Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

Thursday's Picks from Saratoga

The races were washed off the turf on Wednesday except for the feature and with one to two inches of rain in the forecast overnight into Thursday, it is very likely we will be off the turf at Saratoga this afternoon.

The feature today is the $100,000 Union Avenue which is not much of a betting race with Sadie Lady the 2-5 morning line favorite in a field of six. She was third in her lone try over a wet track and I’ll give Awesome Debate a shot of pulling off a mild upset.

We do have a big weekend coming up with a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races at Del Mar on Saturday. The highlight of the meeting is the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) with the winner stamping a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

The race drew a competitive field of nine with San Diego (G2) winner Express Train installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite.

The $300,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) drew a field of 11 with the winner earning a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

The feature on Saturday at Saratoga is the $600,000 Alabama (G1) for three-year-old fillies going 1 ¼ mile on the main track.

Eight will line up including the top two finishers of the CCA Oaks (G1) on July 24 where Maracuja edged Malathaat by a head.

“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::


 SAR Race 1 Clm $40,000

  • #2 Anna's Fast 8-5
  • #5 Violent Point 4-1
  • #1 True Castle 7-5
  • #4 She's a Black Belt 8-1

Analysis: Anna's Fast pressed the early pace in the slop and faded to finish a well beaten 10th last out against Alw-2 optional claimers in her first start off the claim by the Atras barn. This gal had won back to back races beating $50,000 claimers two back and $40,000 foes three back, both in gate to wire fashion. She is back in for a straight tag here and owns solid early and mid pace numbers. The barn does good work with recent claims and is hitting overall at a 33% clip at the meeting. She figures to bounce back with a much better effort in this spot.

Violent Point set the early fractions and weakened to finish fifth last out against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers. The winner Time Limit came back to beat Alw-1 company in her next outing on Aug. 7. Blinkers are added as she switches back to the main track. She broke her maiden in the mud over the main track here back in '19 in her second career start. She has been better on the main track than turf and may appreciate the surface switch. She gets a jock upgrade here to Saez.


SAR Race 5 Md Sp Wt

  • #3 Shalimar Gardens 7-2
  • #5 Silver Strand 9-5
  • #1 O'Gotten Girl 2-1
  • #4 Sarah Harper 8-1

Analysis: Shalimar Gardens put in a game effort in her debut back on May 31 where she was sent off at 5-1 in a field of 10. The filly tracked the early pace and came with a good late rally to come up just a nose and a neck short in a third-place finish. The runner up and eight place finisher came back to graduate next out. Good works on the morning tab for the DePaz barn that is 11% winners with runners coming back off a 61–180-day break. This filly is bred to handle a wet track, by Uncle Mo out of the G1 stakes winner Princess Violet ($777,810), this her first foal to race. She should show more here with a race under her belt.

Silver Strand debuts for the Mott barn that is 14% winners (with a +ROI) with first timers. Here at this meet the Hall of Fame trainer is just 1 for 13 with firsters. This gal was a $575,000 purchase, by Frosted out of the stakes winner India ($630,859) who has dropped five foal to race with four winners including a pair of stakes winners. This filly is working sharply in the mornings and looks ready to go. Johnny V takes the call and she debuts with lasix.


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 She’s a Black Belt 8-1
  • R2: #4 Osbourne 8-1
  • R3: #5 Quasar 8-1
  • R5: #4 Sarah harper 8-1
  • R6: #3 V pattern 8-1
  • R6: #1 Seltzer 8-1
  • R8: #10 Joqular 8-1
  • R9: #6 Diva Banker 8-1
  • R10: #11 Tapple Cider 10-1

Good luck today!

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