Paul Quigley's American Racing Preview

    Paul has selections with analysis for Saturday night's Stateside action from Saratoga and Woodbine - live on At The Races.
  • Saturday 22 July 2017
  • Tipsters

PAUL'S ANALYSIS FROM Saratoga and Woodbine
Saturday 22 July 2017

It is Day Two of the Saratoga meet on Saturday. The feature race is The Grade 1 Diana. It is a nine furlong turf event for fillies and mares. Superstar mare Lady Eli will rightly go off favourite. She showed last year she has recovered from laminitis that caused her to be away over 12 months. At five, she’s proved this term she’ll take high rank in all the top grass stakes. However, she will be odds on and there are a trio in the line up who all have shots at turning her over. One of them is her barn mate, the former Pascal Bary trained Antonoe.

As well as The Diana, there is a Grade 3 for the juveniles at The Spa and some quality allowance events previewed. The action at Woodbine is not too shabby either. There is a Grade 3 and two fine supporting events, making eight in total.

Saratoga Race 6 (8.43pm)
Allowance (entry level) – New York bred 3 year olds and upwards – 7 Furlongs - Dirt

Build to Suit (12) and Fleet Irish (4) filled the places behind a talented runner over a mile in a similar event at Belmont last month. The former is less exposed and may be more suited to cutting back to seven furlongs. His trainer Chad Brown also runs the comebacking Born for a Storm (9) here. He’s been absent since a below par effort in the slop when odds on in October. He’s been based at Saratoga for some time. He posted two big efforts here last summer including a maiden breaker.

Based purely on speed figures, Gucci Factor (13) is the horse to beat. He broke his maiden by 16 lengths on his four year old debut at Belmont. He is bred to stay but had the speed to make all over a mile. You have to ignored a pair of troubled trips in stakes to make a case for the class dropping Terry O Geri (5). Similarly with Heavy Meddle (7) who was progressing nicely until last time.

Watergate (10) has won back to back starts at Finger Lakes. The horse he beat by four lengths last time was a winner under allowance conditions at Aqueduct so he’s not the overmatched runner the betting public may think he is.

Build to Suit (12)
No Exotics

Woodbine Race 7 (9.13pm)
Allowance (entry level) –3 year olds and upwards – 7 ½ Furlongs - Turf

Trainer Norman McKnight and owner Bruno Schickedanz have had a successful meet. They have been active in the claiming market to great effect. They ‘took‘ City Boy (7) off his debut. He won a maiden next time and then ran third at today’s level. He’s the one to catch here.

Grey Fox (8) and City Boy (7) have fine form in similar company. The first named ran third in a decent event at Belmont last time out in June. The only knock on him is a frustrating run of placed efforts since his maiden breaker in May. City Boy gradually faded over a mile last time. Prior to that, he ran second over course and distance.

Upgraded claimer Three Ring Circus (3) was a decent fourth at this level last month. Salsa Bay (4) is a player if he can transfer his Tapeta form to the turf.

City Boy (7)
Reversed Exacta (2 Bets) City Boy (7) and Grey Fox (8)

Saratoga Race 7 (9.16pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming – 3 year olds and upwards – 5 ½ Furlongs - Turf

Partly Mocha (9) won back to back stakes at Sam Houston earlier in the year and has been competing in that company ever since. At Churchill last month, he lost by a head with Grand Candy (4) less than a length back in fourth. He is taken to outfinish this field but will Jose Ortiz will need to find the gaps late on.

Both Partly Mocha and Grand Candy have won at this level before and have to run to be claimed at $62,500. There are a host of runners in here who are eligible to run under the allowance conditions. The progressive End Play (6) is one. The sharp Vici (10) is another. So too is Canadian Flyer (5) who had a wide trip in a swiftly run stake on his return. Maybe more intriguing is Evacuation (7). He won his first two starts in Australia for Gai Waterhouse before tackling graded stakes company. He makes his Stateside debut for Wes Ward who also has the former Brazilian based High Hours (12) entered.

Ray'swarrior (1) and Spring to the Sky (3) are worth a look at prices. The first named was claimed by Rudy Rodriguez in May. He’s only had one run on turf and that was in a stake. Spring to the Sky is one a time class act. He’s on the downgrade but did run well in both starts at this meet last year.

Partly Mocha (9)
Reversed Exacta (2 Bets) Grand Candy (4) and Partly Mocha (9)

Woodbine Race 8 (9.47pm)
The Ontario Matron (Grade 3) - Fillies and Mares - 3 year olds and upwards – 1 1/16 Miles – Tapeta

Ice Festival (1) rounded out 2016 with a Grade 3 victory in November. She has run well in both her starts this term but was second best to Minks Aprise (10) in a local stake many of these ran in last month. She managed to outfinish her rivals despite having no pace to chase down. This race should be run a little quicker with the comebacking Moonlit Promise (2) pushing or leading Hot Kiss (3) and Midnight Crossing (6). The last two had no excuses close to soft fractions when fading behind Minks Aprise.

