Archive for August, 2010

Something for everyone on this Travers card

August 28, 2010

12:18 PM – The first two races are in the books and a dirty four letter word is being used to describe the outcome.  That’s right, it appears as if we might have a speed bias on the main track and there won’t be another race on the dirt until the 5th.  From there the Victory Ride will be the next dirt event, so we’re basically going to be betting the Pick 4 today with no idea if ground can be made up.

In the 3rd I’m sticking with Nolangrant’skitten, who is currently the co-favorite at 3-1.  Best of luck!

We’re currently about 92 minutes from first post at Saratoga for the marathon 13 race card and the scratches are available by clicking here.  The biggest scratch on the program is probably #1 KID KATE in the 9th, the Victory Ride, which serves as the first leg of the $1 million guaranteed Pick 4.  My analysis for the entire card can be viewed by clicking here.

As far as the stakes races on the card, here’s how I see them:

Race 8, The Ballston Spa (G2)

#8 CHEROKEE QUEEN is in position to rebound from a foul-up at the start of the Matchmaker last time out at Monmouth as she lost jockey Elvis Trujillo leaving the starting gate.  She entered that race as the favorite based on her handy win in a 200k stake at Philly and her 4th place finish in the Just a Game could have easily been much better had jockey Garrett Gomez been able to move her through on the inside in deep stretch.  Prior to the trainer change to Marty Wolfson she was a solid allowance caliber filly but now she’s a legitimate graded stakes horse and her running style makes her a great fit in this affair.  Wolfson hasn’t shipped many horses to the Spa in the last five years but is 2-5 and both of those wins came in GI stakes.  #3 PHOLA will be dropping out of consecutive Grade Is and looking to improve on a somewhat dull run in the Diana Handicap.  She was up against it pace-wise in that event as the opening half went in a pedestrian :49 and 2/5.  The pace looks like it’ll be a bit hotter in this event and that certainly works to this filly’s advantage.  Provided jockey Ramon Dominguez can save some ground and get the right setup, she’ll be a strong late factor.  #9 MARAM rolled home in the Ms. Liberty two starts back then received a poor ride in the Diana as she was very close to the pace before weakening late.  Her best efforts have come when she’s been able to lay back and make one run and a return to that could turn things around.  Trainer Chad Brown has hit at a 22% rate on the Spa turf courses since taking out his trainer’s license and should have this gal ready to make a serious impact today.  PICKS: 8-3-9

Race 9, The Victory Ride (G3)

The best race #5 WORSTCASESCENARIO has ever run came at this track last summer when she was dismissed at 13-1 in the Adirondack.  Today will mark the first time she starts at odds greater than 10-1 and deservedly so given her 0-5 mark since the Adirondack score.  She’s going 2nd off a layoff for trainer Rick Violette today and the race she exits was replete with trouble.  A bad stumble at the start basically ruined her chances to contest the pace then she made a bold move around the turn before weakening in the stretch drive.  The expected vicious pace in here could actually work in her favor if jockey Alan Garcia can get her to relax off the early running.  To say that #3 RAPPORT is crazy fast is a woeful understatement as she has sensational early speed, which she flaunted at Calder in the Azalea early last month.  The early running took its toll in the stretch as she rapidly shortened stride leaving the 3/16ths pole but will now be re-united with the rider who piloted her to consecutive victories out west.  There are others in here who have some speed but none of her rivals can keep her company in the early stages.  They’ll all have to rely on her beating herself once again, which could be a dicey proposition.  #7 BEYONDALLBOUNDARYS enters off a win in the Dearly Precious where she enjoyed a perfect setup but it’s clear that this filly is figuring things out and has found a niche as a mid-pack presser.  Trainer Tom Amoss has been victorious at Saratoga in the past as he took the Sanford with Backtalk in 2009.  With Rapport and a couple of others in here set to ensure a rapid early pace then this gal is going to be in position to capitalize.  PICKS: 5-3-7

Race 10, The Ballerina (G1)

