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Win –#5 Street Life
Exacta –5,6,9,10 boxed
Horses to use in vertical wagering – 5,6,8,9,10
Speed – Speightscity, Alpha
Stalkers – Five Sixteen, Neck n’ Neck, Nonios, Fast Falcon, Golden Ticket
Closers – Stealcase, Street Life, Atigun, Liaison
#5 Street Life (KY) – Even though the pace might really work against him, I just can’t help but think Street Life is going to get the job done here. His victory in the Curlin Stakes was more impressive to me than Alpha’s Jim Dandy win, and I think the mile and one-quarter distance is going to suit Street Life just fine. Trainer Chad Brown has hinted that Street Life might be placed a little closer than normal in this one, and that he’s really starting to figure this whole thing out. He looks to be a horse that’s peaking at the right time. Hopefully he’ll get an honest pace to run at that will soften some of the front-runners up. If that happens, it’s hard to see any of these holding him off.
#6 Alpha (KY) – The winner of the Jim Dandy has been great in the state of New York, and at Saratoga as well for that matter! He reminds me a lot of last years Travers winner, Stay Thirsty. With the loss of Hansen the race should set up pretty well for Alpha, as he should get a nice stalking position behind Spieghtscity who is most likely going straight to the lead from off the rail. I’m not seeing a ton of speed in here, so this makes Alpha very dangerous. He could end up stealing this one on the front end, much like what he did in the Jim Dandy.
#10 Nonios (KY) – This colt might be the best bet in the race. He’s so consistent, which makes him a must use in any kind of exotic you play. Also, if you’re betting a show parlay I would pick this horse as well. Nonios was only beaten a little over three lengths by Paynter in the Haskell, which isn’t all that bad considering I think Paynter would have beaten the rest of this field just as badly. California three-year olds have won every big race this year, so why not Nonios?
#8 Neck ‘n Neck (KY) – This rapidly improving colt is definitely one to watch. After dominating the Grade 3 Matt Winn, Neck ‘n Neck came back and ran a strong second in the Jim Dandy. He’s said to have been working out strongly since that race, and is giving all indications he’s sitting on a big one. One concern I have with him…how will he handle the mile and one-quarter? I felt like he hung just a bit when going a mile and one eighth in the Jim Dandy. Still, this is horse you can’t ignore.
#9 Liaison (KY) – I’ve been on and off this one’s band wagon all year. His efforts at Santa Anita in the winter were pathetic, but he perked up and ran well in the Kentucky Derby. Since then we’ve seen consistency, but not greatness. He finished a solid third in the Jim Dandy when closing into a soft pace, so perhaps with a different set up he could have gotten there. I think the mile and one-quarter is a distance he can get, but I don’t consider him a serious win threat. An on the board finish is possible though. One note to remember: Liaison in the only Grade 1 winner in this field.
#7 Atigun (KY) – I’ll go ahead and admit it, I have no idea what this horse is going to do. He’s tremendously inconsistent, but I do think he’s got some talent which makes him dangerous. His best race was in the Belmont going a mile and one half, so I think today’s distance of a mile and one-quarter will be fine for him. He’s a big wild card in here, and one that could ruin a lot of tri’s and supers. If you’re looking for a longshot to throw a few bucks on, you might give him a look.
#1 Speightscity (KY) – Trainer Gary Contessa has said Speightscity will go straight to the lead from this rail position, and see how far he can hold it. The strategy isn’t bad considering the lack of speed in this race. Contessa admits that this might be a stretch for Speightscity class wise, but he also said he loves it at Saratoga and is training beautifully. In a race where nobody stands out, there is no reason not to give it a shot. If he can set slow fractions, you never know how far he might be able to hold on.
#4 Stealcase (KY) – The horse had some buzz coming into both the Matt Winn and Haskell, but has just failed to show much to make you think he can win today. He might be more effective at a mile or over a sloppy track. So maybe if it rains you should take a look at him.
#2 Five Sixteen (KY) – He’s a horse that s improving, but maybe not to the point where he’s ready to make an impact today. I can’t say I’d be completely shocked if he ran huge and hit the board, but I give him no shot at winning.
#11 Fast Falcon (KY) – You can probably draw a line through his last race in the Jim Dandy as it never looked like he cared much for the slop. Once you do that, you a see a horse that still probably can’t match up with the top few in this one. Decent horse who you shouldn’t give up on, but it’s not happening today.
#3 Golden Ticket (KY) – Just doesn’t look to be classy enough to compete with this bunch. I don’t blame them for trying, but this one is an easy throw out.
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