It’s now official: Preakness winner Oxbow will not make it to the $1 million Travers on Aug.24, meaning we will not see a showdown of the all three Triple Crown race winners.
Oxbow came out of his fourth place finish in the Haskell Invitational with an ankle injury, and at the time trainer D. Wayne Lukas did not rule out that the colt was out of the Travers.
But Lukas announced yesterday he is out, but still may be just about seven weeks from racing again. Lukas mentioned the colt is possible for the Pennsylvania on Sept. 24.
The Travers will still be the race of the summer, with Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Belmont winner Palace Malice lining up to take on Verrazano, who was an impressive winner of the Haskell.
Others headed to the Travers include Will Take Charge, Moreno, Romansh, Transparent, and Java's War.
I hated seeing an off day on Tuesday, as we have been on a nice roll at Saratoga. After having three winners on top at the Spa on Saturday, we had six on top on Sunday and another five winners on top on Monday.
We have a pair of stakes on the Wednesday afternoon card. A field of five go in the $100,000 Clairmount for state breds, and eight will go in the New York Stallion Series at a mile on the turf.
Here is today’s opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:00 ET) 8 Belly of the Whale 6-1 2 Mack Miller 5-2 3 More Than Classic 4-1 7 War Hawk 3-1
Analysis: Belly of the Whale is by Red Giant out of the turf stakes winner Miss Nashwan ($107,955) who has dropped a pair of runners that are 0 for 9 to date. The colt makes his debut for the Clement barn that is 20% winners (with a +ROI) with first time starters. The colt has decent looking works on then morning tab and we should catch a fair price.
Mack Miller debuts for the Pletcher barn that dominated last year winning with 21 first timers. This year the barn is 4 for 11 with two year old firsters. Johnny V. was aboard all four of those debut winners and is on this guy. The $120,000 Ocala purchase has eight sibs that are winners including three stakes winners, top earner Electrify ($666,890) who was best on dirt.
More Than Classic ships in from Keeneland for the Ward barn that is well known to have his juveniles fully cranked. However, here at the Spa going back five years the barn has his with just 1 of 18 juvie firsters.
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 2,3,7,8
TRI: 2,8 / 2,3,7,8 / 2,3,5,7,8
Analysis: Console returns off a two month break here for the Mott barn as the colt makes just his second start this year. Last out the colt lost his footing coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace and weakened to finish sixth at this level. He showed a ton of promise last year breaking his maiden in his debut and then an impressive win against Alw-2L foes at Keeneland over polytrack. The colt sports a solid works since his last outing and he looks like a good fit in this spot.
Palace steps up a notch in class after beating Alw-1 optional claimers last out in his first start on turf. The colt zipped through his state bred allowance conditions on dirt and then beat $50,000 starter optional claimers on the inner track at the Big A earning a triple digit Beyer. The colt makes his third start of his current form cycle and CVel sticks for the Rice barn that knows how to win turf sprints at the Spa. Decent value if this guy goes off near his 6-1 morning line.
WIN: #7 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 2,6,7,8
TRI: 6,7 / 2,6,7,8 / 2,3,6,7,8
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.
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 success 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 each day with daily picks from Belmont and Churchill Downs or you can 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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