Despite her remarkable consistency, #1 RIGHTLY SO is often overlooked as she was sent off at 12-1 in the Vagrancy then 7/2 in the Bed O’ Roses.  She won the latter with a determined stretch drive and she set very strong fractions in that event.  There was another 7f event for males on that card (N2X) which went 2/5ths of a second slower, so this gal and #5 QUALIA certainly ran bang-up races.  Five horses have run back from that race and three were victorious in their next start.  Four of the five improved their Beyer figure substantially (4 pts to 21 pts) so it has the look of a key race and taking the winner of such an event is never a bad idea.  #2 WARBLING lost all chance at the start of her last outing as she leapt in the air at the break and was relegated to last in the quintet.  She made a good late move but the eventual winner had enjoyed a perfect setup from just off the pace and was never going to be caught.  With a clean break and a more aggressive rider she should be within range from the start and it’s clear her best would make her a major factor in crunch time.  The aforementioned Qualia nearly took the top prize in her first foray into graded stakes races as she came up a head shy behind the top pick.  She was even money and had dead aim on Rightly So but came up short and will now have to find what kept her from tracking her down last time out.  A steady worktab for a strong barn makes her even more appealing.  PICKS: 1-2-5

Race 11, The King’s Bishop (G1)

#6 BANK MERGER will be in position to benefit most from the expected scorching pace in here as he exits a visually impressive win on opening day where he was left at the start and forced to rally from well behind the field.  Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is moving him up in class aggressively but he is 8 for his last 20 with graded stakes starters going 2nd off a layoff and coming off a win.  That shows you that the confidence the barn is showing is very significant and this guy cannot just be discarded as a mudlark who freaked with a good pace setup.   Look for him late at what will be a square price.  #4 DISCREETLY MINE will be asked to back up his tremendous Amsterdam victory with another strong effort as he seeks his first Grade I victory.  His win last time out was sensational as he stalked a hot pace then powered clear in crunch time, leaving his rivals in the dust.  The question marks on this guy include the fact that the frontrunners dominated in the Amsterdam and this will be this colt’s 3rd start in 8 weeks, the same setup that seemed to leave Devil May Care lacking one week ago.  There’s little concrete info to use against this guy but there are enough chinks in his armor to shop for alternatives in the Pick 4.  #5 BULLDOGGER is another looking to duplicate a breakthrough performance as he cruised in a N1X at this track two weeks ago.  He showed ample early speed in that event and is likely to get the lead once again today but there are at least two competitors in here who will make his life difficult on the front end.  If he can outlast Discreetly Mine and D’Funnybone and have something in the tank, it’s conceivable he’ll pick up his 2nd win in 3 Saturdays.  PICKS: 6-4-5

Race 12, The Travers (G1)

Will the public believe that #6 ICE BOX is capable of turning things around?  If not, then the Kentucky Derby runner-up could be dispatched at a bigger price than he was in the Run for the Roses.  He ran a dreadful race in the Belmont as it did not play out to his strengths in any way, shape or form then he was very dull in the Haskell.  As the pace goes, so goes this colt’s chances and his stablemate, plus a couple of other projected pacesetters will guarantee that this guy gets the setup that he needs.  The jockey change to Julien Leparoux is a positive as he is quite adept with horses from off the pace.  Look for this chestnut colt to be flying in the waning stages.  #2 TRAPPE SHOT was the 2nd choice in the Haskell last time out and he ran a very nice race to grab the place dough after encountering mild trouble at a couple of different points during the race.  He is a rapidly improving, talented colt who proved at the Shore that he can handle classic distances.  Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin being on the fence with regards to where he’d run was probably overblown as this race seemed like a no brainer following the Haskell.  He has the tactical speed to stay close and that’ll give him the jump on the one run plodders like the top pick.  #8 FLY DOWN encountered some trouble in the Jim Dandy, most of which was the fact that jockey Jose Lezcano kept him pinned down inside.  He is a big, long striding colt who needs to be kept in the clear and needs ample time to get his engine cranked.  The expected hot pace also works in his favor and you have to think he’ll be in position to move forward in his 2nd off a brief layoff.  If he floats up from his morning line price of 8-1 he easily becomes one of the most interesting wagering prospects in this deep and contentious field.  PICKS: 6-2-8

Whether you like sprints, 2YOs, maiden races, turf, graded stakes or anything else, there’s something in this card you can seek your teeth into this afternoon.  Remember that there’s a Pick 4 in the middle of today’s card in addition to the standard early (Races 2-5) and late (9-12) quads.  Best of luck and I’ll be back tomorrow to recap the day’s action!


