By TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
Race 4: NY-bred Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles on turf
Assuming this race stays on turf, the two horses that appear to be most trustworthy are Alabama Bound (#1) and Out of Nowhere (#7), who finished close to each other in two races at the recently completed Belmont spring/summer meet. Both must be used here, but I do spot one possible alternative that could go off at a more attractive price.
CATCH YOUR DREAMS (#3) is an intriguing newcomer in this field. Jonathan Sheppard certainly knows how to win at Saratoga, and he’s capable of having a first-time starter ready for its debut. His overall trainer rating with first-time starters is just a 58, but he gets a 72 trainer rating with horses debuting in routes. This filly is by an obscure sire by two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Lure, out of a dam that accomplished all six of her lifetime wins over turf. This runner has apparently been working strongly over the Saratoga training track, and it’s encouraging to see Irad Ortiz take the mount.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,7
Race 5: Claiming $40,000 at 5.5 furlongs on turf
It appears that there’s a fair amount of speed in this race, with Pine Ridge Forest, Show Bound, and Honorable Daniel all likely to flash some early zip. One horse that I think would benefit from some pace in this spot is HARVARD MAN (#10), who makes his first turf start in this country for Graham Motion. He is coming off a disappointing showing as the favorite going a mile, but this runner obviously prefers sprinting, as he displayed two back when closing well to just miss in a N1X allowance race. As a two-year-old he had showed himself to be a capable turf sprinter in England, and even handled courses with some give to them, which should benefit him if the courses are still somewhat soft from rains earlier in the week.
Race 6: Claiming $32,000 at 6 furlongs
This has to be the best $32,000 claiming race that I’ve ever seen. It seems that the connections of almost every runner in the race had the same idea, to drop in class to pick up a win at Saratoga. We’ll have to see if there are any significant scratches, but right now the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace. I’m hoping that such a scenario will set up the late run of MONSTER MASH (#6), who scored an impressive victory when dropped in for a tag at this meet last year. While Jeremiah Englehart does well off layoffs in most situations, this is a horse that has needed a race or two to get fit in the past. I’m encouraged by his visually impressive score at Finger Lakes last time and expect him to be tighter for this start. Jeremiah Englehart is an expert at pointing horses for this meet, earning a 97 trainer rating with all runners at Saratoga (as well as a 100 rating when he rides Luis Saez).
Others that I could include are Fabulous Kid (#1), who has run plenty of competitive speed figures and can come from just off the pace, long shot closer Metaurus (#8), and turnback Saratoga Wildcat (#9). I would also want to include at least a couple of speed runners that could stick around under the right circumstances. Those would be the Saratoga-loving Waco (#5), and Classic Salsa (#7), who has learned to stalk effectively in recent starts.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,5,7,8,9
Race 10: Maiden Claiming $25,000 at 6 furlongs
There’s a horse in this race that I just have to bet. SKY CHAPARRAL (#13) began his career racing against much tougher competition in maiden special weight races, losing to Mind Your Biscuits and Jet Black, two of the most talented New York-bred three-year-olds on the circuit. He was finally dropped in for a tag two back, but for whatever reason the connections decided to name an inexperienced 10-pound bug rider. That race is worth watching back. After attaining a forward position early, Sky Chaparral appeared to react poorly to kickback, abruptly taking himself out of the race. However, whereas most horses would be done at that point, he actually re-rallied through the stretch and was finishing fastest of all late before galloping out strongly. He just didn’t handle the turf last time but now lands back in a realistic spot. The addition of blinkers should help him, and Eric Cancel represents a major rider upgrade.
I’ll key most of my wagers around my top selection, also using Blarney Stones (#2), who ran well enough last time and attracts the services of Javier Castellano, Peculiar Sensation (#4), who has yet to run a poor race and is the horse to beat, Majority (#7), who tries turning back in distance, and Here Comes R J (#10), who makes his second start off the claim for Michelle Nevin.
Exacta Key Box: 13 with 2,4,7,10