Please watch my livestream show TONIGHT, Ep. #56, of the HHH Racing Podcast HERE for a great preview of Opening Day at Saratoga on Thursday (w/emphasis on the Late P5) w/my special guest, NBC Sports analyst Eddie Olczyk. Show starts at 8PM EST, don’t miss it…and maybe some NHL talk too!
Nice card today including 4 MN-bred stakes…be aware of possible scratches due to thunderstorms in the forecast. All picks below made assuming races stay on the turf. Races 9-12 are Quarter Horse races and will not be covered in this blog.
Key: BF = Bad Favorite and LS = Longshot
Race 1: 3-5-7
Very tough way to start this exciting card full of stake races…let’s go with #3 Soviet, who has been running on turf but can do well on dirt too. Stretching out a bit in distance, but bred for it. Trust Quinonez can get the right trip.
Race 2: 1-3-2
The first of four MN-bred stake races today, this one for 3yo fillies. It’s named after the wonderful Ky. Derby-winning owner Frances Genter, a Minneapolis native. Talented group here, led by 5 for 6 #1 Star of the North, who toyed with her competition last month. This will be a tougher test, but will be sent from the rail and be tough to catch if she continues to improve. Only way she losses is with a rough start or someone really presses her early, both possible…it’s a horse race.
Race 3: 8-9-4
As previously mentioned, possible storms in the forecast, check for surface-changes/scratches. If on turf, #8 Cynical Girl has a good chance to run down the speed inside of her. She’s in good form, and first off the claim for Capallucci. Takes a small step up but can handle the class rise. Like the jock switch too to Eikleberry.
Race 4: 4-1-2 LS: 4
Late P5 starts here, but due to impending weather and possible various scratches/changes, no ABC selection grid today.
#4 Camps Bay my Longshot Play today. Think you’ll get close to that 6-1 ML. Trained by Diodoro (which might lower his price), he’s been caught up in paceless races recently, not good for a closing-type. But today, there’s speed to the inside and outside of him, and I think the style of the race suits. Use underneath for sure in your gimmicks and maybe on the win end too. Needs things to heat up early.
Race 5: 7-4-3
2nd of 4 stake races, this one for 3yo colts. Great matchup between two talented horses, #4 Bayou Benny and #7 Thealligatorhunter. I’m choosing the Alligator on top based on post and experience. Quinonez can break and see what happens to his inside, while you’d think Benny has to go from the 4-hole. Benny might be more talented, but the Alligator is really sharp right now. Would be shocked if the winner isn’t one of these two.
Race 6: 4-5-1
Scheduled for turf, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better MN-bred field, perhaps in the history of the track. The horses in this stake race for the boys have combined earnings of $2.87 million, including top two MN-bred $-earners of all-time, Mr. Jagermeister and Hot Shot Kid. But going with #4 Cinco Star ($280k) can race on turf or dirt, on the lead or just off…love his versatility and in excellent form right now for Robertson.
Race 7: 5-8-10
Also scheduled for the turf, this one for the girls, is a real toughie. I like #5 Firstmate for trainer Lund. Loves the turf and Wade should have this one just off the early pace in a prime spot on the far turn. Don’t like her if it’s washed off the grass, assume she’d probably scratch in that scenario anyway.
Race 8: 7-8-9
Unlike his name, #7 Deuce starts in the 7-hole. Can show plenty of gate speed or lay just off, Diodoro charge has California class and a race in Shakopee to get him acclimated. Will be tough with the right trip, but is 0/11. Fits well and faces easier than last, even though the class level is the same.