What a first couple of days to start my time with the Racing Dudes! My inaugural article handed out the winner for each highlighted race on both Wednesday (7/31) and Thursday (8/1), and I also hit two exactas and a cold trifecta. Let’s see if the good luck continues into the weekend!
Whitney Weekend at Saratoga is always special and features amazing racing. All of these starters were maidens at one point, so let’s take a look at some of the maidens showing up in the weekend MSWs at The Spa.
Race 1: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the turf
When this relatively inexperienced field of 10 hits the grass, I will look to a first-timer in #5 Brewmeister to lead the pack. His workouts aren’t eye-catching, but the combination of Chad Brown/Javier Castellano is connecting at 27%. Brown’s horses might not show their best efforts in the mornings, but they always show up to the track ready to run.
Another horse that should be a co-betting favorite is #6 Eternal Summer. Todd Pletcher started off the meet slow, but he has quickly reminded us of his prowess, especially with young horses. The 2-year-old sired by Summer Front will enjoy the distance, and Jose Ortiz is winning at 31% with 2-year-olds. It’s a good sign when the meet’s leading rider is red-hot with newcomers.
I’ll also look towards the rail at #1 Chimney Rock, one of the few horses in this field with experience. He chased quick fractions in the off-turf slop at Belmont Park back on June 21. He was entered a few different times since then, but Mike Maker has finally found a spot where he can stay on the grass. Maker is also winning at 18% when his horses switch from a sprint to a route.
#8 Our Country is another colt with prior race experience. Debuting in the meet’s opening weekend, he was pinched at the start and had to steady at one point during the middle. Manny Franco was aboard the first time around and will hope for a better trip as he retakes the mount. Our Country showed that he can close into some pace and I think he will get that here.
Ricky’s Picks: 5-6-1-8
Race 3: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 7 furlongs on the dirt
Similar to Race 1, this is a very lightly-raced field. On top is a colt who has already debuted, #3 Extreme Force, who in that race struggled mightily out of the gate and wasn’t able to find his best footing until it was too late. That has since turned out to be a good field, as the second-place finisher Another Miracle won next out at The Spa on July 24. This field will certainly be easier, and his prior experience will likely have him in a better spot at the start.
Saratoga Slim and The Magic Mike Show guys will like my next pick: #5 Wayne O was purchased for $750,000 as a yearling, and being sired by Into Mischief out of an Unbridled’s Song mare, his pedigree certainly warrants the price tag. It also helps that Steve Asmussen and Jose Ortiz have impressed early and often at Saratoga, though only individually: in 42 starts together since 2018, this Jockey/Trainer combo has only connected at 7%.
Javier Castellano will be aboard another colt trying to win his second start, #2 Dubai Bobby. Jonathan Thomas tried this horse on the turf his first time out back on July 6 in what was more or less just getting a start under his belt. Dubai Bobby has dirt pedigree all over him: sired by the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby, he’s out of a Broken Vow mare. He worked in :49.02 over 4 furlongs most recently, and Thomas has excelled at 33% when his horses switch from turf to dirt.
Closing out the ticket is the first-timer #9 Glory Road. He has looked every bit the part in his morning works both at 4 and 5 furlongs, and the Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez combination has historicaly had great success with Saratoga 2-year-olds. They have started off slowly this meet, but if Glory Road can get to the front and control the pace, watch out.
Ricky’s Picks: 3-5-2-9
Race 6: $90,000 MSW for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt
#8 Free Enterprise should be the post time favorite here in this spot. A 4-year-old son of Curlin, he didn’t make the track at either 2 or 3, but in his debut, he set reasonable fractions (:23.48, :46.40) before being unable to hold off the winner. Since that effort, he had a bullet work back on July 20 seems poised to take this field wire-to-wire in start two.
Cherie DeVaux will send her 3-year-old colt #10 Dinar back out to the tack for his third career start. This Kentucky shipper broke out of the gate poorly in start one and just missed by a head in start two. DeVaux’s overall 2019 numbers aren’t the best, but in three starts at Saratoga, she has a win and a third. She doesn’t ship to lose.
Let’s stay toward the outside of this group with first-timer #7 En Wye Cee. Todd Pletcher sends this 3-year-old out with monstrous morning workouts on his charts. Whatever the issue he had as a 2-year-old seems to be sorted out at this point, and with Jose Ortiz aboard after posting a 5-furlong bullet work on July 19, En Wye Cye seems raring to go for his debut.
Looking for a longshot here? Take a look at #12 Somes Sound. Don’t be surprised if his M/L odds of 10-1 rise in this field of quality horses, but his two bullet works and a Jockey/Trainer combo connection firing at 40% in the last 365 days makes this horse a must-use in all exotics and multi-race wagers.
