The three-year-old division was turned upside down on Saturday as Will Take Charge pulled off the upset in the $1 million Travers (G1) at Saratoga, edging 33-1 longshot Moreno by a nose and returning $21.20.
The D. Wayne Lukas trainee was beaten a combined 44 ¼ lengths in the Triple Crown races, but bounced back with a solid runner up finish in the Jim Dandy (G2) over the Saratoga main track, beaten a length by Verrazano and earning a career top Beyer Speed Figure.
The colt showed that effort was no fluke, defeating a field that included Verrazano, Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Preakness winner Palace Malice.
We just can’t seem to get on the right page with Will Take Charge. I have liked this colt ever since he broke his maiden in his second career start at Keeneland. He is out of the $2.4 million earner Take Charge Lady and a half-brother to Florida Derby (G1) winner Take Charge Indy.
I liked him in the Southwest (G3) back in February at Oaklawn Park and he did not fire, and I jumped off the bandwagon and he won the Rebel (G2) in his next start at 28-1. He was my third choice in the Kentucky Derby but failed to fire, my third choice in the Preakness, again not a threat.
I made him my fourth choice yesterday and had him in the bottom of my exotics, but failed to use him on top.
I did have Palace Malice on top, and for the second time yesterday I was cursing jockey Mike Smith.
Earlier in the day he had My Happy Face parked four wide most of the trip and then fanned her out seven wide for the stretch drive despite the racing strip being kind to speed. She finished up well but came up a head and a neck short.
Palace Malice stumbled slightly coming out of the gate and found himself farther back than usual with Smith seemingly in no hurry to get into the mix. The colt came five wide into the stretch and rallied well but came up short in a fourth place finish, beaten about a length for all of it.
Needless to say, I don’t think Smith was on his game, and I would not be the least surprised if both of those horses have new riders next time out.
Smith stays at Saratoga Sunday to ride Royal Delta, who is the 2-5 chalk in the Personal Ensign (G1). I am going against the overwhelming chalk, and after seeing Smith ride on Saturday my confidence is just a bit higher we may be able to beat her. It’s a five horse field, so the investment will be small.
Analysis: Perfect Package cuts back to a mile after setting the early fractions and weakening in the final furlong to finish third last out trying to carry her speed nine furlongs. The cut back should suit and CVel likely puts her in a tracking position here as she does not look quick enough to grab the lead. The filly has three sibs that are winners including a pair of stakes winners, top earner Tiz Now Tiz Then ($434,353) who was best on dirt.
Dynaverse was outrun early and made a mild late bid to finish third last out in a decent effort and this gal looks headed in the right direction. Another move forward and she will be in the mix here at a price. She has a nice pedigree, by Dynaformer out of the multiple turf stakes winner Colstar ($1.05 million) who was trained by the trainer's brother. Worth tossing in the mix here if she goes off near her 12-1 morning line.
WIN: #5 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 5,9 / 1,5,9,11
TRI: 5,9 / 1,5,9,11 / 1,5,8,9,11
Analysis: Film Shot tracked the early pace and could not get to the loose on the lead gate to wire winner, settling for the runner up spot. This guy has mixed it up well in stakes company and we have backed him far too many times when he has come up short, but here we are again. The extra ground suits this guy, who is out of the multiple Grade 1 turf winner Film Maker ($2.2 million). He should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace and the 7-2 morning line looks fair enough.
Sachem Spirit exits the same race and came with a good late rally after coming six wide into the stretch, coming up just a neck shy of the place spot. That effort was off a 6 1/2 month layoff. It looks like he should get a good pace set up here but his price may end up on the light side. The Clement barn is 24% winners with runners making their second start off a +180 day layoff.
WIN: #5 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 2,4,5,6
TRI: 4,5 / 2,4,5,6 / 1,2,4,5,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
DMR Race 9 The Pacific Classic (5:16 PT) 11 Game On Dude 5-2 12 Jeranimo 10-1 7 Kettle Corn 6-1
10 Delegation 8-1
Analysis: Game On Dude tries the Pacific Classic for the third time, landing fourth in 2011 and second last year to Dullahan. The Baffert trainee is best on dirt but has won four of eight on the fake stuff and his runner up last year did produce a 110 Beyer, which would be good enough to beat this group. Last out he took the field gate to wire to win the Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (G1) for his fifth win in a row. The runner up in the race was Kettle Corn, who came back to win the San Diego (G2) in his next outing on July 27 here. Jockey Mike Smith is at the Spa today to ride Royal Delta and Martin Garcia takes the call and the jock has ridden three times including winning the 2011 Lone Star Derby (G3) and he works the gelding as well. After seeing Smith's bonehead ride in the Test (G1) yesterday at the Spa I like the jock switch here. The surface is playing faster and is tighter than in years past and that should benefit the Dude.
Jeranimo made a good last to first run to win the Eddie Read (G1) last out on turf. The seven year old has not been on the fake stuff since the 2011 Pacific Classic where he checked in eighth. He does have three wins over synthetic surface including the 2010 Strub (G2). He looks as if he is coming into this race as good as ever and he is going to get a good pace set up here and should be flying late. Worth a look if he goes off near his 10-1 morning line.
Kettle Corn was beaten by our top pick by a length and came back with a sharp win in the San Diego last out. He finished behind the Dude three times last year and it is going to take a regression by the favorite for this guy to turn the tables. If he runs back to his effort two back he looks the best of the rest and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough.
WIN: #11 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 11,12 / 7,10,11,12
TRI: 11,12 / 7,10,11,12 / 7,9,10,11,12
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 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 Park or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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