It’s the first Saturday card at Saratoga, and the premier day of the week is highlighted by a pair of Graded Stakes, including some potential future Derby runners in the Grade 3 Sanford and an appearance from Lady Eli in the Grade 1 Diana. Best of luck.
Best Bet: #5 Untamed Domain, Race 3
Value Play of the Day: #8 Halloween Horror, Race 2 (15-1 ML)
Race 1: 1-2-3-6
#1 MR. CROW enters this event off a neck loss in his debut for which he earned an 89 Beyer. Has worked well for this, and Pletcher can improve runners second time out. #2 MARSHALL PLAN has finished 2nd by less than a length in each of his two spins thus far. Should get the early jump from the inside. #3 DISTORTED ADMIRAL had a troubled trip over turf in his debut last September, but has turned in a number of exceptional workouts returning from the layoff. #6 NEW MOON must make up a few lengths on Marshall Plan, but could track a contested early clip today.
Race 2: 8-6-1-5
#8 HALLOWEEN HORROR had no chance behind sluggish fractions last time out. Returns to a distance at which he is 2-for-2 in his career, and has turned in a number of forward workouts leading up to this. In the hands of Baker, who hits with 33% of new acquisitions. #6 TIPSY KITTEN drops off a pair of wins in which he matched 78 Beyer Speed Figures. Got the job done despite the wide rally last time out and comes in with a bullet work. #1 DADDY’S HOME drops way down the ladder for Chad Brown, so you have to wonder if something went wrong, but he may be good enough to beat these anyway. #5 PRIZE FIGHT should be more settled with the blinkers removed, and Jose Ortiz climbs aboard once again.
Race 3: 5-7-1A
#5 UNTAMED DOMAIN adds lasix for his second start while gaining the services of Jose Ortiz. Graham Motion trains this son of Animal Kingdom, who should take nicely to this added stretch of ground. #7 ANOTHER may be able to hit the board at a price, though Mott isn’t known for having his first-timers cranked up. #1A JOHNNY ACTION is likely one to keep an eye on, but this sort of trip may not end up being his best game.
Race 4: 7-1-4-2
#7 BAYERD owns a win at the track. Like others, faces questions of consistency while dropping in class, but owns enough speed to get the jump on his competition. #1 ALEX THE TERROR faltered in the mud last time out, but adds blinkers today, a positive move (25%) for trainer Englehart. #4 SHUFFLE UP cuts back for Servis, a move with which he hits at 24%. #2 ROCKPORT KAT hits the track second time off the layoff for trainer Diodoro, a move with which he scores at 27%. One of a minority not taking a class drop in this event.
Race 5: 4-8-3-2
#4 SPORTING CHANCE is the lone runner in the field to have run a race before, finishing second behind the favorite in a four-horse field at Churchill last month. Son of Tiznow cost $575k, and has been working lights-out for trainer D Wayne Lukas. #8 MACHISMO debuts for Pletcher, and enters this race off a strong local workout. Likely to be bet down to favoritism due to connections. #3 TAP DADDY debuts for Asmussen, and turned in a nice local workout at five furlongs earlier this month. #2 EZMOSH has done everything you could ask on the practice field. Cox and Castellano have combined to win half of their 12 starts together this year.
Race 6: 5-4-12-11
#5 TERRY O GERI encountered trouble in his last two, which both came over unfavorable surfaces. Should improve returning to dry land, and trainer Contessa hits at 20% on the surface switch. Projects to track a heated pace and get first run on the closers. #4 FLEET IRISH has steadily improved along the Beyer scale throughout his 2017 campaign and is another who projects to make a late run. #12 BUILD TO SUIT breaks from the outside for Chad Brown. Was a neck behind Fleet Irish last time out in his first spin against winners. #11 GORELLI has raced on either muddy or sloppy footing in four of his last five events. Typically used to going a furlong shorter, but should take to this trip and can factor at a price.
Race 7: 4-9-5-6-10
#4 GRAND CANDY has turned in consistent 90+ Beyers throughout his 2017 campaign when running on turf. Should be able to make a run through the lane today while offered for a claim. #9 PARTLY MOCHA should have an opportunity to make up late ground behind a heated pace as well 1-2-1 from seven local starts. #5 CANADIAN FLYER exits the otherworldly Jaipur on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Stood no chance in there, but has been working toward this event with great focus. #6 END PLAY will be one of many seeking early positioning, but earned a win locally at the distance last year. #10 VICI switched from Jose to Irad Ortiz and enters this with a bullet work down at Keeneland.
Race 8: 6-10-1-5
#6 GIOIA STELLA remains a long way from earning back her $1.5 million purchase price, but could be primed for a top effort second time off the winter layoff after flashing speed in an off the turf event in early May. #10 STELLA ROSE broke slow two back down at Gulfstream, but was eventually able to get within shouting distance of the winner. Owns a local win, and could cap an exacta that would make trainer Christophe Clement and every Stella in attendance very happy. #1 VOLATILITY INDEX has improved along the Beyer scale in all three starts for trainer Chad Brown, and enters this with a local bullet work in tow. Likely the one to catch today. #5 PRICEDTOPERFECTION leaves the Brown barn, but ends up in the hands of another top turf trainer in Motion, who is 25% with new acquisitions. Projects to be on the scene late.
Race 9 (The Sanford – Grade 3): 4-7-6-3
#4 FREE DROP BILLY earned less of a Beyer figure for his debut win than most of his competition, but has turned in a series of impressive workouts for this return and should offer plenty of value at 15-1 on the morning line. #7 DIRECT DIAL set the pace downstate in the Tremont against the grain of the track and just held second over today’s competitor Admiral Jimmy. One to catch yet again. #6 BAFFIN handled a few next-out winners in his debut, and Asmussen is known to improve his runners at second asking. #3 FIRENZE FIRE has worked well at Monmouth since his debut win at the shore over a next-out winner. Trainer Jason Servis repeats with his winners at an impressive 34% clip.
Race 10 (The Diana – Grade 1): 2-3-6
#2 ANTONOE should enjoy this added bit of ground, but must show there is no handover from her blazing final quarter last time out. Has been working well, so that adds to the confidence level for a horse that has often had plenty of time between starts. #3 LADY ELI has lost three races in her 11-contest career, and none by so much as a length. It will take a competitor’s top effort to take down this miraculous mare. #6 DICKINSON is part of the small club to have defeated Lady Eli, but was edged by today’s top choice last time out. Perfect at this distance. Would love to see a rivalry develop between this trio.
Race 11: 3-8-11-2
#3 CHILTERN STREET owns two wins from three starts at today’s 1 1/16 mile distance, and enters this event first time off the claim by Robertino Diodoro (25%). #8 SOUPERFAST enters off the claim by another superior turnaround trainer in David Jacobson (21% with new claims). Versatile runner should be able to work out comfortable positioning throughout. #11 HIGH NOON RIDER goes out for top turf trainer Mike Maker and gains the services of Jose Ortiz today. #2 AIRE BUENO is as consistent as the day is long, churning out high-80’s and low-90’s Beyer figures each race. One of many here who could factor.