Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

At the Gate - Wednesday

Mother Nature continues to be unkind to Saratoga as we were off the grass again on Monday, bringing the total races washed off the turf through the first 22 days of the meeting to 36.

That has helped lead to a 9% decline in handle and field sizes that are down this year as well. According to David Grenig of The Daily Racing Form, field size so far at the meeting is 7.50 compared to 8.29 last year.

Horseplayers were not too happy that the final race on Monday’s card moved to the main track rather late. In addition, Saratoga ran a race at the wrong distance in the fifth race last Wednesday. The race was supposed to be at 1 1/16 miles but instead was run at 1 1/8 miles.

The winner drew off to win by eight lengths, but the NYRA really should have refunded all wagers on the race. They did not.

There is only a 20% chance of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, so I am hoping we are back on the turf. The chance of rain increases later in the week.

The feature on Wednesday is the $100,000 Bolton Landing at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, drawing a field of eight.

Three of those runners will be sent out by trainer Wesley Ward and they each made their last starts overseas, making it a tricky race to handicap.

Shang Shang Shang won the Norfolk Stakes (G2) and is the 9-5 morning line favorite. Her stablemate Chelsea Colors (7-2) was second in the Prix du Bois (G3) at Deauville in her last start and Stillwater Cove (8-1) was 13th in the Albany Stakes (G3) at Royal Ascot in her last outing.

I went Captain Obvious with Shang Shang Shang who was impressive holding on by just a nose in the Norfolk where she set the pace. She had broken her maiden in her debut two back at Keeneland on the main track.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Saratoga (and then Belmont Park) 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 $16,000N2L (1:00 ET)
#6 Terralsole 9-2
#4 Cool as You Like 6-5
#2 Quick On the Draw 5-2
#1 Our Whim 6-1

Analysis: A six horse field of $16,000 non-winners of two, is this really the Spa? Terralsole gets the call as she makes her second start off a 7 1/2-month layoff and may have more upside than most of this group. Last out off the bench she tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fourth against $40,000 non-winners of two. She graduated in her second career start last September at Belmont Park against $25,000 state breds. She should move forward second off the bench and gets a jock upgrade here to Santana.

Cool as You Like makes her first starts since last November and her first for the Nevin barn. Last out she was a distant fourth versus state bred Alw-1 foes. The barn is 16% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. She catches a soft spot for her return but tough to get too excited about backing her for the top spot at such a light price.

WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 2,4,6
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The Bolton Landing (5:40 ET)
#3 Shang Shang Shang 9-5
#4 Chelsea Cloisters 7-2
#2 Drynachan 3-1
#8 Stillwater Cove 8-1

Analysis: Shang Shang Shang is one of three in here sent out by the Ward barn that are coming back from across the pond. This filly broke herb maiden on dirt at Keeneland then shipped to Royal Ascot where she won the Norfolk Stakes (G2) by a nose over good to form ground at five furlongs. She popped a bullet work best of 99 over the Oklahoma training track on Aug. 6 and looks capable of carrying her speed here.

Chelsea Cloisters bounced back from her 11th place finish in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot as the beaten favorite to run a good second last out in the Prix de Bois (G3) at Deauville. She has a matching work with her stablemate and while she also has good early zip her stablemate may be a bit quicker early.

WIN: #3 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 2,3,4,8
TRI: 3,4 / 2,3,4,8 / 2,3,4,6,8

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.

R2: #5 Miss Flambe 8-1
R5: #2 Big Brown Cat 8-1
R9: #8 Stillwater Cove 8-1
R10: #7 Wicked Trick 8-1

Good luck today!

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