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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:53 PM

Saturday's Picks from Saratoga, Del Mar

We got the news yesterday that I was actually anticipating and that is Churchill Downs will have no fans in attendance for the Kentucky Derby which is now just two weeks away.

The plan a couple of weeks ago was to limit attendance to approximately 23,000, a far cry from the 100,000+ that usually attends the Run for the Roses.

The pandemic is not slowing down in Kentucky and track management on the advice of medical professionals elected to exclude fans this year. That goes for the entire week including Friday’s Kentucky Oaks Day.

Complicating matters is there are several groups that have called for Churchill Downs to cancel the Kentucky Derby over the injustice of no indictments coming yet from the death of Breonna Taylor.

There is word coming from Louisville that some protesters may block roads and protest throughout the week. Churchill Downs did not mention the anticipated protests when making their announcement yesterday.

We ended the day at Saratoga in fine fashion with my top pick Noble Emotion winning the eighth race at $22.00 and Kilkea winning the nightcap at $10.20. My top picks combined for a $106.00 daily double and we knocked down the exactas in each race that paid $55.00 and $42.00. A good way to head into the weekend of action.

We have a solid betting card at the Spa today and I’ll head out to Del Mar where I break down five graded stakes in my Best Plays Report.

The headliner is the $500,000 Pacific Classic (G1) and I am going to try and beat Maximum Security, who is going to be a puny price. My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 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 on FS1 from 1:00 to 4:00 ET, then switch to FS2 from 4:00 to 6:30 ET. You can also 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/Belmont Park Reports daily, my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday and my Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Reports.

Here is the opener from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:


SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt

1 Foliage 7-2

3 After Five 2-1

8 Honorable 9-2

5 Takeaway 4-1

Analysis: Foliage debuts for the Al Stall barn that is 13% winners (with a +ROI) with first time starters. The barn has started just one two-year-old this season, a fifth here with runner going long on turf. This colt is bred to love grass, by Speightstown out of a stakes placed Galileo mare that has dropped four winners and three have won on turf including $2.3 million earner Lea. Solid looking works on the morning tab first at Churchill Downs and four drills since shipping to New York last month.

After Five is one of two firsters in here sent out by the Ward barn that is 31% winners (with a +ROI) with two-year-old firsters this year, 2 for 5 here at this meeting. This colt was a $165,000 Ocala purchase, by The Factor out of the turf stakes winner Idle Talk ($3112,713). The colt has sharp works on the morning tab and Irad has done a good job for the barn, winning at a 29% clip.


SAR Race 9 The Fourstardave Hcp G1

4 Got Stormy 8-1

6 Uni 3-1

1 Raging Bull 5-2

8 Without Parole 4-1

Analysis: Get Stormy is the defending champ in this race, she beat the boys last year and earned a career top speed figure in the outing. She is 0 for 4 this year, her best finish a tough nose loss in the Frank Kilroe (G1) against the boys at Santa Anita back in March. She then was fourth in the Beauguay (G3) behind repeat winner Rushing Fall, who came back to win the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland in her next outing. Last out she pressed the early pace, took over the lead and then did not have enough left in the stretch in a fourth-place finish in the Poker (G3) against males. She makes her third start of her current form cycle and there is not much pace in here. She should get a good trip sitting just off the pace and it looks as if she is going to be a fair price here if we catch most of her 8-1 morning line. Her trainer Casse is having a really tough meeting at 0 for his first 29, but this gal has the class to get him off the duck.

Uni was third in this race last year and she went on to be the Champion Turf Female winner as she won the First Lady (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in her next two starts. She was third in her comeback race where she ran into her stablemate Newspaperofrecord who took the field gate to wire in an impressive display. The mare is now six and just fires ever time out, landing in the money in 17 of her 19 career starts. She should move forward second off the bench but needs some pace and a trip.

Raging Bull came from far out of it to rally for second in this race last year. He came off an eight-month layoff to win the Shoemaker Mile (G1) two back. Last out he came with a good late rally, was carried outward a bit and then came up just a nose and a neck short in the Makers Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland. He won two graded stakes here back in 2018 on turf and looks primed for a top effort in his third start off the bench for Brown.


DMR Race 7 The Del Mar Hcp G2

1 United 8-5

7 Red King 8-1

10 Originaire 5-1

9 Oscar Dominguez 6-1

Analysis: United is perfect in three starts this year and will appreciate the extra two furlongs here He won the Eddie Read (G2) last out here at nine furlongs. He is a neck and a head away from a five race winning streak, coming up a head short in last fall's Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at 51-1. He has been hammered in his three starts this year and has not disappointing, earning triple digit Beyers in his last two starts. The Mandella trainee is going to be very tough to beat in this spot.

Red King stalked the early pace and drew off in the stretch to win the San Juan Capistrano (G3) by 4 1/4 lengths. The six-year-old earned ac career top speed fig in the effort which came at 1 3/4 miles on turf. He is a six-time winner on turf but 0 for 8 here with four seconds. Rispoli sticks with this guy having also ridden Originaire. He is in good hands with D'Amato and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough.

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: #1 Oh My Papa 10-1
R3: #7 American Mandate 8-1
R5: #7 Snow’s Island
R6: #8 Hally Hill Lil 10-1
R7: #2 Plot the Dots 8-1
R9: #4 Got Stormy 8-1

Good luck today!

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