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At the Gate - Friday
I wrote yesterday that Chad Brown was closing in on Todd Pletcher in the trainer standings at Saratoga, and then Brown went out to pull off a hat trick on Thursday to get within one win with four days left in the 40-day meeting.
 
Brown has now won with 22 of his 86 starters (26%) while Pletcher has 23 winners from his 112 starters (22%). Brown has finished second behind Pletcher in each of the last three years and it looked that way again this summer, but Pletcher has gone cold and the gap has shrunk over the past week.
 
Brown has two runners in on Friday. In the $100,000 Riskaverse he sends out the morning line favorite Granny Mc’s Kitten (9-5). In the nightcap, he sends out the first time starter Wavell Avenue (5-1).
 
Pletcher has a shot of striking first as he sends out Village Warrior (3-1) in the fourth race, a $25,000 starter allowance race. Then in the ninth, he sends out the debut runner Alexandrie (2-1).
 
The Riskaverse drew 10 although two are main track only entrants and the weather looks just about perfect, so we likely will see eight go to the gate.
 
Granny’s Mc’s Kitten is my top pick as she makes her second start off a three-month break. She beat first level optional claimers last out and has won two of her three starts over the Spa turf including last year’s P.G. Johnson.
 
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We have a huge day coming up on Saturday, a 12-race card that features four graded stakes including the $600,000 Woodward (G1), $500,000 Forego (G1) and the $300,000 Prioress (G2).
 
In addition, two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan is back in action in the $250,000 Bernard Baruch (G2) which will be his first start since winning the Woodward Reserve Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs back on May 3.
 
We only have four days of Saratoga left, with Labor Day the final day of the meet. In addition, we only have three more days to enjoy track announcer Tom Durkin, who will make Sunday’s Spinaway (G1) his final call.
 
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 $25,000 (1:00 ET)
4 Da Wildcat Girl   3-1
5 Little Gidding   4-1
6 Appearance   5-2
3 Tacones   5-1
 
Analysis: Da Wildcat Girl is coming off a decent effort in a runner up finish for this tag, no match for the winner. She tracked the early pace toward the inside, altered course to the outside, brushing with a foe and edging that foe for the runner up spot by a neck. She beat $25,000 non-winners of two three back in a game effort earning a number good enough to beat this group. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and looks like the one to beat for the sharp Klesaris barn.
 
Little Gidding stumbled coming out of the gate last out and after being outrun early she made a mild late run to finish third against $16,000 non-winners of two. She was claimed out of the race by the RRod barn that is 30% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. Blinkers are added here she figures to move forward off her last outing which puts her in the hunt against this group.
 
Wagering
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 3,4,5,6
TRI: 4,5 / 3,4,5,6 / 2,3,4,5,6
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
 
SAR Race 10 The Riskaverse (5:53 ET)
5 Granny Mc's Kitten   9-5
10 Nisharora   6-1
2 Miss Frost   3-1
4 Latique   8-1
 
Analysis: Granny Mc's Kitten came off a three month break with a sharp win against Alw-1 foes over the turf here and looks primed for a top effort here second off the bench. The filly won the P.G. Johnson over the grass here last summer in her first start against winners after breaking her maiden in her debut here. The Brown barn has been hot and hits at a 23% clip with runners making their second start off a 45-180 day layoff.
 
Nisharora checked in fifth in her U.S. debut in the Wild Applause, which was off a year layoff. The filly won her first two starts and then was second in a stake at San Siro before hitting the bench. The Mettee runners for Team Valor have not been firing like they did while under the care of Graham Motion, but this gal looks like she could be a good one and Johnny V. sees fit to give her a run while Rosario departs to ride for Shug here.
 
Wagering
WIN: #5 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 5,10 / 2,4,5,10
TRI: 5,10 / 2,4,5,10 / 2,3,4,5,10
 
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.
 
Saratoga
R3: #6 Path to Power   15-1
R4: #4 Desvelo   10-1
R5: #6 Zafiro Azul   12-1
R6: #10 Decisive Move   12-1
R6: #7 Awakino Cat   8-1
R7: #1 Star of New York   12-1
R8: #3 Thatza Wrap   8-1
R9: #9 Madoo   8-1
R10: #4 Latique   8-1
R11: #10 Madora   10-1
 
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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