Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM
Saturday's Picks from Saratoga
In Friday’s feature at Saratoga, the Lake George (G3) I thought my top pick Sweet Melania would be a short price, but I did not believe she would be bet down to 3-5.
Things worked out okay as my second choice Selflessly, who was 6-1 on the morning line, drifted all the way up to 14-1 and ran down the favorite in the final jump to win and pay a generous $30.60. My third choice Witez ended up a decent price at 9-1 and checked in third.
The $2 exacta paid a hefty $75.50, which I wish I would have a few more times, of course, and the $1 trifecta paid $230.24, not bad with the chalk running second.
We have a good race card at Saratoga today, 11 races with four graded stakes on tap. Among them is the $500,000 Sword Dancer (G1), a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Sadler’s Joy is the 5-2 morning-line favorite, but the seven-year-old rarely seems to get home when we back him. He has won just one of his last 16 starts, so we will look for more value with Corelli (6-1), who makes his third start since coming to the U.S. and landing with the underrated Jonathan Thomas barn.
The card’s co-feature is the $300,000 Forego (G1), a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), although it is not an official Breeders’ Cup Challenge race.
Whitmore (7-2) is one tough customer, but a couple of foes that are going to offer a bit more value are Lexitonian (10-1) and Mind Control (6-1).
The $150,000 Pat O’Brien (G2) at Del Mar today is a “Win, and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, although the field does not look as tough as the Forego.
It is a solid group, and I landed on the six-year-old C Z Rocket, who I tried to beat last out at Keeneland, but he put in a solid effort to beat optional claimers. Let’s hope he can make it back to back wins for trainer Peter Miller.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Saratoga and Del Mar.
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Here is the opener from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SARATOGA RACE 1 ANALYSIS (1:10 P.M. ET)
SAR Race 1 Clm $16,000N2L
2 La Negrita 7-2
6 Happy Sophia 5-2
7 Enough Love 3-1
1 Queendom 9-2
Analysis: La Negrita stalked the early pace and made a mild late rally to finish in the runner up spot, no match for an 8 1/2 length winner who went gate to wire over a racing strip that was kind to inside speed that day. This gal broke her maiden for a $30,000 tag in the slop at the Big A back in January and likely caught a wet track here. The RRod runner cuts back to 6 1/2 furlongs and was a good second at this level two back at Belmont Park. Irad sticks, and she looks like the one to beat here in the opener.
Happy Sophia tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fifth last out against state-bred Alw-1 foes on her first trip over the main track. She drops in for a tag here for the Handal barn that is having a good meeting here, hitting at a 21% clip picking up six winners. The filly makes her third start of her current form cycle, and she is bred to like a wet track. She looks quick enough to be an early pace factor in this spot.
SARATOGA RACE 9 ANALYSIS (5:43 ET)
SAR Race 9 The Sword Dancer G1
5 Corelli 6-1
8 Sadler's Joy 5-2
7 Pedro Cara 10-1
2 Aquaphobia 4-1
Analysis: Corelli looks headed in the right direction as he makes his third start since landing in the U.S. with the Thomas barn. He was not away cleanly in his U.S. debut in the Tiller, and after being outrun early, he finished evenly in a seventh-place finish, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. Last out in the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park at 1 3/8 miles, he stalked the early pace and finished up well in a third-place finish, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, the race won by Aquaphobia who was nearly 11-1. I like the stretch out to 1 1/2 miles here and the prospects of less than firm turf. He has not won at this distance, but he has three seconds and a third in four trips overseas, two of those losses in photos and York and Newmarket. Rosario takes over, and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough.
Sadler's Joy made an excellent late rally to win by a neck in the Bowling Green (G2) last out but was DQ'd as he came over a couple of paths in the stretch and placed fourth in a tough DQ. Two back eh seven-year-old made a good late rally to finish third in the Manhattan (G1) at 1 1/4 miles at Belmont Park. He has done some of his best running at 1 1/2 miles and seems to lime the three turns here at the Spa. Last year he missed in this race by just a neck. He needs some pace up front, which is a question mark in this field.
DEL MAR RACE 10 ANALYSIS (6:38 PT)
DMR Race 10 The Pat O'Brien G2
5 C Z Rocket 4-1
1 Law Abidin Citizen 5-1
4 Flagstaff 5-2
7 Giant Expectations 7-2
Analysis: C Z Rocket made a good late rally to beat $150,000 optional claimers last out at Keeneland. Three horses he beat have come back to run, and they all won. Miler claimed this guy for $40,000 back in April at Oaklawn Park and has turned his form around. He looks back on track and looks capable of stepping back into stakes company riding a three-race winning streak.
Law Abidin Citizen pressed the early pace and battled on gamely until late in a third-place finish in the Bing Crosby (G1) going six furlongs. The runner up Lexitonian goes in today's Forego (G1) at the Spa, and I give him a good shot of winning. This Glatt trainee beat optional claimers two back, and this is another six-year-old with some back class and numbers and looks to be coming in here in good form. He is 0 for 3 over the main track here, but two of those losses came back in '16 as a maiden. He should end up a fair price in this spot.
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: #6 Big Dreaming 12-1
R4: #6 Annie Rocks 15-1
R6: #9 Charleston Strong 8-1
R7: #5 Wondrwherecraigis 10-1
R8: #3 Lexitonian 10-1
R9: #7 Pedro Cara 10-1
R10: #6 Peachy Queen 8-1
R11: #12 Stretchthestory 12-1
R11: #11 Paved With Gold 12-1
Good luck today!