Peter Fornatale at Saratoga

American racing expert, Peter Fornatale has selections and analysis online for Saturday night's Saratoga action.

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The race of the day may be at Ascot, but I’m back in Saratoga.  

On Thursday, I took a long bus ride out of Maine, down through New Hampshire into Boston, and then another across Massacusetts all the way until Albany, New York. I looked out the window along the way and saw a perfect summer day and I allowed myself to get excited about the fact that I’d gotten up so early (5:30 ET) that I’d be back at the Spa to catch the last four races. 

I’d even secured an invite from my friend Marshall Gramm to sit with him in The Stretch area – it’s not as cool as my usual area, the Paddock Bar – but it’s nice to change things up once in a while. 

And everyone was in a great mood because the racing partnership that Marshall manages with Clay Sanders – Ten Strike Racing – had won the second race.

I got my ride share and was headed up the Adirondack Northway when Benny Southstreet’s text arrived. The trip note expert’s text read, “I can’t believe racing is canceled.”

Where I was just a few miles away it was still a bright, sunshiny day. But a storm cell that hadn’t been predicted had blitzed through the town of Saratoga minutes earlier. And because it was out of the blue, the grounds crew didn’t have time to seal the racetrack ahead of it. 

This led to a real mess – a turf course too wet to run on and a dirt track that the riders deemed unsafe. And thus, we had our second cancellation in four days. 

I made the best of it, however. After a quick session at my favorite beer pub, Pint Sized, I rendezvoused with Marshall and his family at their rental place. His brother, Jeff, a former pro-musician, had acquired a proper karaoke machine. So instead of betting, our multigenerational crew celebrated the successes of the day by eating BLTs, drinking whiskey, and belting out an array of hits from the 50s-60s-70s-80s-90s-00s. 

I found my footing well on Sinatra’s Angel Eyes, but the high notes on the Moody Blues’ Question found me out. I’ll be going back down in octave for my next singing appearance.

Saturday

The weather looks great today – stop me if you’ve heard that one before – and we’ve got a trio of graded stakes races at Saratoga today. 

In Race 9 (10:44), MITOLE makes his return to the races after his impressive win in the Met Mile back on Belmont Day. I believe that six furlongs is probably his best distance and he should be fit and ready to take this field gate to wire from the rail. 

With some solid contenders also signed on, I’m hoping the even money of the morning line is a reality.

Race 10 (11:18) looks a little tricky, but I’m still going to side with the morning line favorite, CHANNEL MAKER. Bill Mott’s barn has been going great guns at the meet and this horse ran a sneaky excellent race last time against the monster, Bricks and Mortar. 

The internal sectionals he ran were very fast in the middle of the race and this time, with a more efficient run against foes not as strong as that one, he could be seen to his best effect once again. 

I think he’s gotten very, very good and the price could be OK with three Chad Brown runners signed on here, all of which should take money, none of which are as good as Channel Maker in my opinion. He’s a bet at anything over 3-1.

In Race 11, we see the return to the races of two runners who made a splash on the Triple Crown trail in Preakness winner War of Will and the runner that was best in the Belmont, Tacitus. 

I believe that the latter will probably win the Travers up here at the end of the month but I don’t think he’ll be fully cranked for this test and his price will be short. I wouldn’t go laying him – he could easily win – but I also don’t want to pin my colors to his mast.

War of Will makes a ton of sense and his outside draw could be a blessing if the track is anything like it was yesterday – it seemed like the rail was deader than dead and the wider you made your run the better off you were. 

I said on yesterday’s podcast that I didn’t fully trust him off his Belmont effort and I wondered how much petrol he had left in the tank after running in all three Triple Crown races in five weeks. But the more I look, he might be the one for me here. 

Two nice local works indicate he’s ready and this might be more of a goal for him than it is for Tacitus.

Global Campaign will take a lot of money and comes here with a chance as well. If the track has flipped and speed/rail look better, I’ll upgrade him and downgrade War of Will a bit – he might be able to wire them.

I’m going to reserve my “final answer” on this race until later today. I’ll send out a tweet approximately 10 minutes before via my @loomsboldly twitter handle if you want to check in then.

If you’re looking for a fun way to get betting action throughout today’s SAR card, check out this fun “prop style” contest from my friends at the Thoroughbred Ideas Foundation. 

You can also listen to Pat Cummings of TIF and me go over the props – and by extension today’s SAR card – here:

Peter Fornatale at Saratoga
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