Roses for Debra was one of God's Tipster's four winners yesterday in racing at Saratoga.
Roses for Debra was one of God's Tipster's four winners yesterday in racing at Saratoga.@TheNYRA on X

God's Tipster's Saturday Saratoga Picks: The Forego, Jerkens, Ballerina Sword Dancer, the Travers, and more

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Friday’s Race Recap from Saratoga:
(All odds US)

Replays for Friday’s races from Saratoga can be found here:


Race 1: 1st@0.75/1 - 2 pts win 🔥🔥

Race 3: 1st@ 0.35/1 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Race 6: 5th@ 7.90/1

Race 7: SCRATCH 

Race 8: 5th@ 6.00/1

Race 9: 1st@ 4.00/1 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Race 10: 1st@ 3.05/1🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

We started our day off with a 3/5 win as a 2 point WINNER! Global Perspective didn’t make it look easy but he kept grinding away and got up for the win. Hoping our European members locked in those 8/5 morning line odds because that was a steal!! In Race 3 Roses for Deborah, who was 1/2 on the morning line and made her 1/5 odds look like the easiest money you’ll ever make. In Race 6, Daily Grind was with the pace early but faded in the drive behind a blowout debut maiden winner - Fierceness. After a scratch in Race 7, we channeled our inner David Bowie to root home Modern Love in Race 8 which was taken off the turf. Modern Love stalked the pace near the inside, dropped back to last on the turn and rallied mildly again late for fifth. In our feature race - Race 9, Idiomatic went to the lead from her rail post and never looked back turning back challenges from the 3/5 favorite Nest as well as Secret Oath to win her first Grade 1 race. In Race 10, White Chocolate  went to the lead and never looked back winning off impressively in gate to wire fashion giving us FOUR WINS from SIX selections on Travers eve!

We made it! It’s Grade 1 Travers Day! The unofficial fourth jewel in the Triple Crown. We’ve got a STELLAR field for this year’s edition of the Travers that features the winner of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes meeting for the first time ever. We’ve also got some fantastic undercard races. We do have rain in the forecast for early morning. I’m handicapping optimistically for fast and firm conditions so let’s get to the action!


Race 1: First Trumpet - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)

Restricted two-year-old maidens try to navigate 7 furlongs to kick off our Travers day card and 7 furlongs is a challenging distance for two-year-olds to sometimes navigate. Walstib is our 2/1 morning line favorite but he should get pace pressure from 3/1 second choice Catire Vizcaya who tired at 5 1/2 furlongs after setting a quick pace. Secret Lover is 5/1 on the morning line but I expect him to take more money than that by post time on the basis of his tough-trip close. The horse I think will get forgotten about is First Trumpet, who finished in between Walstib and Secret Lover last time out. He’s 8/1 on the morning line and I like him to post the mild upset. Last time out he sat off the hot pace set by Walstib and easily held off Secret Lover for third. I see him getting the jump on the closers but sitting the trip just off the speed for a barn who does an underrated job with their two-year-olds (21%).

Race 6: Willowy - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 15/1)

Two-year-old maiden fillies race 6 furlongs here and seven of the ten fillies in the body of the field are making their racetrack debut. Willowy is one of those seven and I’m selecting her because she checks a few of the boxes I like to check when I select a debut runner. First, she has an extensive work-tab graduating from three to four to five furlongs. Those five-furlong works are what I look for in debut runners, especially in these tough Saratoga maiden races because I feel the additional conditioning gives them an advantage over debut runners who have only worked three or four furlongs. Willowy is one of only a few runners with five furlong works at all. She hails from lower profile but definitely capable connections with Wayne Catalano winning with his only Saratoga starter of the meet - a maiden named Zadorsky. This one’s dam - She’s On Parade – won her first two starts and his sire - More Than Ready won his first five starts. She’s a half to another runner who won her first two starts and one who finished second on debut with a strong debut speed figure of 61.

Race 7: High Oak - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 30/1)