Alabama, Million highlight nationwide action

August 21, 2010

There are three Saturdays left in the 2010 Saratoga meet and while that’s disappointing given that the tremendous racing at Spa is limited, but we still have a lot to be excited about over the next 16 days.  Today’s card is highlighted by the Alabama, pitting Devil May Care and Blind Luck against one another in a showdown that will go a long way towards determining the Eclipse Award winning 3YO filly. Click here for my analysis of the entire Saturday card at Saratoga.

Blind Luck and Devil May Care aren’t the only two superstars in search of glory this afternoon as Gio Ponti will be looking for his 2nd consecutive Arlington Million.  The Arlington card features four graded stakes races, which are linked together in a Pick 4 and a $300,000 guaranteed Pick 3 covers the three Grade I stakes (Secretariat, Beverly D, Million).  Here are my thoughts on the four graded stakes at AP:

Race 7, The GIII Stars and Stripes Turf (G3)

After seeing the entries for this race I was a tad surprised to see #2 PERFECT SHOWER headed here only 15 days after he finished a solid 2nd in the John’s Call at Saratoga.  He ran a very game race that afternoon as he surged late when finally clear after racing in traffic for about 11 of the 13 furlongs the field traveled.  Trainer Roger Attfield, who is known throughout the continent for his turf prowess, is 18% with turf horses coming back in 1-20 days and his ROI is $3.94.  Among the winners he’s had using that angle is this son of Perfect Soul, who won the biggest race of his career, the Breeders’ Stakes (3rd leg of Canadian Triple Crown) last year, only 15 days after he broke his maiden for a 25k tag!  Attfield worked this colt 5 panels on the turf at Woodbine and he’s facing softer today in this graded stake than he did in the John’s Call.  #4 MEMORIAL MANIAC is coming in off a win against optional claimers here at Arlington which was his 2nd victory at AP in his career.  If you go back to this gelding’s 2nd place finish in a N2X at Keeneland you’ll see that he slugged it out that afternoon with the top pick and the eventual winner, Winchester, who came out of that race to take the GI Manhattan Handicap.  This son of Lear Fan ran into trouble in his next two turf races at Churchill and those efforts sufficiently darken his form and make him a very good play at his morning line odds of 6-1.
PICKS: 2-4-5

Race 8, The Secretariat (G1)

One thing that seems like a certainty in this affair is that #4 WIGMORE HALL is not going off at his morning line price of 5-1.  His name has been on everyone’s tongues since they got a look at his 2010 record, his troubled trip win in the John Smiths Cup and read trainer Michael Bell talk about the difference in this son of High Chaparral since he was gelded.  Bell has shipped three horses into North America over the last five years with no success and it has to be considered a tad disconcerting that he told the Racing Post following the aforementioned Smiths Cup that this guy was in need of a vacation.  He’s now making his 2nd start since then but followed up the Smiths Cup with a handy win over a highly rated Godolphin 3YO named Chabal.  So what does that mean about this guy handling #1 PADDY O’ PRADO?  It’s undeniable that ‘Paddy had an absolutely perfect trip in the Virginia Derby last time and he probably feasted on competition that was not suited to ten furlongs.  He’ll meet the biggest challenge of his life today with the Euro invader certain to make an impression.  I’m using both.
PICKS: 1-4-7

Race 9, The Beverly D. (G1)

