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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:03 PM

At the Gate - Thursday

The big news on Wednesday is exactly what many of us feared—Triple Crown winner Justfiy’s racing career is over.

The Bob Baffert trainee won all six of his starts including sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. The colt developed an ankle issue and with the lost time taking him out of training, his connections elected to retire him and send him off to the breeding shed.

He will parade in front of his fans at Del Mar on Saturday and then head off to WinStar Farm. His destination is believed to be Coolmore's Ashford Stud where he will join fellow Triple Crown winner American Pharoah for stud duty.

“The timing is bad for another start in 2018, and therefore we have to retire [Justify],” WinStar chief executive Elliott Walden said in a press release. “Like American Pharoah, we can’t take the risk of running Justify as a 4-year-old. We all wanted him to finish his career in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but it was not meant to be. As has been reported, there is a possible sale to Coolmore in place, but that won’t be finalized until a later date. We are excited to share him with our fans starting the middle of August after he gets acclimated.”

Justify is just the second undefeated Triple Crown winner, joining Seattle Slew. If elected to the Hall of Fame he would be the member with the shortest racing career, just six starts spanning just under four months.

If healthy, his next start might have come Sunday in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park. It looks as if six or seven will enter including Good Magic. The race will be televised on NBC and I’ll have selections and analysis for the race in Sunday’s column.

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.

To purchase my Saratoga Report for Wednesday click here .

Here is the second race from Saratoga (the opener is a jump race) to get the day off to a good start:

SAR Race 2 Md $20,000 (1:33 ET)
#7 El Cucuy 5-1
#4 Generalist 2-1
#3 Gravitating 5-2
#1 Tom's Music / 1a Huracan 6-1

Analysis: El Cucuy stalked the early pace and finished up with some interest for third in his debut for the Guillot barn at 6-1 in a field of nine. He returns with blinkers added and was claimed out of the race by the Nevin barn that is 12% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. He is out of a Victory Gallop mare that has dropped six winners. Johnny V. takes the call and this is not a real tough looking spot.

Generalist drops into a softer spot here after a fourth and a fifth versus $75,000 foes, in the slop in his debut and on turf last out. The Brown barn is 25% winners moving runners from turf to dirt. He is out of a Distorted Humor mare that has dropped two other foals to race, both winners. Another move forward and this gelding will be tough to beat for Brown who is off to a quick start at the meeting.

WIN: #7 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 4,7 / 1,3,4,7
TRI: 4,7 / 1,3,4,7 / 1,3,4,6,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The John Morrissey (5:40 ET)
#3 Long Haul Bay 3-1
#5 Eye Luv Lulu 5-2
#7 Gold for the King 3-1
#6 Runaway Lute 5-1

Analysis: Long Haul Bay tracked the early pace, came with a four wide bid and could not get to the winner late in a runner up finish in the Maryland Sprint (G3) in the slop at Pimlico in his last outing. He comes back here off a two month break for Brown and he won three of his first four starts including the Bay Shore (G3) last April. He ran big off the bench two back beating NY bred Alw-2 optional claimers. He is bred to like a wet track if there is some moisture in the surface and he looks as if he still has plenty of upside as he makes his third start off the long layoff here for Brown who is off to a good start at the meeting winning with 7 of his first 20 starters.

Eye Luv Lulu exits the Belmont Sprint (G2) at seven furlongs where he prompted the early pace, opened up a lead and got caught late by a couple of tough sprinters in Limousine Liberal and Whitmore, checking in third. He is back with state breds here for the Servis barn. The gelding won the state bred Affirmed Success two back after running second in his two previous outings. This guy sure will appreciate if some more rain falls as he has won 6 of his 17 starts on wet tracks in his career. The Spa has not been his favorite racing surface, 0 for 4 with three thirds.

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

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: #2 Miss Loyalty 8-1
R5: 35 Brimstone 8-1
R7: #10 The Dustman 12-1
R8: #8 Terrible Day 10-1
R10: #11 Devious Charm 12-1

Good luck today!

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