I understand the temptation to resist horses like SADLER’S JOY (#4). You’re always going to be on the edge of your seat, enduring potential frustration, when betting short-priced deep closers like this. However, the truth of the matter is that Sadler’s Joy is just classier than this field, and he’s confirmed that he’s as good as ever this season as a 7-year-old.
It took him a start to get going when he returned this summer, but he ran very well to cross the wire first in that Bowling Green at Saratoga going today’s distance. I can excuse his poor performance in the Sword Dancer since he just didn’t handle the boggy going that day. Then last time out in the Turf Classic, I wouldn’t be too discouraged by his loss in the Turf Classic. That race’s winner, Channel Maker, is obviously in career form and he returned to finish an excellent third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Sadler’s Joy did get passed from behind for second in the final furlong, but that was because Javier Castellano made a premature move on the far turn in an attempt to actually win the race. I love this rider switch to Joel Rosario, whose poise and patience with horses like this should allow Sadler’s Joy to time that late move properly.
I suppose his main rival is Red Knight (#10), who was second to the favorite in this race last year. Red Knight ran well to win the Sycamore last time, but he got a great trip that day and may be slightly better over longer distances than this 1 3/8 miles. I would look to some bigger prices underneath. Postulation ran deceptively well in the 2019 Red Smith, and once again comes into this race in solid form. And even Doctor Mounty (#11) is somewhat interesting stretching out in distance. He’s never gone this far, but he’s a half-brother to Dabster, who was second in the 1 3/4 miles Marathon Stakes.
Exacta: 4 with 3,8,10,11
Trifecta: 4 with 10 with 3,5,8,9,11