At the Gate - Wednesday
August 26, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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We enter the last week of the Saratoga meeting with just six betting days left. Several times over the last month, I described trainer Todd Pletcher as “well on his way to winning his 11th Saratoga training title.”
Did I speak to soon?
Pletcher’s lead in the trainer standings is down to four, 22 to 18 over Chad Brown, who got off to a slow start at the meeting. However, the real news is how Pletcher’s horses have been performing recently. Pletcher has gone winless with his last 25 starters.
He is still winning at a 20% clip at the meeting, with 22 winners from 109 starters, but Brown is closing in.
Brown has won 18 races from his 80 starters, winning at a 23% clip. While Pletcher went 0 for 25 since Aug. 17, Brown has won with seven of his 22 starters to close the gap.
Each trainer has one starter in on Wednesday, with Pletcher saddling March Creek (2-1) in the second race while Brown will send out Partisan Politics (5-1) in the third race.
Today’s feature is the $100,000 P.G. Johnson, a 1 1/16 mile test on turf that will go off as race three. The race drew a field of seven juvenile fillies.
To purchase my full card report for Saratoga for Wednesday click here.
Here is today’s second race (the opener is a steeplechase) from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 2 Md $75,000 (1:00 ET)
5 Sherifco 9-5
2 March Creek 2-1
1 Hi Speed Chase 10-1
6 Alexndeed 5-1
Analysis: Sherifco gets off the rail where the colt had a terrible trip last out in his debut. He broke a step slow, was bumped hard by a foe leaving the backstretch and had to check hard, came with a five bid and ran out of gas in the stretch in a fifth place finish. The $190,000 Ocala buy just needs a better trip as he drops in for a tag here for the Terranova barn. The colt is out of a Valid Appeal mare that has dropped four winners. The barn is 12% winners (with a +ROI) with second out maidens.
March Creek tracked the early pace, came with a four wide bid around the far turn and weakened to finish fourth in his debut for Pletcher, beaten three lengths. He was sent off at 13-1 and the longest price in a six horse field and we don't see that often from this barn. He earned a solid number in his debut and drops in for a tag. Pletcher hits at a 28% clip with second out maidens.
WIN: #5 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 1,2,5
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 8 Alw $25,000s (4:16 ET)
6 Manchurian High 3-1
7 Sayler's Creek 7-2
4 Treasury Devil 5-1
9 Media Kid 6-1
Analysis: Manchurian High was only beaten a nose and a neck last out in a third place finish in the John's Call at 1 5/8 miles and has earned back to back career tops facing stakes company. The gelding beat Alw-3 optional claimers three back in his first start after the Fair Hill based Kurtinecz barn took over. The trainer is showing just six winners from 45 starters dating back three years, mostly with steeplechase runners. This gelding looks like a god fit here facing $25,000 starter allowance foes that are non-winners of one other than.
Sayler's Creek has won five of his last seven starts, last out beating $16,000 starter allowance foes going nine furlongs on the turf at Philly. The fourth place finisher Turbin exited that race to come back and beat $Alw-2 optional claimers at Penn in his next start on Aug. 8. The colt has good tactical speed and comes in here very sharp for the Maker barn that has been sending out live runners recently.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 4,6,7,9
TRI: 6,7 / 4,6,7,9 / 4,6,7,8,9
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: #5 Witor 10-1
R2: #1 Hi Speed Chase 10-1
R3: #4 Flying Tipat 8-1
R4: #4 Aloclite 8-1
R6: #9 Ms Eileen 10-1
R7: #2 Street Shark 10-1
R9: #9 Pirate’s Pleasure 10-1
R9: #5 Gottalovethedrake 12-1
R10: #8 Dynamon 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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