Saturday’s Picks from Saratoga and Monmouth

We have two days of the Saratoga meeting in the books and the two trainers that are expected to battle for the training title are a combined 0 for 15.

Todd Pletcher won the training title last year and has started off the meeting here at 0 for 8. Chad Brown has started seven runners without hitting the winner’s circle yet.

Steve Asmussen and James Bond have each picked up two wins and sit atop the standings, but things could change after today. Pletcher and Brown each have runners in six races.

Brown will be seeking his sixth consecutive win in the $500,000 Diana (G1). He saddles the 5-2 morning line favorite Lemista and Pocket Square (8-1).

Pletcher has the morning line favorite in the $150,000 Sanford (G3). A field of 12 juveniles will line up with Wit the 8-5 morning line favorite. The colt was an impressive maiden winner in his debut, drawing away to win by six lengths after not getting away cleanly.

We also will head out to Monmouth Park which features a pair of Grade 1 races—the $1 million Haskell Invitational and the $500,000 United Nations. Hot Rod Charlie is the 6-5 morning line favorite for the Haskell, which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The colt makes his first start since his runner up finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 5.

He faces a couple of tough foes in Kentucky Derby (G1) runner up Mandaloun and Preakness Stakes (G1) runner up Midnight Bourbon.

“America’s Day at the Races” is on FS1 (and YouTube) Saturday 1:00 to 2:00 ET, on FS2 from 2:00 to 5:30 and FOX from 5:30 to 6:30 with the action from Saratoga. The Haskell will be televised live on NBC during a one hour telecast that gets underway at 5:00 ET.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 Saturday  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 Race 1 Md Sp Wt

  • #3 War Smoke 4-1
  • #8 Sheriff Bianco 5-2
  • #4 Majestic Tiger 8-1
  • #2 Neuro 7-2

Analysis: War Smoke is a $40,000 purchase making his debut for the Englehart barn that is 16% winners with first timers. The trainer went 0 for 10 with firsters here last year but did win with four firsters at the '19 meet. This colt is by War Dancer out of a Holy Bull mare that has dropped four winners including three turf winners, including turf stakes winner Conquest Farenheit ($187,655). The colt picks up Irad and the colt finds a good spot for his debut.

Sheriff Bianco just missed by a head last out over good ground. He pressed the early pace and finished gamely. Two back off a 10-month layoff he dueled for the early lead and could not match strides with the winner in a runner up finish as the beaten chalk. Ward thought enough of this guy to send him to Royal Ascot off a second in his debut where he was sixth in the Windsor Castle Stakes. He is quick and the cut back to 5 1/2 furlongs here should suit him.


SAR Race 9 The Sanford G3

  • #1 Wit 8-5
  • #7 Ottoman Empire 10-1
  • #9 Headline Report 5-1
  • #2 Candy Landing 7-2

Analysis: Wit was of a couple of step slow when sent off at 2-5 in his debut. He was away last, angled outside and rolled to a pretty easy six length win over a wet track at Belmont Park going 5 1/2 furlongs. Only two have come out of the race to run back, the seventh and eighth place finishers ran third and eighth next out. This colt was a $575,000 Keeneland purchase, by Practical Joke out of a Medaglia d'Oro mare that has dropped three other runners, all winners including stakes winner Barkley ($368,425), all 10 of his wins coming at Emerald Downs. The barn was 4 for 31 (14%) in juvie races here last summer. This colt won last out as if he can really move forward off his debut effort.

Ottoman Empire made a good late rally to get up and break his maiden in her debut at 13-1 at Churchill Downs going five furlongs. The $120,000 Keeneland purchase is by Classic Empire out of a Indygo Shinermare. The extra furlong here should suit this guy. He is in good hands with Amoss who picked up a win here on opening day and was 4 for 18 (with a +ROI) here last year. He should get some pace to run at and has a decent enough off track pedigree.


MTH Race 11 The United Nations G1

  • #10 Tribhuvan 3-1
  • #8 Master Piece 4-1
  • #1 Arklow 8-5
  • #3 Serve the King 8-1

Analysis: Tribhuvan set sharp early fractions, got clear heading for home and got run down by Domestic Sending in the stretch in a runner up finish in the Manhattan (G1) last out at Belmont Park on good turf going 1 1/4 miles. Only two have exited that race to run back and they have both won including Gufo who won the Grand Courtier in his next start on July 5 at Belmont Park. The Brown trainee opened up a big lead two back and held on to win the Ft. Marcy (G2) at nine furlongs. That outing was off a 10-month layoff. he should be tough to catch in this spot as he makes his third start off the bench.

Master Piece is also sent out by Brown. The ridging was not much of a threat in a sixth-place finish in the Manhattan, beaten 7 1/4 lengths at 14-1. He beat allowance foes two back off the bench, his first start since a fourth in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) last October in his U.S. debut. He reunites with Rosario who aboard him two back and he seems likely to bounce back with a better effort here third off the shelf. He should get a god trip sitting mid pack and has enough pedigree to handle the distance.


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. 


  • R1: #4 Majestic Tiger 8-1
  • R2: #2 Jake Rocks 10-1
  • R3: #3 Amalfi Princess 8-1
  • R4: #4 The Golden Door 10-1
  • R5: #4 Detroit City 8-1
  • R6: #10 Great Britain 12-1
  • R6: #7 Informal 8-1
  • R7: #5 Competitive Saint 10-1
  • R8: #5 Ten for Ten 8-1
  • R9: #7 Ottoman Empire 10-1
  • R10: #2 Pocket Square 8-1

Good luck today!

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