There is plenty of graded stakes action on Saturday, with a trio of Grade 1 races at Arlington Park including the Arlington Million and a pair at Saratoga.
The Arlington Million drew a field of 13 including six overseas invaders and is one of my favorite betting races of the year although I still have nightmares about the 2004 running.
I keyed Powerscourt in my exactas and trifectas at 9-2 and was alive with him in the NTRA Pick 4 as well as the Pick 3 to nice payoffs.
Under jockey Jamie Spencer he was near the back of the pack in the early going, came with a bold six wide run around the far turn and into the stretch and surged to the front at the eighth pole.
He was under left handed whipping from Spencer even though he looked well on his way to victory and drifted inward inside the final furlong and ended up getting disqualified to fourth for interference in deep stretch.
I thought it was a bonehead ride from Spencer, and while he is considered one of the top jockeys across the pond, he went winless in the U.S. from 2000 to 2010, going 0 for 26. He did win four of 10 in 2011, and is one for 10 in 2012-2013.
I have berated him enough on Twitter over the years that most overseas punters are no longer following me, but I still contend he is the most overrated jockey in the world.
Spencer will be on board Side Glance in the Arlington Million. The gelding has lost three in row with Spencer on board, last out a seventh place finish in the Prince of Wales (G1).
The jockey will also ride Wigmore Hall (7-2) one of the contenders in the $400,000 American St. Leger, a 1 11/16 mile turf race that kicks off the Pick 4.
I have been known to hold a grudge against a jockey for a few days, but for Spencer it has been nine years and counting.
The Arlington Million will be televised on WGN. The Sword Dancer and Alabama from Saratoga will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network.
Here is today's opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 Clm $20,000B (1:00 ET)
6 Ideal Place 3-1
3 Dissension 4-1
9 Colorme Kitten 6-1
1 Miss Sweet Afleet 10-1
Analysis: Ideal Place broke her maiden in her debut for a $20,000 tag and the Chad Brown barn thought enough of her effort to try her in a New York Stallion Series race where she tracked the early pace and faded to finish a well beaten 10th. The winner was Frosty Bay, who came back to win another New York Stallion Series race in her next outing on Aug. 8. She comes back here with a two month break and drops back in for a tag here. She figures to bounce back with a better effort here.
Dissension won at this level last out despite lacking room behind foes from the quarter pole to the eighth pole, managed to squeeze between foes and got up late for the win. After making her first dozen starts on the dirt the switch to turf seems to have suited this filly and she looks capable of winning right back here.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 1,3,6,9
TRI: 3,6 / 1,3,6,9 / 1,3,6,7,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Arlington Park:
AP Race 9 The Beverly D. G1 (5:02 CT)
5 Gifted Girl 12-1
2 Duntle 3-1
6 Marketing Mix 2-1
4 Dank 7-2
Analysis: Gifted Girl is one of three Euro invaders and is going to be the best price of the trio. She really did not do much as a three year old but has matured this year winning two of three starts and running a good second in the other outing. She beat Ladys First last out winning a minor stake at Pontefract and note the filly she beat ran second between the other two Euros in here in the Duke of Cambridge (G2) at Ascot back in June. She receives lasix and appears to have some upside and is going to be a decent price in this spot.
Duntle is coming off a decent effort in a runner up finish to Elusive Kate last out in eh Prix Rothschild (G2) in France. The loss snapped what would have been a five race winning streak that included a Group 2 and a pair of Group 3 wins except for a DQ at Leopardstown last September. She has not been beyond a mile in her career but has enough pedigree to handle the extra ground. She is by Danehill out of a Lord At War mare.
Marketing Mix is the best hope of the U.S. and she is likely going to be the favorite in here. She beat the boys last out winning the Sunset Handicap (G3) at Hollywood Park, but it was not a real tough group she beat that day. Her gamely (G1) win two back off a six month layoff was more impressive and was flattered when runner up Tiz Flirtatious came back to win the John C. Mabee in her next outing on Aug. 11 at Del Mar. She has won nine of her 13 career starts on turf and missed in this race last year by just a head. Her main knock is going to be her light price here.
WIN: #5 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,4,5,6
TRI: 2,5 / 2,4,5,6 / 2,3,4,5,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 9 The Sword Dancer Invitational G1 (5:12 ET)
1 Big Blue Kitten / 1a Stormy Lad 4-1
10 Boisterous 5-2
11 London Lane 20-1
8 Optimizer 6-1
Analysis: Big Blue Kitten is coming off a sharp win in the United Nations (G1) last out at Monmouth Park going 1 3/8 miles on the turf. The third place finisher Hangover Kid came back with a good looking win on Thursday at the Spa in the state bred West Point. Two back the five year old rallied but came up short to Boisterous, but this guy looks capable of turning the tables here going 1 1/2 miles and likely ends up a better value than the morning line favorite. He won his lone start over the Spa turf, taking the hall of Fame (G2) here in '11.
Boisterous comes in here at the top of his game, landing in the exacta in six straight starts including wins in his last two starts, the Monmouth (G2) two back and last out winning the Man o' War (G1). He beat four of these he faces today in his last start and is a local player here for the Shug McGaughey barn. His lone start at today's distance was in this race in '11` where he checked in fifth.
London Lane came with a five wide run and rallied in the stretch to pull off the big upset in the Colonial Turf Cup (G2) at 50-1 last out. The gelding earned a career top and two he beat that day came back to win stakes next out. The runner up Hyper won the restricted John's Call here on July 31 and the fifth place finisher Roadhog won the state bred Leemat in his next outing on July 14 at Presque Isle. K-Man is in to ride and he is going to be a big price here as he is in much deeper. But I liked the way this gelding finished last out and he may pick up share here.
WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,10 / 1,8,10,11
TRI: 1,10 / 1,8,10,11 / 1,4,8,10,11
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: #1 Miss Sweet Afleet 10-1
R2: #6 Long Water 8-1
R4: #2 Magic Harbor 8-1
R5: #10 Annawon 12-1
R6: #1 Sandy'z Slew 15-1
R7: #10 Velvet Cap 15-1
R7: #4 Abra 8-1
R9: #11 London Lane 20-1
R10: #5 Carnival Court 15-1
R11: #2 Moravitz 8-1
R11: #5 Fullcontrol 12-1
R12: #1 King Wando 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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