Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

At the Gate - Friday

An unexpected rainstorm hit Saratoga yesterday, wiping out the last seven races on the card including the feature which was the $100,000 Morrissey. There was no word when that stakes race would be rescheduled.

It was the second weather related issue at the Spa, with last Saturday’s card wiped out due to excessive heat. The weather looks good for the next few days, and we have three stakes races coming up on Saturday.

The $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) drew a field of seven with Mitole the even money favorite on the morning line. The Steve Asmussen trainee has won seven races in a row, taking the Met Mile (G1) in his last outing.

Among his foes are Imperial Hint (3-1), last year’s Vanderbilt winner and Runhappy winner Firenze Fire (9-2).

The $250,000 Bowling Green (G2) drew a field of 13 and is a wide open affair for four-year-olds and upward going 1 3/8 miles on turf.

The Bill Mott trained Channel Maker is the 7-2 morning line favorite. The gelding won the Man O’ War (G1) in May and in his last outing was fourth in the Manhattan (G1).

A field of six three-year-olds will go in the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2). Belmont Stakes (G1) runner up Tacitus is the 7-5 morning line favorite. He faces Preakness (G1) winner War of Will (5-2) and Peter Pan (G3) winner Global Campaign (2-1).

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To purchase my Saratoga Report for Friday click here.

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

SAR Race 1 Md $20,000 (1:00 ET)

4 Karabessa 15-1

3 Countenance 3-5

2 Handle With Care 7-2

1 Russian Melody 6-1

Analysis: Karabessa makes her first start since March where the filly tracked the early pace and finished evenly in a third place finish. She ran second in her three previous starts, two back behind repeat winner Big Brown Cat, who came back to beat state bred $30,000 claimers in her next start by five lengths. She has been forwardly placed in two of her last three starts and with Carmouche picking up the call I am hoping he sends her. Worth a look here in a weak spot.

Countenance drops in for a tag for her first start off a 5 1/2-month layoff. The Clement barn is 14% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. Last out she tracked the early pace and finished gamely in a runner up finish in the slop at Tampa Bay Downs in a race taken off the turf. Her two previous starts came on turf and three back she was only beaten three lengths in a third-place finish. Her speed figs tower over the rest of the field here but her price is going to be very much on the short side.

WIN: #4 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 1,2,3,4
TRI: 3,4 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4,5

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The Curlin (5:51 ET)

3 Looking At Bikinis 5-2

8 Highest Honors 5-1

1 Intrepid Heart 7-2

7 Endorsed 6-1

Analysis: Looking At Bikinis is one of two in here sent out by the Chad Brown barn and they both look as if they have a ton of upside. The colt broke his maiden in the slop at Belmont Park last September and did not return until June 27 where he stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to get up and beat Alw-1 optional claimers. The $3240,000 Ocala purchase owns the top last out speed fig and he should have no problem handling the extra ground. He is by Lookin At Lucky out of a Bernardini mare, her first foal to race. A couple of sharp works since his last outing and he looks capable of moving forward here in his stakes debut.

Highest Honors is also sent out by Brown. The colt stretched out to a route last out for his second career start and picked up his diploma in a good looking effort. The runner up Meet Me in L A came back to graduate in his next outing on June 20 thanks to a DQ. In his debut he just missed by a neck in a game effort in a race in which the top four all won next out. The winner Winning Number came back to beat Alw-3L foes on May 18 at Canterbury and then crossed the wire first in the Iowa Derby (G3) only to get DQ'd for interference and placed third. The Brown trainee is out of the stakes winner Tap Your Feet ($125,930) who has dropped four other winners and two are stakes winners, top earner Diamondrella ($825,808).

WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 1,3,7,8
TRI: 3,8 / 1,3,7,8 / 1,2,3,7,8

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.

R1: #4 Karabessa 15-1
R2: #7 Victory Built 8-1
R6: #10 Sweeping In 20-1
R7: #1 Kingdom’s Queen 8-1
R8: #12 Mo Diddley 8-1
R8: #7 Colonel Tom 8-1

Good luck today!

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