Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

Thursday’s feature at Saratoga is the $100,000 Birdstone, a 1 ¾ mile marathon on the main track that drew a field of eight.
The Todd Pletcher trained Marconi is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The colt did not fire his best last out in the Suburban (G2) but has been really good in longer races on dirt, winning the 1 ½ mile Brooklyn Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park on June 8.
His main rival appears to be 9-5 second choice Rocketry who was eighth in the Suburban. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee had to settle for second behind Marconi in both the Brooklyn Handicap and the Flat Out and was fifth behind his rival in the Skip Away.
As you can see below, I need more of a price, so I am going to take a stab with King Zachary (8-1). The Graham Motion trainee did not care much for his first trip on turf in his last outing and I am looking for him to bounce back with a better effort.
On Friday we have three stakes on tap including the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2).
Then we have a big day on Saturday at the Spa with five stakes races highlighted by the $1 million Whitney (G1), which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
A star-studded field of eight will battle led by the Bob Baffert trained McKinzie, who is the 7-5 morning line favorite. The colt is coming off a solid runner up finish in the Met Mile (G1) last out.
Among his foes are Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) winner Vino Rosso, two-time Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Thunder Snow and the 2018 Woodward (G1) winner Yoshida.
Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Saratoga Reports daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.
To purchase my Saratoga Report for Thursday click here.
Here is the opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:00 ET)
#10 Dan the Man Can   7-2
#7 Smite   9-2
#9 Summer Sangria   5-2
#3 Frosted Rose   6-1
Analysis: Dan the Man Can makes his debut on the main track here, setting the early fractions and weakening in the stretch to finish third. He caught a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers. Hews purchased for just $4,000 but has a decent enough turf sprint pedigree, by can the man out of a Half Ours mare, her first foal to race. She is quick and the underrated Barker barn is 17% winners (with a +ROI) overall in turf sprints.
Smite is a $42,000 Spa purchase making his debut for the Sharp barn that is 13% winners with first timers. The colt is by Congrats out of a Forestry mare that has dropped two foals to race, both winners with one turf winner. Decent works and Saez takes the call on this colt.
WIN: #10 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 7,10 / 3,7,9,10
TRI: 7,10 / 3,7,9,10 / 2,3,7,9,10
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 9 The Birdstone (5:51 ET)
#6 King Zachary   8-1
#1 Marconi   8-5
#8 Rocketry   9-5
#5 Third Day   8-1
Analysis: King Zachary was not a threat last out in a seventh-place finish against Alw-3 optional claimers on turf and is back on the main track here for the Motion barn. Last year this guy won the Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs and was fourth in the Travers (G1) here while in the Romans barn. Pedigree wise this guy may be able to get the extra ground, by Curlin out of a Giant's Causeway mare. He was in too tough two back in the Foster (G1) and if Motion thinks this guy can get 1 3/4 miles, we will give him a look here at a decent price.
Marconi drops into an easier spot here after not firing his best in a seventh-place finish in the Suburban (G2) last out. That snapped a three race winning streak. He won the Brooklyn 'Cap (G2) two back at 1 1/2 miles and the Flat Out three back at 1 3/8 miles. He looks as suited as any of these to handle the 1 3/4 miles here. There is not much pace in here and breaking from the rail Lezcano figures to get him out quick. Only knock is going to be the light price.
WIN: #6 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,5,6,8
TRI: 1,6 / 1,5,6,8 / 1,3,5,6,8
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.
R2: #2 No Deal   8-1
R3: #7 Blues City   8-1
R4: #6 Pecatnica   10-1
R5: #12 Avacado Toast   8-1
R6: #6 Curlin’s Knight   8-1
R8: #8 Violet Blue   10-1
R8: #2 Call Me Kayla   8-1
R9: #6 King Zachary   8-1
R9: #5 Third Day   8-1
R10: #5 My Primo   15-1
Good luck today!

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