First race at Saratoga is at 12:50 pm EDT.
WANNA BET HORSES?
If you're a horse player in any of 30 states, you can sign up with NYRA BETS. Promo code: INSIDER. Free first deposit match up to $200.
It's the start of a new week at Saratoga, and suddenly, shockingly, it's the second-to-last time that will happen this summer. So we'll savor it.
The late-breaking news from the Spa, announced Wednesday morning, is that due to rain, the main track is sloppy, and all turf races have been moved to the main track. The first race, a steeplechase stakes race, has been cancelled, to be run, we hope, another day.
We will still play a few races from Saratoga, but we have also made a few picks at Del Mar, which opens its week as well, and which will have perfect weather, as they do every day. We're handicapping for the slop at Saratoga, and fast dirt at Del Mar. Let's go.
Saratoga Race 3, 1.54 pm ET
$75,000 maiden claiming, 5 1/2 furlongs, dirt, 2-year-olds
We're going with a pedigree play here, and a long shot: 3-Alex Love Candy is by Candy Ride, and that makes us move him way up on a sloppy track. He's from a very low-percentage barn (4% win rate on the year, 0% win rate with first-time starters), but that should ensure that we get juicy odds. We will bet him to win at 15-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 3, $20 to win on 3-Alex Love Candy.
Saratoga Race 4, 2.26 pm ET
$100,000 John's Call Stakes, 1 3/8 miles, dirt, 3 & up
This was originally scheduled for turf, but switched to the main track because of the rain. Trainer David Cannizzo slipped 3-Turco Bravo's name in as a main-track-only runner, and we think that his prescience will be rewarded: this Chilean-bred looks very, very good going 11 furlongs on a sloppy track. He's 3-1 on the morning line, but will be shorter at post time; we will bet him to win anyway. The bet: Saratoga, Race 4, $40 to win on 3-Turco Bravo.
Saratoga Race 5, 2.58 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 5 1/2 furlongs, dirt, New York-bred 2-year-old fillies
We're going with another longshot pedigree play here: it's 4-Mebs Web. This Nick Zito trainee is by Giant Surprise, a young New York stallion who was sired by all-time great stallion Giant's Causeway. Her wet-track pedigree numbers are very good, and she gets a break in the weights, due to being ridden by apprentice jockey Jose Martinez. We will bet her to win at 30-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 5, $15 to win on 4-Mebs Web.
Del Mar, Race 4, 6.30 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, dirt, 3 & Up
We like 7-Commanding Chief in this one. There's a lot of speed in the race, and we think that sets it up for a stalker, and that is Commanding Chief's game. He just missed in an identical spot at Del Mar on July 31; we think he breaks his maiden today. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 4, $20 to win on 7-Commanding Chief.
Del Mar, Race 6, 7.30 pm ET
The $85,000 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes, 1 mile, dirt, 3 & Up
A short field of six drew into the Brubaker, and two of them are trained by Bob Baffert. We like his lesser-regarded entrant, 4-Leading Score. We think that he will be loose on a free and easy lead, and we don't think the rest of the field is going to catch him. A repeat of his last race, a wire-to-wire win in an allowance race at Del Mar last month, might be good enough to take this, but we actually think he'll run better: He ran on a track that was biased against speed, and that makes his win better than it looks on paper. We love this colt in this spot, and will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 6, $40 to win on 4-Leading Score.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.