Paul Quigley's American Racing Preview

    Paul has selections with analysis for Thursday night's Stateside action from Saratoga including a Grade 1 Steeplechase - live on At The Races.
  • Thursday 27 July 2017
  • Tipsters

PAUL'S ANALYSIS FROM race 1 and races 4 to 9
Thursday 27 July 2017

There is something for everyone on Thursday’s Saratoga card. There is a competitive sprint stake for New York breds. Before that, there are some quality allowance events, interesting maidens and open claimers. The card even starts off with a Grade 1 over the jumps. Attheraces viewers will know some of the runners from their time in Britain and Ireland. The best known may be the former Willie Mullins trained Simenon. He’s now a 10 year old and was put in his place by a couple of these the last time he raced over hurdles.

Saratoga Race 1 (6.00pm)
The A. P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase (Grade 1) – 4 year olds and upwards – 2 1/16 Miles - Turf

Mr. Hot Stuff (11) won this race in 2013. He’s now an 11 year old and he’s run well below form in two starts this term. Portrade (5) was a fine third at 40/1 in this race last year. He proved that run was no fluke with an all the way victory in a Grade 1 at the same venue three weeks later. His form since he returned in April is a little below that but he seems to peak for this meeting. So does his trainer Elizabeth Voss who has won the last three Grade 1’s over the jumps run at The Spa. That makes his new barn mate Modem (10) interesting. He was the subject of a private purchase after winning at Ballinrobe in May. The seven year old doesn’t meet any monsters on his US debut. He is ridden by Jack Doyle who has had some success in America.

The former Willie Mullins trained Simenon (1) set the pace before being overhauled by Schoodic (3) and Charminster (9) on his last start over hurdles in May. The winner now runs in blinkers after a non effort next time. He ran fourth to Portrade (5) and Andi'amu (4) last summer.

All the Way Jose (2) slammed Balance the Budget (7) and Diplomat (6) in a handicap at Fair Hill in May. He comes into the reckoning off that.

Modem (10)
Reversed Exacta (2 Bets) Portrade (5) and Modem (10)

Saratoga Race 4 (7.40pm)
Claiming $14,000 – 3 year olds and upwards – Non winners of 3 races lifetime – 6 Furlongs - Dirt

A few of these are dropped sharply in class in an effort to win career races number two. That includes At Guard (8) who showed speed and faded for twice today’s claiming price last month. He’s been gelded since then and looks to be the controlling speed of this race.

Saratoga Mischief (6) and Swift One (7) were third and seventh in a $25,000 claimer recently at Belmont. The last named was claimed by a trainer with a fine record with new acquisitions and he has back class. Hard Hitter (4) split the pair, fading after setting the pace.

Star Empire (5) followed up a decent effort at Churchill with a modest one in New York. The Hero Within (3) ran a career best when narrowly beating a field of one time career winners earlier this month. Pirellone (1) wasn’t disgraced in a $50,000 claimer on turf 11 days ago. He has form on dirt too.

At Guard (8)
No Exotics

Saratoga Race 5 (8.14pm)
Maiden Special Weight – 2 year old fillies – 5 1/2 Furlongs - Turf

None of these fillies has had more than two starts. Many are making their career debuts. The pair with the best form so far are Puttinyouonthenews (3) and reserve Ultima D (14). The first named ran a two length fourth on debut at Belmont in June. The trio that finished ahead of her either had fine form or were well touted first time starters. That run as it stands looks a little better than the twice-raced of Ultima D. She has been freshened up after running into a decent filly on Tapeta at Woodbine.

Even discounting some interesting reserves, there are some notable debutantes in the main body of the field. Sweet Offer (9) is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Sidney’s Candy. Gio Game (10) has a fine pedigree too but is likely to come into her own over further. So may Cyrielle (2) but her workouts suggest she has speed. Her trainer and sire (Animal Kingdom) had a maiden winner here on Saturday.

Talk Softly (1) and Mermaid of Honor (8) didn’t shine on their respective debuts. Second time out and now trying the turf could see them in a different light.

