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At the Gate - Friday
Thursday was a washout at Saratoga with all of the races moved to the main track, and it likely will be more of the same for Friday, as the area got a couple of inches of rain and more is expected today.
I was a bit too optimistic regarding the weather yesterday as I thought we had a shot of staying on the turf.  We still managed to have three winners on top. Today’s report is handicapped for off the turf.
The feature today is scheduled for the main track anyway and it is a good one as Close Hatches and Princess of Sylmar renew acquaintances in the Grade 1, $500,000 Personal Ensign.
Close Hatches was my top pick in the Ogden Phipps (G1) last out and she barely held on, beating the late running Princess of Sylmar by a head. With the extra ground here there is a good chance the tables could be turned.
They both have a win on a wet track and are bred to handle the off going, so there is no advantage there. Close Hatches does come back off a 2 ½ month break, while Princess of Sylmar came back to run second in the Delaware Handicap (G1) in her next start on July 12.
In that outing she could not catch a loose on the lead Belle Gallantey, who had things pretty easy up front. The pace should be more honest on Friday afternoon.
We get off to an early start on Saturday, which is Travers Day. The 14-race card (yes, 14 races) gets underway at 11:35 a.m. ET.  Make sure you have plenty of toner to print out my report.
To purchase my full card report for Saratoga for Friday click here.
Here is today’s opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 Clm $50,000 (1:00 ET)
3 Be Bullish   9-5
4 Moments Notiz   2-1
2 Bernie the Maestro   6-1
5 Doubledown Again   4-1
Analysis: Be Bullish stalked the early pace and could not get to the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish last out for this tag. He caught a racing strip that was kind to inside speed that day. Two back he ran fourth against Alw-2 optional claimers with the top pair both coming back to win next out. He has handled wet tracks throughout his career but we have to overlook his 0 for 9 mark over the main track here.
Moments Notiz came of a 2 1/2 month break with a close up third last out against $7,500 starter allowance foes at Delaware Park. This gelding is a win machine, taking 16 of his 30 career starts including 12 of his last 19. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and has won three of his seven trips over wet tracks. Could be an all-Jacobson exacta to start the day.
WIN: #3 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 2,3,4
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 9 The Personal Ensign G1 (5:15 ET)
7 Princess of Sylmar   9-5
6 Close Hatches   8-5
1 Antipathy   5-1
4 Fiftyshadesofhay   12-1
Analysis: Princess of Sylmar stalked a slow early pace and could not get by the loose on the lead Belle Galantey last out in the Delaware Handicap (G1). Two back this gal made a good late rally and just missed running down Close Hatches, missing by a tough head in a game effort.
She comes back here with blinkers added and she has put in a trio of good works since her last outing. She should be a bit closer to the pace here and should get a good pace set up as the early pace will be much faster than she saw last out at Delaware Park. She is perfect in two starts over the Spa main track, winning the Alabama (G1) and CCA Oaks (G1) here last summer, the latter over a wet track.
Close Hatches is making her first start since holding off our top pick last out in the Ogden Phipps (G1) and she was our top pick that day. I hate to jump off as this gal has won three in a row and she won the Azeri (G2) three back in her lone go over a wet track which we may see today.
She got a perfect trip last out and took the field gate to wire two and three back. There is plenty of speed in here and but she has to get some extra ground and her price is going to be on the light side today.
Antipathy is coming off a sharp win in the Shuvee Handicap (G2) last out. Two back she was completely overlooked in the stacked Ogden Phipps and only missed by a head and a neck at 30-1. She loves a wet track and she showed last out that her effort against the big gals was no fluke. She is getting five pounds from the top two.
WIN: #7 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 1,4,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 1,4,6,7 / 1,2,4,6,7
Live Longshots:
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: #6 Arctic Ocean   12-1
R3: #5 Tenango   8-1
R4: #2 Keri Belle   10-1
R6: #10 Z Lucky   8-1
R6: #7 Hard Rumor   10-1
R7: #9 Souper Social   10-1
R8: #8 Ragtime   8-1
R9: #4 Fiftyshadesofhay   12-1
R10: #5 Ithastobegeorge   8-1
R10: #9 Gaining Ground   8-1
Good luck today!

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Mike Dempsey 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.
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.

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Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
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