SARATOGA – 8/10/22
RACE 1: 4-2-5-1/1A
All aboard the Keri Brion express with #4 SPRING HEELED JIM, one of two she has in the field. He was bested by a stablemate last time out and can turn the tables today. #2 HURTGEN FOREST goes 2nd off a layoff after earning a smashing win against lesser at Colonial. Back flat form helps with this configuration. #5 BALTIMORE KID is the “other” Brion entrant in the field and appears to be one with ability based on a powerful debut score.
RACE 2: 5-6-4-3
#5 DRINK THE WIND drops in class after racing along a bad inside last time out in the July 21 opener. Trainer Wayne Catalano is wasting no time dropping him in for 20k, a radical move for a horse who just went off 2-1 in a MSW event. He towers over this field on paper. #6 PAPI ON ICE is a late runner who was hurt by racing towards the inside in his last start. Trainer Randi Persaud has quietly had a few decent performances at the meet and this son of Keen Ice will be picking up some pieces late. #4 READYSEEKGO failed when elevated to the 40k level last time out and now shortens up in distance. He has been effective against similar maiden claimers in the past and has the speed to be an early factor.
RACE 3: 6-8-3-9
#6 ITSALLCOMINTOGETHA is a firster by Weekend Hideaway, making him a Hilly Fields Stable home bred. He is training well and is a half to two turf winners including stakes winner Lady Joan. This event won’t require him to be much horse in order to contend for a major share. #8 KING OF COMEDY is a firster by Oscar Performance, who picked up his 2nd debut winner here last week. The dam here has produced three winners and the worktab looks solid enough. #3 GENERAL BANKER ran credibly in a weaker than par MSW event last time out but gets in light again and should benefit from having experience.
RACE 4: 5-6-3
There’s no way that #5 SIBELIUS goes off the 2nd choice here, as he will likely be a heavy favorite for trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer. He was a strong 3rd last time out in a much tougher event won by Saratoga sensation Baby Yoda. This is a reasonable spot for him to stalk the pace on the outside and pounce when ready. #6 KINETIC SKY is an interesting cutback for a high percentage barn that does well with dirt starters going from routes to sprints (30%, $1.99 ROI). This son of Runhappy has been effective going long, but his runner-up effort at Keeneland last October indicates that sprinting may be his best game. #3 MEXICAN WONDER BOY is the morning line favorite as he changes surfaces for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. after running poorly on the lawn last time out. He has speed and should be involved early, but his best days may be behind him.
RACE 5: 2-9-4-5
#2 PARQUETRY drops in for a tag for the first time and draws favorably on the inside. Keep an eye on how runners drawn inside do this week, as they annually succeed the week the rails come down on the inner turf course. This son of Temple City has been in dire need of class relief. #9 INFLATION ADJUSTED is the one to beat on paper as he takes the same class drop after a poor effort at Monmouth last time out. Trainer Chad Brown continues to roll at the meet, opening up a sizable lead in the trainer standings and he strikes at a 29% rate with Saratoga turf routers racing for tags for the first time ($1.81 ROI). #4 BE THE BOSS is a speedster stretching out in distance for trainer Mike Trombetta. It’s unclear just how much of a chance he had last time out, but he’s come back to work quickly and now looms the inside speed under a heady pilot.
RACE 6: 8-1-7-3
The word is out on #8 MAPLE LEAF MEL, who has reportedly been training well for her debut. She is by Cross Traffic, an 8% debut sire and is the 4th foal to race out of a dam who scored twice in her day. If she runs to her workouts, they’ll have a hard time beating her. #1 LOVE MY CANDY worked :10 and 2/5 at the Fasig-Tipton sale in Maryland earlier this year and appears to be training well for Mike Maker. Progeny of Empire Maker hit at a 10% clip on debut and the dam side here has one winner. #7 SECURITY CODE is by Frosted out of a Mike Repole-owned mare. That makes this filly a half to stakes winner Blewitt and her dam was stakes placed as a juvenile.
RACE 7: 9-6-2-5
#9 MONTATHAM is interesting on the cutback given the race he ran two back at seven panels. The blinkers going on can help his cause as well, as it seemed apparent that he worked a tad too hard to stay close in a fast-paced race two back. If he lays back to make one run he can be heard from late, and the rail being at 27’ actually helps outside movers given the beating the course has taken in recent weeks. #6 KING MOONRACER had no real excuse last week other than a wide trip and now goes 3rd off a layoff in a spot where he’s expected to contend. He has a strong late kick and should be a factor in the lane if the pace heats up. The ride that #2 JUST SAY WHEN received last time out was nothing short of embarrassing, as he broke like a shot, contested the pace, then fell back before re-rallying in the lane. He is the one to beat today from the inside, but the quality of the race he exits deserves some questioning.
RACE 8: 2-5-1
#2 AWESOME GERRY is interesting based on his effort last time out when he made multiple moves before flattening out in the lane. The 1-2 finishers from his last are legitimate graded stake fringe players and this colt was not helped by the ride he received. He now cuts back in distance (31%, $2.54 for the barn) and should get the jump on #3 SOUTHERN DISTRICT. That Chad Brown trainee is clearly the one to beat on paper as he comes in off consecutive wins going longer. He seems ideally suited to a cutback, especially in a race with pace and his last 3 dirt efforts have shown vast improvement from anything he put forth prior. #1 ISOLATE is a pace threat today as the inside speed. If he can out-foot #5 MR PHIL then he’ll have a chance to go the distance. The form from his last race looks better given that the runner-up came back to finish 2nd behind Jackie’s Warrior in the Vanderbilt.
RACE 9: 3-8-11-9
#3 WAR TERMINATOR is a wire-to-wire threat as he returns off a layoff as a new gelding for Jonathan Thomas. He adds blinkers as well and should be asked for speed right from the gate by Luis Saez. Avoiding a pace battle will be the key, but there’s no reason to think he can’t sit just off the pace. Thomas is a strong 22% with turf routers off 180+ day breaks ($2.19 ROI). #8 FRONT LINE DANCER ran well last time out with a great trip and pace setup. He is an improving son of War Dancer who still has upside given how lightly raced he is coming into this affair. #11 TIMBUKTUnarrowly missed last time out in a race that has proven to be productive. The outside post is the biggest draw-back, but between his high percentage trainer and prior Saratoga success, there’s plenty to like.
RACE 10: 7-2-5-4
#7 RUNNING BEE ran a bang-up race last time out when second behind the ultra impressive Capensis. He now goes 2nd off a layoff and should be a factor in the closing stages. This barn is rolling and has two entered here, the more interesting of them, though, is this son of English Channel. #2 TIZ A GIANT was a good 2nd in what looked like a weak race last time out. He’ll be the less fancied of the alums from that opening day tilt, but he’s clearly improved since moving to the lawn and he should be able to save ground throughout today. #5 CLUBBING had no chance based on the pace scenario last time out and now looms a factor at a bigger price. He ran into a tough group that day headed by a Chad Brown coupled entry that went off sub-even money. This is a reasonable distance given his stamina-laden pedigree.
SARATOGA 2022 TOP PICK STATS: 177-42-30-15 $290.90 ($1.64)