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NYRA Preview: Saratoga 8/17

NYRA Preview: Saratoga 8/17

Saturdays at Saratoga are always special, but this coming one is really significant. The card includes the Smart and Fancy Stakes, the Lake Placid Stakes (G2), and the 139th running of the Alabama Stakes (G1). Don’t forget to tune into the two big maiden special weight (MSW) races as well.

Saratoga Meet Statistics (7/31 thru 8/15):

Races Top 4 Wins Top 4 Exactas Top 4 Trifectas Top 4 Supers
27 21 11 9 1
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Saratoga 8/17

Race 1: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the inner-turf

Let’s look at one of the experienced horses here, #7 Yankee Empire. He really didn’t break out of the gate well in his most recent start. He did pretty well to establish position but had to go three-wide most of the way. He was used too early in a dirt sprint. In this spot, he will seek a much better trip and have more time to navigate where he needs to be. This distance will help him tremendously, and it doesn’t hurt that John Kimmel is winning at 20% with first-timers on the turf.

Chad Brown will send out potentially three entries, starting with #1A Digital Software. He has turf pedigree (by Temple City out of the Dansili mare Special Charm) and should certainly enjoy the two-turn route on debut. Besides the outstanding figures that Brown has, he let this colt go 5 furlongs on the turf in his last morning work. The time wasn’t impressive, but Brown has been known to let his horses save a little for the race. He has this colt exactly where he wants him in preparation for this race.

#3 Anaconda is another first-time starter coming out of the Brown barn who will look to take down this turf route. Like Digital Software, he has been training at 5 furlongs on the turf in the morning. The times don’t stand out, but Brown wants this colt to have as much in the tank as possible. It’s interesting that Anaconda, who hasn’t shown much speed in the morning, gets Joel Rosario aboard. He is known for getting his horses to fly home late; expect that the same will happen here.

Another horse that broke poorly out of the gate in his last start was #2 Blackberry Wine. He never really had a chance to find his footing, but he showed 110% effort. Too many times, I see 2-year-olds that break poorly and pack it in. Even though Blackberry Wine never made up ground, he was running as hard as he could. Expect Luis Saez to have this colt close to the lead and play a major factor as they turn for home.

Ricky’s Picks: 7-1-3-2

Credit: NYRA

Race 7: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt

Had #6 Irish Mias not steadied at the start in his debut, he may have won by multiple lengths. Blackberry Wine (remember him?) broke inwards and forced Irish Mias to take a step back. He continued to make up ground and made his move at the top of the stretch going six-wide. Between the start and the extra distance that he had to run, this horse should be a monster this time around. His dam, Irish Score, is the half-sister of graded stakes winners Irish Strait and Irish War Cry.

Todd Pletcher will send out one of his more promising young colts, #4 Candy Tycoon. Out of Twirling Candy, this young phenom should enjoy this surface first time out. He has looked unbelievable in the morning works and is certainly ready to go. Anytime a 2-year-old runs a 5-furlong work in under a minute (:59.44), I know that the horse is raring to go. Expect him to be a short price and garner a lot of attention.

Into Mischief (my favorite sire) will send out another one of his young colts in #1 Cost Basis. Purchased in 2018 for $220,000, he comes with a lot of expectations. He has strong connections (Klaravich Stables, Chad Brown, and Javier Castellano), and when a jockey/trainer combination is winning at 26%, that speaks for itself. One thing to note: he has been training at Monmouth in the mornings. I like that angle because horses that ship from there tend to run here very well, especially in their first starts.

I like #9 Feisty Bird for a multitude of reasons. His sire, Curlin, was one of the most decorated horses that we’ve ever seen and passed his talent on to several of his progeny. Feisty Bird has run amazingly in his morning workouts and looks geared up and ready to go. Ian Wilkes has only won once in 12 starts at the meet, but a few of his runners have just missed, and Chris Landeros is an underrated jockey. Expect Feisty Bird to outrun his odds.

Ricky’s Picks: 6-4-1-9

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Good luck to everyone playing and be sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyP_15 for more NYRA race previews!

If you want further information on the other races for each card at Saratoga and beyond, you can check the Racing Dudes’ Free Picks page or subscribe to their Premium Selections and get detailed analyses for every race, every card, every track around the country.

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