Ricky’s Picks: 8-10-7-; Longshot: #12 Somes Sound
Race 1: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs on the dirt
A small field of seven without much experience opens the Sunday action. In saying this, I am keen on #1 Pure Wow. Her debut was pretty impressive, as she held the lead through a :22.67 first 1/4-mile and a :46.19 first 1/2. She began to tire towards the end but still fought valiantly to hold third. Coming into this softer spot with some experience, she should do better. An upgrade from Dylan Davis to Joel Rosario can’t be overlooked, either.
Expect #4 Daphne Moon to be a pretty short price, and for good reason. This $525,000 purchase will try to live up to her price tag, and her most recent work at 4 furlongs was a brisk :48.87, so she seems to be geared up to go in this spot. Jeremiah Englehart will send his filly out underneath Jose Ortiz, who has been the hottest jockey so far this meet.
Another horse with some experience is #7 Weekend Fun. She made her debut back on June 27 at Churchill Downs going 6 furlongs. She didn’t make up a ton of ground from the start to the finish, but she didn’t do anything to hurt herself, like trying to keep up with a :21.56 first fraction. Steve Asmussen wins at 19% when his starters return to the track between 31-60 days, and though I’m not sure if she has enough to win in this spot, she should not be left off of any tickets.
The debuting #5 Lucky Dime‘s pedigree sets up well, as Creative Cause was a multiple graded stakes winner. Her morning workouts have been solid, but none of them jump out. This spot is probably too much for her, but she can be a nice underneath price for Bill Mott, who has been in the money 42% of the 2019 Saratoga meet.
Ricky’s Picks: 1-4-7-5
Race 4: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the turf
Todd Pletcher sends out #8 Sparkling Sky, who I think has the potential to win multiple races in her future. I expect her to be a short price here, but I think she’s worth the hype. Jose Ortiz and Pletcher have been combining to win at 26%, which is not too shabby.
I’ve talked before about Chad Brown’s runners not having the best morning works. That could be the same here for #4 Situation Room, who makes her debut. Purchased for $275,000 last September, this filly has a lot of hype to live up to, but Brown is a stellar 29% at this distance and 28% overall with MSWs.
#7 Livin At the Beach made an impressive debut at 6 furlongs back on June 30. She ran third to a game Embur’s Zip and Morality Clause, who ran second earlier this week in her next start. This field is just as strong, but Livin at the Beach should enjoy the stretch-out. Her pedigree shows that distance shouldn’t be an issue, and Christophe Clement is one of the best turf trainers out there. Dylan Davis doesn’t have the best numbers in this tough colony, but she will be good enough here if asked.
I’m not sure what to make of #6 Swanage. In her first start, she had a stalking trip and didn’t do much running before finishing fourth. The next start saw her as a moderate favorite who just couldn’t hold on to a narrow lead. The stretch-out really seemed to fit well with her, so hope for more improvement here.
Ricky’s Picks: 8-4-7-6
Race 11: $90,000 MSW for 3-year-olds and up going 1 mile on the inner turf
Most of this field comes into this event with experience. #10 Doswell is 0-for-3, but each of her starts resulted in an encouraging second. Back on June 14, Doswell had every chance to catch the speed but couldn’t find the final surge. I think that this two-turn mile setup makes her a strong contender.
One of the few first-timers in this race is #11 Good Governance. This 3-year-old was entered to make her debut back on July 17, but that race was taken off of the turf. Bred in Great Britain, everything about this colt says that turf is his preferred surface. Chad Brown refused to send this one out on a sloppy dirt course a couple of weeks ago, opting to make his debut in this spot.
Todd Pletcher will send #8 Standup out to the track to make his first start in quite a long time. The last time that he was seen was back in February at Gulfstream Park in the Texas Glitter Stakes, where he gradually gained on the winner but was never better than eighth. I’m not overly confident that he can win this race, but his best is at least good enough to hit the board.
#3 Malthael is 0-for-5 in his career, but that record doesn’t tell the story. He wasn’t a favorite in any of his previous starts, nor did he deserve to be, but three of those five winners repeated in their next races. This is his highest purse level yet, but a jockey switch to Joel Rosario will certainly help this closer.
If #13 Alfons Walde cracks this field as an Also Eligible, then this colt could make a lot of noise. Ever since making his U.S. debut in April, he has improved. John Velazquez would be aboard this 3-year-old who would certainly enjoy the two-turn distance.
Ricky’s Picks: 10-11-8-3; add 13 if he scratches into the field
Good luck to everyone playing and be sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyP_15 for more NYRA race previews!