Puttinyouonthenews (3)
Reversed Exacta (2 Bets) Cyrielle (2) and Puttinyouonthenews (3)

Saratoga Race 6 (8.48pm)
Claiming $50,000 – 3 year olds and upwards – Non winners of 3 races lifetime – 1 1/16 Miles - Turf

Many of these have form in stakes and allowance events. Their connections are prepared to risk losing them for $50,000 in an effort to gain a victory at this prestigious meet and a purse. Chad Brown’s Ray's The Bar (1) rounded out his three year old season with a close up fourth in a Grade 3 here last September. He faded badly on his belated return but he was close to a pace that collapsed. His barn mate Tricked Up (1A) outfinished an entry level allowance field at Monmouth last month. It is surprising he runs first time for sale here but that’s sometimes what it takes to get on the scoreboard at The Spa.

The Brown pair are not the only horses in here running first time for sale. The graded stakes placed Swagger Jagger (3) is plunged in class second time back in 2017. Tusk (6) has been running well in allowance events at Laurel and Monmouth. Mighty M (9) has been facing tougher competition in his last two starts at Belmont and Gulfstream.

Taste for Talent (7) is competitively placed after winning a starter allowance event.

Ray's The Bar (1)
No Exotics

Saratoga Race 7 (9.24pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming – 3 year olds and upwards – 1 1/8 Miles - Dirt

This is a stakes standard allowance contest. Splashtastic (6) has run two big races since an uncharacteristic below par effort in March. Based on back to back runner up tries and Aqueduct and Belmont, he’s a big player here. He is likely to get some pace to chase down. Tom's d'Etat (2) has speed. He’s been freshened up since a clear-cut victory at Churchill in June. He may settle for the role as stalker behind speedy Californian invader Lieutenant Colonel (1). That five year old has back class. A move to Bill Mott may have turned him around judging by some fine local workouts.

Bellamy Way (5) drew off nicely from an allowance field at Belmont last month. Maybe Far From Over (4) has more talent although he has questions to answer after a modest comeback run. He did have to be steadied early on. The five year old has only had a handful of starts. He was a Grade 3 winner in 2015 and can’t be written off based on one poor run.

Splashtastic (6)
No Exotics

Saratoga Race 8 (10.02pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming – 3 year olds and upwards – 5 ½ Furlongs - Turf

Chad Brown is double handed here. Ava's Kitten (5) won under allowance conditions here last summer. Her three year old season was curtailed after a fine third in a stake at Belmont last September. She ran evenly on her return in May and has been working well since shipped her to train. Her barn mate Ancient Secret (8) is similar in that all her form has been over further, mainly at a mile. That includes earning place money in back to back stakes this summer. She is sprint bred and her trainer doesn’t win at a high percentage by running his horses over the wrong distance.

If Chad Brown is to be beaten here, it is likely to be by Blue Bahia (6). She was a claim back by trainer Jason Servis who lost her in March. The four year old has won half her career dozen starts after a stakes victory at Monmouth in May. What she may lack in class is made up for the fact that she has a pace advantage on her rivals. That should mean Paco Lopez goes as fast as he wants on the lead. Unlike her main rivals, this is her distance. She is taken to wire this field.

Blip n' Th Bye (1) was a two length fourth in a stake at The Fair Grounds the only time she ran in sprint on turf.

Blue Bahia (6)
No Exotics

Saratoga Race 9 (10.40pm)
The John Morrissey – A stake for New York bred 3 year olds and upwards – 6 ½ Furlongs - Dirt

Weekend Hideaway (1) has been freshened up since a victory in a $200,000 stake at Belmont in May. That was over a mile but has plenty of form at around this distance. He has won half his eight starts at Saratoga too. Interestingly, one of his losses was when a length fourth in last year’s renewal. Ostrolenka (3) finished a neck in front of him.

Weekend Hideaway has a stalking gear but may be part of a lively pace brigade from his rail draw. That in theory gives the stretch runners a big chance here. That includes the progressive Celtic Chaos (12). He came from 10 lengths back to beat Eye Luv Lulu (9) in a stake at Belmont in April. Another who may benefit is Candid Desire (8) who put in a rare poor effort last time.

Gypsum Johnny (5) went wire to wire over Belmont’s one turn mile earlier this month. Prior to that he’d finished behind barn mate Papa Shot (10) when they filled the places in a stake five days earlier. Papa Shot’s form is over further than today. He just may be suited to sprinting, especially trying to close in a speed-laden affair.

Papa Shot (10)
No Exotics

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