Anthony Fontaine delves into the Friday New York Bred showcase card at Saratoga….
Word for today, Friday, the 23 of August, 2019. Today we have a very nice card with lots of New York bred stake races and a wonderful opportunity to pad the bankroll for the main event of the meet, Travers Day tomorrow.
Race One : Selections 4-2-5-1
#4 Stretchthestory debuts for Clement who may not be known for having them ready early but pops close to 15% first out which is healthy. Add to the mix his success with Alvarado riding and I think we have a live runner in the first. #2 Moanas Tale is out of first crop sire Bayern who seems to get some precocious runners. Gargan is an excellent conditioner and although his numbers with beginners are not the best, this one looks like a runner. Ava Ks Girl debuts for Nevin who calls on Rosario for this one in the debut. Works are modest; however, Michelle is an expert trainer that honed her craft under a very good horseman and this one should be given some consideration today.
Race Two: Selections 4-3-7-1
#4 Wayne’s Footsteps was basically a victim of circumstance last race, what I like to call the walking in the mall syndrome. This one was not able to fully extend in the stretch due to the herding and overall traffic yet finished well. With a clean trip today will be dangerous. #3 Crazy for Chad Brown has run well in all races; however, has not been able to seal the deal as yet. This field today does not look like the toughest and may be this one’s best chance to get into the winners circle with a clean trip. #7 Daring Disguise seems to have a love affair with 4th place however I think can do better today. Was herded the final 1/8 th like #4 but with a clean getaway may be able to accomplish a better finish.
Race Three: Selections 5-6-4-2
#5 Behind the Couch has yet to run a bad race and always seems to be ready to perform. Has had a short break yet feel confident backing as top conditioner will have this one ready to fire off the bench. #6 Kid is Frosty has turned into a new horse since being introduced to the lawn and looks to continue her successful turf adventures. She looks to have unlimited potential on the grass so for the life of me I do not understand why connections would want to confuse the horse and run on the dirt. Hopefully they know better than me. #4 Wait a Minute will need to find stamina boost somewhere but may be able to hold on for a slice in this event today. Has been beating up on softer competition at Finger Lakes but the waters are much deeper today.
Race Four Selections 7-5-8-4
#7 Stone Hearted debuts for Gullo with a series of moderate works which is normal for this conditioner as he normally does not drill them too fast. Conditioner can have them ready early and normally will outperform their odds, thinking this may be such an occasion. #5 Austrian debuts for the coach Lkas who has had a set of live runners recently in the meet. He struggled mightily early on; however, appears to be hitting his stride and this one has a nice string of works for the debut. Can pop at a price so do not sell too short today. #8 Scilly Cay debuts for the always dangerous Linda Rice and Jose Ortiz in tow which normally indicates they mean business. Familiar ties aside the works are good and all indications are this one is raring to go.
Race Five: Selections 1-3-6-9
#1 Fifty Five must hold a record for the amount of times in a row she has been favored. She normally gets the job done and this field looks to be at her mercy today if she brings her A game. A horse does not finish in the money 18 out of 19 races by accident, winning 9 races. Strictly the one to beat today. #3 Wegetsdamunnys looks to be an improving sort that has shown a liking to the lawn here at the Spa. She seems to love some give in the ground and with recent rains even if course may be labeled good to firm there still should be some moisture. One to consider as an alternate to the short priced favorite. #6 Munchkin Money comes off a short break into a tough spot as many of these seem to be at the top of their game right now. Prior to the break was running well and has shown an affinity for the course in the past so that should not be a problem. This one looks live for a slice.
Race Six Selections 12-10-11-4
#12 Call Me Harry won at first asking at the Spa which is a daunting task and deserves some consideration right back. He has worked since the race and plenty of time to recover so a regression should not be an issue. The future looks bright for him if can take another step and win his second in a row. #10 Bourbon Mission ran a game race in defeat last out and looks like a major player today. Had some contact out the gate last out yet remained competitive throughout finishing a solid third. Should be in the mix once again. #11 Veterans Beach disappointed last out without any real excuse. May have regressed off that race when the meet just began so willing to give another chance and see if can rebound with a better effort today.
