Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

Wednesday's Picks from Saratoga

We enter the next to last week of the Saratoga meeting, and it looks as if the weather will cooperate much better this week after wreaking havoc on turf races last week.

There is no rain in the forecast until Saturday, and as of today there is just a 40% chance of showers. Saturday is the premier day of the meeting featuring the $1.25 million Travers (G1) and six supporting stakes races.

On Friday at the Spa it is New York Showcase Day with six stakes restricted to state breds and the 11-race card looks like a very attractive wagering card.

With 11 days left in the meet jockey Luis Saez has opened up a lead of 10 wins over Jose Ortiz in the jockey standings, booting home 49 winners. Irad Ortiz. Jr. is third with 36 winners.

The last jockey to win the title not named Ortiz was Javier Castellano in 2014.

Mike Maker is still the leading trainer, with 23 winners while Chad Brown has narrowed the gap with 22 winners. Todd Pletcher has 21. Since Linda Rice won the title in 2009 it has been Pletcher with eight titles and Brown with three.

Maker has runners in six races today and Brown has starters in five races with several that will be very short prices. Pletcher will saddle runners in three races this afternoon.

Going into last week I thought Maker could hold on, but with two weeks to go it sure looks as if Brown has a very good chance to pass him, and it could come as early as today.

“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 Wednesday click here .

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


 Race 1 Md $20,000

  • #2 Point of Humor 6-1
  • #1 Uncle Skeets 3-1
  • #3 Rudy Rod 7-5
  • #5 No Burn 5-2

Analysis: Point of Humor bobbled coming out of the gate, dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fourth last out against $50,000 maiden claimers. He showed some early zip and then faded to finish seventh two back on yielding turf in his first go for Breen and off a 11-month layoff. He drops into an easier spot here and Saez sticks. The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers and catches a field here he may be able to handle and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough.

Uncle Skeets is also sent out by Breen and he makes his first start since his debut back in January of last year at Gulfstream Park. In that outing he was sent off at 2-1 in a field of five while in the Pletcher barn and was a solid second taking on maiden special weight foes. He lands with Breen who is 18% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. He catches a soft spot here and completes a strong one two punch for the barn.


Race 7 Clm $25,000

  • #4 Power Up Paynter 5-1
  • #7 Just Right 4-1
  • #8 Dark Money 5-1
  • #2 Gandy Dancing 9-2

Analysis: Power Up Paynter has caught off tracks in his two starts since coming back off a 6 1/2-month layoff. He was seventh off the bench and showed some improvement last out in an even fifth against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers last out in the mud. He was down toward the 2-3 paths on a day the outer paths were a bit better. He drops in for a tag here for the Rice barn. His start over a fast main track came at Aqueduct last November where he earned career top in a third-place finish against state bred Alw-2 foes. Another move forward puts him right in the mid in this spot as he catches an easier spot.

Just Right veered outward coming out of the gate, was sent up to press the early pace, took over the lead and got run down at the wire to miss by a nose at this level last out. The gelding was claimed out of the race by the Levine barn that is 25% winners first off the claim. He cuts back another furlong and he won at this level at six furlongs last fall while in the Pletcher barn. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and has run pretty well over the Spa main track, landing in the exacta in four of six trips.


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. 


  • R3: #6 Hogans Holiday 10-1
  • R6: #10 Saratoga Chrome 20-1
  • R6: #5 Cupere 8-1
  • R8: #2 Tiz Rye Time 8-1
  • R10: #9 Joqular 8-1

Good luck today!

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