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NYRA Preview: Saratoga 8/31

NYRA Preview: Saratoga 8/31

As I write this preview, I regret to inform you that this is the very last Saturday at the Spa in 2019. It’s not all bad – we get a great day of racing, including four stakes: the Glens Falls (G2), the Prioress (G2), the Saranac (G3), and the Woodward (G1). The final Saturday of the year gives us plenty of chances to see talented youngsters across five maiden special weight (MSW) races.

Saratoga Meet Statistics (7/31 thru 8/29):

Races Top 4 Wins Top 4 Exactas Top 4 Trifectas Top 4 Supers
54 40 22 14 3
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Race 1: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the inner turf

Bill Mott’s runner #6 Sul Moon (5/2) comes into this race with the best experience of the group. Sul Moon was taken up at the 3/4 mark in his debut, so for him to finish second by a head at 13/1 tells me that he is the one to beat over this exact same course and against the exact same conditions.

Chad Brown is the best trainer on the NYRA circuit and it’s not really close. He sends out #4 Structor (2/1), who was purchased as a 2-year-old earlier for a $850,000 price tag that comes with lofty expectations. Irad Ortiz, Jr., will be aboard a colt who has everything on paper that a first-timer needs. He will be a short price, but he could also be a monster.

#1 King’s Honor (5/1) enters this field after being scratched back on August 17 due to the race coming off of the turf. Following that scratch, he worked beautifully on the main track, going :49.12 over 4 furlongs. The workout tells me that he was ready to run then and should be geared up here in this spot as well.

Danny Gargan sends out #2 Myamanoi (6/1), who will look to win first time out. I haven’t given Gargan enough love yet this meet, but I will here. He is winning at 30% so far this meet (11/37) and does well with first-timers debuting in a turf route. Kendrick Carmouche is one of Gargan’s best riders, as they have teamed up to win at 22% in 2019. Look for this colt to be a nice price at post time.

Ricky’s Picks: 6-4-1-2

Credit: NYRA

Race 5: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 7 furlongs on the dirt

#1 Famished (5/2) came out of his debut looking like he who should thrive in this spot. He’s going to be a short price, but he’ll be worth it. After a very poor break, he spotted the leaders 10 lengths. The first 1/4-mile was a brisk :21.84, but he was passing horses with ease. The extra furlong should help him ultimately get to the winner’s circle. He is the clear horse to beat.

Chad Brown’s runners are always live no matter the spot, so expect the same thing here as #4 Risk Profile (7/2) makes his debut. Into Mischief has left his footprints all over this Saratoga meet with productive 2-year-old offspring. This one ran back-to-back :49.09 morning works with relative ease. Brown wouldn’t have this colt make his debut on Woodward Day if he didn’t think that he could run.

#3 Height (6/1) comes out of the race that almost saw Atoka crash the tote board at 25/1. While all eyes were on Glory Road, who stormed home late to win, Height wasn’t too far behind. Junior Alvarado gave Height a perfect ride, sitting off the pace and waiting for it to melt down. Ultimately, that experience showed Height’s capability. A quick pace certainly would help him here.

Richard Valentine might have something special in first-timer #8 Mud Pie (10/1). He doesn’t have many runners, but he sent out No Man’s Land on August 25 to win at odds of 5/1. Mud Pie’s 5-furlong workout in :59.60 was monstrous and suggests that Richard has another live runner here.

Ricky’s Picks: 1-4-3-8

Credit: NYRA

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

I’m not exactly sure why #3 Three Technique (2/1) hasn’t won yet, but this is his best chance yet to break his maiden. Jose Ortiz attempted to try and rally on the rail last time out, but that has not been a winning move this meet. Ortiz will try again and should win with ease, and he likely will be the favorite for his third career start.

#9 Kowalski (5/1) showed great things in his second career start, coming at Saratoga. His debut was a throw-away race; he broke slowly but managed to grab third as he passed tired horses. More recently, Manny Franco did a nice job of getting this colt out to the lead. An opening 1/4-mile in :22.18 was just a tad too quick for him, but he certainly has early speed. Look for Franco to sit just off of Three Technique and try to pass him late.

