Trainer Todd Pletcher continues to be hot at Saratoga, winning with seven of his 20 starters at the meeting so far, well on his way to another trainer title.
Last summer Pletcher won his third straight by winning 36 races from 149 starters, a 24% win clip. Pletcher did most of his damage with juveniles, winning 23 races.
Pletcher has been the second busiest trainer at the meeting through Friday, starting 20 runners. Only Gary Contessa has started more runners with 21.
Pletcher has horses in six races on Saturday's card including the morning favorites in the first (Caixa Eletronica 8-5), third (Bay of Biscay (9-5), fourth (Unitarian (5-2), fifth (Kauai Katie 1-1), and tenth (Palace Malice (5-2).
His other starter is Midnight Taboo (5-2) who is a main track only entrant in the seventh race, and likely will be scratched. It could be a big day for the barn.
Chad Brown, who was the runner up to Pletcher the past two seasons is currently sitting in a tie for third in the standings with three winners from his first 19 starters.
There are a number of trainers that are off to slow starts, including Contessa who has just one win with those 21 starters. Linda Rice, who won the 2009 trainer title with 20 winners is off to a slow start at 0 for 11.
Others trainers that have not stepped into the winner's circle so far at the meeting include D. Wayne Lukas (0 for 12), Phil Serpe (0 for 10), Michael Trombetta (0 for 8), Thomas Bush (0 for 8), Wayne Catalano (0 for 7) and Barclay Tagg (0 for 7).
There really are no surprises in the race for the jockey title. Javier Castellano leads with 11 winners from 54 mounts (20%) followed by Joel Rosario (9 for 57), John Velazquez (8 for 47) and Rosie Napravnik and Cornelio Velasquez with five winners each.
Saratoga has a good betting card on tap today with three graded stakes. The $600,000 Diana (G1) and the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G1) will be nationally televised during "Summer at Saratoga" on the NBC Sports Network, the one-hour telecast getting underway at 5:00 ET.
Earlier on the card the Pletcher trained Kauai Katie headlines the $300,000 Prioress (G1) for three-year-old fillies.
Here is today's opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 OClm $25,000SAL (1:00 ET)
3 Point Taken 5-1
8 Magic Harbor 8-1
2 Caixa Eletronica 8-5
5 Tuvia's Force 8-1
Analysis: Point Taken tracked the early pace and could not get to the winner last out, settling for the runner up spot over a racing strip that was kind to inside speed that day. Three back this guy beat $16,000 starter handicap foes overcoming another speed biased racing strip. He gets an extra furlong to run them down here and while he was third din his lone go at the distance he is bred to handle the extra distance.
Magic Harbor makes his first start since May 11 where he made a good middle move and then flattened out to finish third in that race behind Point Taken over a track that was playing to inside speed. The RRod barn is showing signs of coming out of its funk and has decent numbers with layoff types. CVel takes the call and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough to toss him in the mix here.
WIN: #3 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 2,3,5,8
TRI: 3,8 / 2,3,5,8 / 2,3,5,8,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 10 The Jim Dandy G2 (5:45 ET)
6 Perfect Title 20-1
5 Palace Malice 5-2
8 Mylute 7-2
2 Code West 6-1
Analysis: Perfect Title makes his stakes debut here for the Dallas Stewart barn and is coming off a sharp win against Alw-1 foes at Churchill Downs going nine furlongs. His win was flattered when both the third place finisher Windswept and the fifth place finisher Proud Strike both came back to win at the level in their next starts. Two back our top pick ran a decent fourth in a highly graded Alw-1 optional claimer won by Bellarmine, who was fifth in the Matt Winn (G3) in his next start. The colt owns solid late pace numbers and is going to see a sharp early pace here. The colt will need a career top to win here but is likely going to outrun his odds and is worth a look if he goes off near his 20-1 morning line.
Palace Malice bounced back from his Derby debacle with a good looking win in the Belmont where he earned a career top speed fig. Only one runner has come out of the race to run and that is sixth place finisher Unlimited Budget, who checked in a disappointing fifth in the Coaching Club of America Oaks (G1). The colt appears to have the perfect running style here as jockey Mike Smith should have him sitting mid pack behind what looks as if it's going to be a fast pace. Hard to knock anything Pletcher has been sending out at the meeting, winning with 7 of his first 19 starters. The main knock is going to be his short price.
Mylute makes his first start since rallying to finish a good third in the Preakness (G1) where he did not get much pace to run at. He had a tough trip in his fifth place finish in the Derby, and was only beaten 3 ¾ lengths for the top spot. Three back he was beaten just a neck in the Louisiana Derby (G2) behind Revolutionary. The colt is another that should benefit from a sharp pace but seems likely to get bet down from his 7-2 morning line.
WIN: #6 to win at 10-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 2,5,6,8
TRI: 5,6 / 2,5,6,8 / 2,3,5,6,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
DMR Race 8 The San Diego Hcp G2 (5:42 PT)
1 Kettle Corn 7-2
3 Paynter 9-5
4 Liaison 3-1
6 Clubhouse Ride 4-1
Analysis: Kettle Corn gets the call as the feel good story of the year Paynter continues but the Baffert runner is going to likely get bet down from his 9-5 morning line so we'll try to beat him. Our top pick stalked the early pace and finished up well for second in the Hollywood Gold Cup Hcp (G1) going 1 1/4 miles. The six year old earned a career top speed fig in the effort and he has now landed in the exacta in 13 of his 15 starts on the fake stuff.
Paynter earned a big fig in his comeback race beating allowance foes easily after nearly a year on the bench. The colt showed a ton of talent as a three year old before getting sick, missing in the Belmont Stakes (G1) by just a neck and then winning the Haskell Invitational (G1) in impressive fashion. He is the one to beat here but he is facing a much tougher group and his price is going to be smaller than his 9-5 morning line.
WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,4
TRI: no play
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: #8 Magic Harbor 8-1
R1: #5 Tuvia's Force 8-1
R4: #8 Mr. Jenney 8-1
R5: #4 Lighthouse Bay 12-1
R6: #5 Billy One Lite 15-1
R7: #4 Balthazar 10-1
R10: #6 Perfect Title 20-1
R11: #5 Brown Indian 8-1
Mike DempseyMike 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. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick. Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike daily with top picks from Belmont. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
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