SARATOGA – 8/25/2023
RACE 1: 8-7-4-1
#8 VERACRUZIN is training forwardly for Kenny McPeek prior to his debut and is by 12% debut sire Summer Front. The dam here was unraced and she has dropped 3 turf winners from 5 to try the lawn. There are a couple of dirt winners on the dam side as well and this colt looks like a player on turf or dirt. OFF THE TURF: 8-16-4-5
RACE 2: 3-5-4-2
#3 VAX is the one to beat on a massive class drop for trainer Linda Rice. She was taken for 40k in July and now lands in a 16k affair where she should be the main pace player on paper. The likelihood of a wet track hardly hurts this daughter of Sharp Azteca, as she was a good second after setting fast fractions two back on a sloppy strip.
RACE 3: 5-4-2-3
#5 ROSES FOR DEBRA answered an important question last time out from a class perspective. She was an authoritative winner of the Caress, scoring going away after stalking a slow pace. Her tactical speed is a major weapon and none of the new runners in this field who she didn’t face last time have much to offer. OFF THE TURF: 7-8-5-2
RACE 4: 3-7-1-2
With his third upset winner of the meet on Wednesday afternoon, trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. showed he is back in a big way and #3 ORIGINAL makes his first start for him today. He has a tremendous amount of back class and looks to be training forwardly for his return off a break. His tactical speed is a weapon and he draws favorably towards the inside. OFF THE TURF: 13-12-11-14
RACE 5: 3-9-6-1
#3 ALTERNATE REALITY is a late runner who should get a strong pace setup here if this race stays in tact. He was overmatched last time out in the Dwyer when he raced along the slower inside paths. The rider change to Katie Davis is a key one given how well she has ridden at this meet and he should be a strong late player today.
RACE 6: 1-6-3-4
The rail draw is no bargain for #1 AIR OF DEFIANCE but he’ll be a better price than #6 FIERCENESS, the other entrant who is training strongly. The former is out of a 4x winner who took the Grade II Summertime Oaks and was second in the Grade I Test. He out-worked the stakes caliber 3YO Slip Mahoney most recently and seems ready to roll.
RACE 7: 7-1-3-2
#7 FIRST TO ACT is a late runner who’s cutting back in distance for trainer Shug McGaughey while also dropping in class. She has been at her best in two tries with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard and he’s in the irons today. She was overmatched last time out in the Molly Pitcher and should get some pace to run at this afternoon as a live price horse.
RACE 8: 4-1-7-6
#4 ANATOLIAN ran arguably the best race last time out moving early and wide into a pace that fell apart late. She has shown new life since stretching out in distance on the turf and trainer Mike Maker’s barn was struggling earlier at this meet. The recent bullet workout signals her readiness and the 3-1 morning line would constitute value. OFF THE TURF: 10-11-7-12
RACE 9: 1-6-5-4
#1 IDIOMATIC is capable of wiring this field based on the strength of her last two performances. She has earned speed figures that put her in line with the top two players in here and she has an enormous pace advantage. If jockey Florent Geroux is capable of nursing her along on the front end and she’ll be a clear third choice today.
RACE 10: 9-5-1-2
On turf, #4 RIVIERE is a terrific play off a poor effort on dirt. She ran a bang-up race on debut finishing fourth in the Belmont day opener after breaking slowly and rushing up into contention around the far turn. She should be even better on the weeds and simply needs the rain to stay away. OFF THE TURF: 12-11-7-5
SARATOGA 2023 STATS: 314-78-49-52 $492.30