Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

At the Gate - Friday

After a four day break we are back in action with Opening Day at Saratoga on Friday. The 40-day meeting runs through Labor Day and features 69 stakes led by the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) on Aug. 25.

The Travers Day card features six Grade 1 races including four that are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races.

Things start off with a bang on Friday with a solid 10-race card highlighted by the traditional openers—the $150,000 Schuylerville (G3) for two-year-old fillies and the $150,000 Lake George (G3) for three-year-old fillies.

The Schuylerville drew a field of 10 and is a wide-open affair of lightly raced fillies. Lady Apple (8-1) and Eyeinthesly (6-1) are the lone runners with a start in stakes company, running second and third respectively in the Astoria at Belmont Park.

The Lake George drew a field of eight that will go 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Trainer Chad Brown sends out a pair of top contenders in Punked (5-1) and Altea (3-1).

Coming up on Saturday we have the $500,000 Diana (G1) where again Brown will be loaded, sending out three of the seven in the field led by the two likely favorites, Jenny Wiley (G1) winner Sistercharlie (9-5) and Just a Game (G1) winner A Raving Beauty (2-1).

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Saratoga which is running six days a week and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

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Here is the opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:

SAR Race 1 Clm $25,000 (1:00 ET)

5 Believe in Luck 7-2

7 Hardly a Secret 4-1

2 Nobody Move 3-1

6 Bad Student 9-2

Analysis: Believe in Luck makes his first start here for the Rice barn and drops in for a tag. His last win came four back in the mud at Philly where he beat Alw-2 optional claimers. He was fifth last out versus tougher at Delaware Park going two turns and he has enough pedigree to handle nine furlongs. Rice is 28% winners with newcomers to the barn and this looks like a good spot dropping in class.

Hardly a Secret tracked the early pace and was no match for the winner late in a runner up finish against $32,000 foes in the slop in his first go off the claim by the Amoss barn. He was claimed two back for $25,000 out of a fifth-place finish. He has not won since taking an Alw-3L race at Thistledown last fall. Ortiz picks up the call for Amoss who was 2 for 12 here last summer.

WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 2,5,6,7
TRI: 5,7 / 2,5,6,7 / 2,5,6,7,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 8 The Schuylerville G3 (5:02 ET)

7 Serengeti Empress 6-1

1 Catherinethegreat 5-2

2 Nonna Madeline 7-2

10 Blame the Fog 12-1

Analysis: Serengeti Empress did not beat much went sent off at 1-5 in her debut at Indiana Grand but won by 5 1/2 lengths with a little something left in the tank for the Amoss barn. The $70,000 Keeneland purchase is by Alternation and the first foal to race out of a Bernardini mare. Castellano takes the call and hoping she gets overlooked on the tote in this spot.

Catherinethegreat earned the top last out speed fig in her maiden score in the slop in her second career start, drawing off to win by 10 1/4 lengths. She was second in her debut in the slop behind repeat winner Nancysaidso, who beat Alw-1 optional claimers in her next outing on July 5 at Gulfstream Park but earned a Beyer of just 43 in the win. She had a good breeze over the main track here on July 13 and looks like the strongest of the trio sent out by the Casse barn. She was a $170,000 Ocala purchase out of a Carson City mare that has dropped one other winner, stakes winner Katinka ($138,250).

WIN: #7 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,2,7,10
TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,7,10 / 1,2,6,7,10

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.

R4: #1 Top Czar 10-1
R5: #7 Princess Trina 8-1
R6: #10 Palladian Bridge 12-1
R8: #10 Blame the Fog 12-1
R10: #4 Jo’s Bold Cat 12-1

Good luck today!

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