A faster pace would suit Uchenna (9) who can get behind early in her races. She is an interesting alternative. So too are Rattataptap (5) and Ami's Mesa (7) making rare starts in routes on Tapeta. The latter steps up to a route for the first time after a dominating allowance victory over seven furlongs. She is bred to handle the extra ground and is very playable.

Ami's Mesa (7)
Reversed Exacta (2 Bets) Ami's Mesa (7) and Minks Aprise (10)

Saratoga Race 8 (9.49pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming – Fillies and Mares - 3 year olds and upwards – 1 Mile – Turf

Chad Brown has two fillies entered and both are contenders in a deep event. The former French trained Penjade (2) finally won her first race Stateside on her comeback in May after several near misses last year. Barn mate Volatility Index (1) was only a neck away from being perfect in a trio of career starts. She has been working well locally.

Christophe Clement is also double-handed. Gioia Stella (6) ran no race behind Annie Rocks (14) in the slop on her four year old debut. She is much better judged on her turf form last autumn. A wide margin allowance victory was followed by a fine effort in a stake. Her barn mate Stella Rose (10) ran third in what looked a deep race for the level at Belmont in June. She beat Penjade at this meet last year under today’s rider Joel Rosario.

Pricedtoperfection (5) makes her first start for Graham Motion and her 2017 return here. She rounded out last year with a decent third in a Grade 3 at Laurel. The booking of Jose Ortiz is encouraging. Ancient Goddess (9) should be all the better for her comeback run earl this month.

Stella Rose (10)
No Exotics

Woodbine Race 9 (10.19pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming - 3 year olds and upwards – 1 Mile – Turf

Johnny Bear (7) comes off a big allowance win at the end of June. It came over nine furlongs. He is effective over this distance but it may suit others in here more. One of them is Glenville Gardens (2). He had a fine 2016 winning four times including a Grade 2 over seven furlongs. He won both his starts over course and distance including a stake by nine lengths. He gradually faded in his seasonal return in a Grade 2 in June. Second time back and with class relief, he could take some beating.

The speedy Siding Spring (5) is making his local debut after being in Mark Casse’s string at the likes of Belmont and Gulfstream. His fate may depend on avoiding a speed duel with the pacey Boreal Spirit (3) who is also stepping up in distance.

Ikerrin Road (6) won well over today’s distance before finding the company too hot in a Grade 2.

Glenville Gardens (2)
No Exotics

Saratoga Race 9 (10.22pm)
The Sanford (Grade 3) – 2 year olds – 6 Furlongs – Dirt

None of these juveniles has had more than two starts and five of them have just a debut victory to their name. Direct Dial (7) and Admiral Jimmy (5) both were big winners first time out. They filled the places subsequently in a stake at Belmont last month. The first named was in the van throughout. Admiral Jimmy got behind and stayed on.

Direct Dial and Admiral Jimmy are trained by Steve Asmussen and Todd Pletcher respectively. They are both double-handed. Bal Harbour (2) graduated second time out at Gulfstream. Baffin (6) drew off nicely on debut at Churchill after being well backed. That maiden has a solid look to it with two next time out winners. Free Drop Billy (4) also won first time out in Kentucky.

Speed figure aficionados will be giving a long look to Psychoanalyze (1). He was weak in the market but still manage to foil a gamble when winning on debut at Belmont last month. Firenze Fire (3) didn’t run as quick but did drew off nicely first time out at Monmouth.

To add more uncertainty here is the presence of Nauti Buoy (8). He won his only start at 28/1 at the start of the month. It was on the turf at Laurel.

Direct Dial (7)
Reversed Exacta (2 Bets) Admiral Jimmy (5) and Direct Dial (7)

Saratoga Race 10 (10.55pm)
The Diana (Grade 1) - Fillies and Mares - 3 year olds and upwards – 1 1/8 Miles – Turf

Superstar mare Lady Eli (3) came back to her best in 2016 after missing over a year. She almost rounded it off at The Breeders’ Cup and looks like she retains all her ability judging by her two starts this term. She lost by a head to the race fit Dickinson (6) on her comeback in a Keeneland Grade 1 in April. Seven weeks later, she was game in victory in a Grade 1 at Santa Anita. Chad Brown has not rushed her back and she fires fresh anyway. She is the gal to beat here but there are some alternatives if she’s odds on.

Dickinson (6) has looked a new horse since being put on the turf. Her Grade 1 victory in Kentucky was franked by Lady Eli next time. The third, the improving Quidura (4) ran second in a Grade 2 last time, not being able to reel in the loose on the lead Hawksmoor. Dickinson seemed beaten on the square in her latest start by Antonoe (2) in a Grade 1 on The Belmont Stakes undercard. The former Pascal Bary trained filly has won both her starts Stateside for Chad Brown. What has characterized both her victories is a telling turn of foot. This race lacks a natural frontrunner and she just might have the gears where it matters in deep stretch.

Harmonize (1) finished fourth to Antonoe last time. If this wasn’t such a deep event, both her and the consistent My Impression (5) would be worth consideration.

Antonoe (2)
No Exotics

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