At the Gate - Thursday
August 16, 2012
By Mike Dempsey
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Thursday's featured race at the Spa is the $150,000 West Point for New York breds which drew a field of eight who will go 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course.
Compliance Officer is the 9-5 morning line favorite coming off a runner up finish in the Poker (G3) at Belmont Park.
The six-year-old gelding won the state bred Kingston two back over five foes he meets up with once again today.
The main track is fast and the turf course firm as of this morning for the 11-race card that gets underway at 1:00 ET.
The first two races on today's card are steeplechase events.
The fields were drawn for Saturday's stakes and we have a couple of excellent Grade 1 races to look forward to at Saratoga.
The $600,000 Sword Dancer (G1) drew a field of nine led by Turbo Compressor, who comes into the race off wins in the Colonial Turf Cup and the United Nations (G1), both victories in gate to wire fashion.
His main foe appears to be Point of Entry (5-2), who is riding a three race win streak, last out winning the Man O'War (G1) at Belmont Park on July 24.
The $600,000 Alabama is missing Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Believe You Can, who has not been working well according to her trainer Larry Jones and will spend some time on the sidelines.
The race still drew a really tough group of fillies led by Delaware Oaks (G2) winner Grace Hall (7-5), Coaching Club of America Oaks (G1) winner Questing (5-2), Black Eyed Susan (G2) victor In Lingerie (6-1), and Zo Impressive (5-1), who won the Mother Goose (G1) and most recently was second in the CCA Oaks.
My selections and analysis for the races will be in Saturday's Saratoga Report.
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Here is today's opening from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 OClm $30,000N2L (1:00 ET)
4 Forgotten Man 6-1
1 Dugan / 1a The Price of Love 5-2
3 Virsito 3-1
6 Duc de Savoie 8-1
Analysis: The first two races on today's card are steeplechase races, so let's proceed with caution. The nod goes to Forgotten Man, who held on to break his maiden back in May in his second career start. The barn hits at a 31% clip with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff and the gelding still looks like he has some upside.
The Price of Love weakened late to finish fourth in a decent effort in his first go off a 15 month layoff. The Sheppard barn has hit at a 26% clip the previous three meets at the Spa with his jumpers, but this year is sporting a 0 for 7 mark. His entrymate Dugan was not a threat on the flat last out acing restricted $20K foes, but is a three time winner over the jumps, the last coming last fall at Aiken for a $17.5K tag.
WIN: #4 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,3,4,6
TRI: 1,4 / 1,3,4,6 / 1,3,4,6,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 10 The West Point (6:01 ET)
5 Lubash 4-1
7 Compliance Officer 6-5
3 Abilio 8-1
8 Street Game 7-2
Analysis: Lubash is back in with state breds after a decent effort in a fourth place finish in the Red Bank (G3) at Monmouth Park as the beaten favorite. Two back in the New York bred Kingston he finished behind the chalk in here but had a tough trip. The Christophe Clement runner was making a good move when he had to check hard approaching the quarter pole. In addition that outing was his first go off a six month layoff. He looks as if he is sitting on a good one here in his third start off the bench for a barn that has been very live in turf events in New York, ion the past 90 days winning 21 turf races (25%).
Compliance Officer beat five of these he faces again here in the Kingston two back, and then came back to finish second in the Poker Handicap (G3) as the 6-5 betting favorite. This gelding loves the grass, winning 11 of 24 outings on the weeds with five seconds. He has won two of his three starts over the Spa turf including this race last summer. He is back with state breds here and is the logical one to beat, but the price is going to be on the light side.
Abilio was seventh in the Kingston but has run pretty well in a couple of starts since. Last out he was a close up third in the Sussex at Delaware Park, beaten just 3/4 of a length for the top spot. The runner up in that race was Slip and Drive, who came back to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his next outing on Aug. 9 at Delaware Park. The Linda Rice barn is having a quiet meeting (3 for 34), but if the favorite comes up short this guy could sneak into the exacta mix here at a decent price.
WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 3,5,7,8
TRI: 5,7 / 3,5,7,8 / 3,5,6,7,8
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.
R1: #6 Duc de Savoie 8-1
R3: #8 Tiz for Tat 10-1
R6: #3 Saturday Appeal 8-1
R8: #3 How Do I Win 8-1
R9: #8 Legend of Navarone 8-1
R10: #3 Abilio 8-1
R11: #8 Bunhead 8-1
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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