Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM
At the Gate - Saturday
We are down to the final three days of the Saratoga meeting which concludes on Monday, and we have one of the better cards of the meet here on Saturday with 12 races on tap including four graded stakes. Toss is some much needed nice weather and we should have a good day.
The highlight is the $750,000 Woodward (G1) for older runners going 1 1/8-miles on the main track. It did not draw the toughest of fields, but 14 are showing up, making it a great betting race.
As you can see below I landed on the Bill Mott trained Yoshida, who will be making his first career start on dirt after 10 trips on turf.
I don’t usually like to back a runner in a Grade 1 race that is trying a new surface, but the Mott trainee has some talent, is better than he showed in the Fourstardave and has the pedigree to make the surface switch.
The co-feature is the $350,000 Spinaway (G1) for juvenile fillies and it is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race.
Trainer Bob Baffert sends out Chasing Yesterday, a sharp looking maiden winner in her debut. She is a half-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Baffert has started eight juveniles that have made their debuts at the Del Mar meeting and has won with every one of them. That streak could come to the end in today’s ninth race at Del Mar, but only if he decides to run both he entered.
I am on the Baffert bandwagon today as I went with Chasing Yesterday to get the job done and I picked two of his firsters in today’s Best Plays Report. If he can get both of his firsters home with me backing him, that would be impressive.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Del Mar and Saratoga.
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 opener from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:00 ET)
#5 Frolic More 6-1
#7 Will Dancer 3-1
#6 Signalman 4-1
#3 Lion Dance 6-1
Analysis: Frolic More debuts for the Stewart barn that is 10% winners (with a +ROI) with first time starters. This guy was a $25,000 Ocala purchase, by More Than Ready out of a Pulpit mare, her first foal to race. The colt debuts with lasix and four solid looking local drills capped off by a bullet gate drill on Aug. 23 on the main track here. He looks ready to go.
Will Dancer was a $300,000 purchase sent out by the Brown barn that is 19% winners with first timers overall and here at this meeting is 8 for 33 (24%) with his firsters. The colt is out of a stakes placed Hansel mare that has dropped six foals to race with four winners, top earner Notacatbutallama ($789,359). A steady string of works on the morning tab.
WIN: #5 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 3,5,6,7
TRI: 5,7 / 3,5,6,7 / 3,4,5,6,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 11 The Woodward G1 (6:47 ET)
#1 Yoshida 5-1
#14 Rally Cry 20-1
#8 Discreet Lover 8-1
#9 Gunnevera 4-1
Analysis: Yoshida makes his first career start on dirt here for the Bill Mott barn. The colt caught good ground last out in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) where he stalked the early pace and did not show his usual punch late in a fifth-place finish, beaten 3 3/4 lengths. Mott reported the colt had a swollen eye, taking some sod to the face during the race. He was only beaten 1 1/4 lengths when fifth two back in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot going a mile. He won the Old Forrester Turf Classic (G1) on Derby Day at Churchill Downs three back with a career top effort. He ran well on turf here last summer and he seems likely to take to the main track. He is out of the multiple stakes winner Hilda's Passion ($739,493) who did her best work springing on the main track including winning the 2011 Ballerina Stakes (G1) over the Spa main track. He should get a good tracking trip in a race without an abundance of speed breaking from the rail and this is not one of the deepest Woodward fields we have seen in recent years although we do have a big field.
Rally Cry tracked the early pace and tired to finish a well beaten fourth last out going seven furlongs against optional claimers in his first start off a nine-month layoff. He ran huge here last summer winning the restricted Alydar at nine furlongs with a 110 Beyer. He then ran second in this race last year, no match for Gun Runner who drew off to win by 10 1/4 lengths. Pletcher has not been firing as well as in previous Spa meets, hitting at a 16% clip, but this guy should move forward second off the bench and it does not hurt to have Mike Smith picking up the call. Breaking from the far outside he figures to be sent early.
Discreet Lover raced next to last early while saving ground, angled out six wide and made a mild late rally to finish third in the Whitney (G1) last out in the slop. He was no match for Diversify last out or in a third in the Suburban (G2) two back but that foe would have been a solid favorite in this spot. His last win came in the Excelsior (G3) at the Big A in April but comes in here losing his last five but earning his three best career speed figs. He may end up getting overlooked on the tote in this spot.
WIN: #1 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,14 / 1,8,9,14
TRI: 1,14 / 1,8,9,14 / 1,4,8,9,14
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
DMR Race 10 The John C. Mabee G2 (6:33 PT)
#7 Cambodia 5-2
#4 Storm the Hill 15-1
#9 Vasilika 7-2
#5 Fahan Mura 4-1
Analysis: Cambodia is coming off a sharp win in the Yellow Ribbon (G2) last out off a two-month break. The mare won that race last year and turned around to win this race and she sure looks pried to do it again. The Proctor trainee was earning a higher fig last year, but this group does not look as tough and she should get a good tracking trip sitting mid pack with leading rider Van Dyke aboard. The price may end up on the light side, but this mare looks tough in this spot.
Storm the Hill exits the same race and while she was fifth she was only beaten three lengths for the top spot. She raced seventh early not getting a lot of pace and came with a four wide run and finished up with some interest. The extra ground her may suit her and the 15-1 morning line looks generous.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,7 / 4,5,7,9
TRI: 4,7 / 4,5,7,9 / 2,4,5,7,9
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: #8 Natural Order 10-1
R3: #9 House Limit 8-1
R3: #8 Brasstown 12-1
R5: #2 Mr. Dougie Fresh 8-1
R6: #10 Hubba Bubba 20-1
R6: #5 Justcallmenorman 8-1
R8: #5 Themanbehindtheman 10-1
R9: #2 March to the Arch 10-1
R11: #14 Rally Cry 20-1
R11: #8 Discreet Lover 8-1
R12: #8 Lady Montdore 8-1
Good luck today!