After hearing that #5 RAINBOW VIEW would be scratched, an already wide open event became virtually inscrutable as a tremendously well matched group of fillies and mares will square off.  I liked #2 HOT CHA CHA in the Modesty Handicap and knew she’d be up against it pace-wise with the late Tuscan Evening likely to set a very slow pace.  That’s exactly what happened but this daughter of Cactus Ridge stayed on gamely in the stretch to save the show dough and is set to get a much better pace setup this afternoon.  I can’t abandon her now and will hesitantly take her in a race that truly gives you little on which to make a strong opinion.  #10 AVE enters this affair off of a narrow miss in the Dance Smartly at Woodbine in what wound up being a rather strange race when you watch it and view the fractions.  After a slow opening quarter, the internal fractions were exceptionally fast before the field finished the final three furlongs in an ordinary :37.  She has a good late kick and should offer some value in a race that will have a favorite in the 5-1 range.
PICKS: 2-10-1

Race 10, The Arlington Million (G1)

#6 GIO PONTI entered last year’s Arlington Million on an impressive 3 race winning streak and he absolutely throttled the competition in this event.  He’s lost a bit of the luster he had last year as he needed every yard to get up over a huge longshot in the Man O’ War last time out but he ran squarely against race dynamics in that event.  He is once again a deserving favorite but meets a much stronger Euro contingent than he ever has before.  #9 TAZEEZ hasn’t won in over 16 months but has faced top company across the pond this year with a very strong 3rd place finish in the Prince of Wales at the rich Royal Ascot meet.  He was bested that afternoon by two of Europe’s top turf horses, Byword and Twice Over, and the latter came back to take a Group I event in his next start.  This son of Silver Hawk is not your typical European as he does his best running on the lead and should be forwardly placed from the start.  Americans got acquainted with trainer John Gosden two years ago when he scored with Raven’s Pass in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and his roots here are still significant.  You can expect him to have this gelding ready to roll.
PICKS: 9-6-10

In the All-Stakes Pick 4, I’ll play: 2,4 with 1,4 with 1,2,6,7,8,9,10 with 6,9,10     TOTAL: 84

Best of luck with the Million and the entire Arlington card, along with the Saratoga program.  See you back tomorrow for a recap and a look at the Sunday Saratoga card!  Here’s a look at Gio Ponti’s 2009 Arlington Million victory to whet your appetite for this afternoon’s festivities:

Spa Midway Report Card

August 17, 2010

We’re a bit more than halfway through the 2010 Saratoga meet with 22 of 40 days in the books.  Now’s a good time to look back at some of the best of what we’ve seen and also the worst.  Here are my thoughts:


Trainer – Even if he goes winless over the next 18 days (and that’s unlikely) the 2010 meet will be one Chad Brown always remembers.  His 12 wins at the young meet, including 6 with first time starters, is an incredibly impressive mark and considering he only has one win in an allowance/optional claimer, you can bet his horses have plenty of conditions left. Of course, I’d be remiss in not mentioning trainer Todd Pletcher, who’s currently atop the standings, but he was expected to be there.  He is a heavy favorite to re-claim the title he did not win in 2007, 2008 or 2009.

Jockey – John Velazquez has benefited from his relationship with Pletcher as he’s picked up 15 wins for his barn alone.  Javier Castellano gets the honor as best jockey thus far as he’s been successful for a rather diverse portfolio of clients at this meet, including Chad Brown and mainstays like George Weaver.  This meet has continued a renaissance in Castellano’s career as he struggled through much of 2009 before putting together a very strong Gulfstream meet earlier this year.

2YO – It might have taken until today to see the best 2YO of the meet as Kantharos was very impressive winning the Saratoga Special over a slow track.  Other impressive 2YOs we’ve seen include Wine Police, who broke his maiden at first asking on the 2nd day of the meet.  Among the fillies, it’s tough to look past Position Limit, who won the Adirondack impressively on Sunday.  Other impressive maiden winners include Skylord (colt), who scored at first asking for trainer Todd Pletcher and is a half to stakes winning turfer Sky Cape and Maple Forest (filly), another Pletcher trainee who broke her maiden on the same afternoon as Skylord.

