God's Tipster Picks 9 Saturday Saratoga races, including the Test, the Lure, and the Whitney with Cody's Wish
Friday’s Race Recap from Saratoga:
(All odds US)
Race 4: SCRATCH
Race 5: 5th@ 11.90/1
Race 7: 1st@ 1.35/1 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Race 8: CANCELLED
Race 10: CANCELLED
Woke up to sloppy and off the turf conditions for much of today’s card. We had a scratch in Race 4. In Race 5, Perfect Day broke from the rail and battled for the early lead before fading. In Race 7, Elusive Princess didn’t go off anywhere close to her 7/2 morning line, but she won like she should’ve been 3/5 mowing down her competition on the outside in a driving rainstorm. Because of that rainstorm, the balance of the race card was cancelled after the running of Race 7.
It’s Grade 1 Whitney Day! Always a great race card for the Whitney and this one includes several other stakes races including the Grade 1 Test, the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby, the Grade 3 Troy which features the return of Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Caravel, who’s 3 for 3 this year and the Lure Stakes. Enough talk. Let’s get to the action!
Race 1: Agate Road - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 12/1)
Two-year-olds kick off the day racing a mile and a sixteenth on turf. That’s the plan at least. As long as Friday’s rain doesn’t move the early races to the main track. Agate Road is the selection either way. This $650k son of Quality Road makes his debut today for the Todd Pletcher barn that’s winning at 24% for the meet. I remember being at Belmont Park the day his dam, Yellow Agate, broke her maiden at 32/1 coming from off the pace in a six furlong sprint. She followed that up with a win in the Grade 1 Frizette. As a dam she’s thrown Gasoline, who’s a two-time winner on dirt and full sister Plentitude, who was a debut winner and won her turf debut in her second start. Agate Road has a pretty typical work pattern - chock-full of four-furlong drills but the breeding on this one tells me that 12/1 odds offer value here.
Race 2: Just Steel - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 4/1)
Two-year-old maidens square off sprinting six furlongs and our morning line favorite breaks from the rail for Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz – Be You. Maybe he’s better than these but between the unforgiving rail post and the fact that we‘ve had some luck last weekend with D. Wayne Lukas in one of these maiden races, I’m going back to the well with Just Steel who breaks from the outside. Last time out we had Just Steel at nearly 10/1 who ran into a Todd Pletcher buzzsaw named Pirate. Nobody was beating Pirate that day and I like Just Steel who fired a bullet workout and wheels back for a barn whose runners get better with some experience under their belt.
Race 4: Ortus - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/2)
New York bred runners race a mile on the lawn here and to me Ortus looks best in this field as the morning line 5/2 choice. The Christophe Clement barn has yet to really catch fire this meet at 15% so far but in these New York bred turf routes in which he uses rider Joel Rosario, Clement is 22 for 80 (28% wins) over the last five years. Ortus has run five times, first running respectably against open company at Gulfstream, then breaking his maiden in his second start here in New York. He hasn’t disgraced himself in his first two starts facing winners and I actually think he’ll prefer today’s mile distance to the sprint distances he’s been racing at. He’s one of only three runners in the field to have won at today’s distance and should be forwardly placed from the outside today.
Race 6: Thin White Duke - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 20/1)
The Grade 3 Troy at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf features the amazing Caravel, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner, who’s an undefeated three for three this season so far with two wins against the boys. She’ll take on the boys again today and faces speed from her inside and outside. I’m going to take a shot to topple the queen because while she does own most of the top speed figures in this group, she doesn’t own the top speed figure over today’s Saratoga turf surface. That distinction actually goes to 20/1 outsider Thin White Duke, who does his best running from off the pace. He’s a New York bred and runs for lower profile connections than some of these, but his price will be through the roof and it was right here at Saratoga last year in this very race where he put forth his career best performance. He should have a similar pace setup today and I look for John Velazquez to sit chilly with him early so he can make one late run.
Race 7: Mid Day Image - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 15/1)
The Fasig-Tipton Lure at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf is our next stakes race on the card. I’m looking for a little larceny on the front end from Jose Ortiz and David Jacobson with Mid Day Image, who at first glance looks like he might be cheap speed as he’s a turf sprinter stretching out and stepping up in class. But after giving him a closer look, he’s more than a cheap speed and might just stick around til the very end of this one. This eleven- time turf winner has by far the most turf wins in the field and owns the top speed figure at today’s distance by a wide margin. Speed is always dangerous in this inner turf course and Jose Ortiz has been riding his eyeballs out this meet. Last time out he came up just short but today he gets a huge rider upgrade and the majority of the other speed in this race have route speed while this one, a proven five-time winner at today’s distance has more natural early speed and might get overlooked.
Race 8: Pretty Mischievous - 1 pt win - (US Morning Line Odds: 9/5)
The Grade 1 Test at 7 furlongs is our co-feature race and drew the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks & Acorn winner Pretty Mischievous and the undefeated Maple Leaf Mel who breaks from the outside. With the pace pressure expected from Munnys Gold and a few others I love the cutback in distance by the connections of Pretty Mischievous here. She won the Oaks and Acorn at longer and most trainers would probably keep her running long but she’ll be sitting a pretty trip just off the pace in this seven furlong Grade 1 race which will give her connections options at the end of the season instead of taking on her elders at a route of ground in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff she may aim for the Filly and Mare Sprint.
Race 9: Mondego - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/1)
The Grade 1 Saratoga Derby at a mile and three sixteenths on turf drew a solid field of three-year-olds. Last time out Mondego was completely overlooked and came within a length of wiring the Grade 1 Belmont Derby at 41.50/1. We won’t quite get 41.50/1 today but I think we may do better than the 5/1 morning line. I love the rail draw he got as Joel Rosario can take advantage right away. It is possible he’ll get a stalking trip just off Program Trading, but I think that one is better suited to shorter races. We had this guy in his debut effort at Gulfstream where he lost by a head after running an incredible race and I tabbed him a future graded stakes winner way back in February after that race. It’s time for that to happen and he’d offer value at 5/1 or better.
Race 10: Cody’s Wish - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 1/2)
The Grade 1 Whitney at a mile and an eighth is the main event of the race card and features our current favorite for Horse of the Year, Cody’s Wish, against a group who tries to topple the champ as he tries a longer distance for the first time. It’s hard to see him losing this based on how easily he’s won his races this year. Another 1/8th of a mile should be within his scope and he won’t offer tremendous value here but he’s the likeliest winner.
Race 11: Signator - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)
Allowance runners will close the curtain on our show and these guys will be sprinting seven furlongs. Plenty of speed signed on here so I’m looking for a closer and Signator fits that bill like a glove. The downside is that he’s coming off an October layoff, but trainer Shug McGaughey wins at a 22% clip with runners coming off similar layoffs. He’s been working with purpose and this $1.7million son of Tapit was impressive in his two career starts before that layoff. He adds Lasix today and benefits from any pace ahead of him.
Best of luck to all our members playing Saturday’s races from Saratoga!