Rachel’s away but its Saratoga we’ll play

Even with Rachel Alexandra 200+ miles away from her summer home, the show will go on at old Saratoga and her ability to handle the heat will certainly be tested today.  The temperature at Monmouth Park at post time for the Lady’s Secret is forecast to be 93 degrees by The Weather Channel.  Here’s to hoping there’s plenty of water to be had on the Jersey Shore.

At Saratoga a 10 race card is on tap and two of the four races early on in the card have been transferred to the main track.  Races 1 and 3 will be on the main, with the opener going seven panels and the third at a mile and a furlong.  Here are a few I’ll keep my eye on throughout the day:

RACE 2 – The first 2YO NY bred race of the meet offers little on which you can base a strong opinion.  Generally, 2YO races early in the meet favor horses with experience, but it’s a gross understatement to say that the two experienced horses in this field were unimpressive first time out.  However, the debut of #4 D’SAUVAGE is worth watching as he was completely eliminated at the start and wound up racing very wide on a track that usually favors frontrunners.  He should move forward in here as trainer Tom Amoss has better numbers with 2nd timers than firsters.

RACE 5#9 LINDSAY’S POINT was supposed to win last time out but an overly confident ride that resulted in a tough trip ruined her chances.  She’s now back off a brief freshening with a new jockey, the double bug Jaime Rodriguez.  She is cutting back to six panels today and that’s a positive sign given that she’s shown in the past that making one run sprinting could be her preferred style.  There should be some value to be had with her in the midday multi-race plays.

RACE 6 – #11 MIDNIGHT BILLY is coming off a 4th place finish against similar company at Belmont and while it seemed like the race unfolded perfectly for him last time out, jockey Victor Santiago made the mistake of trying to stay inside rather than make the big, wide move that had worked well for this guy in a win on June 11.  There’s definitely some pace in this bulky field and it’s worth noting that trainer Juan Ortiz had two longshot winners at this meet a year ago.

RACE 8 – If #4 ASH ZEE loses then me and many others are going to be knocked out of the Pick 4.  With competitive races surrounding this N1X allowance you have to take a stand somewhere and this seems like a very good spot.  She was a handy maiden winner last time out under the Twin Spires and has been given a bit of time by trainer Steve Asmussen.  With Happy Week scratching this gal is going to get the early lead and should be awfully tough to catch.

RACE 9 – Perhaps it’s a reach, but I’m taking a big chance with #1 BAHAMA BOUND in the Coaching Club American Oaks.  She is a rapidly improving daughter of Empire Maker and it appears as if the extra furlong she’ll go today will be right up her alley.  The expected race flow in here also works in this gal’s favor as the pace appears as if it’ll be solid.  You’re going to have a heavy favorite in here, #7 DEVIL MAY CARE, who has used beneficial circumstances to win in her last two victories and I’m not interested in her at 3/5.

RACE 10 – No matter what happens in the prior 9 races I can tell you I’m betting #4 EQUESTRIO in the nightcap.  Trainer Nick Zito scored three times at Belmont with 2nd time starts in maiden special weight races and this guy did not have a clean trip in his debut at all.  After breaking poorly he was rushed up along the inside to join the leaders only to be stuck there until he faltered in the stretch.  His pedigree is very strong and they thought something of him early as he was a Triple Crown nominee.  The lack of speed in this bunch and his fast workout on Monday lead you to believe he’s going to be on the engine today.

Best of luck to all of you today!  My selections and analysis for the full card at Saratoga are available by clicking here. I’ll be back to recap the first two days later today and one of my new features on this blog will be Saratoga notes for each card.  Check back frequently and most importantly, good luck!

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