3YO – This remains to be seen but as of right now, the top dog in this category is A Little Warm.  With Lookin at Lucky skipping the Travers, Winslow Homer sidelined, and Trappe Shot lacking a bit of the luster he had leading into the Haskell, you have to stick with the Jim Dandy winner, who has now won two route races in a row for trainer Tony Dutrow.  It’s a tenuous lead that he holds in this category and the Travers is shaping up a formidable test.  In terms of 3YO sprinters, there’s no doubt that Discreetly Mine has moved to the head of this class.  He scored a smashing victory in the Amsterdam and was so impressive that the connections of Tahitian Warrior and Trappe Shot have all but opted out of facing him in the King’s Bishop.

OLDER FEMALE – This category is incomplete given that the Personal Ensign won’t take place until August 29.  Sure, Malibu Prayer is the best older female we’ve seen at the meet but she’s not even the best distaffer in the Todd Pletcher barn.  This award will almost certainly go to whomever wins the aforementioned Personal Ensign.

OLDER MALE – Perhaps trainer Al Stall could have asked Eddie Murphy to show up at Saratoga on August 7th and use his famous line from 48 Hours, proclaiming “There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Blame.”  To the surprise of many, Blame knocked off Quality Road in the Whitney and, at least temporarily, put himself at the top of the handicap division.  Don’t fret Quality Road fans, the Whitney was Blame’s time to shine and he still has an opportunity to get back in the mix in the Woodward on September 4.

TURF – The beat kept on going for Proviso in the Diana as she put together her 3rd consecutive Grade I score on the grass.  It remains to be seen where Proviso fits into the Breeders’ Cup mix as I’m among those that think 1 3/8 miles is roughly a 1/4 mile more than she likes.  No matter where she lands, she’ll be a tough customer.  Among the males Get Stormy rambled home a convincing winner in the Fourstardave as he subjugated his rivals with a frontrunning score.  He will be seen again at this meet in the Bernard Baruch, where he will once again be considered a heavy favorite.


Jockey – Jose Lezcano.  After a solid Belmont spring-summer meet many (including me for the 2nd year in a row) expected Lezcano to have a breakthrough Saratoga meet.  It has been anything but as he has only four winners through the first 22 programs.  The most disconcerting thing about that stat is that he’s ridden only one winner for Chad Brown, who has all but discarded Lezcano at this meet.

Trainer – He’s a professional and one of the game’s greats, but Nick Zito is having a meet he’d like to soon forget.  He’s 0-23 and has had basically nothing go his way, from Fly Down’s defeat in the Jim Dandy to two drop down maiden claimers getting beaten handily on Monday afternoon.  I’m certain Zito will break out of his slump soon but right now it seems endless.

Horses – It’s tough to get classified as a disappointment when you lose a prestigious Grade I by a head but Quality Road barreled into Saratoga ready to stamp himself the leading older male in the game and Blame ruined his fun.  He is slated to return in the Woodward and restore some of the lost luster and let’s hope he does.

Here’s some of what we have to look forward to over the next 7 days:

August 19 – 100k guaranteed Pick 6.  Four lucky fans on-track can win a place on the Serling Syndicate.  Click here for details.

August 20 – Fabulous Fillies Day at Saratoga with fundraising activities for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

August 21 – The $500,000 TVG/Betfair Alabama (G1) and $500,000 guaranteed Pick 4; Beginning of the 2010 Travers Festival

August 22 – The $150,000 Lake Placid (G2) featuring the best 3YO filly grasser in the country, Brereton Jones’ Check the Label

Sword Dancer, Stay Thirsty, million dollar babies

August 14, 2010

4:01 PM: Chad Brown continued his onslaught with first time starters at this meet, picking up his 6th win of the meet with a debuting runner.

The Pick 4 is still one race away but it’s worth noting that #11 STAY THIRSTY appears as if he’ll be a heavy favorite in the first leg.  The daily double from the favorite in Race 7, #8 CHAIRMAN NOW, is paying a $10 bill as of this moment.

My pick is #9 BAATESH, who will be making his 2nd start on the turf after a credible debut sprinting at Belmont.  Good luck!

