At the Gate - Saturday
August 31, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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It was truly a rough day at Saratoga, both from a betting standpoint and as a fan. Saginaw, one of the most popular and accomplished horses on the New York circuit broke down in the third race and had to be euthanized.
The gelding was the betting favorite in the third race at Saratoga yesterday but took a bad step and was pulled up by jockey Junior Alvarado and was vanned off.
Veterinarians took X-rays back at the barn and it was discovered the gelding fractured both sesamoid bones in his left ankle.
The gelding was owned by Drawing Away Stable and trainer David Jacobson, who took the gelding at the claim box for $30,000.
The gelding went on to win an amazing 14 of 17 starts for the new connections including 10 stakes races, nine of those against New York breds. The gelding came into yesterday’s race perfect in five starts this year with earnings of $228,000.
We have a great betting card on tap at the Spa today, a dozen races including a trio of graded stakes. The stakes action starts with the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) for three-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
The $500,000 Forego (G1) and $750,000 Woodward (G1) are also on the card and the three stakes will be televised on the NBC Sports Network starting at 4:00pm eastern.
The Woodward is down to a field of six with the scratch of Fort Larned, who is going to wait for the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) next month.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Saratoga and Del Mar including all of the graded stakes action.
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Here is today’s opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 OClm $20,000N1X (1:00 ET)
4 John's Mariah 10-1
2 Mlle Margaux 12-1
9 The Lady Says Yes 7-2
1 Clever Spirit / 1a Satin Sheeks 5-2
Analysis: John's Mariah set the early fractions, was battling to hold the lead in the stretch when the jock dropped his stick, bumped his rival and then weakened late to finish fourth. If we do not get the rain the turf will likely be kinder to speed and there is no early zip in here. I am hoping Castellano just sends this guy early. Worth a look if he goes off near his 10-1 morning line.
Mlle Margaux was outrun in the early going, was given the stick while trying to drift out and then he bore out on the far turn and then when once straightened up he picked things up late with a good late run to finish third. Two back he was fourth beaten two lengths behind repeat winner Maggie R in a race washed off the turf. The winner came back to beat open $12,500 claimers by 11 lengths at Monmouth Park on July 13. He is back with state breds here and is going to get overlooked. If Maragh can keep him straight and get him into the raced earlier he can be a factor here at a generous price.
WIN: #4 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 1,2,4,9
TRI: 2,4 / 1,2,4,9 / 1,2,4,6,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 8 The Bernard Baruch Hcp G2 (4:38 ET)
6 Za Approval 3-1
7 Silver Max 9-5
5 Tetradrachm 7-2
2 So Long George 8-1
Analysis: Za Approval ships back east and returns off a two month break for the Christophe Clement barn. Last out shipping to Hollywood Park the gelding put in a good effort in a runner up finish in the Shoemaker Mile (G1). The winner of the race was Obviously, who came back to win the Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2) in his next outing on Aug. 25 for his third win in a row. The fourth place finisher Jeranimo came back to win the Eddie Read (G1) in his next start, and then was ninth on poly in the Pacific Classic (G1). Our top pick won back to back Grade 3's in his two previous starts earning figures good enough to win here. He has one trip over the Spa turf, breaking his maiden back in 2011.
Silver Max looks back on track after taking the field gate to wire in the Oceanport (G3) last out at Monmouth Park. It was his first win on turf since taking the Virginia Derby (G2) last summer at Colonial Downs. The colt won seven of his 10 starts last year and after getting off to a slow start this year with a couple of losses he comes in here now off a career top speed fig. He owns a good edge in early and mid pace numbers and unless someone in here keeps him company early he is a real threat to wire the field.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 2,5,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 2,5,6,7 / 2,3,5,6,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
DMR Race 9 The Del Mar Debutante G1 (6:00 PT)
6 She's a Tiger 4-1
1 Awesome Baby 5-2
3 Concave 7-2
7 Sprouts 6-1
Analysis: She's a Tiger adds blinkers here after she came out on the short end of a good battle in the Sorrento (G2) last out at 5 1/.2 furlongs, coming up a half-length short behind Concave. She won her first two starts including taking the Landaluce two back in her first go against winners. She came back with a bullet drill and looks capable of turning the tables today. She has a nice pedigree, a half to $1.4 million earner Smiling Tiger.
Awesome Baby is one of three in her sent out by the Baffert barn that has won this race seven times. The filly went gate to wire to break her maiden in an impressive effort and owns the top last out speed fig. She is going to need an alert break from the rail as there is some early zip that can go with her early. She came back with a good drill over the main track here on Aug. 25 and looks like the best of the Baffert trio.
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,3,6,7
TRI: 1,6 / 1,3,6,7 / 1,2,3,6,7
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: #4 John’s Mariah 10-1
R1: #2 Mlle Margaux 12-1
R2: #8 Romans paradise 8-1
R4: #10 Comes the Dream 8-1
R4: #3 Newfound Zapper 20-1
R7: #8 Simple Interest 12-1
R8: #2 So Long George 8-1
R9: #5 Lea 12-1
R9: #7 Strapping Groom 10-1
R10: #1 Ron the Greek 8-1
R11: #2 Masterel 12-1
R11: #4 Fizzano 10-1
R11: #9 East of Danzig 8-1
R12: #4 Chapman 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.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, 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 has 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.
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