At the Gate – Friday

The $1.25 million Travers (G1) at Saratoga coming up on Aug. 24 had all the makings of one of the biggest races of the year, but in one fell swoop lost two of the major players in one day.

The Jason Servis trained Maximum Security, who was disqualified from his victory in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and won the Haskell Invitational (G1) in his last start will skip the Travers.

“I don’t like where he’s at. He’s not eating the way I want him to eat and he’s not carrying the weight I’d like to see him carry,” said Servis “I just want to make sure he’s 100 percent for his next race and he’s not there right now.

“The best thing is to wait until he is 100 percent and point to the Pennsylvania Derby,” Servis added.

Then we heard from trainer Bob Baffert, who said Game Winner would not be making the trip to the Spa. The colt, who was fifth in the Kentucky Derby came back to win the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) in his last outing.

Baffert said he has no backup plan for the colt, but the Pennsylvania Derby, which is run on Sept. 21 would be a logical spot.

We still will have a solid group of three-year-olds including Tacitus, Code of Honor, Owendale, Spinoff and Tax.

Saturday, we have a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races at Del Mar including the marquee event of the meet, the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1).

At Saratoga on Saturday we have three stakes including the $600,000 Alabama (G1) for three-year-old fillies.

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

SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:00 ET)
#2 Barleewon 6-1
#3 Maxwell Esquire 6-1
#1 Mo Ready / 1a Managing Risk 5-1
#9 Victory Built 10-1

Analysis: Barleewon was not much of a threat in his debut on the main track here in a race washed off the grass. The colt race toward the inside early on a day the outer paths were best and had no punch left late in a sixth-place finish. Now he stretches out and tries turf here for the Stidham barn that is 31% winners (with a +ROI) with second out maidens. The colt has a decent enough turf pedigree, by Animal Kingdom out of a Bernardini mare, her first foal to race.

Maxwell Esquire debuts for the Clement barn that is 14% winners with first timers. The colt is by Discreet Cat out of a Marquetry mare that has dropped seven runners, six winners and five have won on turf. A steady string of works on the morning tab for his guy. Irad takes the call and this guy looks ready to go, not catching a very tough looking group of state breds.

WIN: #2 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 1,2,3,9
TRI: 2,3 / 1,2,3,9 / 1,2,3,5,9

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The Skidmore (5:18 ET)
#3 Another Miracle 7-5
#5 Frosted Rose 8-1
#6 Montauk Daddy 2-1
#7 Venerate 12-1

Analysis: Another Miracle took the field gate to wire to break his maiden in his second career start in a sharp effort in a race washed off the grass In his debut he battled for the early led and could not go with the winner late in a runner up finish. The winner was Green Light Go, who came back to win the Saratoga Special (G2) in his next outing on Aug. 10. Contessa now strides this guy on turf. He is by American Pharoah out of the stakes winner Retraceable ($370,564), who was best on the fake stuff and who has dropped two other winners including one turf winner. The barn is just 6% winners moving runners from dirt to turf but showing a +ROI. The price will be short but this guy still appears to have a ton of upside.

Frosted Rose made a good late rally to get up and graduate last out in his second career start going 5 1/2 on the turf here. That outing came against restricted maidens and his Beyer is coming up light while his BRIS number is more generous. It looks as if he should get an honest pace to run at. He wheels back in two weeks for Trombetta and looks capable of moving forward off his maiden score.

WIN: #3 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 3,5,6,7
TRI: 3,5 / 3,5,6,7 / 2,3,5,6,7

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.

R1: #9 Victory Built 10-1
R4: #7 Overbold 8-1
R4: #8 Prairie Fire 8-1
R4: #3 Flattering Eyes 12-1
R6: #9 Codrington 8-1
R8: #6 Singular Sensation 8-1
R9: #5 Frosted Rose 8-1
R9: #7 Venerate 12-1
R10: #1 Talespin 10-1

Good luck today!