We have five plays on this Friday, four in New York and one at Del Mar in Southern California. First post time is 2:20 pm EDT.
The weather across the mid-Atlantic is unsettled today, but the rain seems to be passing south of Upstate New York, which means Saratoga should have good conditions for racing. We have five plays on this Friday, four in New York and one at Del Mar in Southern California. We expect fast dirt, firm turf, and fair, bias-free surfaces in all of them. Let’s go.
Maiden Special Weight, 1 ⅜ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This is a good maiden race at 11 furlongs on the grass. The turf at the spa was speed-favoring yesterday, with four of the six grass races won in wire-to-wire fashion, and while we would not go so far to call it a bias, we are giving the edge to forwardly-placed runners here, especially since most of the obvious contenders in the field have so little early speed. The pick is 7-Wicked Happy, who has good early foot, and should be able to set the pace while running pretty slow fractions. We’ll bet that she can carry that speed all the way around the track and take this race in wire-to-wire fashion. We will bet her to win at 12-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 3, $30 to win on 7-Wicked Happy.
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, FIllies & Mares 3 & Up
This third-level allowance drew a field of just five, and while we normally avoid betting on races with fields that small, we like this one because they’re all pretty evenly matched. The pick is 4-Liza Star, who has speed, but who is not a one-way front-runner: she won her last race by sitting just off the pace and taking over in mid-stretch. We expect a repeat here: look for her to win by stalking 2-Lady T N T, who should be the early leader. We will bet Liza Star to win at 9/5. The bet: Saratoga, Race 4, $40 to win on 4-Liza Star.
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Ten go in this allowance for state-bred females, and we found it the easiest race of the day to handicap: the pick is 9-Jewel of Arabia. She has superior speed figures, a pace-pressing style that is a good fit for the way the Saratoga dirt has been playing, and an outside post, which is a tactical advantage in one-turn races. She also starts for trainer Christophe Clement, who’s been winning everything since Saratoga opened. Sometimes it’s as simple as identifying the best horse and backing her to win. We will bet Jewel of Arabia to win at 9/5. The bet: Saratoga, Race 8, $50 to win on 9-Jewel of Arabia.
$100,000 Coronation Cup, 5 ½ furlongs, turf, New York-bred 3-Year-Old Fillies
Twelve state-bred sophomore fillies line up for the Coronation Cup, a terrific betting race. We like 8-Artie’s Princess, who starts for trainer Wesley Ward. She is very fast, winning three of her four career starts, and while none of them were on turf -- they were all on the synthetic racing surface at Woodbine -- she has a pedigree and a running style that suggests she will thrive on grass, especially sprinting. Look for her to press the pace early, move to the front at the top of the stretch, and hold off the closers late. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Artie’s Princess.
$125,000 Real Good Deal Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, California-bred 3-Year-Olds
Seven state-bred colts will contest the Real Good Deal. We like the one on the rail, 1-Rookie Mistake. His last two starts were on the grass, but he’s back sprinting on the dirt, which is what we think he does best. Look for him to be midpack early and moving late. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Del Mar, Race 9, $35 to win on 1-Rookie Mistake.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.