Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

Thursday's Picks from Saratoga

Week three of the Saratoga meeting rolls on this afternoon with the feature being the $100,000 John Morrissey Handicap for New York breds going 6 ½ furlongs on the main track. The race drew a field of nine led by a pair that will be saddled by trainer Michelle Nevin.

Nevin sends out My Boy Tate, who is looking to rebound off a disappointing fourth at Parx Racing in his last outing and Our Last Buck, who makes his first start since January where he won the state bred Say Florida Sandy.

Coming up on Friday at the Spa is the $120,000 Curlin for three-year-olds that drew seven including Dwyer (G3) winner First Captain, who is the 7-5 morning line favorite.

The much anticipated return of Essential Quality comes on Saturday when the Brad Cox trainee is sent off as the heavy favorite in the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

The colt is the 1-2 morning line favorite and makes his first start since winning the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 5.

Also on Saturday’s card is the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) for three-year-olds and upward going six furlongs on the main track. Nine will go to the post including True North (G2) winner Firenze Fire, Carter Handicap (G1) winner Mischievous Alex and the old timer Whitmore who has racked up $4.4 million in his career and was beaten just a head in the Churchill Downs (G1) in his last outing.

In addition we will head out to Del Mar on Saturday where we have the $300,000 Bing Crosby (G1) which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

“Saratoga Live” is on FS2 (and streaming on YouTube) from 1:00 to 6:30 ET this afternoon. 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 opener from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:


 Race 1 Md $20,000

  • #5 Bourbon Rising 3-1
  • #7 Mo Heat 7-5
  • #4 Johnnypump 5-2
  • #8 Value Chain 8-1

Analysis: Bourbon Rising has come up short 11 times but catches a pretty soft group here and is coming off a decent effort. Last out against $30,000 foes at Belmont Park he went from turf to dirt and finished evenly in a third-place finish, beaten four lengths. His lone trip at nine furlongs came in the mud versus tougher back in January. he is bred to get the distance, by Uncle Mo out of a Mr Greely mare. Ortiz gets the call and at least he looks as if he is heading in the right direction form wise.

Mo Heat exits the same race as our top pick but is going to be a lighter price. He set the early fractions and could not go with the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish. Two back in the slop off the bench he set the early fractions and got run down. He is out of the multiple G1 winner Xtra Heat ($2.38 million) who has dropped seven winners including a pair of stakes winners, top earner Southwestern Heat ($155,340). He let us down last out and is going to be a light price here.


Race 8 OClm $80,000N2X

  • #4 Finding Fame 6-1
  • #1 Secondary Market 3-1
  • #6 Regal Retort 9-2
  • #9 Anna's Fast 8-1

Analysis: Finding Fame was the beaten chalk in her last two outings at this level since returning off a 3 1/2-month break. She was a good second two back off the break and last out stalked the early pace and finishes evenly in a third-place finish cutting back form a mile to 6 1/2 furlongs. The runner up Truth Hurts came back to win the Perfect Sting in her next outing on July 3. This gal was a $425,000 purchase and won her first two career starts which we do not see that often from this barn that brings them along more patiently than most. Willing to give her one more look here as it looks as if she is going to be a decent value in this spot.

Secondary Market makes her first start since last November here she prompted the early pace, got clear and then could not hold off the winner in a runner up finish. The winner was Jeweled Princess who came back to win the She's All IN at Remington Park in her next start. This gal passed her first allowance condition over the main track her least year, then ran in a couple of really tough stakes. The barn is 25% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. Her entrymate Motivated Seller is making her first start since fading to finish ninth in the La Brea (G1) at Del Mar last December. She broke her maiden at Belmont Park last October in her second career start in good time and then was beaten just a neck in the Fort Springs at Keeneland. She completes a strong entry here for the Brown barn but the price is going to be on the light side if they both go.


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: #8 Value Chain 8-1
  • R2: #6 Scocciatore 8-1
  • R3: #1 Dante’s Fire 8-1
  • R4: #1 Cause of Action 20-1
  • R5: #11 Second Fortune 8-1
  • R5: #12 Dutchman Forever 10-1
  • R6: #8 Mischievous Kiss 15-1
  • R7: #2 Artemus Bridge 10-1
  • R8: #9 Anna’s Fast 8-1
  • R9: #2 Captain Bombastic 12-1
  • R10: #4 Wicked Happy 8-1

Good luck today!

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