SARATOGA – 7/16/23
RACE 1: 2-4-3-6
#2 FIGHT FIERCELY goes second off a claim for Joe Sharp and was over his head last time out facing 75k sellers. The poor effort can be ignored because that company was too strong and this is an enormous drop. The pace should be there to set him up from just off of it and his price will be fair.
RACE 2: 7-4-3-5
#7 YOGI goes 2nd off a layoff for trainer Jimmy Bond, who hasn’t won a race at the Spa but has had a number of strong performances. This filly is quick enough to stay close early and is in light with the bug boy aboard. Her best races make her very competitive and this field is soft from top to bottom.
RACE 3: 10-8-9-6
#10 PHAROAH’S HEART switches surfaces for trainer Michelle Nevin after a poor run last time out on turf. She is drawn on the far outside but can sit just off the pace under Jose Lezcano depending on what goes on with #9 SUNSET LOUISE. This gal’s two best races so far in 2023 would make her tough to handle.
RACE 4: 7-6-4-1
If you believe the two speed figures earned most recently by #7 HEREBY, then you’re going to bet this son of Hard Spun. The run-backs from his last start have all validated that speed figure and this gelding is now back in Bruce Brown’s care. He has tactical speed and can sit just off #6 ENSIGN PARKER in the opening stages.
RACE 5: 9-6-1A-8
Trainer Dave Donk has been working #9 A KNIGHT’S COURAGE in partnership with his fleet-footed 2YO Looks First. This colt had a hard time keeping up last time they drilled together on Wednesday of this week, but that might not be a bad thing. This son of Bourbon Courage adds blinkers and the outside post is ideal after he got shuffled out early on debut.
RACE 6: 1A-7-2-12
Though he’s likely to go Wednesday when he’s re-entered, #1A HAPPY BOB is the pick here first off a claim by Linda Rice. He has performed well enough to win this event before on multiple occasions and should have enough speed to overcome a tricky outside draw in a race that could have just about any type of field size after the surface switch.
RACE 7: 2-3-6-1
#2 OUSTER is the one to beat on the class drop after a poor effort in the Commentator when he went without Lasix. This NY bred cleared the restricted conditions and now faces open company in a spot where he should sit just off the pace. This is a fair spot for him and the wet track will do him no harm whatsoever.
RACE 8: 5-3-2-1
The wet track just may move up #5 SHERIFF BIANCO enough to give him the nod here. Trainer Linda Rice is running this veteran frequently, but he continues to perform well and should be in a good position from just off the pace this afternoon. The price will be square as well in a competitive heat.
RACE 9: 3-7-10-5 (OFF THE TURF: 7-11-9)
At this point this race is on the turf, and #3 EYE WITNESS is the one to beat on the lawn. He ran a bang-up race last time out in the Paradise Creek stalking a brutal pace and staying on gamely to the finish. He can undoubtedly handle bottomless ground and his ample early speed is also a plus. On dirt, #7 BRITERDAYZAHEAD is interesting given his improvement and the idea that he is likely finally fulfilling the potential he showed earlier in his career.
RACE 10: 5-4-8-1
#5 MARLEY’S GHOST returns off a layoff for trainer Mike Trombetta and takes the biggest class drop in racing. She has done little to no running against better in her 2nd and third starts but did enough on debut to be given serious consideration today. This is a far softer spot than any she has tried in the past.