At the Gate - Sunday
September 1, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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A week after Will Take Charge shook up the three-year-old division with his upset win in the Travers (G1), Alpha did the same for the older handicap division by taking the Woodward (G1) field gate to wire as the longest price in the field of five.
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee has not won since taking last summer’s Travers, six losses in a row. The trainer added blinkers and told jockey John Velazquez that if the colt broke well to go ahead and jump to the lead.
Everyone thought Paynter would be the pacesetter, but the colt lunged and hit the side of the gate at the break and after chasing the early pace faded to finish fifth and last.
Alpha returned $17.40 with Flat Out rounding out the $2 exacta that returned $63.00.
The track was sloppy yesterday and all of the races except for the Bernard Baruch (G2) were moved to the main track, with over 50 scratches decimating the card.
As of early this morning the track was labeled as muddy and only the sixth race has been taken off the turf. We have another marathon 12-race card on the next to last day of the 40-day meeting.
The $$150,00 Saranac (G3) will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course and drew a field of seven led by the Todd Pletcher trained Notacatbutallama, who comes into the race riding a three-race win streak.
The feature today is the $300,000 Spinaway (G1) for juvenile fillies that drew a field of nine. Pletcher seeks his fifth win in the race with a duo of recent maiden winners Stopchargingmaria (3-1) and Sweet Whiskey (2-1).
My Best Plays Report for Sunday 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 The Speed Boat (1:00 ET)
7 Samitar 2-1
3 Ruthenia 7-2
4 Baffle Me 6-1
8 Abaco 4-1
Analysis: Samitar exits a fourth place finish at 9-1 in the Diana (G1) where she was beaten 2 3/4 lengths for the top spot behind Laughing, who returned to Ballston Spa (G2) in her next outing on Aug. 24 here. Two back our top pick earned a career top speed fig winning the restricted Fairy Garden over the grass at Belmont Park. She drops into a softer spot here for the Chad Brown barn.
Ruthenia is coming off a solid effort in a runner up finish in the restricted De La Rose over the turf here going a mile. Two back she put in a mild late run to finish third in the Eatontown (G3) behind Laughing and Dayatthespa, who both won next out. Dayatthespa won the state bred Yaddo in her next outing on Aug. 16. The mare is winless in four starts over the Spa turf but has run second in three of those outings and her best puts her right in the mix in this spot.
WIN: #7 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,4,7,8
TRI: 3,7 / 3,4,7,8 / 3,4,5,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 10 The Spinaway G1 (5:45 ET)
3 Designer Legs 12-1
4 Sweet Reason 8-1
9 Sweet Whiskey 2-1
6 Stopshoppingmaria 3-1
Analysis: Designer Legs is going to be a decent price in this spot , perfect in three starts thanks to being put up to first in the Adirondack (G2) last out. The filly was bumped coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace, came with a four wide bid, battle don gamely from the outside and could not get by the winner late. The filly caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed that day. She picked up a stakes win two back winning the Prairie Gold Lassie at Prairie Meadows. She did not beat much, the runner up coming back to beat Alw-1 foes in her next start but earned just a 47 Beyer. The filly should get a good pace set up here as this race is top heavy with early speed and she should get better with more ground. She is by Graeme Hall out of the stakes winner Elegant Designer ($416,785). Worth a look if she goes off near her 12-1 morning line.
Sweet Reason also is going to be a decent price and will benefit if the early fractions are sharp. She broke her maiden in a race washed off the turf and contested over a sloppy track. She was outrun early and came with a strong four wide run and drew away to win by 6 1/4 lengths. She figures to move forward with a better break and the extra ground here should suit. She is by Street Sense out of a stakes placed Mt. Livermore mare that has dropped six other winners including one stakes winner, top earner Don't Forget Gil ($370,737).
Sweet Whiskey is one of two in here sent out by the Todd Pletcher barn and she was no secret when she made her debut here on Aug. 11. She took the field gate to wire in a sharp effort over a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. She came back with a bullet drill on Aug. 26. She looks like she is quicker early than her stablemate Stopshoppingmaria. Johnny V. was aboard both for their debut wins and sticks with Sweet Whiskey.
WIN: #3 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,6,9
TRI: 3,4 / 3,4,6,9 / 1,2,4,6,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
DMR Race 9 The Del Mar Derby G2 (6:00 PT)
3 Infinite Magic 7-2
2 Play it Loud 6-1
4 Den's Legacy 6-1
9 Dice Flavor 9-2
Analysis: Infinite Magic put in all together last out with a game win in the American Derby (G3) at Arlington Park. The colt tracked the early pace and battle don gamely in the stretch to win by a hard fought neck. The runner up Admiral Kitten came back to win the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park and fifth place finisher Dorsett came back to win the Mystic Lake at Canterbury in his next outing. Team Valor purchased this guy in hopes of getting him to the Belmont Stakes (G1) but a poor showing in the Peter Pan (G2) derailed that plan and the switch to turf has suited this guy.
Play It Loud ships in from New York and lands with the Jeff Mullins barn that is 22% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn. The colt did not fire last out in the restricted Sir Cat at the Spa as the beaten favorite after a game effort two back in the Hill Prince (G3). He was nailed by a neck in that outing by Notacatbutallama, who returned to win the Solar Splendor and Hall of Fame (G3) in his next two starts. The colt still looks as if he has some upside and is out of the stakes winner Bsharpsonata ($595,010) who could run on turf and dirt.
WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,4,9
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,4,9 / 2,3,4,9,10
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.
R2: #1 Ready Player One 8-1
R2: #5 Lemon de Oro 8-1
R3: #7 Standup Paddle 10-1
R3: #6 Relentless Ride 10-1
R6: #8 Zencat 10-1
R6: #2 Farce 10-1
R6: #10 La Strada 8-1
R7: #4 Perfect La Comete 8-1
R8: #2 Echluath 12-1
R10: #3 Designer Legs 12-1
R10: #4 Sweet Whiskey 8-1
R11: #2 Tiz Adonis 10-1
R12: #5 Darnley Bay 8-1
R12: 9 Malibu Queen 12-1
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.
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