SARATOGA – 8/6/22
RACE 1: 2-7-5-1
More was expected of #2 ALEXIS ZORBA when he made his North American debut here last month. He wound up breaking poorly and running a dull race sprinting on the lawn. He now goes long, which should be more of his game, and the blinkers going on will sharpen him up early. #7 BATTLE OF NORMANDY has been working with older turf winner Dripping Gold and holding his own for trainer Shug McGaughey. The dam side here is full of turf influence and he should be ready on debut. #5 RED ROUTE ONE is a sibling of turf stake winner Red Run and should be ready on debut. The dirt works look awfully strong and this one hails from a barn that excels with 2YOs.
RACE 2: 4-6-8-5
#4 SHE CAUGHT MY EYE debuted against tougher at Turfway on the all-weather and now returns off a layoff in a new barn. New trainer Bill Mott doesn’t have particularly strong numbers with layoff returnees in dirt sprints, but this field is woeful, and she needn’t be much to contend for top honors. #6 AFILADA has been in the money in six straight starts but has not been able to win during that run. She is an off the pace dirt horse, which is a tough thing to be when you’re short on talent. Luis Saez got her more involved early last time out and it nearly paid dividends. #8 TEKILA is a speedy daughter of Liam’s Map who’s drawn well on the outside. She was involved in a hot pace last time out before tiring and now drops a notch in class in search of a win to break her trainer’s cold streak.
RACE 3: 7-2-4-5
#7 MOSIENKO was a good 2nd last time out racing at this level and showed increased early speed in that event. She now draws favorably outside the other speed to stalk and pounce under Luis Saez. The way forwardly placed runners have been doing at this meet, you have to have some confidence in this gal. Last time was undoubtedly the time for #2 KHALI MAGIC, who was up to win a similar race going away. She’s eligible for this condition based on the purse money earned in a prior win at Finger Lakes, and this race should also set up very well for this gal. Look for her to arrive on the scene in crunch time. #4 MISS ALACRITY is a speedy daughter of Munnings who switches surfaces for Wesley Ward. She has shown ample early foot in two prior dirt tries and now makes the third start of her form cycle, a time when most move forward.
RACE 4: 6-5-7-4
The entry of #1 EYES ON TARGET and #1A DREAM WORKS offer complementary running styles as the former should be on the lead while the latter will almost certainly take back early. They are a formidable duo and prove the right alternative to #2 GOOD GOVERNANCE, who is particularly tough to trust. That son of Kingman has been oft-injured in his brief career and his last two starts have been decidedly weaker than his two 2020 efforts. Taking a short price seems ill-advised. #5 FAMISHED was buried inside against a tougher field of N2X runners in his last turf start and deserves a look as a longshot who can get a piece.
RACE 5: 3-8-1-2
#3 SOUTH BEND might be a bit of a reach, but he had nothing go his way in two 2021 turf outings and now switches surfaces for Bill Mott. In the TVG-2 at Kentucky Downs he was wide much of the way and the rail at that point was the ‘lightning lane’. He was also badly pace compromised in the Lure, should get a good setup today and will be a big price. #8 SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN is the one to catch as he exits an effort at Horseshoe Indianapolis that was far better than the running line indicates. The pace in that race was white hot and he stayed on gamely after contesting it from the outset. Whether he gets clear today is the only real question. #1 PUBLIC SECTOR has run better in his last two starts, but really hasn’t taken a big step forward as a 4YO. His connections are shrewd and they’re seeking a spot for him to get back into form. The inside post will help him save ground at the least.
RACE 6: 3-6-2-1A
#3 PERFORM is a second timer who showed enough life on debut to be given serious consideration here. Trainer Shug McGaughey is struggling at the meet, but hits at a 21% clip with 2nd time starting 2YOs in MSW races on dirt over the last five years ($2.03 ROI). This colt ran into a killer on debut and fared well, so there’s undoubtedly some upside. #6 ROCKET CAN is a firster by Into Mischief, whose progeny hit at a 17% clip on debut. The dam was winless but this colt is reportedly training well for Bill Mott, and he will be the best price of the firsters who look like they can win. #2 DISARM made a strong late bid to finish 3rd in a loaded MSW race at Churchill Downs last time out. The winner of that race, Mo Strike, came back to take the Sanford here at Saratoga. This son of Gun Runner made a strong bid and should improve with experience.
