This race is still pretty interesting as an off-the-turf affair with so many contenders entered for Main Track Only. The horses likely to attract the most support are Yankee Division (#2) and Dack Janiel’s (#6). The former runner’s participation may hinge on how much the track dries out by the time they run this race in late afternoon. He’s proven to not care for sloppy, sealed surfaces, but he would likely be fine over a good, harrowed track. Yankee Division handles the 9-furlong distance and should control the pace of this race from his inside post position. He’s the one to beat, but I think there are some other intriguing contenders.
Dack Janiel’s would obviously be competitive off his last effort, but he got a great trip in that spot and is wheeling back in just 10 days. I’m most interested in some runners drawn to the outside.
Winston’s Chance (#16) makes plenty of sense in his second start off the layoff. He ran fine when picking up pieces behind Highest Honors last time, and can move forward off that return. He’s enjoyed this Saratoga venue in the past and is proficient over any kind of surface.
My top pick is LOCALLY OWNED (#14). This horse is coming off a poor effort last time at Belmont, but that was just the wrong spot. A one-turn mile is a little too short for him, and that race didn’t feature any pace as it was dominated on the front end by a trio of superior horses. He had run very well in his prior start off a two-month layoff, and now he’s returning from another short break of about two months. I love the stretch-out to 1 1/8 miles, especially at Saratoga where he ran one of the best races of his career to be third behind Prioritize and Money Moves last year. He’s reportedly working well for this, and I expect him to bounce back with a good effort.
Exacta Key Box: 14 with 2,6,16
Trifecta: 14 with 2,16 with 2,6,15,16