Race 8 – One Mile Allowance on the Turf – Purse: $87,000
Numbers to use: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
Analysis: The first leg is quite the challenge! If you are planning on playing Wise Dan as a single in the 10th race, perhaps pushing the ALL button would be the way to go in this one. I narrowed the field down to five, but still don’t feel totally comfortable. Most of the horses in this race have been consistently on the board type runners. The wild card in the race could be #5 Abraham, who has shown a lot of talent and class, but will be trying turf for the first time in this spot. Another interesting entry is #9 Willy Elliot, who has more wins than any of these, but this will be a class test. The bottom line with this one…it’s anybody’s game.
Race 9 – The Auntie Mame Stakes – Purse: $100,000
Numbers to Use: 6, 7, 9
Analysis: Another competitive grass race, but this one can be narrowed down a little easier. The two clear standouts to me are Silsita and Barbie Wire. Both come out of barns that know how to win on the Saratoga turf course, and both are coming off Stakes victories that are similar to what they are running against in this one. I also added an interesting longer price, #6 Effie Trinket, who has been running very solid and coming in off back to back wins. I do want to note that I flip-flopped back and forth with adding #1 Joy to my ticket. The horse is also coming off back to back wins, and might be one to consider.
Race 10 – The Fourstardave Stakes (Grade 2) – Purse: $500,000
Numbers to Use: 1, 3, 7
Analysis: I may be a little crazy, but I think the champ Wise Dan is beatable in this spot. Many people will play him as a single and load up on the other three races. That strategy is definitely a very logical one, but I like the idea of playing a couple of other horses with him in here. If he were to lose, then the pot will definitely be sweet for those of us that are still alive. The weight he’s spotting the field is significant, and his races haven’t been insanely impressive like last year’s were. I went with the improving Lea and Za Approval as my two options just incase the reining horse of the year fails to show up with his best stuff.
Race 11 – Starter Optional Claiming $35,000 – Purse: $70,000
Numbers to Use: 4, 6, 9
Analysis: Hopefully you can survive this far and finish it off with a nice score. This race is similar to the 8th, but I do think you can narrow it down a little easier as some of these don’t have much of a chance. In the end I went with the three horses that have shown the most consistency to try to carry me home in the finale. Good luck to everyone playing!