Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM

At the Gate - Monday

We have reached the end of the road with closing day at Saratoga this afternoon. Hopefully we can keep the good karma going after coming up with six winners on top on Sunday’s card.
After a three day (much needed) break we are back in action on Friday for the opening day of the Belmont Park meeting.
We have two stakes today to close out the meeting—the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) and the $350,000 Hopeful (G1).
Voodoo Song is the even money favorite for the Baruch and is going to be tough to beat. Six were entered but Synchrony will scratch out of the race.
The Linda Rice trained Voodoo Song held on to win the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) by a neck last out. The colt has now won each of his first trips over the Spa grass. He is quick and may be able to run this small field of its feet.
The Hopeful drew a field of eight juveniles that will travel seven furlongs on the main track. The Bill Mott trained Mucho was a sharp maiden winner and is the buzz horse coming into the race. It looks as if we might be able to catch a decent price with Mind Control. My selections and analysis for the race are below.
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Here is the opener from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 Md $50,000 (12:30 ET)
#7 Catch Me If U Can   4-1
#8 Retrieving   6-1
#2 Fly Away Birdie   7-2
#5 Gump   5-2
Analysis: Catch Me If U Can hit the gate hard at the break, raced near the back of the pack and finished evenly in a fifth-place finish in his debut, sent off at just under 10-1 in a field of 10 while in the Kenneally barn. He was claimed out of the race by Asmussen who is 25% winners first off the claim. he comes right back for the same tag here and should move forward with a race under his belt. He is out of a stakes placed A.P. Indy mare that has dropped four winners, top earner stakes winner Aztec Sense ($346,807).
Retrieving adds blinkers here for his second career start after checking in sixth in his debut at 23-1. He broke inward in that outing and did not have any punch after stalking the early pace. The Englehart trainee came back with a couple of good works since his last start. The barn is 20% winners with second out maidens. He is the first foal to race out of a Freud mare. Looking for a better effort here and Saez picks up the call.
WIN: #7 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 2,5,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 2,5,7,8 / 1,2,5,7,8
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 10 The Hopeful G1 (5:38 ET)
#2 Mind Control   5-1
#7 Mucho   8-5
#1 Sombeyay   5-1
#3 Nitrous   7-2
Analysis: Mind Control prompted the early pace and drew off to a smart looking maiden score at Monmouth Park in his second career start. he battled for the early lead and could not go with the winner late in a runner up finish at Delaware Park. The winner of that race was Call Paul, who came back to win the Saratoga Special (G2) in his next start here on Aug. 12. Johnny V. picks up the call and with him graduating on the Jersey Shore he may end up getting overlooked on the tote here.
Mucho was a mucho the best maiden winner last out in his second career start, drawing away to win by 9 3.4 lengths and earning the top last out speed fig. he improved off a promising runner up finish in his debut. The Mott trainee is by Blame out of a Pulpit mare that has dropped four other winners including stakes winner Size ($212,543). Mott won this race back in '07 with Majestic Warrior.
Sombeyay tracked the early pace and finished gamely to win the Sanford (G3) by a neck last out over the main track here. he graduated in his debut by 6 1/4 lengths and then was a game second in the Tremont at Monmouth park in his first go against winners. He fits here with his best but Pletcher has really not been firing on all cylinders at this meeting with his juveniles, winning with just 6 of 43 (14%) not great by his usually lofty standards.
WIN: #2 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 1,2,3,7
TRI: 2,7 / 1,2,3,7 / 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.
R2: #11 La Maquina Grls   10-1
R2: #3 All Clear   8-1
R6: #6 Bambalina   8-1
R7: #8 Call Me a Star   8-1
R8: #5 The Dow   8-1
R9: #3 Forge   10-1
R11: #3 Crater Rim   8-1
Good luck today!

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