God's Tipster's Saturday Saratoga Picks: A day of stakes including the Whitney, plus two from Mountaineer
Friday’s Race Recap from Saratoga:
(All odds US)
Replays for yesterday’s races from Saratoga can be found here:
Race 3: 1st@ 4.80/1 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Race 6: 8th@ 2.20/1
Race 8: 2nd@ 3.90/1
Race 10: 8th@ 47.20/1
Our Friday began with a WINNER! As Jays’talker battled for the early lead and bravely held off the closers drawing away again for a solid debut win. We got 4.80/1 odds here in the States but I know some members who locked in the 8/1 morning line with their bookmakers. In Race 6, Love Tank was beaten to the early lead this time and faded to 8th after dueling til the far turn. In Race 8, the speeds went out and Wit took back in his turf debut and came with a flying finish, a bit too late to catch Ready to Purrform but he certainly gave a good account of himself. In Race 10, Miss Malala was never a factor at long odds.
It’s another steamy summer Saturday at Saratoga where there’s a 30% chance of rain and a 100% chance I’ll curse out my TV screen before the day is done. I’m handicapping for fast and firm conditions. Fingers crossed they stay that way.
We’ve got a few bonus races from Mountaineer Racetrack where it’s West Virginia Derby Day! There’s the same threat of rain in the forecast in the West Virginia area.
Saturday at Saratoga:
Race 5: Sifting Sands - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/1)
Today’s first stakes race on our agenda is the Fasig-Tipton Lure, named after the two-time winner of the Breeder’s Cup Mile - Lure, who was one of the best horses to race in the U.S. in the 1990’s. Sifting Sands is lined at 5/1 in here and that sounds about right. This is a tough field and 5/1 are fair odds. Chad Brown’s runners have been running well here at Saratoga this year winning 3 of 9 stakes races he’s had horses run in and hitting the board in 8 of 9 starts. Sifting Sands defeated a tough field last time out and two runners from that field have already returned to win subsequent starts. The thing I like most about Sifting Sands is that he’s still got a right to improve. Brown has placed him aggressively throughout his career, shipping him out west to run in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last year after moderate success here on the east coast. He failed that day but it’s nice to see a barn operating with such confidence in a runner. This one’s dam, Yummy Mummy, produced three-time Grade 1 winning, Legatissimo, who finished second in the 2015 Breeder’s Cup F&M Turf. That runner improved with each start and Sifting Sands appears to be following in his half-sister’s footsteps. Value at 5/1 or higher but not lower.
Race 6: Wadsworth - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 10/1)
Good-looking group of expensive, two year old maidens line up here to sprint 7 furlongs. Disarm and Perform are two who have already started and run well and Todd Pletcher has an entry that might vie with those two for favoritism. Wadsworth might fly under the radar a little here for last year’s Travers winning trainer, Brad Cox and the Godolphin Stable. This debut runner is by Quality Road who strikes 13% with first time starters out of a dam who was a Grade 1 winner on turf with only average looking races on the main track in her career. Cox could’ve easily started this seemingly turf-bred runner in a grass race but he’s instead starting him here, in a high-profile Saratoga maiden dirt race so I’m thinking there’s more here than meets the eye.
Race 8: Money Supply - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 9/2)
Strong 7 furlong race for allowance sprinters here and once again we may have a chance to get leading trainer Chad Brown at overlaid odds. Saint Tapit is our morning line favorite off a strong win at Belmont Park but he had everything go his way that day and should have some more company on the front end today. Money Supply for Chad Brown is 9/2 in this spot coming out of a few tough races. After an impressive maiden win he was thrown into stakes company at Keeneland where he was steadied early and six wide on the far turn behind a much stronger field than he’ll face today. From there he ran into eventual Preakness third place finisher, Creative Minister at a longer distance than he prefers. Last time out he cut back to a sprint and was checked and shuffled during the race but still came with a late rally. Today he gets blinkers off (a 50% winning move for Brown in dirt sprints) and looks to have a class edge over our favorite here.
Race 10: Olympiad - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 2/1)
Today’s Grade 1 Whitney drew its strongest field since Honor Code caught Saint Liam a few years ago in one of the more thrilling finishes to a Grade 1 race you’ll ever see. Life Is Good looks like the controlling speed and Olympiad looks like he’ll get first run at him. I’m still not sure Life is Good wants to go this far and Olympiad has a chance to stamp himself as the main contender against Flightline for the Breeder’s Cup Classic. I took the contrarian's approach for the first few wins but we’ve caught him in the last two and he’s won so impressively that we’re on him til someone can beat him. Nobody has come close this year and with the right pace setup, Olympiad is our pick.
Race 11: Sy Dog - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 12/1)
The Grade 1 Saratoga Derby at a mile and three sixteenths on turf reunites the top six finishers from the Grade 1 Belmont Derby which was run on July 9. Those six runners were separated by less than two lengths so I’d rather take 12/1 on a runner like Sy Dog who was a fast-diminishing 1 1/2 lengths away from the win than 7/2 on a horse who lost by 3/4 of a length. Especially when you consider the fact that the Belmont Derby was devoid of much early pace which softened Sy Dog’s closing kick. The reasons I like Sy Dog don’t end there though. With a 477 Tomlinson figure for the distance, he towers over the field in terms of breeding for the distance. His late pace Timeform U.S. pace seem to indicate he’s got the strongest closing kick in this field – a field very different from the Belmont Derby in terms of early foot as there are five runners in here that prefer to race on or near the early pace.
Race 2: In Love - 2 pts win - BEST BET (US Morning Line Odds: 5/2)
The West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup is run at a mile and 70 yards on turf and features In Love who won last year’s Grade 1 Turf Mile at Keeneland. That day he faced a Grade 1 field as he has in his next few starts which included the Grade 1 Breeder’s Cup Mile, the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile and, most recently, the Grade 1 Manhattan. From a class standpoint he absolutely lays over this field and his trainer has win with 8 of 16 starters at this meet so far. Exceptional value at 5/2 odds. He’ll undoubtedly be an odds-on favorite here in the US.
Race 8: Home Brew - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 3/1)
The Grade 3 West Virginia Derby at 1 1/8 miles drew a perfectly cast group of Grade 3 runners from this year’s Kentucky Derby trail. Of the 7 runners in this field, 4 have trainers who have never started a runner at Mountaineer. The 1 horse is a rank outsider here so that leaves us with two runners. One trained by Steve Asmussen - King Ottoman - and one trained by Brad Cox - Home Brew. Asmussen’s record at Mountaineer is not good as he’s 0 for 5 with only one of those runners hitting the board. His two West Virginia Derby starters in the past finished fourth and seventh. Cox on the other hand wins at a rate of 31% here at Mountaineer with 9 of 13 runners hitting the board. This includes a third place finish in this race in 2018 and a second place finish in this race last year. As a horse, Home Brew was only on the Derby trail briefly after losing as the favorite in the Smarty Jones on New Years Day before being laid off til April. Since then he’s won two straight and threatens to have a strong fall. Home Brew for the WIN!
Best of luck to everyone playing Saturday’s races from Saratoga!