At the Gate – Saturday

A field of 10 will line up this afternoon in the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1), the marquee event of the summer meeting at Del Mar. The winner stamps a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The Dallas Stewart trained Seeking the Soul is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The six-year-old is coming in off a neck victory in the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs in his last start. The runner up Quip also makes the trip west and is the 9-2 third choice on the morning line.
The Doug O’Neill trained Pavel is the second choice at 7-2. He won the 2018 Foster and has come up short in his last seven starts since including a runner up finish in the pacific Classic last year behind Accelerate.
There are four supporting stakes on the card including the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
The Great Day is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The five-year-old was second in the Arlington Handicap (G3) in his last start and makes his third start since landing in the U.S. with trainer Arnaud Delacour.
We have three stakes at Saratoga this afternoon highlighted by the $600,000 Alabama (G1) for three-year-old fillies going 1 ¼ miles on the main track.
Mother Goose (G2) winner Dunbar Road (8-5) and CCA Oaks (G1) runner up Point of Honor (5-2) are the two logical major players among the field of nine.
The Steve Asmussen trained Lady Apple (6-1) may be worth a good look. She won the Iowa Oaks (G3) in her last start, her forth win in nine career starts.
My Best Plays for Saturday includes my 10 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)
#9 Acre   10-1
#4 No Word   5-1
#3 Anaconda   9-2
#1a Digital Software   5-2
Analysis: Acre tracked the early pace and tired to finish seventh in his debut going 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track here. The colt should move forward on the stretch and surface switch. He is by Blame out of a stakes placed Galileo mare that has dropped four other foals to race with three turf winners, top earner multiple stakes winner Lea ($2.3 million). This guy is going to show more here and likely will be less than his 10-1 morning line.
No Word debuts for the Pletcher barn. The colt is by Silent Name out of a A.P. Indy mare that has dropped five winners and four have won on turf, top earner stakes winner Silentio ($713,281). Pletcher is 23% winners overall with firs timers and 3 for 18 here at this meeting to date with two-year-old first timers. A good breeze over the turf on Aug. 11 for this filly.
WIN: #9 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 1,3,4,9
TRI: 4,9 / 1,3,4,9 / 1,2,3,4,9
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 9 The Lake Placid G2 (5:26 ET)
#1 Varenka   3-1
#5 Regal Glory   2-1
#4 Blowout   5-2
#6 Feel Glorious   5-1
Analysis: Varenka made a good late rally to get up and beat Alw-1 foes last out on the turf here and looks primed for a top effort here for the Motion barn. The trainer thought enough of this gal last year to try her in stakes company after a third in her debut. She ran really well in runner up finishers in the P.G. Johnson and Ms. Grillo (G2) and checked in fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She rallied to finish third in the Regret (G3) two back after breaking herb maiden off the bench three back. She is going to get some pace to run at and reunites with Castellano.
Regal Glory tracked the early pace and finished gamely to win the Lake George (G3) last out although she only had to beat two foes and they were both her stablemates. She has won 4 of her 6 career starts with a pair of runner up finishes. She won the Penn Oaks two back and put in a solid effort in a runner up finish in the Appalachian (G2) on oft ground three back at Keeneland. She has fired in each outing and Saez is perfect on her in two starts since taking over from Ortiz.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 1,5 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,3,4,5,6
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
DMR Race 10 The Pacific Classic G1 (6:30 PT)
#3 Pavel   7-2
#2 Quip   9-2
#5 Seeking the Soul   3-1
#7 Tenfold   8-1
Analysis: Pavel came up short in two trips in New York, a sixth in the Met Mile (G1) and a third last out in the Suburban (G2) at 1 1/4 miles. In his last effort he stalked the early pace, came with a four wide run and could not make up any ground in the stretch over a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. The O'Neill trainee has not win since taking the '18 Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill Downs but has kept some tough company and made trips to japan and Dubai. He ran second in this race last year behind Accelerate, who won by more than a dozen lengths. He looks headed in the right direction and this race did not come up as tough as in years last. O'Neill won this race in 2006 with Lava Man.
Quip is coming off a career top in his runner up finish in the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs. He battled for the early lead and finished gamely to come up just a neck short, beaten by Seeking the Soul. The third-place finisher was Tom's d'Etat, who came back to win the restricted Alydar at Saratoga on Aug. 2 with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure. The extra ground is a question mark but among the top three contenders here this guy may end up offering the most value for the top spot. His trainer Brisset was formerly a top assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott.
Seeking the Soul got the best of Quip late in the Foster, bouncing back off a his third two back in the Alysheba (G2) two back. That outing was his first since returning from Dubai where he was not a factor in an eighth-place finish. He is capable of running big, a good second in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last fall and a win in the Clark 'Cap (G1) back in '17. It looks as if there is enough early speed in here to set things up for him but he may end up a light price.
WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,5,7
TRI:  2,3 / 2,3,5,7 / 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 Acre   10-1
R3: #6 Game Boy Benny   8-1
R3: #9 Oroscopo   10-1
R5: #3 Stella d’Oro   8-1
R6: #10 Carotari   8-1
R7: #2 Eagles Palace   10-1
R10: #6 Ulele   8-1
Good luck today!