Saturday’s Picks from Saratoga and Arlington Park

Saratoga has an outstanding 11-race card on tap for Saturday and the feature is the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (G1) at one mile on the turf.

A field of eight will line up and the winner gets an automatic starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) this fall at Del Mar. The Chad Brown trained Raging Bull is the 9-5 morning line favorite.

We have three Grade 1 turf races at Arlington Park today and while they are not Breeders’ Cup Challenge races, each will likely produce a starter or two for the year end championships.

It is Million Day, and the final one as Arlington Park is likely closing after this meeting. Churchill Downs, the parent company has plans on selling the property, which would shutter one of the most iconic racetracks in America.

The Arlington Million has been renamed the Mr. D. and the purse has been reduced to $600,000. A field of 10 line up and the Brown trained Domestic Spending is going to be a short priced favorite.

The gelding has won six of his seven career starts but as you can see below, I am going to take a stab we can beat him with Zulu Alpha.

The co-features on the Saturday card at Arlington Park are the $300,000 Bruce D. (G1) which was previously called the Secretariat and the $400,000 Beverly D. (G1) which is always a competitive race and usually produces a few starters for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Arlington Park and Saratoga.

“Saratoga Live” is on FS2 (and streaming on YouTube) from 1:00 to 7:00 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 and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here .

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


 Race 1 Md Sp Wt

  • #5 King Angelo 2-1
  • #3 King Moonracer 8-1
  • #7 War Smoke 9-5
  • #8 Brian's Mission 12-1

Analysis: King Angelo set a sharp early pace and a wet main track at Belmont Park and was no match for the winner in a runner up finish last out. This guy has beaten just a couple of heads two back in a third-place finish on turf going six furlongs after a third three back on yielding ground. This guy is quick and should appreciate the return to turf. He is out of an Awesome Again mare that has dropped four winners and they have all won on turf.

King Moonracer chased the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out going seven furlongs on turf. The runner up Neuro came back to graduate in his next outing on July 17 here. The Weaver trainee was a solid second two back going six furlongs, beaten a length. The cut back to 5 1/2 furlongs should suit the gelding and the barn is overdue for some luck after starting off the meet going 1 for 21 with six seconds. The gelding is out of a Belmont to Me mare that has dropped two winners including one turf winner.


Race 10 The Fourstardave Hcp G1

  • #5 Set Piece 5-2
  • #1 Raging Bull 9-5
  • #4 Casa Creed 4-1
  • #7 Field Pass 8-1

Analysis: Set Piece won his first graded stake last out taking the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill Downs with a last to first rally to win by a half-length, his third win in a row for the Cox barn that has been very live at this meet. The fourth-place finisher Field Pass who is in here exited the Wise Dan to win the Baltimore Washington Turf Cup (G3) at Pimlico in his next outing on July 24 and two others came back to run second in stakes. If Brown does start the mare Blowout, we should see a sharp early pace which should set things up nicely for our top pick. Horses coming from off the pace on the inner turf at this distance have fared pretty well at this meet. The gelding is 4 for 10 on turf in his career and Geroux is in to keep the mount.

Raging Bull stalked the early pace, came up the inside and finished gamely to miss by just a head last out as the beaten chalk in the Poker (G3) at Belmont Park. He won the Makes Mark Mile (G1) two back at Keeneland off a five-month layoff and earned a career trip speed figure in the effort. He was second in this race in 2019 and fifth last year. This guy has not lost a step this year and looks as if he is sitting on a big one here third off the bench for the Brown barn that has never won this race.

Casa Creed was scratched out of the Troy last week after drawing an outside post and now stretches back out to a mile. The Mott trainee ran third in this race last year. Last out he came with a good late rally to win the Jaipur (G1) at six furlongs with a career top speed figure. He has landed in the money in 7 of his 11 trips at a miles including the 2019 Hall of Fame (G2) over the turf here.


Race 9 The Mr. D. G1

  • #5 Zulu Alpha 8-1
  • #3 Domestic Spending 6-5
  • #9 Armory 9-2
  • #8 Bizzee Channel 6-1

Analysis: Zulu Alpha makes his second start off the bench here for the Maker barn. The gelding is now eight and h just did not fire last out in the Arlington (G3) in a fifth-place finish. last year he won 3 of 5 starts including the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). He owns eight triple digit Beyers in his last 11 starts. And he should move forward second off the bench. After watching Maker tear up Saratoga the past five weeks it sure seems likely this guy is going to show more here. Worth a look here if he goes off near his 8-1 morning line and I like Saez picking up the call.

Domestic Spending has won 6 of his 7 career starts, the lone loss coming in a third-place finish in the Hall of Fame (G2) last summer in his stakes debut. He has reeled off four in a row, the last three G1 wins. Brown has won the Million four times and this guy's win last out in the Manhattan (G1a0 produced a career top speed figure and he beat a solid group. The runner up Tribhuvan came back to win the United Nations (G1) and the third-place finisher Gufo won the Grand Couturier next out. He looks very imposing but his 6-5 morning line seems more likely to be 3-45 at post time.


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: #3 King Moonracer 8-1
  • R1: #8 Brian’s Mission 12-1
  • R2: #4 Flint Ridge 10-1
  • R2: #1 Soar 15-1
  • R3: #2 Alley Oop Johnny 8-1
  • R4: #4 Point Wild 8-1
  • R7: #2 Big Blue 12-1
  • R7: #6 Extreme Force 8-1
  • R8: #6 Defeater 8-1
  • R9: #1 Nakatomi 8-1
  • R10: #7 Field Pass 8-1

Good luck today!