Saratoga Horses in Focus for Friday, August 12

RACE 3: MY BOY TATE (#4)

The last 3 starts against NY-breds for #6 Ny Traffic have all looked pretty similar, resulting in blowout victories with impressive speed figures. Perhaps the result will be the same once again, but he’s stepping up to face the toughest field of state-breds that he’s ever encountered. He is drawn well in the outside post, especially considering that he’s effective from a stalking position. However, he’s coming off a lackluster effort just 13 days ago in the Vanderbilt. He obviously was never beating Jackie’s Warrior, but many expecting him to be second that day. How he shows up here as the high weight and figures to be a very short price. Both speeds drawn to his inside can potentially prove dangerous. #1 Saint Selby has been in great form in recent starts for Rob Atras. #2 Wudda U Think Now posted some impressive speed figures over the winter, but he’s a little harder to trust off his lackluster return at Parx, especially with the Rudy Rodriguez barn in such a slump. I’m trying to beat these runners with #4 My Boy Tate. The venerable gelding is trying to prove that he’s still got it at the age of 8. He’s coming in off a layoff following a disappointing performance when stretched out to a mile at Aqueduct in March. That’s always been a little far for him, so the turnback should help. He’s supposed to get some pace to close into, and ran well in this race off a similar layoff last year. I am a little concerned that he’s lost a step since his peak, but he figures to be a decent price this time and should get pace up front.

RACE 7: FRIPPET (#7)

#5 Al Qahira is arguably the one to beat after just failing to hit the board in the Grade 3 Lake George a few weeks ago. She ran pretty well stepping up in class off a maiden victory last time, but she also enjoyed a front-running trip in a race that didn’t feature much pace. That’s unlikely to be the case here with multiple other speeds signed on. A few horses in this field exit the eighth race on June 16. The only runner I want from that affair is #2 Bahamian Club. I’m not sure how good this filly actually is, but she didn’t get the right trip last time. She was buried down on the inside during a week when that wasn’t the place to be while also stuck in traffic. I think she can fare better with a clean run this time, but I’m not thrilled with the rider switch to Irad Ortiz, since she’s likely to take more money than is really warranted. I’m interested in some new faces. #8 Storm Kiss is a little interesting as she tries turf for the first time for Wesley Ward. She has some pedigree for this surface and looked like more of a turf type when she broke her maiden on synthetic at Turfway. My top pick is #7 Frippet as she gets back on grass. I thought this filly actually ran pretty well in her lone turf try at Keeneland earlier this year, and that’s come back as a live race. Winner Walkathon came back to win twice in a row, including a graded stakes. She’s since run fine on dirt, but I think she’s going to appreciate the switch back to this surface and I like her versatile running style for this one-mile distance. Furthermore, Jonathan Thomas is 6 for 20 (30%, $2.24 ROI) going from dirt to turf at NYRA over 5 years.

RACE 10: SINFULLY SWEET (#4)

I can’t take a short price on likely favorite #11 She’s a Mia, who has finished second in four consecutive starts. She really had no excuse to lose last time when making a move that was seemingly timed well before getting passed from behind the eventual winner. She just seems like a difficult horse to ride and I don’t trust her to negotiate a winning journey in this large field. I’d rather take #6 Classic Lynne from that stallion stakes. She seemed like one that may have needed her last race, even though Joe Sharp has solid statistics off layoffs. This is the right kind of spot for her and she picks up Luis Saez, but she does have to take a step forward off her 2-year-old form. #7 Waterville and #8 Whatlovelookslike faced off in a maiden race here last summer. Both are still pretty lightly raced and come into this with a right to continue moving forward, so I’m not really against either one. I just want to get a little more creative with #4 Sinfully Sweet. She feels like one who could get a little overlooked in this spot despite registering an impressive maiden victory last time out, which earned her a competitive 105 TimeformUS Speed Figure. That came going 5 1/2 furlongs, but she strikes me as one that can get the added distance. She’s by versatile sire Twirling Candy out of a dam who wanted to go long on dirt. She has the tactical speed to work out the right trip and is drawn favorably towards the inside.

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