RACE 7: 6-1-2-3
#6 WAR LIKE GODDESS returns off a layoff for Bill Mott in search of her second straight score in this affair. She was impressive in her final two starts of 2021, nearly taking the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf as the 2-1 favorite. Joel Rosario rolled the dice last time out keeping her inside in a field where she towered over her rivals, and the situation looks the same today. She’s a safe Pick 6 single if you’re jumping into that pool. #1 TEMPLE CITY TERROR never picked up the boggy going at Delaware last time out and her running line shows an exaggerated losing margin. She is better than that and is a nifty exacta partner with the favorite. #2 VIRGINIA JOY scored a huge win two back in the Sheepshead Bay over a bog then understandably found Grade I company a bit too tough. It’s unclear whether 12 panels is really her preferred trip, but she rates to get a dream run just off the pace and get the jump on the closers.
RACE 8: 7-8-5-3
The ride that #7 MONEY SUPPLY received last time out was comically bad. He was in tight, shuffled and never had a chance to produce a run. This is an opportunity for him to step forward and start to realize the potential he showed in a smashing debut win. #8 SAINT TAPIT scored on debut against a weak field that did include next out maiden winner Golden Alchemist (9f winner). He has had issues breaking in the morning and was able to get out cleanly on debut en route to that score. If those issues pop up again, he is vulnerable at a short price. #5 FLUID SITUATION cuts back in distance after chasing home Charge It in the Dwyer. He was no match for that runaway winner but now returns to his best trip for a barn that is 26% cutting back on dirt ($2.78 ROI).
RACE 9: 1-7-5-2
#1 MATAREYA is clearly the one to beat in a running of the Test that looks more like the “Quiz.” She is a Grade I winner who has scored in four straight and she’s meeting a woeful group this afternoon. The only interesting thing is the amount of speed in the race, which could prompt Flavien Prat to keep her a bit off the pace before pouncing on the turn. #7 CHI TOWN LADY is a late runner who was up for second last time out against weaker at Churchill Downs. She returns off a layoff with good workouts and figures to be a late threat today. The quicker they go early, the better for this daughter of Verrazano. #5 NOVEMBER REIN faced open N1X company last time out and won, and now returns to the site of her first two victories in 2021. She gets Irad Ortiz, Jr. and should be able to effectively rate from just off the pace.
RACE 10: 4-1-6-2
I’m all in on #4 OLYMPIAD, who has been the best dirt router in the country this year. His Stephen Foster win was smashing, and if the pace figures are to be believed, he is the horse to beat in here. The pace in that affair was white hot, took its toll on the other early participants, and left this son of Speightstown at the top of the heap when he held sway. He should get a great trip just off the pace today at a distance that suits him ideally. #1 AMERICANREVOLUTION was a good second to the top pick last time out under the Twin Spires and now returns to Saratoga. He is a late running type who’ll be helped if the issue is forced in the opening stages by #2 HOT ROD CHARLIE. If so, look for the NY bred to make noise late. #6 LIFE IS GOOD is clearly very talented, but he is untested and unproven against top competition at 9 furlongs. The Pegasus World Cup ended up being no challenge when Knicks Go was cuddled the whole way.
RACE 11: 4-11-10-6
#4 NATIONS PRIDE is the best horse exiting the Belmont Derby. He ran the best race by far, tracking the pace wide, making multiple moves and coming up just short of the wire-to-wire winner. He should have no problem with a shorter trip, especially given the likelihood that the pace will be contested in here. #11 ETHEREAL ROAD is trying turf for the first time, but is by an 11% grass sire and is out of a dam who was a 2x grass winner. This colt is kin to turf stake winner Turned Aside so there’s reason to believe he can improve on the lawn. These 3YO turf horses have not exactly distinguished themselves this year, so why not try a stranger? #10 STONE AGE ran well in the aforementioned Belmont derby, albeit with a better trip than Nations Pride. He should improve second off the ship in from overseas and getting Johnny Velazquez feels like a positive.
RACE 12: 3-2-4-6
#3 CURLIN’S WISDOM actually ran quite well in his lone prior turf try, setting a hot pace before succumbing late. He is a horse who can be forwardly placed today, but should be in an ideal stalking spot early. His inside post is a positive and the value will be there to be had this afternoon. #2 YOUR MISSION nearly overcame a negative pace setup to score last time out. He wound up second after rallying from last in a race when they dawdled through the opening half-mile. Look for him to mount a serious bid late. #4 ACTION JACKSON returns off a layoff or a new trainer after running a big race into a slow pace in his last start. Trainer Jorge Abreu has had a good week and this one will be a fair price.