3:25 PM: It’s the 4th Saturday at Saratoga and we’re right in the midst of the 11 race program.  A couple of deep and competitive MSW races for 2YOs are coming up and the 7th is for older maidens going a mile on the inner turf.

The Sword Dancer is the featured event on this program and one scratch leaves us with a field of nine.  My top pick is #6 BEARPATH, who had a tough trip in the Man O’ War and looks to offer value in this wide-open field.

I’ll be back to check in throughout the day with various thoughts. As for the upcoming 6th race, #5 DYNAMIC HOLIDAY is my pick as he’s a half to Cat Park, a colt who won his turf debut for this outfit last fall at Keeneland.  #3 MY SPARKY is a firster worth a look as there’s some turf in the damside of his pedigree and the barn he hails from has scored with a debuting runner at each of the last two meets.  Good luck!

Wonders await with Whitney loaded with Quality

August 7, 2010

The first Saturday card featuring two Grade I stakes races is on tap Saturday (there will be three in total) and the best horse in North America is going postward in the Whitney Handicap.

Quality Road will look to continue his march to the Horse of the Year crown this afternoon as he brings in a 3-3 record, which includes a tremendous victory in the Donn Handicap back in February and a highly impressive Met Mile tally just over two months ago.  This is his first of two scheduled appearances at Saratoga and if you remember back to his first race at the old Spa, it’s clear he really likes this surface.  He scored in the Amsterdam last year in track record time then failed twice going long on sloppy tracks.  The forecast is ideal for Saturday and the track will be fast.

Can Quality Road be beaten today?  That’s the question you have to ask yourself when betting the race because the opportunities to make money with him in vertical wagers are awfully scant.  Blame brings in the best credentials as he’s on a four-race winning streak of his own going back to two wins vs. elders in 2009.  He took the Stephen Foster last time out in his first Grade I try as he ran down a loose leader on a track that favored speed.  Blame’s rally that day makes him the type of horse you have to admire as he worked against the individual race dynamics in the Foster.  However, it doesn’t really look like what is necessary for him to knock off a horse like Quality Road is going to happen today.  He’ll benefit if the pace gets hot and that will ultimately depend on how much pressure Haynesfield and jockey Ramon Dominguez put on the big favorite.

Musket Man is going to get a great deal of support at the windows as he’s shown remarkable consistency in a career where he’s been in the money in every start.  I believe he’s better around one turn as he showed in a narrow miss in the Carter and a 2nd place finish to Quality Road in the Met Mile.  He’ll get the jump on Blame but has never really had the closing kick needed to take a race like this.

Haynesfield is one of the best NY breds we’ve seen in recent years as he scored a G2 victory in the Suburban last time out.  As I mentioned, the burden of being Quality Road’s accompaniment through the opening half-mile falls on this guy’s shoulders and somehow stepping up and running by the burly son of Elusive Quality after tracking him would be a feat the likes of which Haynesfield has never pulled off.

So, basically, your best choices in terms of wagering today are to determine who you like in the wide-open Test and the competitive Hattie Moseley, which go as races 8 and 9 on the 11 race program.  #4 SNOW TOP MOUNTAIN is going to be favored in the Moseley as she enters off of consecutive 2nd place finishes against G3 competition.  She has a big closing kick and is likely to get the pace setup she needs to be successful today.  I’m using her in the Pick 4 along with #5 SEA ROAD, who has been freshened after a dull effort at Monmouth in late May.  She’s already won twice going long on the grass off of similar layoffs and trainer Stanley Hough has worked her smartly in the morning.

The Test lost some of its luster when morning line favorite Franny Freud was declared on Thursday afternoon.  What’s left behind is a wide-open group that has 6 or 7 legitimate win candidates.  The large amount of speed should set things up well for #2 BUCKLEUPBUTTERCUP, a G3 winner who comes into this event off of a 2nd place finish in the Azalea at Calder.  She rallied well last time out to finish 2nd and should greatly benefit from the added furlong she’ll go today.  #9 CHRISTINE DAAE is a longshot I’m using as she goes 3rd off a layoff for trainer Patrick Biancone and exits a narrow miss against older fillies before a dull effort against males.  She has always shown talent and might just be returning to the trip that she excels at, seven panels on the main track.

