Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

At the Gate - Friday

With Triple Crown winner Justify now retired, it is time for the other three-year-olds to step up and we could see that happen in a variety of races over the next few days.

Today Hofburg is back in action at Saratoga as the chalk in the $100,000 Curlin, his first start since running third in the Belmont Stakes (G1), beaten 3 ½ lengths. Trainer Bill Mott is using this race as a prep for the Travers Stakes (G1) next month.

On Saturday at the Spa we have the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2), which also serves as a prep for the Travers. A field of five go to the post, four of which competed in at least one Triple Crown race.

The Todd Pletcher trained Vino Rosso is the even money favorite on the morning line. The colt was ninth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and then fourth in the Belmont.

Tenfold (8-5) was third in the Preakness (G1) and fifth in the Belmont, while Flameway (7-1) was 13th in the Kentucky Derby. Sporting Chance (8-1) was sixth in the Preakness.

On Sunday we have the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1), a race won by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

The Chad Brown trained Good Magic is the headliner and 6-5 morning line favorite. The colt makes his first start since a fourth in the Preakness. He was second in the Kentucky Derby.

Among his foes are Lone Sailor (5-1) who was eighth in the Derby and fifth in the Preakness and Bravazo (3-1) who competed in all three jewels of the Triple Crown, running sixth, second and sixth.

I will have selections and analysis for the Haskell 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 Friday click here .

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

SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:00 ET)
#1 Analyzethisandthat / 1a Center City 8-1
#6 Bankit 4-5
#2 Sounds Good / 2b The Grand Canal 3-1
#5 Bret's Legacy 12-1

Analysis: Analyzethisandthat chased the early pace and weakened to finish third at 9-1 in his debut on turf at Monmouth Park and now switches to the main track. Looks like a good spot as he goes from open maidens in with state breds. He is out of a Candy Stripes mare that has dropped three winners.

Bankit set the early fractions and finished gamely in a runner up finish in his debut at 9-5, beaten a length while edging the third-place finisher by a nose. The $260,000 Ocala purchase is the first foal to race out of a Colonel John mare. The colt may be tough to catch in this spot, but his price is going to be very much on the short side.

WIN: #1 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,2,5,6
TRI: 1,6 / 1,2,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 8 OClm $62,500N2X (5:02 ET)
#1 Sir Ballentine 5-1
#4 Uncle Mojo 5-2
#2 Casses Story 6-1
#7 Flowers for Lisa 7-2

Analysis: Sir Ballentine tracked the early pace, came with a six wide bid and weakened in the stretch to finish fourth last out at this level in the slop at Belmont Park. The third-place finisher Realm came back to win at this level ion his next outing on June 29. The gelding earned a solid number two back beating Alw-1 company in his second start after landing in the Gargan barn. He has a third in his lone go at today's nine furlongs, that effort coming while still a maiden. He has the pedigree, by Stay Thirsty out of an Indian Charlie mare. I like the switch to Carmouche who should have him forwardly placed breaking form the rail.

Uncle Mojo ran big two back beating Alw-1 foes at Pimlico in the slop by 12 3/4 lengths in his four try at that level. Pletcher liked the effort enough to try him in the Stephens Foster 'Cap (G1) where he set the early fractions and tired to finish fifth at 23-1. He broke his maiden at nine furlongs and drops into a better spot here but is going to end up a light price.

WIN: #1 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,2,4,7
TRI: 1,4 / 1,2,4,7 / 1,2,4,7,8

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.

R1: #1 Analyzethisandthat / 1a Center City 8-1
R1: #5 Bret’s Legacy 12-1
R4: #3 The Queens Jules 8-1
R9: #5 American Linclon 12-1
R9: #3 Zing Zang 8-1
R10: #7 One Cool Kitten 12-1
R10: #6 Third Card Down 10-1

Good luck today!

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