At the Gate - Friday
August 3, 2012
By Mike Dempsey
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We have an outstanding 10-race card at Saratoga for Friday afternoon that features a pair of stakes, and then we have a 12-race card coming up on Saturday.
Today we have the $100,000 John's Call, a 1 5/8 miles turf marathon for older runners that have not won a graded stake in 2012.
The feature today is the $200,000 Honorable Miss (G2) for fillies and mares going six furlongs, a race top heavy with early speed that should be fun to watch.
The John's Call drew a field of six led by Man 'o War (G1) third place finisher Tahoe Lake who is the 9-5 morning line favorite.
The six-year-old gelding faces five foes, three of which are exiting graded stakes company, a steeplechase runner going back on the flats, and longshot Inscrutable, who was outrun in a second level optional claimer on polytrack in his last outing.
The Honorable Miss drew eight including the very speedy It's Me Mom, who is coming off a win in the Satin and Lace at Presque Isle.
The Lynne Scace trainee has won 11 of her 18 career starts, all of her wins coming in gate to wire fashion.
She is going to get a good test as there is a ton of early speed in the race, including Winning Image, Roman Treasure, and Maple Forest, who are all accustomed to being on the lead in their races.
We have a great card coming up on Saturday as well, a 12-race card that features a pair of Grade 1 races.
Three-year-old fillies will go in the $300,000 Prioress, and then Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) winner Ron the Greek heads a field of nine that will go in the $750,000 Whitney Handicap
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Here is today's opening from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 Clm $35,000 (1:00 ET)
6 Joonbi 2-1
4 My Irish Girl 5-1
1 Media Starlett / 1a Victoria Lynn 3-1
5 Emily Allstar 5-2
Analysis: Joonbi dueled for the early lead while in between foes and weakened to finish fourth last out against Alw-2 optional claimers. The runner up in the race was Emily Allstar, who came back to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in her next outing on July 13 and is in here. Our top pick was claimed out of the race by the Pletcher barn that does not hit the claim box very often except for claiming on the behalf of Mike Repole. Two back at Philly this gal took the field gate to wire to beat Alw-2 foes. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and runners on or near the lead have had the advantage at six furlongs at this meet on the main track.
My Irish Girl invades from Churchill Downs for the Cox barn and she makes her third start since coming back off a 1 1/2 year layoff. The mare was a smart winner against $40K claimers off the bench two back, then was not much of a threat last out facing stakes company going seven furlongs. The third place finisher in that race was Sam's Bliss, a next out winner versus Alw-3 optional claimers. She drops in for a $30K tag here and the barn is not afraid to jam them in where they can win.
WIN: #6 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 4,6 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,4,5,6,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga
SAR Race 9 The Honorable Miss G2 (5:30 ET)
7 It's Me Mom 7-2
5 Beat the Blues 8-1
3 C C's Pal 5-2
1 Island Bound 6-1
Analysis: It's Me Mom is coming off a gate to wire score over the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle in the Satin and Lace, her 11th win in 18 career starts. This filly is really quick and she will need to be as this race is top heavy with early speed types. She has run just as well on dirt as she has on the fake stuff and her only recent poor showing was two back in the Skipat at Pimlico where she dueled for the early lead and faded to finish fifth. She was coming off a big effort at Tampa Bay Downs three back where she matched her career top speed fig. She is quick enough to grab the lead she will be tough here, and note that bullet drill at Suffolk, 44.3 out of the gate on July 30.
Beat the Blues made a mild late rally to finish third last out in the Blue Sparkler at Monmouth Park, beaten five lengths by Maple Forest. Two back she made a good middle move and could not match strides in deep stretch with Island Bound. She is making her third start of her current form cycle and is going to get a good pace set up here as the early fractions are going to be hot. The track profile gives the edge to horses on or near the lead, but if there is a pace meltdown here she will be waiting in the wings. Rosie picks up the call and she should get overlooked on the tote.
C C's Pal chased the early pace, grabbed brief lead and did not have enough punch left late in a third place finish in the Bed 'o Roses (G2) going seven furlongs at Belmont Park. She earned a career top two back taking the field gate to wire to win the Vagrancy (G2). The mare is usually right in the mix and she has shown she can sit off the pace and pounce. She looks likely to rebound here and should be sitting in a good spot as they turn for home.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 1,3,5,7
TRI: 5,7 / 1,3,5,7 / 1,3,5,7,8
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R3: #5 Darnely Bay 10-1
R5: #5 Ramsey Branch 10-1
R6: #3 Cape Cod Carol 8-1
R7: #7 Never on Time 12-1
R9: #5 Beat the Blues 8-1
R10: #7 Viv's Tiara 15-1
Good luck today!
HORSE RACING EXPERT
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
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