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This time last year, Sippican Harbor came from dead-last and stormed home to win the Spinaway Stakes (G1). The Spinaway, a Saratoga fixture for years, features 2-year-old males looking to make a name for themselves as they begin to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup and beyond. Before the big day begins, we have three maiden special weight (MSW) races to preview:
Saratoga Meet Statistics (7/31 thru 8/30):
Race 1: $75,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf (horses must have sold or RNA for $45,000 or less in most recent sale)
Wesley Ward sends out #8 Summer Sangria (5/2) against the boys to hopefully replicate her impressive debut on August 1 over this same course. If she can repeat that performance, then she will be very tough to beat. Summer Sangria set incredibly quick fractions on debut but just didn’t have enough in the tank to finish the job and hold off Frosted Rose, who stormed home late.
George Weaver gets his first opportunity to see his new colt #4 Bahamian Prince (6/1), who was claimed for $50,000 out of his debut. He does take a step up in class here, but his debut showed positive signs. After a poor break, he made his way up to the front-runners but ultimately flattened out in the stretch. He might not have as much early speed as Summer Sangria, but a trip just off the pace makes him very dangerous.
#5 More Thunder (9/2) makes his turf debut after a so-so effort over the local dirt on August 14. More Thunder just slalomed along and never really got going in that one, so it’s very encouraging that Steve Klesaris brings him back on a short turnaround with a surface change. He hits at 25% with a $7.60 ROI with first-time turfers.
I talked about #9 Las Ramblas (8/1) earlier in the meet and even had her as my top choice. Even though this field has a sale condition, it is considerably tougher than what she was entered against last time before being scratched. After thrice being entered but not making the gate, she hopefully will get her opportunity for Wesley Ward. This filly has the capability to blow the field away, and her most recent workout on the main track going 4 furlongs was a relatively quick one for this group (:48.40) and shows that she is raring to go.
Ricky’s Picks: 8-4-5-9
Race 7: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the turf.
#6 Sparkling Sky (9/5) is the filly to beat. She was my top choice in her debut on August 4 and she’s in the same spot here. The winner of that race, Crystalle, just won the P. G. Johnson Stakes this past week. The field that day was much more difficult than what she’ll see here. She was able to handle the surface and the distance with relative ease and should do just fine once again.
Stephanie Seymour Brant has only had one horse enter the gate in her silks this year, that being Significant Form, who won the local Ballston Spa Stakes (G2) on August 24. Her second starter comes in the form of #2 Boxer Rebellion (3/1) out of the Chad Brown barn, and she attracted Irad Ortiz, Jr. She has the connections, the price tag ($420,000), and the pedigree (by Empire Maker out of a Bernardini mare) to take down this field in her debut.
Todd Pletcher had his filly #1 Laughable (8/1) entered in a turf sprint this past Wednesday, but she was scratched as an Also Eligible. On the morning of August 4, she covered 7 furlongs in 1:27.20. It’s very uncommon to see unraced horses go that long, but she backed that up by going 4 furlongs in :47.60 on the main track on August 11. Pletcher wins at 18% with his runners entered in a turf route and this filly looks the part.
#3 Bridal Path (6/1) wanted no part of the track in her debut. She comes out of the same race as Sparkling Sky, but unlike her foe, she didn’t do much running. She was all over the place in the paddock, she was fractious before getting in the gate, and she lunged as soon as she broke free. Shug McGaughey knows how to win with 2-year-olds (17%) and on the turf (15%), so I’m willing to give his filly another chance here. She might not be as talented as Sparkling Sky, but she still deserves to be on all tickets because a quick pace could set things up nicely.
Ricky’s Picks: 6-2-1-3
Race 8: $90,000 MSW for 2-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs on the turf
#2 Orsay (3/1) was purchased for $1.2 million as a yearling here at Saratoga. By American Pharoah, this filly has lofty expectations, but she’s done all that she can up to this point. Her morning works suggest that she is quick and has tons of promise. Chad Brown teams up with Irad Ortiz, Jr., to hopefully begin this filly’s career in the winner’s circle.
My favorite sire, Into Mischief, sends out another hopeful filly in #1 Day Dayenu (7/2). His most recent workout going 4 furlongs came in :48.91 on the main track. Jorge Abreu doesn’t have a lot of runners, but he’s been in the money 10 of 28 times. Everything about this filly suggests that she is ready to go. The biggest question will be if Manny Franco sends Day Dayenu to chase Orsay or chooses to sit just off the pace?
#7 Buxom Beast (5/1) debuted in the Schuylerville Stakes (G3) but was a bit overmatched. It also didn’t help her chances that she had to try to close ground in the slop. Nothing in that race suggested that she had any chance to win, but now she’s down in the MSW ranks in a spot that makes much more sense. She is talented and will get the chance to show us what she can do. It helps that the Schuylerville winner, Comical, ran a decent third against a stacked field in Saturday’s Del Mar Debutante Stakes (G1).
Rodolphe Brisset got very unlucky when his filly #10 Slam Dunk (8/1) debuted because she ran into Figure of Speech, who won for fun by over 5 lengths. Slam Dunk did her best to try and stay with Figure of Speech and eventual third-place finisher Hallajoori, but that strategy didn’t work out. She can’t afford to take any missteps out of the gate like she did in her debut, but assuming she breaks away better, she is a logical horse to include on all tickets.
Ricky’s Picks: 2-1-7-10
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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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