It’s Opening Day!

The excitement can’t be matched in thoroughbred racing, save maybe the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup.  The first of forty cards at Saratoga is on tap for this afternoon and if the first three cards give any indication, the racing this meet will be terrific.  Click here to read my analysis for Friday’s card.  Here are my thoughts on the two stakes races this afternoon, the James Marvin and the Schuylerville (G3).

Race 8, The James Marvin:

The return to a one-turn event should help #2 JACKSON BEND, as he’s now back in the care of trainer Nick Zito. He was in Zito’s barn in 2010 and went 0-8 but spent much of the year against graded stakes foes. Two turns seems to be a bit out of his range but he began his career quite nicely around one bend. His worktab is sharp and this barn is due for a breakthrough after a poor run at Belmont. #11 JERSEY TOWN was just getting good at the end of 2011 as he followed up a 2nd place finish in the Bold Ruler with a win in the Cigar Mile. He has run well off of lengthy layoffs in the past and this barn is capable of having one ready to go off the bench. He has the speed to stay close and that’s worth noting given that there’s little speed in here. #7 D’FUNNYBONE could end up being the one to catch as he has speed in this largely paceless group. A 5x Grade II winner, this son of D’Wildcat took the Saratoga Special over this oval two years ago. His effort in the Waldoboro two back was solid and you have to be willing to forgive his poor effort in the sloppy True North. If jockey Edgar Prado puts him on the lead he just may forget to quit.  SELECTIONS: 2-11-7

Race 9, The Schuylerville:

#2 FIVE STAR MOMMA was purchased for just 11k at auction but has already outrun her modest pedigree. She was a very strong 2nd in the Debutante last time out and was by far the best in that race. As the field neared the quarter-pole she made a big move just outside the leaders and took over at once. The final quarter-mile wore on her a bit and she wound up tiring to finish second. A better-timed ride under the jockey who rode Flat Out in the Suburban for this barn will help her cause. #1 FORCE DE LA NATURE was a sharp debut winner for trainer Eddie Kenneally as she rated comfortably off the pace and finished strongly to get the job done. When 2YOs can show the maturity at first asking that this filly did you have to be encouraged. The biggest negative today is the rail draw given her preferred style. #9 GEORGIE’S ANGEL wired a field of MSW rivals on debut at Churchill and escaped much of the public’s attention that day at 9/2. She’s back on short rest, especially for this barn, but looks to be a major pace player today in a cozy outside post position.  SELECTIONS: 2-1-9

Best of luck and see you right back here tomorrow!

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