Saratoga Horses in Focus for Sunday, July 17


#5 Yarrow finally broke out of the maiden ranks last time in his 6th attempt. He wasn’t done any favors by the pace that day, as he had to close into moderate fractions, just getting up at the wire with a late rush. He has more quality than his recent speed figures might suggest, as he got a poor trip when stuck in traffic two back. The major concern for him is the turnback to 5 1/2 furlongs, but he does figure to get more pace in this spot, which might mitigate any distance limitations. He’s the one to beat, but I’m not sure he’ll offer much value as the favorite. A logical contender who could get somewhat overlooked is #2 Veterans Beach. This 6-year-old gelding returned this summer at Belmont for a new barn and outran his odds to finish second at this level behind gate-to-wire winner Deep Cover. He wasn’t quite as effective last time, but 7 furlongs is just too far for him; will appreciate the turnback and gets a positive rider switch to Luis Saez. I want to get a little more creative in this spot. #4 Disco Deano’s prior turf attempts don’t exactly jump off the page, but he was a solid third on grass against open company earlier in his career. He was then facing much tougher at Tampa in December 2020 in his only other grass start. He’s since done well on synthetic at Presque Isle, earning speed figures that make him very competitive here. He needs to improve slightly on his recent form at Finger Lakes, but he’s a candidate to take a step forward third off the layoff and is guaranteed to get overlooked for Finger Lakes connections.


I respect both favorites in this race, but I didn’t think either one was a great bet at relatively short prices. #5 New Ginya is more appealing to me as she did do some closing into a slow pace last time in a race wired on the front end by her stablemate. She clearly took a step forward second off the layoff and just needs some pace up front to be effective here. #9 Russiarussiarussia is a contender, but feels like another runner who could get overbet for Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz. She has to improve on her maiden victory last time and was beaten by a couple of today’s rivals last year. Joe Sharp has entered a pair of runners who bookend this field and I think both are interesting. #1 I’m Fine was beaten by New Ginya last time, but she covered a bit more ground chasing outside and may not have appreciated the stretch-out to 9 furlongs. She also put in a good effort two back when running the second-best race behind the winner. Now she’s drawn well on the rail and gets a significant rider upgrade to Luis Saez. My top pick is the other Sharp runner #11 Classic Lynne. We haven’t seen her since she was a 2-year-old, but she put in a couple of nice turf efforts last year. She was compromised in her debut, which was a roughly run sprint. She then won on the stretch-out in her only other turf start, soundly defeated Russiarussiarussia. The 95 TimeformUS Speed Figure that she earned that day makes her competitive here. Furthermore, Joe Sharp is 10 for 31 (32%, $3.62 ROI) off 180+ day layoffs in turf routes over the past 5 years. 


#8 Big Invasion has certainly earned his role as the favorite in this Quick Call, having reeled off 4 consecutive victories with ease while stepping up against progressively tougher competition. He’s also shown plenty of versatility for a turf sprinter, running as effectively going 7 furlongs at Belmont as he did 5 furlongs at Gulfstream. He settles well early in his races, which gives Joel Rosario plenty of options with regard to trip. He’s been remarkably consistent, but just doesn’t possess a huge speed figure advantage over this field, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone could step up and beat him. I’m looking at #7 Asymmetric as the one who can turn the tables on the favorite. He was well beaten by Big Invasion when they met in the Paradise Creek last time, but he had some things working against him that day. He was coming off a layoff and stretching out to 7 furlongs for the first time. He also was adding blinkers, and just got far too rank using that new equipment, running off on the front end through an unreasonably fast opening quarter. The 158 TimeformUS Pace Figure for the opening quarter of that race is wildly fast for the distance. He actually battled on gamely to be second that day. The colt had shown real quality as a juvenile in Europe, where he was effective coming from off the pace. He shouldn’t mind this turnback and may be better than his U.S. debut indicates. I’m just crossing my fingers that Euro-based jockey Jamie Spencer can work out a trip for him.

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