Last Updated Sep 03, 2021, 11:00 PM

Saturday's Picks from Saratoga and Del Mar

We are down to the last three days of the Saratoga meeting and we go out with a bang with seven stakes between today and closing day on Monday.

There are four stakes on tap on this afternoon’s 12-race card including a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races.

The $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) drew a field of seven fillies and mare that will go 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf course. The winner earns a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) in November at Del Mar.

The Bill Mott trained War Like Goddess is the 4-5 morning line favorite. The filly has won five of her six career starts and come into today’s race off a victory in the Glen Falls (G2) over the Saratoga turf. Julien Leparoux is in to ride.

Trainer Chad Brown will send out a pair of contenders looking to beat the favorite. He will saddle Matchmaker (G3) winner Great Island (4-1) and Glen Falls runner up My Sister Nat (5-1).

The winner of the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) earns a fee-expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Happy Saver (9-5) is looking to turn the tables on Max Player (5-2), who pulled off the upset when they met in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park on July 3 in the slop.

Max Player was closer to the lead than he usually is and was able to beat Mystic Guide and Happy Saver and returned $25.60 to win. It was a dream trip and he could get another one today but his price is going to end up much shorter.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 11 strongest plays from Del Mar and Saratoga.

“Saratoga Live” is on today on FS2 from 12:30 to 7:00 (and streaming on YouTube). NBCSN will cover the two Breeders’ Cup Challenge races from 6:00 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

  • #12 Suit of Armor 6-1
  • #3 Citizen K 15-1
  • #9 Sheriff Bianco 3-1
  • #7 Giramonte 5-1

Analysis: Suit of Armor was squeezed back and spotted the field about four of five lengths when making his debut on Aug. 14. He came with a mild late run to finish fourth in a decent effort, sent off at 9-2 in a field of six for the Cox barn. This gelding is out of the turf stakes winner Miss Catalyst ($180,498) who has dropped four other runners with three winners including a pair of turf winners. Cox hits at a 30% clip with second out maidens and picked up another win at the meet yesterday with a firster and has been live all meet.

Citizen K was sent off as the favorite when he made his debut last summer here in a field of eight on the main track and he checked in fifth. He then caught slop in the NY Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes where he was outrun in a sixth-place finish. He returns off the bench here for the DePaz barn that is 25% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. He is out of a Proud Citizen mare that has dropped two other runners, dirt stakes winner La Fuerza ($261,610) and Whatlovelookslike who was third going long on turf in her debut for Pletcher here on Aug. 25. She returns off the bench with lasix and Santana in the irons.


Race 5 The Prioress G2

  • #5 Amendment Nineteen 4-1
  • #6 Souper Sensational 6-5
  • #1 Oxana 3-1
  • #2 Edie Meeny Miny Mo 9-2

Analysis: Amendment Nineteen tracked the early pace and could not catch the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish against Alw-1 foes last out in her first start against winners. The winner Caramel Swirl came back to run fourth in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) in her next outing. The filly was purchased privately after her last outing by Juddmonte and lands with the Cox barn that is 25% winners with newcomers to the barn. She broke her maiden in the slop going a mile two back after running second in her debut behind Always Carina who came back to beat Alw-1 foes and then run second in the Mother Goose (G2) and fourth in the Test (G1). Would be no surprise to see this gal earn a career top in her first go for Cox.

Souper Sensational chased the early pace and was no match for Bella Sofia in the stretch in a runner up finish in the seven-furlong Test (G1). Two back she came with a good late rally to upset the Victory Ride (G3) going 6 1/2 furlongs over a wet track at 6-1. Now she cuts back to six furlongs here and owns the edge in late pace numbers. Her last pair of speed figs are tops in here but there is not an abundance of early speed signed up so the race flow of this race along with the cut back in distance does not exactly suit her considering she is going to be a puny price.


Race 9 The John C. Mabee G2

  • #3 Dogtag 3-1
  • #6 Bodhicitta 6-1
  • #1 Maxim Rate 7-2
  • #8 Going to Vegas 4-1

Analysis: Dogtag looks primed for a top effort here in her third start of her current form cycle for the Mandella barn. She missed by just a head two back in the Possibly Perfect. The third and fourth place finishers came out of that racer to win next out. Last out in the Yellow Ribbon 'Cap (G2) she came with a good late rally bumped a foe in midstretch, drifted and could not get to the winner in a runner up finish. The mare will appreciate the extra ground here at nine furlongs and Rispoli stays for Mandella.

Bodhicitta exits the Yellow Ribbon where she was last early, angled out wide and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish. She was third in the Gamely (G1) two back which was her first start off a six-month layoff. The extra ground will suit her and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough to give her a look in this spot.


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 Citizen K 15-1
  • R2: #9 Baby I’m Perfect 10-1
  • R3: #2 Waxman 8-1
  • R4: #4 Fetching 8-1
  • R6: #3 Calloway Peak 8-1
  • R9: #6 Just Ok Is Not Ok 8-1
  • R10: #6 Olympiad 8-1

Good luck today!

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