Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

Sunday's Picks from Saratoga, Del Mar

We got some serious rain at Saratoga yesterday, which worked out for Channel Maker, who took the field gate to wire to win the Sword Dancer (G1).

Jockey Manny Franco was able to get clear early, and it was tough to make up much ground in the boggy going, with clumps of turf flying everywhere. The winner paid $18.00 with Cross Border rallying late to complete a $77.50 exacta.

My top pick was Corelli, who tracked the early pace but did not care much for the going and weakened to finish sixth.

The feature this afternoon at the Spa is on the main track, a field of nine fillies and mares going in the $125,000 Shuvee (G3).

Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a trio of runners, and longshot Bellera (10-1) may offer the best value if she goes off near her 10-1 morning line. She needs to turn the tables on her stablemate Nonna Madeline, who won the Summer Colony on Aug. 5.

If the Pletcher trio is beaten, it could be by the Chad Brown-trained Royal Flag (7-2), who was third in the Molly Pitcher (G3) as the beaten favorite. She zipped through her first two allowance conditions after breaking her maiden, and she looks as if she is going to like the stretch out to 1 1/8 miles.

My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my nine strongest plays from Saratoga and Del Mar.

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You can catch Saratoga’s action on FS2 from 1:00 to 2:30 ET, then switch to FS1 from 2:30 to 6:00 ET. You can also stream the action by using the TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. offers a risk-free bet up to $300 for new players.

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


SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt
#2 Boss Bear 6-1
#3 Sam and Sy 3-1
#1 Our Man Mike 5-1
#10 Half Right 6-1

Analysis: Boss Bear gets the call in the opener, and I am hoping we are on the grass for this race. The turf was soft yesterday and getting pretty torn up. Our top pick was sixth in his debut, sent off at 5-1 in a field of seven. The Maker trainee had to steady coming out of the gate, saved ground early, fanned out five wide, and had no punch left in the stretch. The barn hits at a 20% clip with second out maidens. He is out of a Hennessy mare that has dropped three winners, including one turf winner. Irad sticks and this guy figures to move forward with a race under his belt.

Sam and Sy debuts for the Cox barn that is 16% winners with first-timers. The $75,000 Ocala purchase is out of stakes placed Seeking the Gold mare that has dropped four foals to race, including a pair of turf winners. This guy is working quickly, including a bullet best of 130 to go four furlongs here on Aug. 23. Castellano takes the call, and this guy would be a player on turf or if this gets shifted to the main track.


SAR Race 9 The Shuvee G3
#9 Royal Flag 7-2
#6 Nonna Madeline 4-1
#2 Bellera 10-1
#5 Golden Award 9-2

Analysis: Royal Flag came up short as the beaten chalk last out in the Molly Pitcher (G3) at Monmouth Park. The Brown trainee tracked the early pace while saving ground and had no punch in the stretch, finishing 7 1/2 lengths behind the winner. The filly came off a 3 1/2 month break two back to beat Alw-2 optional claimers at Churchill Downs. Her last trip was her first at nine furlongs and willing to give her another look here. She is bred to handle the extra ground, by Candy Ride out of a Mineshaft mare. She can turn the tables here and reunites with Castellano, who was aboard her two back.

Nonna Madeline dueled for the early lead and took over heading for home, drawing clear late to win by 1 1/4 lengths in the restricted Summer Colony here at nine furlongs. She matched her career top speed gig she earned two back in a runner up finish in the Added Elegance at a mile at Gulfstream Park. The filly owns solid early and mid-pace numbers, and she looks capable of winning right back in this spot.

Bellera, along with our second choice, are both sent out by the Pletcher barn. This filly tracked the early pace and weakened to finish third in the Summer Colony, beaten 8 1/2 lengths. She was a decent third two back in the Delaware Handicap (G2). This gal won back to back stakes at nine furlongs at Aqueduct last November and January. She should get a good tracking trip, and her 10-1 morning line looks fair.


DMR Race 5 Md $50,000
#9 Hollywood's Best 5-1
#6 Colt Fiction 3-1
#3 Jungle Roar 5-1
#10 Spud 7-2

Analysis: Hollywood's Best returns off a two-month break for his second career start. He drops in for a tag and switches to the main track here. He stalked the early pace and weakened to finish seventh going 5 1/2 on the grass at Santa Anita in his debut effort. The $100,000 purchase is by Temple City out of a stakes-placed Leroidesanimaux mare. Glatt has won with 8 of his last 16 runners (with a +ROI) that were dropping from maiden special to maiden claiming. Good works over the main track here, and the gelding should move forward off his debut.

Colt Fiction was third in his debut at Los Al back in the summer of '18 and did not return until here on Aug. 7, where he stalked the early pace and finished gamely in a third-place finish, beaten 3/4 of a length for a $40,000 tag. He made his first start for the Spawr barn and does not need to over forward much of his return ace to pick up his diploma here. He is out of an Eddington mare that has dropped one winner.

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 Super Wicked Charm 12-1
R3: #7 Blame It On Mary 12-1
R4: #2 Golden Decision 8-1
R7: #9 Lovely La La 15-1
R8: #10 Riken 10-1
R8: #5 Number One Dillon 20-1
R9: #2 Bellera 10-1
R10: #5 Sol Del Sur 10-1

Good luck today!

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