The Grade 1 Forego is our first of a few Grade 1 races on the Travers card and most of the betting world will be talking about the epic showdown between last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner - Elite Power and Gunite. A head separated them last time out as they threw it down over a sloppy Saratoga surface on July 29. But I’m more interested in another Bill Mott runner who ran earlier on the July 29 card whose morning line says he’ll be 60 times the price of Elite Power and that’s High Oak. Some may remember High Oak as the up-and-coming three-year-old who won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special before falling over a rival in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth putting an end to any Kentucky Derby dreams his connections may have had. His first few starts back were pretty terrible and that’s understandable as Mott takes his time and doesn’t rush his young horses. That time he took might’ve begun paying off as last time out he was held far back off a quick pace and closed in traffic behind horses with good looking energy. Digging into the internal fractions of that effort, his final two 1/8ths of a mile were run in: 11.38 and 12.31 while hitting traffic in the final 1/8th of a mile. That compares favorably with Elite Power’s final two 1/8ths which were run in: 11.48 and 11.75 (with a traffic-free trip) a bit later in the same card after some rain. Should he really be 60 times the price of his stablemate? It’s interesting that Mott entered him here against such salty company including his barn’s sprint star after just one strong race. Maybe they’re looking for a minor placing or maybe he’s peaking at the right time. At 30/1 or higher I’m interested in learning more.

Race 9: Fort Bragg - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/2)

The Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at 7 furlongs for three-year-olds is our second Grade 1 race of the day and brings together an outstanding assortment of imposing up-and-comers in the sprint division. Many handicappers see this race as Arabian Lion sitting the trip off the speed as he did winning his last start - the Grade 1 Woody Stephens on Belmont Stakes day and imposing his will again. I see the race shaping up a little differently with Fort Bragg dismantling New York Thunder early and drawing off to a win before anyone can catch him. New York Thunder set a fast pace last out, but he benefited from a rival breaking poorly that day and he had the lead to himself. He failed to change leads in the stretch and should be ripe for the picking on the far turn. Arabian Lion is a solid contender here, but his last race really set up well for him and featured a much slower early pace than most people expected. I think Fort Bragg runs them off their feet.

Race 10: Goodnight Olive - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 9/5)

The Grade 1 Ballerina at 7 furlongs features a showdown between the top two finishers in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint - Goodnight Olive and Echo Zulu. Many will be leaning towards Echo Zulu to turn the tables on her rival as she looks like very much the controlling speed today, but Goodnight Olive is very, very good at today’s 7 furlong distance and I give her the nod. Echo Zulu has the best early speed, but she still looks like she’ll face pressure from multiple Grade 1 winner Matareya from her inside and that one’s no slouch. If she can wear down that rival, she’s got a Breeders’ Cup winner to deal with in the lane and Olive is no joke. Laying down final 1/8th splits of: 12.78, 12.69, 12.61 and most recently a scintillating 11.99, Goodnight Olive seems to be getting better with age. Two starts back she had a dreadful trip on Derby day at Churchill Downs otherwise she’d likely have another win to her credit. I love the fact that this mare might not be the favorite in this race and at 9/5 she offers fair value here.

Race 11: Soldier Rising - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/1)

The Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer at a mile and a half on turf is one of several co-features on today’s stacked card. Our 6/5 morning line favorite is Stone Age who now races for the barn of Chad Brown but who failed to earn a speed figure above 90 in two starts in New York. Bolshoi Ballet is another European runner who hasn’t fared particularly well here in New York with 88 being his ceiling in three career starts here. Soldier Rising is a European transplant who’s found success here in the New York area. He’s faced Grade 1 competition five times in his career and has three seconds a third and a fourth to his credit. He owns the second best speed figure on the surface at today’s mile and a half distance and has strong connections in his corner. Value at 5/1 or higher. 

Race 12: Tapit Trice - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 12/1)

The Grade 1 Travers at a mile and a quarter brings together the winners of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes, Florida Derby and Blue Grass in what should be an absolute throw down. In handicapping the Travers this year the last thing I expected after watching replays was to land on Tapit Trice again. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been on Tapit Trice from his debut effort on November 6, when he finished a closing third in a maiden race. We had him when he won his next four races and played him in Kentucky Derby futures. The Derby didn’t work out but that can be a tough race to get the right trip. His Belmont Stakes effort is the main reason I’m selecting him here. Closer to the pace than usual, Tapit Trice was sent early to contend and battled on bravely down to the line finishing a closing third - just a nose behind our 7/5 morning line favorite Forte. His Haskell was ugly and at the time (yes we had him again) I swore that I was beginning divorce proceedings. Enough was enough. But Monmouth is a track that plays much more kindly to speed horses and honestly speaking Luis Saez hasn’t seemed to be a good fit on him in general. This is something I’ve felt since the Blue Grass despite his winning effort that day. Well today we get a new rider and we get blinkers on for the first time, a move that should enhance some of his natural speed. If he can sit the trip off National Treasure and Scotland he’ll be in good position to get the jump. 12/1 or better today and he was beaten a nose by our 7/5 favorite two starts back ? Maybe there’s time to head to couples counseling and work this out.

Best of luck to all our members playing Saturday’s Travers Day races from Saratoga!

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