After an amazing Travers Stakes (G1) weekend, we only have six racing days left at the Spa in 2019. We still get plenty of great racing to watch, starting with one of my favorite stakes races at Saratoga. Wednesday’s card features the 15th running of the With Anticipation Stakes (G3) which showcases some of the best 2-year-olds on the turf. Before that, we have three Maiden Special Weight (MSW) races to preview.

Saratoga Meet Statistics (7/31 thru 8/25):

Races Top 4 Wins Top 4 Exactas Top 4 Trifectas Top 4 Supers
48 36 19 11 1
 
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Race 4: $90,000 MSW for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt 

Dermot Magner will send his 3-year-old filly #5 Bye Bye Nicky out on the dirt for the first time. She’s been a clear favorite in three of her five appearances, all on turf courses and doesn’t deserve any excuses for not getting into the winner’s circle by now. She trained pretty well in her most recent morning work, going 4 furlongs in :48.71 on the dirt. She clearly has turf pedigree from Point of Entry, one of the best turf horses that we’ve ever seen, but she has a lot of dirt pedigree from Ghostzapper as well. At a price, don’t be surprised if she is able to wire this field in her dirt debut.

#8 Rapido Gatta will look to break her maiden after failing to do so in her first three starts. Javier Castellano put this filly out to the lead and proceeded to rate her. I don’t criticize Javier often, but I think that he used her too quickly. Once she fell off the initial pace, she didn’t have much left when she was asked to go four-wide down the stretch. Jose Ortiz is aboard now, who will hopefully give Rapido Gatta a much better trip.

Chad Brown will possibly add to his insurmountable lead in the trainer standings with first-timer #4 Indian Pride. Back on August 16, she ran 4 furlongs on the dirt at :47.43, a time that shows she clearly will have speed at first ask. Her sire, Proud Citizen, was a dirt sprinter who ran four times at Saratoga, including the Hopeful Stakes (G1) as a 2-year-old and the Whitney Stakes (G1) as a 4-year-old.

#3 Doll Collection comes out of the same race as Rapido Gatta back on July 27. She continues to have bad breaks out of the gate, which makes things difficult for her. I’m hoping that the switch from Tyler Gaffalione to John Velazquez helps, but I think that she’s more than talented to win. Ralph Nicks wins at 20% with dirt sprinters, so assuming she breaks well out of the gate, she is a clear player deserving of attention.

Ricky’s Picks: 5-8-4-3

Credit: NYRA

Race 6: $78,000 MSW for New York-bred 2-year-olds going 6 furlongs on the dirt 

#8 Blame the Cake made his debut at Saratoga at the beginning of the meet back on July 14. He was able to make the lead but couldn’t hold off Bank On Shea in the stretch. At odds of almost 15/1, he certainly showed that field what he was made of, so expect him to be one of the favorites here at a relatively short price. A race similar to what he ran last time out would make him an easy winner by more than a few lengths here.

#7 Papa King was a heavily-bet favorite in his first start who didn’t live up to the hype. After a disappointing first-time effort, he has a few positive things going for him. He adds blinkers, which is always a positive move for me. Todd Pletcher is also winning with his runners that are coming off of a long layoff at 27%. He’s looked better than ever in the mornings and should be a moderate price in this spot.

First-timer #4 Lorenzen hits the track for the first time after one of the best workouts that I’ve seen all meet. He ran 4 furlongs at :47.83 a day after the track was deemed to be muddy and off the turf. Mark Casse wouldn’t have put his 2-year-old out there in the mud if he didn’t think that Lorenzen would be geared up like he seems to be.

Steve Assmussen looks to continue his fantastic Saratoga meet with another first timer in #6 Candygramformongo. He had been training at Churchill Downs before making his way to Saratoga, where he ran in the mud the same morning that Lorenzen did. He seemed to really take well to the track as he ran quicker in the mud than over a fast surface at Churchill Downs. The Assmussen barn has been red-hot, so expect his young colt to be ready in the first start of his career.

Ricky’s Picks: 8-7-4-6

Credit: NYRA

Race 7: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-old fillies going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf 

Wesley Ward sends #10 Hai Bobbi after she missed by a neck in her sloppy off-turf debut. She maintained a solid lead throughout but couldn’t hold off the heavily-favored Cucina. Expect Hai Bobbi to use her experience in her second start and take it to this field. Wesley Ward is eight-for-24 when his horses switch from dirt to turf, so expect this filly to agree with the new surface as well.

Ward’s other entry in here is #7 Nic and Zoe, who has the field’s fastest 4-furlong workout recorded prior to debuting at Saratoga. She stopped the watch in :46.40, which ranked first of 125 on the day. I usually don’t talk about rankings, since it’s difficult to decipher who else ran that morning, but this filly – purchased for $135,000 last year at Keeneland – might have the potential to be special.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with The Elkstone Group, who has two potential entries with Christope Clement. The one I prefer is #1A Boston Beauties, who ran a winning race in her debut. She was put on the lead by the very aggressive Luis Saez. She responded well, but Voting Agreement was much the best as Javier Castellano sat off a quick :21.87 first 1/4-mile. I also like #1 Logic N Reason if she is the only entrant from the pair. She worked 3 furlongs in :37.09 on August 23, which showed her speed. When a horse about to make its debut goes 3 furlongs, it usually results in early speed.

Manny Franco will be aboard #3 Morality Cause once again after not getting the job done against much weaker fields. Her best race was her debut when she sat off the pace and was able to close ground. Expect Franco to have her toward the back of the pack in this spot, as her early speed doesn’t quite match up with the rest of this group. In saying this, with a lot of potential early speed, this can set up quite nicely for Morality Cause and make her dangerous if she gets the right pace up front.

Ricky’s Picks: 10-7-1/1A-3

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

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