At the Gate - Thursday
July 23, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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We got off to a good start to the week on Wednesday despite getting knocked out of the early Pick 5 in the first leg. I failed to come up with the Steve Asmussen trained Empressive Humor in the second race, who won at first asking and returned $9.30.
We did have five winners on top in the other nine races of the card, paying $11.60, $8.20, $6.90, $6.20 and $2.60. We also had five recommended exactas: $22.40, $19.80, $13.00, $32.80 and $67.00.
I got out nicely in the nightcap as my second choice Hot Squeeze beat my top pick Royal Jest with the $2 recommended exacta paying $67.00 and we hit the recommended trifecta that paid $380.00. Using my top pick Daring Dancer in the ninth race, the late double paid a handsome $41.00.
Daring Dancer won the Lake George (G2) for her second career graded stake win. She was my top pick and we nailed the exacta with A Little Bit Sassy cold for $32.80 and the $2 trifecta that returned $136.50.
Thursday’s feature is the $100,000 Quick Call, a 5 ½ furlong turf sprint that drew a field of seven three-year-olds. Three of the seven including morning line favorite Favorite Tale (5-2) are making their turf debuts. Only Escapist (8-1) has won on grass.
As you can see below, I am going with Pure Sensation, who makes his turf debut for the Christophe Clement barn that is off to a slow start at the meeting, winning with just one of his first 13 starts at the Spa.
We have a great weekend of betting action coming up. At Saratoga on Saturday, we have the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) and the $200,000 Amsterdam (G2). The feature at Del Mar on Saturday is the $200,000 San Diego Handicap (G2).
On Sunday, Untapable takes on the boys in the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park. There are four supporting graded stakes on the card, and I will include the action in Sunday’s Best Plays Report.
To purchase my full card report for Saratoga for Thursday click here.
Here is today’s second race (the opener is a steeplechase race) from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 2 Md Sp Wt (1:00 ET)
6 Louisiana Brown 7-2
4 Bully Proof 3-1
1 Villalobos / 1a Zip's Moondance 5-1
3 Battle Red 5-2
Analysis: Louisiana Brown showed good early speed in his debut, battling for the early lead and unable to match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish at Churchill Downs, nearly three lengths clear of the rest of the field. The colt came back with a quick work on July 13 over the main track here and he may be quick enough to shake loose early in this spot.
Bully Proof is a $55,000 purchase making his debut for the Pletcher barn that is 22% winners with first timers. The colt is one of two in here sent out by the meet's leading barn and may end up the better price of the duo. The colt is by Bellamy Road (11% winners with debut runners) out of a stakes placed Slew City Slew mare, her first foal to race. Solid looking work tab and debuts with lasix.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,3,4,6
TRI: 4,6 / 1,3,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 9 The Quick Call (4:42 ET)
1 Pure Sensation 3-1
3 Escapist 8-1
5 Favorite Tale 5-2
2 Harpoon 7-2
Analysis: Pure Sensation tries turf for the first time here after battling for the early lead and weakening to finish fifth last out in the Woody Stephens (G2) going seven furlongs on the main track at Belmont Park. The racing strip was kind to outside stalkers and closers that day.
The colt landed in the money in his three previous starts in stakes company and owns solid early and mid pace numbers. His pedigree leans a bit more to dirt, by Zensational out of the dirt stakes winner Pure Disco ($496,840). The Clement barn is 21% winners moving runners from dirt to turf.
Escapist is perfect in two starts, breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park at five furlongs in his debut and coming back last out off a 3 1/2 month break and beating Alw-1 foes at Belmont Park. The third and eighth place finishers in that race both won next out.
The colt is out of a stakes placed Arch mare that has dropped two other winners including dirt stakes winner Clearly Now ($886,927). The colt has come back with a couple of quick works and this guy may still have some upside.
WIN: #1 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,2,3,5
TRI: 1,3 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,4,5
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.
R8: #5 Go Olivia Go 10-1
R9: #3 Escapist 8-1
R10: #4 Bapu 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.
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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