Saratoga Horses in Focus for Monday, September 6


Equal Pay may go favored yet again after getting eased to the wire as the 6-5 choice last time. She was going to win her debut quite easily, as she was opening up past the quarter pole. Yet she appeared to stumble over herself in upper stretch and lost Irad Ortiz. It’s understandable that she took so much money off that race in her next start, but she never looked comfortable over the muddy track. She trains like a horse with a ton of speed, but she is extremely headstrong – to the point that may be detrimental. I won’t be surprised if she wires the field, but don’t want a short price on her. Looking beyond the Chad Brown trainee this is a pretty weak field. Mun Luv has had her chances and Big City Momma, despite selling for a large price tag as a yearling, has yet to show much in her races. I’m taking a shot against these with the New York-bred I’m Perfect Too. This might seem like an ambitious placement against open company at first glance, but she actually fits quite well here off her first race. She was absolutely clobbered at the start that day, as she got slammed from both sides. She dropped far out of contention immediately after that incident, but she launched a strong run around the far turn and nearly got up for the victory. She’s stepping up in class, but that effort indicates she has some ability. Tom Albertrani is 13 for 98 (13%, $2.52 ROI) with maiden second time starters over the past 5 years.

RACE 3: NO WORD (#4)

This Bernard Baruch has only drawn five entrants, but all of them are serious contenders. En Wye Cee may be the horse to beat and the one to catch as he figures to go to the lead from the rail. He got a good trip last time when just second best to gate-to-wire winner Flavius, who was allowed to set a slow pace on the front end. He’s been an excellent claim by Tom Morley, as he was run very well in three of his four starts for this new barn, and had a legitimate excuse for the Poker two back. He’s a major player, but there are some intriguing rivals to his outside, a few of which still have upside. En Wye Cee figures to attract plenty of support off his obvious trip last time when he should have beaten today’s rival L’Imperator, but was boxed in for much of the stretch drive. This Todd Pletcher trainee has never won on turf, but he’s run well in all of his starts on this surface and has the tactical speed to work out the right trip here. I prefer him to closers like L’Imperator and Dreams of Tomorrow, but I’m worried that he’ll be overbet. I’m actually most interested in Pletcher’s other horse No Word. He doesn’t have the speed figure credentials of some others in here, but he showed real talent last year. He was just a half-length behind division leader Domestic Spending in the Saratoga Derby before running a good second in the Belmont Derby. He’s been off the board twice since then, but I thought he ran better than it appears in his return last time. He got rank into the first turn behind a moderate pace and then was just hung out wide every step of the way. He’s better than that and could get somewhat overlooked even in this short field.


The final race of the Saratoga meet is a fascinating affair which features a few fillies coming off trips. The clear horse to beat from my perspective is New York Supreme, who was incredibly unlucky not to win last time out. That Aug. 15 race featured a couple of fillies who cornered very badly on the far turn and this Tom Bush trainee got floated out about 6-wide for much of the bend. According to Trakus she covered 52 more feet than the winner – obviously far greater than the margin of victory. She had run well before fading in her return from the layoff two back and showed much more versatility and stamina last time. She may just be catching the right field now, but you’re not going to get the 6-1 she was last time, as she figures to get bet off that trip. She is more appealing to me than Stella Mars, who moved a little wide last time but was ultimately just second best at this level, and that’s not the first time she’s settled for a minor award. I’m more interested in a different filly out of that July 22 affair. Path Less Taken was last across the wire that day, but she got a subtly poor trip. She actualy broke with the field and was showing good tactical speed early before she got shuffled back around the turn and coming to the quarter pole. She found herself behind a wall of horses in upper stretch, and Junior Alvarado had to steady her a bit and then just eased her to the wire in traffic. She definitely could have attained a higher placing with a clear run, but it is unclear how good she is. Now she gets a rider switch to Chantal Sutherland and can do better at a price.

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