SARATOGA – 8/4/2023
RACE 1: 4-1A-3
The money that #4 WICKED AGAIN took last time out at Keeneland was notable given the competitive nature of that bunch. He wound up a good 4th at 3-1 and returns off a break in a soft MSW event. Between this one and the Chad Brown-trained entry of #1 OPPORTUNITY SET and #1A INDEX FUND you should be good to go in the Pick 5.
RACE 2: 9-11-1-7
#9 HONEST AL showed enough on debut to be given a second look here for Graham Motion. He is not really bred for turf and should benefit from this race being taken off the weeds. Should he improve off the unveiling his chances will skyrocket.
RACE 3: 8-3-1-4
#8 STRIKING SPEED faced considerably better last time out when 6th after chasing a white hot pace. This is a far softer spot at the bottom claiming level and he has an ideal outside post in a race that’s short on speed. If he gets a good stalking spot on the outside he will prove tough to handle at an attractive price.
RACE 4: 8-10-16-12
#8 JAYLA has the best dirt form in this field as she joins the care of Jena Antonucci. The two dirt races this daughter of Tourist ran at Fair Grounds over the winter will make her a major player from a speed figure perspective.
RACE 5: 6-7-4-8
#6 LAUGHING BOY is new to the care of David Jacobson and should improve on this barn switch. He’s been facing considerably better and should get a hot pace to run at late with the meet’s top pilot on board. You don’t often get value on these connections but should here given the competitive nature of this field.
RACE 6: 4-3-8-2
#4 HAPPY BOB drops in class off a decent effort for Linda Rice in his first try off the claim for 40k. The fact he’s in for 20k isn’t the best sign, but a win and claim nets them 44k. He is better than these horses on paper and Rice has amassed the record she has at this meet by brilliantly playing the claiming game.
RACE 7: 7-3-2-9
#7 PAPILIO really took the worst of it in the Belmont Oaks and is the filly you want to bet out of there. Going a distance that looked farther than her preferred trip she broke poorly, advanced down the backstretch and wound up rallying gamely in a race run at a deliberate early clip. She has been able to handle spongy turf in the past and should get a decent pace setup today.
RACE 8: 9-7-1-10
#9 BEHIND ENEMY LINES is an interesting price play off a tough trip runner-up effort in the Penn Mile last time out. In an effort to get the jump on the favorite, Flavien Prat moved this British-bred son of Sioux Nation aggressively heading to the far turn. That was a premature move that didn’t work in the end as Major Dude wore him down. He needs a better timed ride today and a cleaner break from the gate.
RACE 9: 4-3-7-6
#4 TOSCONOVA BEAUTY is the one to catch today in a skull buster of a race for NY breds. She was ineffective last time after a very slow gate break and should be a bigger threat today if able to get to the lead. She has ample early speed and should be a square price, so there’s plenty of appeal.
RACE 10: 12-14-7-3
#12 ONE GIANT LEAP is a winner of two straight and now returns off a layoff as a new gelding. He was a blowout winner when last seen at Keeneland and wound up a voided claim that day for 50k. Trainer Wesley Ward drops him to this 35k event where he should be an overwhelming favorite with the surface switch.
RACE 11: 13-14-5-1
#13 SOUTH STREET drops in class second off a claim after facing tougher last time out at Belmont. He should be in the right spot class-wise today facing starter allowance foes and the distance is sure to be his friend. Many times when they get to 10 panels the trip is the equalizer and this should be the case.
SARATOGA 2023 STATS: 165-46-25-22 $287.50