Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

Thursday's Picks from Saratoga

Racing returns to Del Mar on Friday after last week’s action was wiped out after 15 jockeys tested positive for Covid-19. A couple of those jockeys had traveled to other tracks including Los Alamitos.
The meeting started July 10 and the first three days went off without a hitch. After the positive tests came back on July 14, track management decided to skip racing last week and told jockeys to self-quarantine.
What is interesting is the jockeys will not be tested before racing resumes on Friday. Track president Josh Rubenstein told David Grenig of the Daily Racing Form they would perform “individual evaluations in addition to our daily temperature tests and health screening.”
All the jockeys are reported to be asymptomatic to date.
Rubenstein also said, “The guidance from the county is you can return to work in 10 days. We’re relying on county medical guidance, our medical advisers and the CDC.”
There are three stakes coming up on Saturday including the rescheduled $150,000 San Diego Handicap (G2) where the headliner is Maximum Security.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the jockeys are not going to be tested before being allowed to ride on Friday.
The industry has done a good job since March handling the pandemic, running races without fans and I was sure we would eventually see the sport shut down. It wasn’t and the tracks avoided a major issue until this happened at Del Mar in the second week of the meet.
As cases continue to rise in California, it will be interesting to see if Del Mar can pull the rest of the meeting off. If there was wagering on what state would screw things up, I certainly would want to have California in the office pool.
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You can catch the action from Saratoga from 1:00 to 6:00 ET on FS2. In addition, you can stream the action on YouTube or by using the TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. is offering a risk free bet up to $300 for new players. 
Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Saratoga Reports daily and my Best Plays Report which will include all the major Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races.
Here is the second race (the opener is a jump race) from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:

Saratoga Race 2 Analysis - 7/23 (1:21 p.m. ET)

SAR Race 2 Clm $14,000N3L (1:21 ET)
#3 Wonder In   5-2
#2 Take It to Scale   5-1
#8 Northern Haze   10-1
#5 Carthon   3-1
Analysis: Wonder In returns off a five month break here for the Atras barn that claimed this guy out of a win last out at Gulfstream Park against $25,000 non-winners of two. The runner up and third place finisher came out of the race to win next out while the fourth-place finisher ran well in a runner up finish in his next start. Atras hits at a 24% clip first off the claim and this guy finds a good spot here tagged for $14,000 and facing non-winners of three. Solid works on the morning tab for his return.
Take It to Scale stalked the early pace, made a middle move and then weakened in the stretch to finish fifth last out against $20,000 non-winners of three. He was making his first start off a four-month break. The winner Riken came back to beat $50,000 starter optional claimers in his next outing on July 5 at Belmont Park. He makes his second start off the break for Gullo who claimed this guy for $16,000 two back. He is capable of better than we saw from his off the bench last out.
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

Saratoga Race 9 Analysis - 7/23 (5:17 p.m. ET)

SAR Race 9 OClm $80,000N3X (5:17 ET)
#6 Captain Scotty   9-2
#1 Wendell Fog   7-2
#4 Honest Mischief   8-5
#5 Mihos   3-1
Analysis: Captain Scotty switches back to dirt after prompting the early pace and tiring to finish 10th against non-conditioned allowance foes at Churchill Downs. He won the Palos Verdes on the main track at Santa Anita three back in January in gate to wire fashion. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and figures to bounce back with a better effort here on the surface switch. He has landed in the exacta in 7 of his dozen starts on fast dirt.
Wendell Fog makes his first start since April at Oaklawn Park where he was fifth in the Count Fleet Sprint 'Cap (G3), beaten 2 3/4 lengths by the winner Whitmore. He lands with Diodoro, exiting the Englehart barn that has been chillier than normal over the past 7-8 months. The new trainer is 27% winners with (with a +ROI) newcomers to the barn. He has lost four in a row since winning the Gold Fever at Belmont Park last May, but three of those outings came in graded stakes company. The barn is good off the bench and this looks like a good spot here taking on Alw-3 foes.

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: #8 Northern Haze   10-1
R4: #5 Holmdel Park   8-1
R5: #8 Anzio Beach   10-1
R7: #11 Quality Stones    8-1
R10: #4 Mandatory Payout   15-1
Good luck today!

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