Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

At the Gate - Friday

In addition to Saturday being Pacific Classic Day at Del Mar, we have the $600,000 Alabama (G1) at Saratoga, a field of eight three-year-olds going 1 ¼ miles on the main track.

We got a break in the weather on Thursday and we were fast and firm, but we have a 90% chance of some afternoon rain on Friday and an 80% chance of rain on Saturday.

Midnight Bisou is the 7-5 morning line favorite for the Alabama with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith making the trip in to New York for the ride.

The filly was no match for the brilliant Monomoy Girl last out in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) here on July 22, beaten three lengths. She won the Mother Goose (G2) in her previous start by six lengths.

Her main foe is going to be Talk Veuve to Me (5-2), winner of the Indiana Oaks (G3) in her last outing. She ran second to Monomoy Girl in the Acorn (G1) in her previous start, beaten two lengths. Julian Leparoux, who is having a rough meeting (1 for 44) has the call for trainer Rodolphe.

The co-feature on Saturday’s 10-race card at the Spa is the $300,000 Lake Placid (G2) for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) champ Rushing Fall is the 9-5 morning line favorite.

The feature at the Spa this afternoon is the $100,000 Skidmore at 5 ½ furlongs on turf. A dozen were entered with a pair of Wesley Ward runners likely to scratch after running on Wednesday.

Shang Shang Shang was my top pick on Wednesday in the Bolton Landing and she scratched to go here against the boys and I’ll stick with her. She won the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot in her last outing.

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 Alw $50,000s (1:00 ET)
#8 All Clear 3-1
#4 Wet Your Whistle 5-2
#9 Hello Holiday 8-1
#2 Shekky Shebaz 4-1

Analysis: All Clear gets the call and I am hoping the rain holds off. The gelding prompted the early pace and finished gamely in a runner up finish last out against $40,000 non-winners of two in his first start on turf. The winner Major Force came back to beat $50,000 starter allowance foes in his next outing on June 22 at Belmont Park. He returns off the bench here for the Gargan barn that is 22% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. If this comes off the turf he still fits, his maiden win coming off a wet track and he is bred to like the off going.

Wet Your Whistle adds blinkers here after tacking the early pace after getting off a beat slow racing a bit rank nearing the half mile pole and finishing evenly in a fourth-place finish, beaten three lengths. He graduated at Laurel Park on the main track in a game effort. He is out of a Belong to Me mare that has dropped two other winners including one turf winner.

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

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 7 Alw $87,000N1X (4:24 ET)
#5 Dancing All Night 7-2
#2 Sweet Bye and Bye 10-1
#10 Cilantro 4-1
#8 Palladian Bridge 6-1

Analysis: Dancing All Night makes her second start off the bench here for the Shug barn. Last out off a year layoff the mare prompted the early pace and battled on gamely to miss by just a neck. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers in a
race with plenty of early zip signed up. She figures to be tighter second off the bench and has run well on wet tracks with a couple of seconds and we may see some rain this afternoon.

Sweet Bye and Bye won the Pa bred Crowd Pleaser on turf last out at Philly which was her fourth consecutive victory. Two of those came on dirt and she won the two outings against Pa breds by a combined 13 1/4 lengths. Klesaris now elects to try her back on dirt here and has a solid off track pedigree, by Sky Mesa out of a Maria's Mon mare. Worth tossing in the mix here if she goes off near her 10-1 morning line.

WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,5,8,10
TRI: 2,5 / 2,5,8,10 / 2,5,8,9,10

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.

R1: #9 Hello Holiday 8-1
R3: #6 Stag of Sulvia 15-1
R5: #10 Bustin Hoffman 8-1
R7: #2 Sweet Bye and Bye 10-1
R8: #8 Royal Blessing 8-1
R9: #11 Chase Greatness 12-1
R9: #1 Yes and Yes 8-1
R10: #11 Hustle N Heart 10-1
R10: #10 The Chamo 8-1
R10: #9 Via Castagna 8-1

Good luck today!

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