if the footing is off we like her even less. Marriedtomichael (8) moves from the late Galluscio barn to Bruce Brown off the layoff. If you have followed us you know how much we love when Brown uses Javier. They have turned in a solid ROI over nearly two years teamed up. James Ryerson has also had a relatively good Saratoga meet and Jilly Mac (10) ran on for a share against the aforementioned fast fillies and could very well do so again today. Honeychild (7) has had enough chances for good barns. She shows a strong group in her company lines but the presence of Prado is enough to turn us off not to mention her horrible muddy track effort. (6) Town Kitty comes into this with a long string of works and should handle off going. She offers good value.
Wet Track: 4-9-3-8
Race 3 is a 5.5 maiden special weight for state breds scheduled for the Mellon Turf Course. Fleeting (9) enters for a stable that is doing better than their record indicates and Leah Gyaramati debut runners have been rewarding backers. This horse has been working well and is bred to handle off footing as well. We have made him a top pick on the grass and think he should be used in the mud/slop as well. Elusive New Yorker (4) was overspotted against faster than these and the way the track has been playing makes this colt dangerous here. He will be very tough in the mud. Memories of Peter (3) is bred to be quick and would prefer slop over turf from a pedigree standpoint. Ryerson ran big with a washoff runner in yesterday’s finale. Banana Thief (11) ran OK in a sloppy debut in a slow race. There will likely be others faster in here. Mike Dini does well with limited starters so it is reasonable to expect Got Winged (7) to be live at a good price but will probably scratch over a wet track. Buddy Elf (8) has plenty of works to suggest fitness. He can perform on either surface as well for Bruce Levine and Repole Stable.
Race 4 is the GI Hopeful for 2Yo males going 7F. Our top pick is I Spent It (5) for Dutrow and Castellano. This pricey son of Super Saver is unbeaten in two tries and has the ability to come from off the pace. If the track is playing fairly he will be tough with the presence of plenty of early zip. The maiden Signature Cat (4) exits a key race. If you missed Friday’s racing third place finisher in his debut El Kabeir ran a hole in the wind and looks like an extremely promising horse. Trainer Eric Guillot never wins first out and this horse will probably be quickest to the lead on a track that has been kind to speed. He is VERY dangerous here. Another expensive son of Super Saver, Competitive Edge (6) freaked in his debut and looks like the darling of the Pletcher stable. We will see if he can rate a little today because we expect our second pick to fire to the top. Sharm (2) is an improving sort and could pick up pieces at a big price in your verticals. Requite (3) was impressive in a debut win over a next out winner but looks too slow on paper and will have to show versatility and rate likely today.
The final leg of the early pick 4 and pick 5 is a maiden special event at 6F. The entry of Shimba (1) and Readyheartandsoul (1A) are the even money program favorites. Shimba (1) is the horse to beat off a good second versus a nice horse in Cuantos, but neither he nor his stable mate possesses good speed and they are no shoe in here. We will take a shot with boxcar selection Shinnecock Bay (6). Tom Albertani has had a very good Saratoga meet and he does well with Lezcano in the saddle. This horse should like the off going and has faced some runners with a great turn of early foot. He has the speed to be forwardly placed and there are no world beaters in here. Freudex (3) had a nice debut run and fits versus this group but his running style and Englehart’s numbers with second out runners is cause for concern. Keen Cupla (5) gets the services of Irad and goes route to sprint while finding a softer group today.
Wet Track: 13-3-14-16
Race 6 is a 40K claimer most likely to be run in the slop. If there were any race to come off the turf it is definitely this one so we will plan for only that. If this is the case you can bet One Man’s King (3) will not be 30-1 moving to the Bruce Brown stable first off the claim. He was wired out by MTO horse Herbal Prospector (14) when he was allowed to run unchallenged versus a bad group at the end of July in the slop. We prefer the other MTO Summer Sunset (13) who appears to be the quicker of the two MTO’s. He comes out of races versus much tougher and is the horse to beat. Finding Candy (15) comes out of sprints and it is hard to see him closing for a victory in a route despite the presence of a top jock. The last MTO Conspiracy (16) is also playing for a minor award most likely.
Race 7 is a 2YO maiden special weight at 5.5F. The prohibitive favorite is the very pricey Carpe Diem (1) a 1.6 million dollar baby for team Pletcher. This horse is likely to be odds on over an off going and there is no telling what that will mean. A poor break from the rail and it could be trouble. We will instead look for value with Old Mexico (2) for Steve Asmussen. Leparoux has struggled mightily but he rides well for this barn. Michael Mereina is capable with first time runners and Because I’m Happy (9) has a nice off track pedigree and a solid slate of drills. We have had enough of Lousiana Brown (10) and he offers no value at all from an outside post. Don’t overlook the solid numbers of Charles Lopresti when he gives the leg up to Dylan Davis. Ask Chuck (8) has some great sprint and off track pedigree. Tom Albertrani usually gives his horses a race but his runners have been live for sure, Ready for Rye (4) is not without hope.
Race 8 is a 1 1/8th allowance N1X for 3YO and up. Our top choice is Successful Runner (10) who got it done in his last over the talented Three Alarm Fire. The off track should pose no problem and this horse can work out a great tactical trip behind frontrunners Box Office (9) Grand Strand (7) and CJ’s Awesome (8). Box Office (9) does not like to close the deal and faces other early pressure. Classic Sense (5) got it done versus lesser but it is hard to pass on these connections over a surface like this. We will include him Harpoon (6) will be a colossal underlay here and Matuszak (2) clearly had no business in the Belmont. Sir Leslie (12) likes the off going and could make a nice underneath in your verticals.
Wet Track: 9-1-2
Race 9 is the GIII Saranac. If it stays on the grass it will definitely be soft. There is no reason to believe Wallyana (10) will not win right back as he has shown to have no problem with soft footing with his Pimlico victory. He is also a quite versatile runner able to race up close or off the pace. He is a top play for a very good conditioner Michael Pino. Ring Weekend (1) will be your favorite here if it stays on the grass and he may even give the slop a try if it is not. He chased a nice horse in Tourist and has every right to win as well. On an off track he will probably be no match for a rapidly improving 3YO Lunar Rover (9) who looks like a free square if it’s sloppy. Storm (5) is on a heck of a run but has not been beating this caliber. Cabo Cat (4) is more of a fringe player who picks up minor awards.
The Saratoga finale is a 16K claimer at 7F. This is Shankopatamus (10) race to win or lose. He sports a nice lifetime mark, is coming off a pair of wins versus three next out winners and has historically run well over the off track. That being said, Seeker (9) draws just to his inside and that one has a bit more early punch. My Tee Time (4) might also vie for that lead going first off the claim to Maker and the Ramseys. It is hard to believe that Moe Man (8) does not like the off going with his breeding, but this horse can be a factor if the pace is hot enough turning back in distance. We have landed on boxcar selection Social Saul (2) to close out the meet at a big price. This horse drops to a competitive level but should be safe from the claim after being vanned off in his latest. He can work out a great trip behind what looks to be plenty of early heat. Starship Captain (5) moves to Levine and attracts Javier, he too is dangerous.
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