Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

It is going to be very tough to beat Accelerate this afternoon in the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1). The five-year-old is looking to join Game On Dude and Lava Man as the only runners to win the race along with the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in the same year.

The John Sadler trainee is the 8-5 morning line favorite and may end up going off lighter as he attempts to stamp a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) this fall at Churchill Downs.
Perhaps The Lieutenant (6-1) can give him a run for his money. That foe ran into the ultra sharp Diversify in his last outing in a runner up finish in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park.

The Pacific Classic Day card features a pair of outstanding stakes—the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1) which drew a field of 12 and the $300,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

At Saratoga the feature is the $600,000 Alabama (G1) for three-year-old fillies going 1 ¼ miles on the main track. I am going to try and beat the chalk in Midnight Bisou, who ran second to Monomoy Girl in the CCA Oaks (G1) in her last outing.

I am going to take a stab with Figarella’s Queen who is going to be a generous price. She rallied for second in the Indiana Oaks (G3) last out and this is just her third route try on the main track.

The co-feature is the $300,000 Lake Placid (G2) for three-year-old fillies carded for nine furlongs on turf. We have more rain coming and the turf races are in danger again this afternoon, but I am hoping at least this one sticks to the grass.

I am hoping we can get trainer Graham Motion off the duck with Thewayiam. The trainer has started off the meeting going 0 for 25 but he does have seven seconds and four thirds, so his stock is running pretty well.

Saturday's Best Plays Report includes my eight strongest plays from Del Mar and Saratoga including the graded stakes action.

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.

To purchase my Saratoga and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here.

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

SAR Race 1 Md $40,000 (1:00 ET)

11 Letterman 5-1

2 Azzedine 5-2

7 Valycove 6-1

8 Causeur 10-1

Analysis: Letterman drops in for a tag for his second career start here for the Bond barn that is 14% winners (with a +ROI) with second out maidens. The colt raced at the back of the pack early in his debut while rank and made a middle move before weakening to finish sixth in a race that produced a pair of next out winners. She is out of a Lomitas mare that has dropped six winners and five are turf winners and a pair of turf winners, top earner Isabella Sings ($644,170).

Azzedine dropped in for a $75,000 tag last out as still could not get the job done, checking in fifth as the beaten favorite. The Brown trainee has burned some cash, the beaten favorite in three of his five starts and will again likely be the fav. He drops into an easier spot here for $40,000 and Castellano sticks. He has the pedigree, out of a stakes placed Peintre Celebre mare that has dropped four winners and three have won on turf.

WIN: #11 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,11 / 1,7,8,11
TRI: 1,11 / 1,7,8,11 / 1,7,8,9,11

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The Alabama G1 (5:40 ET)

6 Figarella's Queen 15-1

3 Midnight Bisou 7-5

2 Eskimo Kisses 6-1

8 Talk Veuve to Me 5-2

Analysis: Figarella’s Queen stalked the early pace and could not get to Talk Veuve to Me in the Indiana Oaks (G3), coming up 4 3/4 lengths short to the chalk. It was just her second start going long on the main track. She won the Sanibel Island on turf going a mile back in March at Gulfstream Park. She failed to fire in her first start for Cox when she was ninth in the Edgewood (G3) on turf but looks headed in the right direction on dirt and she looks as if she should be able to handle the distance. She is by Medaglia d’Oro out of a Rock Hard Ten mare. Ortiz picks up the call and she is going to be a generous price in this spot. She could be sitting on a big one here. An off track likely would not slow her down.

Midnight Bisou rolled to a six-length win in the Mother Goose (G2) two back and could not get to the talented Monomoy Girl last out when second in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) here going nine furlongs. She also ran behind that foe three back when making a good late run to finish third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). She fires every time, landing in the exacta in seven of her eight starts with one third. She won over a wet fast surface at Santa Anita and has a decent off track pedigree if the rains come. She is by Midnight Lute out of the stakes winner Diva Delite ($300,067) who won the 2010 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Asmussen is having a strong Spa meeting and Mike Smith is in to ride. She will be tough, but her price is going to be on the short side.

Eskimo Kisses stalked the early pace and did not have any punch in the stretch in a fourth-place finish in the CCA Oaks which was her first go off a 2 ½ month break. She was second in the Ashland (G1) and fourth in the Kentucky Oaks behind Monomoy Girl. She should be tighter today for McPeek and if she gets some pace to run at she can be heard from late at a decent price.

WIN: #6 to win at 10-1 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 2,3,6,8
TRI: 3,6 / 2,3,6,8 / 2,3,4,6,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:

DMR Race 10 The Pacific Classic G1 (6:43 PT)

5 Accelerate 8-5

1 The Lieutenant 6-1

2 Dr. Dorr 6-1

3 Prime Attraction 8-1

Analysis: Accelerate is going to be the chalk in here but it is his race to win or lose. He comes in off a career top speed fig winning the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) by 4 ¼ lengths over Dr. Dorr. He won the San Pasqual (G2) and Santa Anita Handicap (G1) in his first two starts this year before getting beaten a neck two back in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) by City of Light. The Sadler trainee ran third in this race last year which was then a career top number and he has three wins over the surface including last year’s San Diego. The five-ear-old owns a solid pace profile throughout and I do not see hi regressing her today.

The Lieutenant stalked the early pace and finished up well for a runner up finish in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park behind Diversify who took the field gate to wire and then returned four weeks later to win the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga in an equally impressive win. Two back the McCarthy trainee earned his first triple digit Beyer winning the All American (G3) over the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields. The runner up My Friend Emma returned to win the Albany at Golden Gate Fields in his next outing. He comes in here in the sharpest form of his career and will need another move forward to pull off the upset. His win over the main track was last September where he beat Alw-1 optional claimers.

Dr. Dorr was no match for the impressive Catalina Cruiser last out in the San Diego but did bounce back after failing to fire two back in a ninth-place finish in the Suburban. He won the Californian (G2) back in April with a career top speed fig and then was second to our top pick in the Gold Cup earning a solid number. Baffert has won this race five times including last year with Collected but this guy may end up landing for a minor share. The gelding is 0 for 3 over the main track here.

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

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: #8 Causeur 10-1
R4: #1 Pointer View 12-1
R5: #2 Shanghai Glory 10-1
R6: #4 Kentucky Wildcat 12-1
R6: #3 Most Mischief 10-1
R7: #7 Seeking the Blue 8-1
R9: #6 Figarella’s Queen 15-1

Good luck today!

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