What another amazing week at the Spa, highlighted by Got Stormy’s romp in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1)! A new week means new horses trying to make names for themselves. Let’s take a look at this Wednesday’s maiden special weights (MSWs) at Saratoga:
Saratoga Meet Statistics (7/31 thru 8/11):
Race 2: $75,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 6 furlongs on the dirt (horses must have sold or RNA for $45,000 or less in most recent sale)
#5 Beyond Gone makes his second career start for Kenny McPeek and certainly will be the top choice in here. He broke very poorly and still managed to run a very impressive stalking trip. Jose Ortiz will now be aboard this colt, and it will take a special performance to beat Beyond Gone here, albeit at a short price.
Steve Klesaris sends out #2 More Thunder, who has the pedigree of a potential Grade 1 winner. This Goldencents colt’s grandsire is Into Mischief, who I’ve discussed on multiple occasions. Goldencents won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in both 2013 and 2014. Running very well in the mornings, More Thunder has all the potential in the world and certainly looks the part on paper.
I used #3 Dan the Man Can back on August 1, but I’m willing to give him an excuse for losing that day. He switched to the turf after running well against on dirt against Beyond Gone and that eventual race’s winner, January Won. Of the two, he clearly prefers this surface, and Manny Franco put him on the lead in his first race, so expect a similar running style here.
Another firster in here is #1 Montana Man, wearing the Robert Baron silks. Like some of the other runners, he also has major dirt pedigree. Constitution won a pair of Grade 1s on the Gulfstream Park dirt and has been red-hot as a freshman sire. Dale Romans doesn’t send as many horses to Saratoga as he once did, but when he does, they are often live. Expect nothing less here with Montana Man, who could be a nice price to include on your tickets.
Ricky’s Picks: 5-2-3-1
Race 5: $90,000 MSW for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward, going 7 furlongs on the dirt
On top is a filly running off of a very long layoff for strong connections. Last time out, #6 Stand for the Flag was bumped right out of the gate and forced toward the back very early on. She managed to finish second in what wasn’t exactly the quickest race of all-time. I was very impressed with her running style and expect her to be closer to the front here – assuming she breaks well.
#4 My Bronx Tail might be the biggest wild card in this field of seven. Her most recent race is good enough to beat this field, but I’m not entirely sure that she can replicate it. Still winless in seven starts, when will My Bronx Tail find the winners’ circle? The trainer change from Bill Mott to Michelle Nevin certainly helped improve her numbers, but I have a few questions: Was her last race an anomaly? Did it take too much out of her? How consistent is she? I am not confident in her being able to replicate her last race, but I can’t leave her off of any exotic tickets, either.
Another horse with a long layoff dating back over 180 days is #2 Katama Moonlight. She figures to be a dead closer in this spot who will hope for a quick pace up front. The competitors in her first race weren’t great, but I do like the combination of Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz, Jr. This is a definite jockey upgrade over Mike Luzzi, and it certainly helps when Brown’s runners are winning at 28% after a six-month layoff.
#7 Comic has the chance to be a very special horse. She has dirt pedigree by Distorted Humor, who earned over $750,000 lifetime. That’s not what intrigues me here, though. Rodolphe Brisset is one of the best turf trainers in the U.S., so when he has a horse make its first career start on the dirt, I pay attention. This horse ran :47.76 going 4 furlongs back on August 5 and has the makings of a potential stakes winner down the road.
Ricky’s Picks: 6-4-2-7
Race 6: $78,000 MSW for New York-bred 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs) on the turf
Danny Gargan sends out #3 Astoria Kitten, who debuts for owner Peter Callahan. By Kitten’s Joy, expect a lot of turf success in her career. Kitten’s Joy’s recent offspring include Henley’s Joy, who won the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) back in July. Gargan has been firing on all cylinders as of late and I expect his filly to make a heavy impact in career start #1.
#9 Kiss and Run doesn’t have much turf pedigree on the surface – being sired by Carpe Diem would hint at a preference for dirt. However, her grandsire is Giant’s Causeway, whose chief earning offspring is none other than the Arlington Million Stakes (G1) winner Bricks and Mortar. I’m not saying that she’s Bricks or will even come close, but Cherie DeVaux has been really high on this filly, and while she hasn’t had many runners in 2019, she has been in the money 50% of the time here at Saratoga.
Earlier in the meet, #8 Sister Beauty was clearly no match in a dirt sprint against a field that included winner Risky Mischief. Gary Contessa switches this filly to a turf route, a move with which he has often been successful in the past. Sister Beauty recently trained 7 furlongs on the turf, always a positive sign for a 2-year-old experiencing a new surface for the first time.
A very intriguing filly in here is #2 Sainte Mere Eglise, who is sired by Noble Mission (a son of Galileo). This horse clearly has the turf pedrigree to not only go this distance at first call, but to also be a contender as well. Tom Bush has had a nice meet and Junior Alvarado is one of the best turf jockeys on the NYRA circuit. These two don’t combine often, but when they do, they’ve won at 20%.
Ricky’s Picks: 3-9-8-2
Good luck to everyone playing and be sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyP_15 for more NYRA race previews!
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