Race Seven: Selections 3-2-1-5
#3 Time Limit stumbled badly at the start last out and lost all chance for a top finish at that point. Has worked since and although she loses Jose she gains Irad which simply means she lost nothing as the brothers seem to be interchangeable. I believe we have not seen this one at her best as she had some traffic trouble last out against better than she will face today. Also gets first time Lasix but more importantly gets off the rail which should allow her to get a cleaner trip today. Another with huge potential in this spot. #1 Violent Point ran away last out and retains JR Velazquez for today’s event. Has speed which is vital on the pine as others will be gunning for position early. Velazquez will need to spurt away and try to get her to settle and save enough for the stretch if he hopes to get to the winners’ circle. Not impossible but will have to improve a bit to win it all.
Race Eight: Selections: 5-1-2-3
#5 Opportunist dead heated with another runner in his debut at Gulfstream. Although the race was not that fast, it was visually impressive and now this one comes to the Spa and gets introduced to NY breds. I feel this one is much better than the maiden victory speed figure may indicate and will TROUNCE this field at a nice price. #1 Bull of Bayern ran a nice race last out for an open length score. He gets to go a bit longer today which is always a question but with the pedigree that should be just fine. Has had some nice works since maiden score and expect a nice effort today. #2 No Lime won his debut for Mott after breaking a bit slow which is no easy task. Shortens up a bit today so will need an alert beginning as the waters are deeper today but feel he can potentially have a say in this outcome right back.
Race Nine Selections: 7-8-3-4
#7 Voodoo Song still loves the Spa; however, I feel he may have lost a step or two and the other races at the meet so far may have been too tough for him at this stage of his career. Back with NY bred friends and switch to Jose Ortiz ( who probably is the closet rider to Angel Cordero we have seen in NY in decades) I think the old guy has one more hurrah in him today and the price will be much better. #8 Dot Matrix will need some pace to run into but should get a nice setup if speed develops the way it is projected to. He has been solid in the Midwest and a return to state bred competition should be in his wheelhouse. #3 Offering Plan will take lots of money in this spot and rightfully so as he has been facing much tougher recently. The one thing that concerns me with this runner is the fact he seems to run up or down to his competition and with some of the competition today if he is not at his absolute best he may have to settle for a minor prize once again.
Race Ten Selections: 8-9-7-6
#8 Just Right ran well a few weeks ago at Finger Lakes after playing bumper cars in the stretch. The longer distance should suit him just fine and with a clean trip can make some noise in the stretch at a nice price today. #9 Doups Point consistently finishes well without winning and gets to try 9 panels once more today. Rosario will need to get away cleanly from the gate without bumping and allow him to settle and gain a stalking position early. One thing that I have learned with distance races such as this, is in many instances deep closers never make it to the top. If he can employ a speed/stalk style today 2 to 3 off the front and pounce turning for home, chances of an exacta finish increase exponentially. #7 Not That Brady almost wired the field last out while being involved with bumper car stretch action with #8. Not sure others will allow him to set an easy pace today so may have to work a bit harder yet speed is always a potent weapon.
Race Eleven: Selections 5-2-9-10
#5 Determined One stopped to a crawl last out now returns off a short break and gets some class relief. Works are moderate; however, love the fact Santana takes the call. He will put this one into the race from the bell and dare anyone to catch. May get brave and wire this field. #2 Wacky Pal similarly stopped like a bounced check last out and finished out of the superfecta. Gets some relief today and has recency over the 5 however I think the 5 has more upside and will offer better value today. #9 The Happy Giant showed little last out and takes an appropriate drop to the selling ranks today. He has displayed a modicum of ability in the past and the class relief may be just what the doctor ordered to get on the beam.
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