Saturday's Picks from Saratoga and Del Mar
July 31, 2020
By Mike Dempsey
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We have a big day on Saturday with three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races on tap, two at Saratoga and one at Del Mar as well as a Kentucky Derby points race. The two tracks are offering up a combined 23 races.
The Derby points race is the $100,000 Shared Belief at Del Mar and comes early on the card in the second race. Six were entered but Uncle Chuck will scratch to await the Travers (G1) at Saratoga next Saturday.
That will leave Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Honor A.P. as the overwhelming favorite. The John Shirreffs trainee is making his final tune up for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and already has his ticket stamped to Louisville.
Later on the card is the $250,000 Bing Crosby (G1) with the winner earning a free pass to the Breeders’ Cu Sprint (G1) at Keeneland on Nov. 7. There is another big scratch as McKinzie will not run and will be pointed toward the Pat O’Brien (G2) on Aug. 29.
That leaves a competitive field of eight and I landed on Fashionably Fast (7-2) who ran second to McKinzie in the Triple Bend (G1) in his last outing.
Midnight Bisou is the 2-5 morning line favorite in the $500,000 Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga. The winner earns a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). The mare is coming off a victory in the Fleur De Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs and has won 13 of her 21 career starts.
The $750,000 Whitney (G1) drew a small field of five but it is a talented group. Tom’s d’Etat is the 6-5 morning line favorite but I am giving Code of Honor (5-2) a shot of beating him. The Shug McGaughey trainee just needs to see some pace in front of him. The winner earns a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 11 strongest plays from Saratoga and Del Mar
To purchase my Saratoga and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here.
You can catch the action from Saratoga from 1:00 to 3:00 ET and from 4:00 to 6:00 ET on FS1. FS2 has the action from 3:00 ET to 4:00 ET and 6:00 to 7:30 ET. NBC Sports Network covers the action from Del Mar from 7:00 to 9:00 ET. In addition, you can stream the action 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 opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
Saratoga Race 1 Analysis
SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:10 ET)
8/1 (1:10 p.m. ET)
#4 Windcracker 4-1
#8 Team Merchants 6-1
#1 Olympiad / 1a Outlier 7-2
#3 Reinvestment Risk 3-1
Analysis: Windcracker was forced in coming out of the gate in his debut, stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish third, sent off at 8-1 in a field of 11 at Churchill Downs. The runner up and fifth place finisher came out of that race to graduate in their next starts. The Amoss barn is 22% winners with second out maidens. He was a $150,000 Keeneland purchase, by Super Saver out of a Forestry mare that has dropped two winners, top earner Grade 2 placed Samuel Dechamplain ($162,547). The colt should move forward with a race under his belt.
Team Merchants has been working very quickly in the mornings here for the O'Neill barn that is 15% winners with first timers. The colt is by Nyquist out of a Square Eddie mare that has dropped one foal to race, Norma's Love ($37,900) who broke her maiden in her second career start as a juvenile. Two good gate drills on the morning tab should have him ready to go.
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
Saratoga Race 9 Analysis
SAR Race 9 The Whitney G1 (5:42 ET)
8/1 (5:42 p.m. ET)
#3 Code of Honor 5-2
#5 Tom's d'Etat 6-5
#1 By My Standards 9-2
#2 Improbable 5-2
Analysis: Code of Honor may be up against it with just a field of five but three of his foes do have some early speed so the pace may be sharp enough to flatter his late running style. Last out in the Met Mile (G1) the Shug trainee rallied from last and turning into the stretch looked as if he was going to run them down but the winner Vekoma had things easy enough up front to take the field gate to wire. The extra ground here will suit this guy and he is perfect in two trips over the Spa main track, winning the Travers (G1) here last summer at 1 1/4 miles. He tossed in a dud in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) but other than that outing fires just about every time out.
Tom's d'Etat was the chalk in the Stephen Foster (G2) and I tried to beat him but all he did was draw away to win by 4 1/4 lengths and earns a career top speed fig. He has now earned triple digit Beyers in each of his last eight starts. He has won three of his four starts here at the Spa, the lone loss a fourth in the Woodward (G1) here last summer at nine furlongs. Does Rosario send him or does he sit just off the pace? It seems likely he regresses off his last outing but that could still be enough to win here. The main knock is the short price and after four wins in a row the seven-year-old is bound to have an off day sooner or later, right?
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
Del Mar Race 10 Analysis
DMR Race 10 The Bing Crosby G1 (6:30 PT)
8/1 (6:30 p.m. PT)
#6 Fashionably Fast 7-2
#3 Desert Law 5-1
#9 Collusion Illusion 9-2
#8 Wildman Jack 6-1
Analysis: Fashionably Fast prompted the early pace and finished gamely in a runner up finish in the Triple Bend (G2), beaten 1 1/2 lengths by McKinzie who will scratch here. The gelding caught a racing strip that was kinder to outside stalkers and closers that day. It was his first go off a three-month break and snapped a six-race winning streak, five of those coming against Cal breds. He is a three-time winner over the main track here and appears to be coming into this outing in the best form of his career.
Desert Law stalked the early pace and made a mild late bid to finish third last out in the state bred Thors Echo in his first start since running second in this race last year. He came into last year’s race off a career top effort where he won the Thor's Echo by 6 1/4 lengths. He should be tighter for his second start off the bench for the Gaines barn. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and should get a good trip sitting just off the pace.
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.
R4: #9 Obsessed 12-1
R5: #1 Abounding Joy 20-1
R6: #1 Famished 10-1
R7: #6 Shawdyshadyshawdy 8-1
R8: #5 Mystery Bank 8-1
R8: #6 Montauk Summer 10-1
R10: #7 Shoplifted 12-1
R10: #5 Mischievous Alex 8-1
Good luck today!
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year-round as well as covering the biggest events including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup.
A professional handicapper and horseplayers for more than three decades, no handicapper in the industry works harder and been more successful in bringing horseplayers analysis that produces profits at the track!
Mike has owned racehorses and knows the racetrack from the backstretch to the finish line.
Mike is in his second decade of producing great results for the readers of Vegas Insider. Among his scores in the Kentucky Derby include winning with his top pick Animal Kingdom who paid $43.80 in 2011 and Super Saver at $18.00 in 2010.
While favorites have dominated the Run for the Roses in recent years, Mike’s full card analysis for every race on each card is always looking for value for horseplayers looking to pad their wagering bankroll.
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