Last Updated Sep 02, 2021, 8:00 PM

Friday's Picks from Saratoga

Ida paid a visit to the Big Apple and while Saratoga only got about a half inch of rain it was enough to knock the racing off the turf and led to a ton of scratches on Thursday’s card.

The good news is the weather is on the improve and it looks as if the forecast is good for Friday and Saturday and then there is a chance of seeing some showers on Sunday and Monday, the final two days of the meeting.

The feature on Friday is the $120,000 Lucky Coin, a 5 ½ furlong turf sprint for non-winners of a stakes race in 2021. A field eight will head to the gate led by the Wesley Ward trained Maven.

Yes, I wrote about the race yesterday, getting ahead of myself, but like I said yesterday we will try to beat the favorite with Holiday Stone (6-1) and Pulsate (4-1).

On Saturday we have a 12-race card with four stakes. We had a pretty chalky day last Saturday and it could be more of the same tomorrow, at least in the stakes action.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) drew a field of six and the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) drew just seven. The supporting stakes are the Saranac (G3) which drew six and the stakes action kicks off in the fifth race with the Prioress (G2) also drawing just six runners.

The good news is the remainder of Saturday’s card looks great with a good mix of maiden special weight and allowance races with large and competitive fields.

Over the next six weeks we will have plenty of key prep races for the Breeders’ Cup, but if the last couple of weeks are any indication, we could be looking at a few small fields along the way.

“Saratoga Live” is on today on FS2 from 1-6:30pm (and streaming on YouTube). 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 Friday click here .

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


 SAR Race 1 Md $75,000

  • #2 Bet 6-1
  • #4 Coastal Chaos 2-1
  • #1 Mo Rewards 3-1
  • #5 Wild Appeal 7-2

Analysis: Bet was completely outrun after breaking outwardly coming out of the gate over the Tapeta at Woodbine in his debut. He was sent off at 6-1 in a field of 12. The runner up and fifth place finished both came back to graduate in their next starts. Blinkers are added and he is in for a tag here for the Asmussen barn that is 22% winners with second out maidens. He is by Bayern out of an Indian Charlie mare, this her first foal to race. The last couple of drills are slow but he did put in a good gate drill back on Aug. 3. The barn's juvies have been live and this guy should give a better account of himself here.

Coastal Chaos debuts for the Pletcher barn that is 17% winners overall with first timers. Here at the Spa with juvie firsters at the meet the barn is 6 for 24 (25% with a +ROI). The colt was a $75,000 purchase, by Goldencents out of a Purge mare that has dropped five foals to race with four winners. A steady string of works and this is not a very imposing looking spot for his debut.


SAR Race 8 Alw $90,000N1X

  • #4 Big Bobby 5-2
  • #3 Prince of Pharoahs 5-1
  • #1 Gold Panda 2-1
  • #8 Purple Hearted 10-1

Analysis: Big Bobby stalked the early pace and was no match for an 8 1/2 length winner in a runner up finish last out at this level in his first start against winners. The winner was Judge N Jury who was a non factor in the Jerkens Memorial (G1) here on Aug. 28 in a sixth-place finish. Our to pick broke his maiden two back in the mud going 6 1/2 furlongs in an impressive effort in his second career start. He had run second three back in his debut behind repeat winner River Dog who won the state bred Mike Lee in his next outing. The gelding has worked sharply since his last outing and catches a field here he looks capable of beating.

Prince of Pharoahs makes his first start since February for the Rice barn that is 16% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. This guy was the beaten chalk last out at this level at Aqueduct in a sixth-place finish, tiring after pressing the early pace. In three of his four previous starts he ran second and was second in the Jerome last year in his first start against winners. He returns off the bench as a gelding. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and should be right in the ix early here off the bench.


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: #1 Rift Valley 8-1
  • R4: #1 Agent Creed 12-1
  • R6: #2 Howdyoumakeurmoney 8-1
  • R6: #5 Can’t Catch Kacy 8-1
  • R7: #10 Farmington Road 10-1
  • R8: #8 Purple Hearted 10-1

Good luck today!

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