It’s starting to become a theme, but we were a second place finish away from brining home over $6,500 in the early Pick 4/5. Patience is running low but we have been close two days in a row. Onto better news, I’m biased due to my love for the track, but Saratoga exceeded expectations yesterday. Sunday’s feature is the Birdstone Stakes for 4-year-olds and upward going 1 3/4 miles (14 furlongs) on the dirt.

Also included below: my 11-race preview of Del Mar and my 10-race preview of Gulfstream Park.

Best of luck!

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Race 7: $25,000 Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 5 1/2 furlongs on the outer turf

#2 Dowse’s Beach didn’t fire last time out at the Allowance Optional Claiming level on July 19. He hasn’t faced Claiming competition since September 1, 2018, which he defeated here by 2 lengths. #4 Banana Thief is an intriguing runner for Steve Asmussen. He needs to run better to win, but at a price, he’s worth including. #5 Shiraz may be forwardly placed with the lack of early speed. Luis Saez is the perfect jockey because he likes to be aggressive early on. #9 Square Shooter has the tactical speed to break from the far outside. He hasn’t had a ton of success at Saratoga but Robertino Diodoro has his horses ready to go.

Race 8: Allowance for New York-bred 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt

#3 Riken has obliterating early speed over this field. The biggest question with him is: Can he hold on? #5 Wushu Warrior needs to be at his very best to beat this deep and competitive field. Can he help Chris Englehart claim his first win at the meet? #8 Harris Bay was brilliant in his debut and his connections then placed him in three state-bred stakes, where he performed admirably. Allowance competition is where he belongs and could be a nice score based on some of the other runners taking money. #11 Fort Worth is the horse to beat, and while he returns from a 15-month layoff, trainer Todd Pletcher fires 30% with a positive ROI under similar circumstances.

Race 9: Birdstone Stakes for 4-year-olds and upward going 1 3/4 miles (14 furlongs) on the dirt

#3 Rocketry faced Moretti in his last start at Belmont over a sloppy track. He also has one win at Saratoga in his career. #4 Rocketry lost in his return to the races in 2020, but I’m willing to give him a pass because he most likely needed that race to get his fitness up to par. He does own a win and a third-place finish at this distance as well. #6 Moretti has really improved as a 4-year-old and has finished in the money in 6 of his 8 starts.

Race 10: $30,000 Maiden Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs) on the dirt

#2 Tactician was all over the track in his last start at Churchill Downs. Drawing the inside should work out well for him as Striking Speed will go to the front, allowing David Cohen to position Tactician toward the inside. #3 Buona Fina did much better in his second start showing speed from the gate. He enjoyed the stretch-out and should enjoy getting another furlong to work with.

THE TICKET

$0.50 Pick 4 (Races 7-10) 2,4,5,9 / 3,5,8,11 / 3,4,6 / 2,3 – $48

Saratoga August 2, 2020

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Ricky’s Rockets: Saratoga

Ricky’s Rockets: Gulfstream Park