SARATOGA – 8/19/2023
RACE 1: 8-3-1-6
#8 GYPSY MISCHIEF is a firster by the internationally regarded Into Mischief who appears to be training well for Graham Motion. It’s rare you’d see this barn debut a horse this early, especially on dirt, so the assumption is that he has some ability. The clockers have raved about recent drills and he could end up overlooked in here.
RACE 2: 11-15-8-7
#11 ROCKET NIGHT is out of a dam who was a 2YO debut winner and wound up graded stake placed as a juvenile. He has trained forwardly for a debut run in a race that is now off the turf. The dam side has no prior foals to race but this stable has quietly had a good run with 2YOs so far in 2023.
RACE 3: 3-1/1A-6-7
#3 GEORGEES SPIRIT always showed potential last year for Jorge Abreu and now adds Lasix off a brief layoff. She was stuck in a strong field last time out and ran well to be third. This is a good spot where she has a cozy inside draw in a race with plenty of early zip. Flavien Prat, who rode her to her only win, is also back in the irons.
RACE 4: 7-6-2-10
#7 POPPY’S PRIDE has run well in three starts since being claimed, the best of which was a recent runner-up effort. There’s a good deal of speed in here but he can sit just off of them in a race that is likely to be reduced by scratches.
RACE 5: 1/1A-5-8-3
This has been a far better meet for Rudy Rodriguez than the 2022 stand, as he has 9 wins coming into the final 13 days. He has a powerful entry of #1 LAFITTE’S FLEET and #1A DAUFUSKIE ISLAND and they complement each other perfectly. The former is a late running type who is in razor sharp form while the latter can flat out fly early.
RACE 6: 1-3-16-14
Here’s to hoping #1 MISS BARB stays in this race given her only prior dirt tries came on wet tracks when she either had trouble or raced on the wrong part of the surface. She now draws a cozy inside post going the Wilson Mile and should be able to get a forward position under Trevor McCarthy. Bombs away if she can take to a fast dirt strip.
RACE 7: 3-7-2-4
Even though she has won her last two in wire-to-wire fashion, the gamble is that #3 GLORIA’S PRINCESS can rate just off the pace if necessary. Should #1 HEAVENLY SUNDAY be taken in hand early, then this daughter of Cairo Prince will end up on the front end. That would make her very dangerous as she has improved considerably in her last two for America’s most underrated trainer.
RACE 8: 3-1-8-4
#3 GERRYMANDER is supposed to wire this field based on how it shapes up on paper. She is quicker early than her rivals and can get clear off a 3rd place effort that was better than it looks on paper. The issue is you have to swallow another short price on a horse whose reputation far exceeds her accomplishments, at least in the last year or so.
RACE 9: 9-8-2-10
#9 TAXED had little go her way last time out in the Hoosier State, as she broke poorly and was stuck behind a moderate pace in the Indiana Oaks. She should get far more pace to run at here and moves like a horse who’ll take to the 10 furlongs without issue. Her morning training has once again been strong and she’ll be a square price here for Randy Morse.
RACE 10: 2-5-9-1
My play of the day on this card is #2 NAPOLEONIC WAR, who enters off a narrow miss against similar in his first start off a lengthy break. He made a bold move to reach the lead off the far turn that day and wound up settling for third. Having that race behind him will only help his chances here at a square price of 3-1 or so.
RACE 11: 14-10-15-1/1A
#14 BLUE PLATE SPECIAL ran well enough on dirt in prior tries to get the nod here off the turf, while #10 HENSON will likely get a great deal of attention. I’d rather the recent Linda Rice claim from a price perspective and #15 WOODSIDE WARRIOR is not the worst one to try either with a different rider.