Handicapper and Racing Analyst Anthony Fontaine makes his Past the Wire debut with his thoughts on the Wednesday card at Saratoga. Look for a lot more from Anthony in the near future on Past the Wire.
SARATOGA, August 21st, 2019
Race Two : Selections 5-1-2-4
#5 Smooth with a Kick returns to the races after breaking the maiden at a short price. Again today we play the game of guess the trainer’s intent as Chad Brown has the two short priced entries in this race. His other charge is #1 South of the Shore. Of these two I will lean toward the 5; however, it is easier to go through the eye of a needle than to figure out what a trainer has planned. #2 Bellera looks like a nicely bred charge that can run on late for a share particularly at this distance. With a short five horse field and 40% of the entries saddled by the leading trainer, this one looks like a very short price exacta race.
Race Three: Selections 1-2-4-7
#1 Indian Cross did not pick up his feet in the debut and drops to the selling ranks today. Santana stays on board which gives some confidence that there is a modicum of ability and the work since the race was good. The dynamic duo of Asmussen/Santana has started to pick up serious steam and this one can surprise today at a nice price. #2 Florida Flash is out of the red hot new sire, Constitution and debuts for Romans. Works are steady and I would have selected this one on top if the trainer had better first time numbers and if this was a straight maiden special weight. That being said, I expect a good effort from him right out the gate with the aggressive Saez in the saddle. #4 Rejected Again promises to take a lot of action as debut race was solid. Did not break that clean yet maintained a lead until late stretch. If moves forward off that effort, will be formidable in the lane; however, the price will be paltry.
Race Four: Selections 5-3-1-6
#5 Red Knight gets significant class relief in this marathon turf event today. He has been running against some of the best grass horses on the east coast and gets a field today that he should appreciate. Distance will not be an issue and with expert pilot in Jose Ortiz signed on, as long as he avoids traffic, should be rolling in the lane. #3 Redicean comes off a hurdle victory and gets back to the flat racing today. What is really intriguing to me about this entry is that the rider makes the trip up from Laurel just for this mount against a field that has a few back class horses yet not a cinch by any stretch. He will outrun the odds and this rider is very adroit at getting the most out of his mounts. #1 Highland Sky should find today’s completion a lot friendlier then what he has been facing recently. Was not beaten by much in last race and if this one can work out a trip he may be the main danger to the favorite #5.
Race Five: Selections 8-7-9-10
#8 Never Heard of Her debuts for a trainer that does not win often first time out yet this one is interesting in this spot. Works do not jump off the page yet the pedigree here screams win early and the price will be right to take a shot. #7 Jewel of Arabia will be the short priced favorite off a good debut race. Adds lasix for this start today and retains the services of Rosario who has had plenty of success for this trainer in the past. #9 Adorable Maya is out of one of my all-time favorite mares by a sire known more for stamina influence than speed. No doubt this one will appreciate more distance in the future; however, for today see a late run into the exotics at a nice number.
Race Six: Selections 10-7-4-6
#10 Breed’s Hill debuts for a Canadian trainer in this turf event. Tough post to overcome; however, the pedigree is there and Santana is quite capable of placing young horses in the right spot to get the most out of them. The price will be attractive as well since this trainer will not be fancied like some of the other locals. Going to make this one my best play of the day. #7 Flute Maker ran evenly in debut at Ellis after a slow start. This one will appreciate the move to the lawn and with an alert getaway today will be heard from in the stretch. #4 Legend of Boom is interesting making his debut in this spot as the works are not eye popping. That is a trademark of Rudy Rodriguez which makes it difficult for punters to discern if his young charges are primed for an optimal performance. I have seen too many win with works like this and in the aftermath you are staring at your form with some choice words contemplating how he won and paid $20. Do not ignore.
Race Seven Selections 6-7-4-3
#6 Keeping the Peace was claimed by Drawing Away Stables and placed with the same trainer that had him so he only had an ownership change. Added front wraps last start yet still won which bodes well for his chances today. This one seems spotted for action and is dangerous right back. #7 So Conflated ran ok last out after a long layoff and figures to be fitter for today’s contest. There is a chance that he may not want to do this anymore; however, today the price will be right and if this one still has the will to compete can make some noise against this bunch. #4 Air on Fire ran well at a short price last out and was just bested late. Was claimed by prolific trainer Linda Rice who does very well at the Spa and feel this one is dangerous if able to shake free. The level of competition seems a bit tougher today, but will not be surprised if this one runs a solid race and is competitive in the lane.
Race Eight: Selections 12-8-5-9
#12 Merlins Muse must overcome that horrendous post here but Velazquez has won countless races at this venue over the years and is adept at getting his charges in position to give their best. The price will be right as he will not be fancied like some of the other runners. He had significant traffic trouble last out and was not beaten that badly. Surprise package in the mix. #8 Morisette was a huge disappointment last out; however, he did not enjoy the best of starts and continued to experience difficulties on the inside. Rosario can work out a good trip today and place this one in a position to pounce turning for home, will be rolling through the lane. #5 Golconda figures to take lots of play in this spot. Has the look of a competitor here however may be overbet coming from a high percentage barn that seems to win everywhere. Will include in multi race wagers but prefer to back others for the win.
Race Nine: Selections: 4-6-7-3
#4 True Gold comes off a maiden score after trying tougher earlier in career. Seems to have righted the ship and can be dangerous right back for a trainer that normally does well at Saratoga. Looking for a big effort today. #6 Leaky Cup invades from Gulfstream and tries statebreds for the first time. Runner has been struggling as of late however the change of scenery and level of competition may be just what the doctor ordered to get back on the right track. #7 Amundson did not run bad last out and just tired a bit late. Ortiz presence inspires confidence in this spot and this is not the toughest field he has to face today, should fit nicely here.
Race Ten Selections: 8-6-4-3
#8 Matzo Bella caught the slop last out and did not have the chance to run on preferred grass. Should get that opportunity today and will be tough to deny in this spot. #6 Zandor has speed a plenty and is not afraid to use it. May be able to shake free today and if allowed an easy lead may be tough to reel in late. #4 Avocado Toast has the look of a stalker that will lay close and make a move around the bend. Has to be cautious not to move too early as this may compromise the stretch drive, however looks like a competitor in this spot today.
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