#8 Always Misbehaving (8/1) comes out of the same race as Kowalski, who he sat behind, but being so close to that hot pace didn’t do him any favors. At 5 1/2 furlongs, Kendrick Carmouche did exactly what he was supposed to do, but once that first 1/4-mile time was posted, the front-runners had no chance. Getting Irad Ortiz, Jr., and an extra 1 1/2 furlongs to work with should result in a better result.

There seems to be a common theme here: many of the contenders come out of that same July 27 race. That continues with Todd Pletcher’s runner #7 Soviet (6/1). He broke away slowly when debuting that day, but the main contenders here have early speed, which could easily result in quick fractions. Soviet should be set up to come late and be well-positioned to nab the front-runners at the wire.

Ricky’s Picks: 3-9-8-7

Credit: NYRA

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

#3 Mr Jaggers (2/1) was a lukewarm favorite in his debut, and Junior Alvarado had him in perfect position, but he was entirely too green. He bobbed his head the entire way and was forced to go extremely wide. Had he and Field Pass switched spots, Mr. Jaggers would’ve won with ease, rather than finish third, beaten 2 lengths. He should do much better drawing an inner post position.

The triumphant trio of Klaravich Stables, Chad Brown, and Irad Ortiz, Jr., are back at it with #2 Policy Option (3/1). He had a nice stalking trip on debut but never fired in the stretch. What impressed me is that he left it all out on the track, even though he had no chance of catching Our Country. The distance was probably a little too much to overcome in his debut, but the experience should mean a world of difference for him now.

#4 No Word (9/2) will debut at this extended turf distance for Todd Pletcher. His sire, Silent Name, started his career in Europe as a successful turf runner and continued that success when he came stateside, where he won a pair of Grade 2s over American law. If No Word is anything like Silent Name, then he should love this distance and fire at a fair price.

Steve Klesaris will let #1 Get Set (5/1) try grass after making consistent progress in both of his prior starts. He scratched out of a July 24 race that was taken off of the turf, so Klesaris put him back on the Parx main track to keep him fresh. He even tried to enter a turf sprint but was scratched as an Also Eligible. Get Set finally should get the turf start that his trainer ultimately desires, and it helps that Klesaris does well when his runners go from the dirt to turf (24%, $3.91 ROI).

Ricky’s Picks: 3-2-4-1

Credit: NYRA

Race 12: $90,000 MSW for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt

Javier Castellano rides #8 Free Enterprise (7/5) again after coming up just short in his first two starts. He lost his debut to a quality runner, Performer, who has won both 2019 starts. A lot of early speed in here suggests that Castellano will choose to rate him and sit right off of the lead. He has the dirt pedigree, the price tag ($485,000), and the connections (Castellano, Chad Brown, Klaravich Stables) to finally win. While there are other quality runners entered, he is the horse to beat.

The big question with #5 Airtouch (3/1) is, What kind of race will he run? Airtouch has to be given the edge in the early speed category. He battled Oskar Blues down to the wire but couldn’t get his nose across the wire first in his lone prior start – over two years ago. It’s vital that John Velazquez doesn’t let this colt go out to a crazy quick 1/4-mile so that he can run his best race.

Kiaran McLaughin will try to win first time out with his 3-year-old colt by Distorted Humor, #4 Tolerant (4/1). His :46.05 workout on August 10 was one of the quickest 4-furlong workouts that I’ve ever witnessed. Some of the best dirt sprinters in the world don’t run that fast. That workout alone makes him a contender in this field. It’s also saying something that Godolphin waited until Woodward Day to debut him.

The three horses who I listed are going to be tough to beat, but I’m very intrigued by the Brazilian-bred #7 Fantastry (12/1). His sire, Forestry, was one of the top sprinters as a 3-year-old and romped in the 1999 King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) here at Saratoga, so the belief is that Fantastry will like this sort of race. His morning works are solid, and having Jose Ortiz in the saddler will certainly help. This field is very talented and difficult to navigate, but getting double-digit odds makes him worth a wager.

Ricky’s Picks: 8-5-4-7

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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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