Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

Friday's Picks from Saratoga

The Saratoga meeting got off to a rousing start on Thursday, with over 27,000 fans in attendees and $21 million was wagered on the 10-race card. That was an increase over opening day last year with no fans when just over $19 million was bet.

This year’s opening day was a solid improvement over the opening card in 2019 which saw $15.7 million wagered. The fourth race came of the turf leading to six scratches which hurt wagering on that race.

IGolden Pal did not disappoint as the heavy favorite in the Quick Call (G3). Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) winner came off the bench and rolled to a three-length win. He paid a puny $2.40 as my top pick.

Pretty Birdie got home as my top pick in the Schuylerville (G3) and paid $7.60 and topped a $2 exacta that returned $16.60. Happy Soul would have been the solid favorite but spiked a fever yesterday morning and was a late scratch. The feature on Friday is the $150,000 Forbidden Apple (G3) for four-year-olds and upward going one mile on the inner turf. A field of 10 line up with trainer Chad Brown sending out the morning line favorite Value Proposition (5-2) and second choice Sacred Life (3-1).

Brown went 0 for 3 yesterday and last year’s leading trainer Todd Pletcher also went 0 for 3 with his starters. Ten different trainers visited the winner’s circle on Thursday.

Coming up on Saturday we have the first of 20 Grade 1 races on tap—the $500,000 Diana (G1).

“America’s Day at the Races” is on FS2 (and YouTube) Friday 1:00 to 6:30 ET with the action from Saratoga. TVG is offering new players up to a $300 Risk Free wager.  In addition, AmWager is offering up to a $500 bonus for new horseplayers.

To purchase my Saratoga Report for Friday  click here .

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Saratoga Reports daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

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


 SAR 1 OClm $80,000N2X

  • #2 Mihos 3-1
  • #4 Gun It 7-2
  • #5 Shashashakemeup 3-2
  • #1 Girolamo's Attack / 1a Smooth B 5-2

Analysis: Mihos stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish at this level last out at Belmont Park going seven furlongs. The third-place finisher Town Classic came back to beat $50,000 claimers in his next outing on July 1 at Belmont Park. This guy was claimed out of his last outing by the Cox barn that is 26% winners first off the claim. He won at this condition three back at the Big A going 6 1/2 furlongs. Blinkers are added here and he owns a solid pace profile throughout. Looks as if he should be able to move forward enough off the claim to beat this group.

Gun It tracked the early pace, took over the lead and cold not hold off the winner late in a game runner up finish at this level at Churchill Downs going a one turn mile. He was three clear of the rest of the field. The Asmussen trainee has now lost 13 in a row since beating Alw-1 foes at Churchill Downs back in '19. He ran pretty well over the main track here last summer in a runner up finish at this level. A repeat of his last puts him right in the mix in this spot.


SAR Race 9 The Forbidden Apple G3

  • #9 Sacred Life 3-1
  • #2 Corelli 10-1
  • #3 Value Proposition 5-2
  • #7 Delaware 6-1

Analysis: Sacred Life is one of three in here sent out by the Brown barn. This six-year-old has managed to make just nine starts since landing in the U.S. with Brown back in '19. His first two starts came here, a nose loss in the restricted Lure and a runner up finish in the Bernard Baruch 'Cap (G2). He has just two starts this year but one of those was a solid third in the Makers Mark Mile (G1), a tough spot to come back off a six-month layoff. He then made a mild late run to finish fourth in the Dinner Party (G2) at Pimlico where he was caught out very wide. I like the switch to Rosario and he should get an honest pace in front of him.

Corelli looks primed for a top effort in his third start off the bench for the Thomas barn. He came off a six-month break to win the Henry Clark at Pimlico back in April. The runner up Pixilate came back to win the Prince George's County in his next start and the third-place finisher Dreams of Tomorrow returned to beat Alw-1 and Alw-2 company in his next two starts. Last out in the Monmouth (G3) he was off a beat slow, got no pace to run at and still finished up well in a third-place finish. The winner of that race was Devamani, a G2 winner from the Brown barn. The cut back to a mile here is a question mark, but he is going to get some pace and horses coming from off the pace have fared well on the inner turf here last past couple of summers, particularly in '19.

Value Proposition may end up the shortest price of the Brown trio. This guy earned a career top speed fig beating $100,000 optional claimers last out at Belmont Park going a mile. He was stretching out from seven furlongs where two back in the Elusive Quality he was beaten a head and a nose off the bench. The winner of that race was Casa Creed who came back to win the Jaipur (G1) in his next start on June 5. This is another lightly raced Brown runner who has had trouble staying healthy, just eight starts in his career. He has one trip over the Spa grass, a win versus Alw-1 optional claimers back in '19.


These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win wager. 


  • R4: #6 Now Yus Cant Leave 8-1
  • R5: #3 Annika Gold 8-1
  • R7: #9 Bay Jewel 12-1
  • R8: #3 Polished Gem 8-1
  • R9: #2 Corelli 10-1

Good luck today!

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