Best of luck to you in your wagering endeavors today!  Don’t forget that the West Virginia Derby is also this afternoon as well as the Hambletonian for those of you of the harness racing persuasion.  Click here to read my full-card analysis for today, available each and every NYRA racing day at!

Carryover, Stormy, So Elite, Belle spotlight Sunday

August 1, 2010

1:09 PM – The wreckage left behind by longshot wins from Settle for Medal and Arcodoro includes a carryover of better than 80k for Sunday’s 10 race program.  A rare Sunday card that features three stakes races, two graded and one overnight event, will give punters interested in the Pick 6 a great opportunity to take down a big score.

Some of the highlights along the way include a tough opening leg of the Pick 6 as a full field of maiden claimers will sprint 5.5 panels on the grass.  The favorite will be #5 ATLANTIC BEAUTY, who debuted against much tougher at Belmont and now takes the biggest class drop in racing for trainer Rick Dutrow.  I also like #9 KEITH’S KITTEN, who drops a notch in class for her second off a lengthy layoff.  The turf savvy barn of Mike Maker must always be given extra consideration and his main man Julien Leparoux is riding this daughter of Kitten’s Joy.

Race 6 will now have a field of 11 after the scratch of #10 SILK ROUTE, who was the 2nd choice on the morning line.  Saturday’s races on the inner turf course were dominated by speed and it’s tough to determine who’s going to be on the lead in this affair.  One filly who will be close early is #5 DOE RUN, who returns from a brief layoff for trainer Will Phipps.  She was bested last out by the hard-knocking NY bred Ms Stilleto and this gal showed increased early zip in that race.  Jockey David Cohen is not riding many favorites but he’s shown he can ride the weeds with the best of this colony and you can count on him putting this filly in the right spot.  The favorite #3 IT’S TEA TIME is an obvious “use” in the Pick 6 as well as #8 QUEEN HAZEL.

Race 7 is the Fourstardave and is now a field of 7 with the scratches of both halves of Patrick Biancone’s entry along with #5 CHEROKEE ARTIST, as each of those three will contest the Oceanport Handicap at Monmouth.   The scratch of Cherokee Artist means #2 GET STORMY will be loose on the lead and that will make him extremely tough to catch.  He’s a single in the Pick 6 for me and he’s likely to be an overlay as his poor Canadian effort will drive many players away.

The Curlin will determine how the other half lives as it’ll be the 2nd race for 3YOs of the weekend at the Spa with the big boys having gone yesterday in the Jim Dandy.  I am intrigued by #7 SO ELITE, who will be making his first start on dirt this afternoon for trainer Mark Casse, who conditioned the 2nd place finisher in Wednesday’s Lake George.  This guy’s damside pedigree is full of dirt winners and Casse has a positive ROI with dirt starters over the last two years.  If this guy can get out of the gate and track the pace, he’ll be dangerous from start to finish.

The Ruffian Handicap is between #1 MALIBU PRAYER and #2 UNRIVALED BELLE.  The former enters off a win in the Lighthouse at Monmouth as she dominated a rather soft field from start to finish.  Unrivaled Belle defeated Rachel Alexandra two starts back in the Louisville on Kentucky Oaks day then lost to Life at Ten in the Ogden Phipps as the 3/5 favorite.  She was compromised by a strong speed bias on June 11 and that certainly aided Life at Ten along the way.  I am confident Unrivaled Belle will turn things around this afternoon.

The nightcap is a 2 horse race as #6 MY TWO CENTS and #11 JACKY JUICE look to be significantly better than any rivals they’ll meet today.  The latter hails from the hottest barn around and endured a tough trip in her debut, which has precipitated a drop in class.

Good luck if you’re getting involved in the Pick 6 today or in whatever wager(s) you choose.  Click here for my full-card analysis, which is available each and every NYRA racing day!