Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

Thursday's Picks from Saratoga

We had the steeplechase race canceled and two of the turf races moved to the main track on Wednesday, but we still ended up with a pretty good day.

My top pick won four of the seven races including Front Man, who pulled off the upset in the seventh race and returned $25.20. I did not use the runner up Fair Hared Boy, who was sent off at 9-2, and missed out on a nice exacta that paid $225.00.

It looks as if the weather is on the improve for the remainder of the week although there is a slight chance of isolated thundershowers this afternoon.

We have a 10-race card on tap today with the only stake the $150,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase (G1) which is the opening race on the card.

We have a good one coming up on Friday at Saratoga with a field of 10 three-year-olds fillies going in the $150,000 Lake George (G3). Trainer Chad Brown has won the race in four of the last six years and sends out four of the 10 fillies.

Minaun (6-1) might be the best of the quartet and is going to be a decent price. She was second in the Wild Applause in her last outing. I’ll have my analysis and selections in tomorrow’s column.

Saturday’s stakes came up light. The $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) drew a field of just four. I am a proponent that if you can’t get at least six in a race, you should just cancel it.

The headliner is the Todd Pletcher trained Malathaat, who won the Kentucky Derby (G1) in her last outing. She is going to be a puny price.

The co-feature on Saturday is the $200,000 Caress (G3) for fillies and mares going 5 ½ furlongs on turf. I was surprised the race drew just six.

The good news is that the remainder of the card on Saturday looks attractive with some very competitive maiden and allowance races that should give us plenty of good wagering opportunities.

“Saratoga Live” is on FS2 (and streaming on YouTube) from 1:00 to 6:30 ET. Looking to play the ponies? 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 Thursday click here .

Here is the second race (the opener is a steeplechase) from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:


 Race 2 Clm $12,500

  • #6 Pregame 5-2
  • #7 Recidivist 4-1
  • #3 Wicked Mad 2-1
  • #5 Rudy Rod 7-2

Analysis: Pregame drops in for a tag for the first time here for the Arnold barn as he makes his seventh career start. last out on turf going 5 1/2 furlongs the colt was last in the early going and made up some ground late to check in sixth. Three back in his last start on the main track he was a solid second at Keeneland going a mile in a race washed off the turf. The winner of that race was Snow House who came back to beat Alw-1 company in his next outing and then was third in the Dwyer (G3). The barn is 24% winners (with a +ROI) dropping runners from maiden special to maiden claiming.

Recidivist returns off a three-month break and makes his first start for the Breen barn that is 22% winners with newcomers to the barn. The colt showed speed in his debut on the Tapeta at Turfway Park and held on to run a good second. Last out at Keeneland he prompted the early pace and weakened to finish fifth. The winner Shadow Matter came back to beat Alw-2L foes at Churchill Downs in his next outing on May 21. The colt is out of an Unbridled's Song mare that ash dropped four other foals with three winners. Looks like a good spot dropping him in for $40,000 and Breen got off to a good start to the meet last week (6-2-1-1).


Race 7 Md Sp Wt

  • #2 Irresistible Girl 12-1
  • #6 Quantitativbreezin 7-2
  • #7 Red Pepper Grill 8-1
  • #8 My Alluring Lady 9-2

Analysis: Irresistible Girl cuts back to a sprint here as she faces winners for the third time. She broke her maiden in a gate to wire score against state bred maiden special weight company three back while in the Cox barn. She tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fourth against $30,000 non-winners of two in her first try against winners and was claimed out of the race by the Schosberg barn. The new connections dropped her in for $16,000 and she tired in the stretch after a wide trip. She draws the rail and looks capable of being closer to the pace in this spot. She picks up Saez who just may send her here. She looks capable of bouncing back with a better effort here on the cut back.

Quantitativbreezin wired the field in the mud two back in a race taken off the turf to earn her diploma for a $40,000 tag against state breds. She did catch a racing strip that day that was kind to inside speed. It was back to turf last out where against $40,000 non-winners of two he stalked the early pace while saving ground and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish, beaten two lengths. The runner up Jades Gelly came back to beat $40,000 non-winners of two in her next start at Belmont Park on July 5. Cox is 30% winners moving runners from turf to dirt. She looks tough here dropping in for $16,000 and her price seems likely to be south of her 7-2 morning line.


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. 


  • R6: #10 Captainsdaughter 8-1
  • R7: #2 Irresistible Girl 12-1
  • R7: #7 Red Pepper Grill 8-1
  • R8: #7 Lagom 10-1
  • R9: #7 Subsidiary 12-1
  • R10: #1 Path Less Taken 10-1

Good luck today!

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