At the Gate – Thursday

Things did not go well in Wednesday’s feature as our top pick Our Country got hammered down to 6-5 and had a rough trip while Fighting Seebee took the field gate to wire and returned $12.60.

Juvenile stakes on turf can be tough and we have another one this afternoon. A field of eight line up in the $100,000 P.G. Johnson going 1 1/16 miles on grass.

The Todd Pletcher trained Sweet Melania is the 9-5 morning line favorite and faces winners for the first time after breaking her maiden in her third career outing.

There is just one runner in that that has faced winners and that is 15-1 longshot Lively Kitten, who beat first level optional caleimers at Laurel Park.

As you can see, I landed on the Pletcher trainee despite the likely short price. Her first two starts came in dirt sprints and the stretch out and surface switch suited her.

We are down to just five days left of the Saratoga meeting. We have a big weekend coming up including the $750,000 Woodward (G1) on Saturday, the $350,000 Spinaway (G1) on Sunday and Monday’s closing day feature is the $350,000 Hopeful (G1).

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)
#5 Irish Danzing 4-1
#4 More Glitter 2-1
#1 Tequila Fog 6-1
#6 Bingolina 8-1

Analysis: Irish Danzing debuts for the Clement barn that is 14% winners with first time starters. The filly was a $120,000 Ocala purchase, by Danza out of a stakes placed Cactus Ridge mare that has dropped two foals to race with one winner. The filly sports solid works including a good gate drill on Aug. 9. Irad takes the call and she looks ready to fire at first asking.

More Glitter debuts for the Pletcher barn that is 23% winners with first timers. The trainer is 4 for 24 at this meeting with juvie first timers. She was a $340,000 Keeneland purchase, by More Than Ready out of a Grand Slam mare that has dropped five foals to race with four winners, top earner stakes winner Carameaway ($472,837). A steady string of works on the morning tab.

WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 4,5 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,2,4,5,6

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The P.G. Johnson (5:18 ET)
#8 Sweet Melania 9-5
#7 English Breeze 5-1
#6 Crystalle 3-1
#3 Ginseng 8-1

Analysis: Sweet Melania stretches out and tries turf last out in her third career start and she picked up her diploma in a sharp effort. The effort was flattered when both the runner up and third place finisher both came back to break maiden in their next starts. This gal was a $600,000 Keeneland purchase, by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah out of the stakes winner Sweet N Discreet ($366,447) who has dropped one other foal to race, turf winner Sweeter Than Wine (1 for 5, $19,760). She has put in four works since her maiden breaker and looks as if she still has a ton of upside.

English Breeze stalked the early pace, came with a five wide bid and drew off late to break her maiden in her debut by 4 3/4 lengths. The speed fig came up on the light side but she looked as if she still has a little something left in the tank and Donk usually does not have them fully cranked first time out. She is by English Channel out of a stakes placed North Light mare. She looks capable of moving forward off her debut effort.

WIN: #8 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 3,6,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 3,6,7,8 / 2,3,6,7,8

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: #6 Bingolina 8-1
R5: #4 One More Tom 8-1
R5: #7 Major Flirt 8-1
R6: #6 Stunning Beauty 15-1
R7: #6 Bok Choy 8-1
R8: #8 California Night 10-1
R9: #3 Ginseng 8-1
R10: #12 Gunboat Diplomacy 12-1

Good luck today!