Race 7: Mdn 10f (T, outer) – no standouts so tread lightly
- Most Logical: #4 Bequia (7/2) Last out was bumped pretty hard and not afforded a chance to reestablish position. The eventual winner had clear running room while this horse was bottled up until past the 1/8th pole. Even down the lane, you could sense the indecision of which hole to run through as horses in front were shifting lanes. I would imagine Gallardo will put this one in the race a bit more today and looks like this might be a breakthrough performance considering the strong number she ran off the long layoff.
- Long Shot: #5 Vivid Vixen (20-1) Did some decent running first out with a lead change issue down the lane and traveling wide. Last out this horse couldn’t quicken with the pack as the made the far turn. If this one can sort things out mentally, might have a nice runner in what looks to be a very easy bunch. The price should be north of 20-1.
Race 8: Bison City $250k 8.5f (AW) – will Miss Speedy continue to step forward?
- Most Logical: #3 Emmeline (5/2) Will be right off the hip of the rail horse. I don’t believe the rail horse is going to do well under pressure down the lane, letting Emmeline cruise on by.
- Best Value: #2 Miss Marie (10-1) If the rail and the top choice get in a speed duel, this race sets up well for this closer. Last out got stuck on the rail up near the lead, not where this horse wants to be. Today in the less crowded field should be able to drop back and make the normal one run at things.
Race 9: OC $40k 6f (AW) – good spot to find value as the favorites are untested and too short of price.
- Best Value: #6 Old Secrets (12-1) Horse ran a winning race but had nowhere to run late. Two back off the long layoff was too sharp going the 5f and was never keeping up. The projection of the hot pace between a few of these “need-the-lead” types should setup well for this one to run an make a closing kick. TimeForm US figures (thanks to DRF Formulator) are really not the out of line with the rest of this bunch. Value line stands at 8-1 as we need a pace setup.
- Next Best: #1 La Croix Valmer (6-1) Gets third start of the year and a trainer change over to the Phillips barn. The pace sets up well for this horse to sit back and make one run late.
- Bad Favorites: #4 Loaded Question (3-1) needs the lead and faded hard last out with zero pace pressure
- Bad Favorites: #5 Benny’s Buttons (5/2) On debut ran well enough at the 5f distance, comes back to run in a stakes race that arguably is on par with this bunch. With the pace pressure in this race, I don’t see the new dynamic to close at the extra furlong at a short price.
Race 10: Clm $7.5k 7f (T, outer) – almost no pace in this race
- Most Logical: #8 Canadian Magic (6-1) One would imagine the connections are telling Contreras to go back out there and ride this one exactly like he did for the 2021 debut: speed, speed, and more speed. Difference today is this horse has more foundation and fitness and should see out the full 7f.
- Next Best: #5 Rince Tapaigh (10-1) Gets back over to the preferred surface. The 2021 debut was a bad trip due to race luck. Did some decent running into slow fractions in the 2020 campaign over the 6.5f configuration. Maybe the full 7f will suite perfectly. At 10-1, the value feels there.
- Long Shot #6 Line of Vision (15-1) Ran against much tougher for the first two starts of the 2021 campaign. Tried the synthetic and threw in a clunker. Last out cut back and stayed on poly and got stuck in a merri-go-round race. The switch back to turf and the 7f configuration might help this one out. Should be considered for verticals to get into this mix.
- Consideration: #9 Finding Perfection (15-1) Was wide last out grinding in the merri-go-round pace. Made a decent move around the turn in that event. Always throws in an honest effort, I wouldn’t ignore.
~~~~ Saratoga Traverse Day Thoughts ~~~~
Race 9: H Allen Jerkens G1 7f
- Most Logical: #6 Life Is Good (8/5) I don’t think we have even seen close to the ceiling of this horse. I believe Todd won’t embarrass himself by bringing this monster back in the Grade One ranks.
Race 10: Personal Ensign G1 9f
- Best Value: #3 Bonny South (10-1) Cox barn is firing at 30% at Saratoga and will have this one in top shape. I have to imagine with the added pace mix with Baffert’s #2 As Time Goes By the entire pace dynamic changes with the two heavy favorites. This looks like a classic pace meltdown scenario. This top choice has yet to see red TimeForm US pace fractions and today should get that. Needs a bit of race luck and will be every part of 10-1. The Four Year old will have another chance to prove this Munnings still has a step forward to take.
Race 11: Sword Dancer G1 12f (T)
- Best Bet/Most Logical: #2 Gufo (3-1) Has been trying to chase down the best horse in the United States right now with Domestic Spending. Gets to stretch out to the full mile and half where this four year old with upside left wants to be. The pace looks in hot in here with too many types that like to try to “steal” these marathons on the front end. Any price above 5/2 is value.
Race 12: Traverse 10f – logical and move on, Essential Quality (4/5)