Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM
Saturday's Picks from Saratoga and Del Mar
Travers Day is here, and Saratoga offers up a solid 12-race card this afternoon that features three Grade 1 races including the marquee race of the summer, the $1 million Travers.
If you would have told me the even money favorite for this year’s Travers was the Belmont Stakes (G1) winner I would have believed it. But if you told me at the beginning of the year the race was going to be a prep for the Kentucky Derby, well, that sure would have seemed strange.
However, here we are in August, still in the midst of a pandemic and this Travers is a Kentucky Derby points race, with 100-40-20-10 points up for grabs.
That is not a worry for Tiz the Law who leads all three-year-olds in Derby points and is using this race as a tune up for the Kentucky Derby, which is now just four weeks away.
For a few others in the eight horse field, earning points is a must if the connectiosn plan on making a trip to Louisville next month.
Among those is the Bob Baffert trained Uncle Chuck (5-2), the winner of the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) in his last outing. The colt has 20 points which is good for 22nd in the points standings.
Max Player was third in the Belmont Stakes and has earned 40 points which is good for 15th place in the standings. That should be good enough with just two points race remaining after the Travers.
Sunday’s Ellis Park Derby offers up 50-20-10-5 points and next week’s Pegasus at Monmouth Park is worth 20-8-4-2 points.
The top 20 are guaranteed starting spots in the field and it will be interesting to see if we have a full field this year.
The other Grade 1 races on today’s card at the Spa are the $300,000 Test and the $300,000 Ballerina.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Saratoga and Del Mar
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You can catch the action from Saratoga on FOX from 5:00 to 6:30 including the Travers. In addition, catch the races from 11:30am to 3:00 ET on FS1 and from 3:00 to 5:00 and 6:30 to 7:00 ET on FS2. 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 - 8/8 (12:00 p.m. ET)
SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:00 ET)
#6 The Angry Man 4-1
#5 Compliant 7-2
#3 Doswell 9-5
#2 High Tide / 2b Gunman 6-1
Analysis: The Angry Man tracked the early pace and finished up well in a runner up finish last out here on July 18 going a mile in his first trip on turf behind a gate to wire winner. The gelding was a good second two back off the bench on the main track behind repeat winner Happy Saver, who came back to beat Alw-1 foes here on July 26 by four lengths. The Magner barn has picked up a pair of wins and a second and third with four starters at the meet. This guy is out of a Perfect Soul mare that has dropped two other foals to race and they have both won on turf. He looks like a good fit in this spot.
Compliant makes his first start since last fall at Keeneland where he checked din fourth going 1 3/16 miles over good ground. He was a good second two back at Belmont Park going 1 1/4 miles. Brown hits at a 28% clip with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. Castellano takes the call and this guy has a solid turf pedigree, by Kitten's Joy and the first foal to race out of a Smart Strike mare. Solid works on the morning tab for his return.
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
Saratoga Race 11 Analysis - 8/8 (6:15 p.m. ET)
SAR Race 11 The Travers G1 (6:15 ET)
#4 Max Player 6-1
#3 Uncle Chuck 5-2
#6 Tiz the Law 1-1
#7 Caracaro 10-1
Analysis: Max Player put in a solid effort in the Belmont (G1) and comes in here a bit under the radar. The Rice trainee came from next to last with a good late rally while wide to finish third and it was his first go off a 4 ½ month break. He caught a racing strip that was kinder to inside speed that day. He won the Withers (G3) two back at Aqueduct going nine furlongs in his first start against winners. He should get an honest pace in front of him here and he should not have a problem handling the extra ground here at 1 1/4 miles. He is out of the stakes winner Fools In Love ($240,746) who has dropped four other winners including Group 2 winner Seahenge ($228,295) and stakes placed runners Urban Bourbon ($113,381) and Frank's Folly ($97,030). The colt has worked well since his last outing and has moved forward with each outing. It could just be wishful thinking as I have a small stake in SportBLX (although I did not pick him in the Belmont), but his 6-1 morning line looks fair here.
Uncle Chuck ran huge in his debut winning by seven lengths at even money at Santa Anita going a mile. he then came back to win the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) going nine furlongs last out. He only had to beat three foes in that start. The runner up Thousand Words came back to win the Shared Belief at Del Mar in his next start for Baffert on Aug. 1. The $250,000 Keeneland purchase is out of the stakes winner Forest Music ($370,566) who was best springing. She has dropped four other winners including two stakes winners, top earner Electric Forest ($165,598). It looks as if Saez is going to send him as he owns solid early and mid pace numbers but there are a couple of runners in here capable of mixing it up early.
Tiz the Law was an impressive winner of the Belmont last out and matched his career top speed fig which he earned in his Holy Bull (G3) win three back. His only loss came in the slop in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last fall at Churchill Downs. He was 4-5 last out and likely around the same price here. The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and should get another good tracking trip sitting just off the pace. He should be able to handle more ground, out of the stakes winner Tizfiz ($410,944) who won at nine furlongs and is by Tiznow. He is the obvious one to beat but his price is going to end up on the short side.
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
Del Mar Race 6 Analysis - 8/8 (7:40 p.m. ET)
DMR Race 6 The Best Pal G2 (4:40 PT)
#4 Roderick 9-5
#6 Weston 5-1
#5 Herd Immunity 7-2
#2 Ambivalent 5-1
Analysis: Roderick ships in from Keeneland for the Ward barn and this guy was scratched out of the Saratoga Special (G2) yesterday at the Spa to go in this sport, which looks a bit easier. In his debut the colt dueled for the early lead and opened up a clear lead heading for home, drawing away to win by 8 1/4 lengths. He only had to beat three foes, but the runner up Zippy baby did come back to graduate in his next outing on turf at the Spa on July 18. This guy was a $550,000 Keeneland purchase, out of a Cherokee Run mare that has dropped two other winners, top earner Grade 3 winner One Liner ($475,250). The colt earned solid early and mid pace numbers in his debut and should have no problem handling the extra furlong.
Weston took the field gate to wire to graduate in his debut at Santa Anita going 4 1/2 furlongs. He earned the top last out BRIS speed fig while his Beyer ranks second best behind our top pick. He was a cheap buy, just $7,000 and is out of a stakes placed Dixie Union mare that has dropped three other winners.
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.
R3: #8 Drynachan 8-1
R3: #1 Violent Point 8-1
R4: #3 Field of Courage 8-1
R5: #1 Shackleford Strong 8-1
R5: #2 American Gentleman 10-1
R6: #6 Mystical Man 8-1
R7: #6 Pink Sands 10-1
R10: #1 Up in Smoke 12-1
R10: #3 Mrs. Danvers 8-1
R11: #7 Caracaro 10-1
R12: #1 Bella Domenica 8-1
Good luck today!