RACE 7: LIBRETTO (#9)
#3 Hey There is the horse to beat as she turns back in distance for Brad Cox. She earned her best career speed figure – a TimeformUS 109 – when just getting nailed on the wire going 7 furlongs last time. Yet she had previously been successful going shorter at Churchill Downs and she possesses the tactical speed to be prominent from the outset on this cutback. I don’t have a major knock against her, other than the fact that she figures to be a short price now that her best form is exposed. I prefer her to #2 Crowding Out, who could also take money going out for Chad Brown. She’s earned competitive speed figures, but I haven’t loved any of her races and think she’s catching a pretty salty field for her return from the layoff. #6 Mrs. Green has a right to do better after finishing just over a length behind Hey There last time. However, I’m not sure that the cutback in distance suits her as well as that foe. I’m going in a different direction with #9 Libretto. She hasn’t really progressed at all since her encouraging debut going a mile at Aqueduct this spring. I thought that she was left with a little too much to do by her rider two back. And last time she just seemed to lack the stamina to finish after chasing an honest pace going farther. This is a drastic turnback, but I don’t mind it given her pedigree and physicality. She’s by versatile sire Fastnet Rock and is a smaller type that may appreciate sprinting. Furthermore, Jorge Abreu is 3 for 6 (50%, $6.40 ROI) going from routes to sprints on turf at Saratoga over the past 5 years.
RACE 9: CLASSIC LYNNE (#4)
This New York-bred stakes event came up much tougher than the Stallion Series stakes run last month at Belmont, won by #6 Dream Central, so I want to focus on horses coming out of different races. #5 She’s a Mia seems like the horse to beat despite coming into this off three consecutive runner-up results. She ran very well in the Tepin against open company last year, and I thought both of her efforts at Belmont this summer were solid. However, I do get the feeling that added ground doesn’t really benefit her and do prefer her over slightly shorter trips than this. She can obviously win, but she’s going to take plenty of money going out for hot connections. #3 Lisa’s Vision is another who could attract support, but I also have questions about her getting the distance. She finished well going 7 furlongs last time and has the tactical speed to work out a good trip here. She’s just a smaller, more compact type of filly who doesn’t convince me that routing will be better for her. Furthermore, Jorge Abreu has very poor numbers with his stretch-outs on turf. I prefer #4 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, earning a competitive 96 TimeformUS Speed Figure. She’s a little dirtied up by surrounding dirt races, but I think her form stacks up well with this group. Joe Sharp is 11 for 32 (34%, $4.25 ROI) off 180+ day layoffs in turf routes over the past 5 years, so I’m expecting her to be ready to fire off layoff.
RACE 10: NAKED AND FAMOUS (#8)
I suppose #6 Blinding Light will go favored here by default off a nice performance in his career debut at Gulfstream. However, he’s been off for four months since then, and it’s a little strange that he’s now dropping in for a tag and switching over turf. There is grass pedigree here, as New Year’s Day is a 17% turf sprint sire, and there’s some turf influence on his dam’s side. However, it seems odd that the connections wouldn’t first try another maiden special weight event. I’m taking a skeptical view of him, and would rather make a case for other first time turfers at bigger prices. One of those is #1A Pistol Or Shotgun. This horse as a private purchase out of his debut, but had no chance in his only start for Bill Mott last year, as he found himself in a salty maiden event. He’s been off for a while, but I like the switch to turf for him. Tourist is a good influence, and he’s a half-brother to a turf winner. It also doesn’t hurt that Joel Rosario climbs aboard. My top pick is #8 Naked and Famous, who also tries this surface for the first time. He displayed wicked early speed in his debut at Belmont, opening up on a talented field early before coming up empty with a quarter mile to go. He ran like a horse that needs a turnback in distance, and he has plenty of pedigree to make the transition to this surface. Upstart has had some mild success as a turf sire, and the dam is a sister to highly accomplished multiple turf stakes winners Icy Atlantic (a full sibling) and Wild Promises.