First post, the 7th at Saratoga, is at 4:40 pm EDT
The stakes lineup today is much lighter than yesterday, but that’s OK: we’ve found three races, two of them stakes, that we like. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all these races; let’s go.
Maiden Special Weight, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
The offspring of Runhappy, who won the Breeders Cup Sprint a few years ago before embarking on a second career as a stallion, have started to hit the track, and we like what we’ve seen so far. In the kind of juvenile race that makes Saratoga special -- there are some well-bred and good-looking fillies in here -- we are going with a first-time starter by Runahppy, 6-Peachy Queen. She’s looked quite good in the morning, including a very quick workout on July 9, and she comes from the barn of Danny Gargan, who is good with firsters. Another sign of positive intent is that she will be ridden by top rider Manny Franco, who casual fans may remember as the rider of Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law. We will bet her to win at 8-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 7, $40 to win on 6-Peachy Queen.
$75,000 Jersey Girl Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, New Jersey-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The Jersey Girl drew a field of eight. It’s a good race, where state-breds who would probably founder against open company will get a chance to show their stuff. The pick is the favorite, 5-Diamond Play. She finished second in this race last year, losing by just a neck, and in a field that does not appear to have a whole lot of early speed, has a forwardly-placed running style that should give her first jump on the closers. She is exactly the horse these kinds of races are carded for: against open company, she’d probably have little chance, but against her fellow New Jersey-breds, she should be a force. We will bet her to win at 7/5. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 19, $40 to win on 5-Diamond Play.
Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Eight sophomore fillies line up to go nine furlongs on the Saratoga inner turf course for the Lake Placid. 6-Stunning Sky is a strong play: her last four starts were all in stakes races, and though she did not win any, she did improve in all of them. She also starts for Mike Maker, who’s hot right now, especially in turf stakes -- he won the United Nations at Monmouth yesterday with a horse at a big price -- and she will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, the top jockey at Saratoga right now. Look for her to sit toward the rear early, and to win with a strong late move. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-Stunning Sky.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.