Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

It’s Whitney Day at Saratoga and we have an outstanding 11-racr card on tap, one of the better wagering cards we have seen so far at the Spa meeting.

The feature is the $1 million Whitney (G1) for three-year-olds and upward going nine furlongs on the main track. The winner stamps his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) as part of the ‘Win and You’re In” series of races.

As you can see below I just could not get past the 7-5 morning line favorite McKinzie, who is coming off a tough trip second in the Met Mile (G1) behind Mitole. The Bob Baffert trainee is better suited going two turns and he looks tough.

It won’t be a cake walk as Vino Rosso is coming off a victory in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) and Thunder Snow has earned over $16 million and won a couple of Dubai World Cups.

The $500,000 Test (G1) drew a field of seven and it is a very evenly matched and talented group of runners.

Bellafina is the 2-1 morning line favorite, making her first start since a fifth as the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). The cut back in distance should suit her and she is perfect in her two starts at seven furlongs.

There should be a quick pace, with the speedy fillies Serengeti Empress and Covfefe likely to battle from the moment the gate opens.

At Del Mar this afternoon the feature is the $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Vasilika just refuses to lose, winning 12 of her last 13 starts and coming off a victory in the Gamely (G1) at Santa Anita in her last outing.

My Best Plays for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Saratoga and Del Mar.

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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 Shamrocket 12-1
#5 Brewmeister 4-1
#6 Eternal Summer 9-2
#4 Forza Di Oro 5-1

Analysis: Shamrocket is a $130,000 Keeneland purchase making his debut for the Clement barn that is 15% winners with first timers and 4 for his last 18 here at the Spa with firsters on turf. The barn has been sending out live runners, landing 13 of his 20 starters in the money. This colt is out of a Storm Cat mare that has dropped four winners and two have won on turf and two are stakes winners, top earner Believe in Charlie ($205,204) a three-time turf sprint winner. A steady string of works on the morning tab and we should catch a decent price.

Brewmeister debuts for the Brown barn that is 20% winners with first timers. This guy was a $300,000 purchase by Point of Entry out of a Giant's Causeway mare, her first foal to race., The colt was prepping at Monmouth Park and has one breeze over the turf here. Castellano is up and this guy looks ready to go.

WIN: #10 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 5,10 / 4,5,6,10
TRI: 5,10 / 4,5,6,10 / 2,4,5,6,10

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The Whitney G1 (5:46 ET)
#6 McKinzie 7-5
#5 Vino Rosso 6-1
#4 Thunder Snow 3-1
#8 Preservationist 3-1

Analysis: McKinzie is going to be the short-priced favorite, but the colt looks primed for a top effort in this spot. Her put in a solid effort in the Met Mile (G1) last out despite the fact he is better going two turns. The colt had a tough trip. He saved ground early down along the best part of the surface that day but got caught in behind foes, then lacking room and checking of the heels of Thunder Snow just inside the eighth pole. Smith got him angled out and he finished strongly to finish in the runner up spot, beaten ¾ of a length by Mitole. The stretch out to nine furlongs and two turns will suit him He has earned triple digit Beyers in seven of his last eight starts, the one exception his dud in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Smith has options here and he could be on the lead but seems more likely to take a tracking role here. The price is going to be on the light side, but this guy looks tough in this spot.

Vino Rosso got the job done as our top pick in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) paying $10.20 and he beat a tough foe in Gift Box in that win. The Pletcher trainee earned a career top speed fig and appreciated the stretch out to 1 ¼ miles. He put in a decent effort two back in the Carter Handicap (G1) in a fourth-place finish at seven furlongs, not his best distance. The winner of that race was World of Trouble, who came back to win the Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs and the Jaipur (G1) at Belmont Park in his next two starts. He sat just off a fast pace last out showing some versatility in what was a breakthrough effort for this colt.

Thunder Snow was third beaten length in the Met Mile (G1) and it was a solid effort at not his best distance. It was his first start since taking the Dubai World Cup (G1) two back at 1 ¼ miles. His two starts in the U.S. last year were solid—a neck loss in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and a third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The stretch out to two turns will suit him although he is more effective at 1 ¼ miles.

WIN: #6 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6,8
TRI: 5,6 / 4,5,6,8 / 4,5,6,7,8

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

DMR Race 8 The Yellow Ribbon Hcp G2 (5:39 PT)
#1 Beau Recall 7-2
#4 Vasilika 7-5
#9 Elysea's World 12-1
#3 Storm the Hill 5-1

Analysis: Beau Recall stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out in the Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park going a mile. The winner was Rushing Fall who got loose and took the field gate to wire, then came back to run a good second in the Diana (G1) at the Spa. Two back our top pick made a good late to first run to win the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs. The Cox trainee looks as if she is going to get an honest pace to run at in this spot.

Vasilika has won three in a row and 12 of her last 13. Among those wins was the John C. Mabee (G2) at this meeting last summer. Last out she was a smart looking winner of the Gamely (G1) at Santa Anita over ground with some give to it. She picks up a new rider in Leparoux as she returns off just over a two-month break. She looks tough but is going to be a light price here. She is a win machine, but our top pick has earned speed figs in her last two starts good enough to beat her.

WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,3,4,9
TRI: 1,4 / 1,3,4,9 / 1,3,4,6,9

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: #10 Shamrocket 12-1
R2: #9 Hersh 8-1
R3: #2 Dubai Bobby 8-1
R4: #3 Patriot Drive 8-1
R5: #5 Wet Your Whistle 8-1
R6: #12 Somes Sound 10-1
R7: #3 Projected 8-1
R7: #9 Gidu 8-1
R10: #7 Capla Temptress 8-1

Good luck today!

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