PAUL'S ANALYSIS FROM Saratoga races 3 to 8
Thursday 17 August 2017
Saratoga Race 3 (7.06pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming – 3 year olds and upwards – 1 1/8 Miles - Dirt
All of these runners have ran similar speed figures lately. The lightly raced Thebigfundamental (3) may go off as favourite. Todd Pletcher’s colt plots to be on an easy lead. He was in a similar event over course and distance last month when run down late by the winner and Securitiz (4). He now races with blinkers off and may be a tougher nut to crack. Securitiz is often thereabouts but is win shy.
Raagheb (1) has won at this level before and as a result has to run to be claimed for $62,500 here. He ran his best race for some time when beating $40,000 claimers at Churchill in June. The fact that his savvy trainer ships him here is a hint he’s back to his stakes level best.
Saratoga Race 4 (7.40pm)
Claiming $40,000 – Fillies and Mares – 3 year olds and upwards – Non winners of 2 races lifetime – 5 ½ Furlongs – Turf
Queen of Spades (1) has run well in defeat finishing second in back to back races at this level. In the latest over course and distance, she had Jazzy Juder (4) a couple of lengths back in third. Prior to that, she’d filled the same position at Belmont. That was an event split into divisions and she was in the marginally faster one. Deep closer Laura's Patriot (10) did the best of the few of these in the other division. Just behind her was Mojo's Queen (2) who should be more suited to cutting back in distance.
Although those with placed form in similar events are contenders, this may be a spot to look for a new face. The twice raced Flying Point (8) who drops in class whilst cutting back to one turn is a price possibility. Dreamy Margarita (9) has better form at this stage. She broke her maiden by four lengths in a very swift time in June. She ran too bad to be true when fancied for a stake little over a fortnight later.
Dreamy Margarita (9)
Saratoga Race 5 (8.14pm)
Maiden Special Weight – New York bred 2 year olds – 6 Furlongs - Dirt
Longstanding Attheraces viewers will know the name of Bart Hone from lesser tracks such as Sunland Park and Turf Paradise. The capable trainer has done well with limited chances at the better venues Stateside. He almost got off the mark at this meet with Smokin Platinum (7). He took some money on debut and showed fine early speed. It was only in the dying strides he was caught by the winner. He’s very playable to go one better.
There are at least a trio of dangers to Smokin Platinum. Looking Ready (1) who debuted in the same maiden is one. Although he was made favourite, trainer Bruce Levine is not renowned for cranking his firsters up. He does have almost three lengths to find but an extra half furlong of ground to close into.
Sea Foam (6) and Dark Ops (10) are newcomers of note. The former debuts for Christophe Clement who wins but more often first time out than he did a few years ago. His runner does have a stout pedigree. So has Dark Ops (10) but there are grounds for thinking he can go well over six furlongs. He’s been working really well in the mornings for Rudy Rodriguez. His half brother won on his career debut for the same trainer, posting a massive speed figure in the process.
Dark Ops (10)
Saratoga Race 6 (8.48pm)
Allowance (entry level) – 3 year olds and upwards – 6 Furlongs - Dirt
This is an intriguing allowance contest and if the comebacking Beasley (1) is to win it, he’ll have to be near his best. He’s not been out since running fifth to subsequent Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit in The Grade 2 Tampa Derby in March. That and a fine runner up prior to that came over two turns and over an extended mile. His one turn form is just as strong. He ran second at this level over seven furlongs after winning on debut over today’s distance.
Beasley is proven fresh. His trainer has had a few near misses without a winner at this meet. Steve Asmussen was 1 for 20 here for before Gun Runner won The Grade 2 Whitney 11 days ago. His Hard Scramble (3) was a well held third in a swiftly run event here last month won by a graded stakes bound colt. He’s an obvious player. At a likely bigger price is Grumpelstiltskin (4). He’s been absent since an all the way maiden breaker last December. He runs first time for an in form trainer after some eye-catching morning workouts.
Gorgeous Charli (7) has been freshened up after a wide margin starter allowance success at Parx in June. Also shipping in is Magnifier (2). He’s not run since a runner up over an extended mile at Gulfstream in December. His career best effort came over six furlongs. New trainer Abel Castellano has made a fine start to his second career. He trusts kid brother Javier the job of causing a minor upset.
Saratoga Race 7 (9.24pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming – 3 year old fillies – 1 3/16 Miles – Turf
This is a long distance by American standards, especially if lacking a recent start. That’s what Taperge (1) and Awesome Boss (2) are doing. The first named won on her comeback at Gulfstream in January. She’s been placed in back to back starts subsequently. In the latest in April, she lost narrowly in what turned out to be a productive event. Her in form trainer Chad Brown could have ran her where she is based at Monmouth. The fact that she is shipped here is a positive.
Awesome Boss (2) is getting class relief for her return. She ran second in a Grade 2 at Turfway in March on her last start. That was on Polytrack but she shaped really well on her both starts on turf early in her career. Like the trainer of the rail drawn mare, Ken McPeek has a fine record with returning runners.
Summer Luck (4) and Initiate (10) have recent big efforts. Summer Luck’s last run when overmatched in a Grade 1 on dirt can be ignored. In Mid-June, she ran third in a deep Grade 3 at Churchill. Off that, her one start on the grass, she is arguably the pick on form. Initiate hasn’t run as fast but is improving missing by a head at Belmont last month.
Saratoga Race 8 (10.02pm)
The Union Avenue – A state for New York bred fillies and mares – 3 year olds and upwards – 6 ½ Furlongs - Dirt
Hot City Girl (2) and Quezon (1) ran one-two in this event in 2016. It was the middle leg of a trio of stakes silver medals for Quezon. She did slam a few of these on her preferred wet track after that and she did look unlucky last year. She’s shaped well in three starts this term and doesn’t need an off track to run her race. Hot City Girl has questions to answer after a poor effort on her last start in April. Linda Rice is more than capable of bringing her back to her best. She’s been working super locally too. A bigger worry with her is being used up in a speed duel with Absatootly (3), Frosty Margarita (4) and Court Dancer (6).
Court Dancer (6) ran second in a stake in open company at Monmouth last month. Prior to that, she was well beaten by Wonderment (7) and Absatootly. The five length winner ran a career best in the slop that day. She’d looked useful but no better prior to that.
Picco Uno (9) seemed to find the sloppy track and the one mile distance against her last time. She’d won four straight starts prior to that. She is a rebound possibility. Take out a below par effort behind Wonderment and so is Clipthecouponannie (5). She had won five out of six going into that race. Her only loss was when third in a Grade 3.