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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Saratoga Friday

- The boys at the Special appear to be slacking a bit as the meet comes to a close, and never updated their website, so I'm going to go ahead and post my picks for Friday's twilight card here below; I hope they don't mind. I'm a little afraid to do so because my picks on this site have been rather crappy lately. But I did have three winners in the paper today, and two of them, D J Lightning ($9) and Bar City ($11.80), paid decent prices, though since they were first-time starters, they were essentially a guess. (The other was the latest winner from the Motion barn, La Neige, who was the easiest kind of winner at 8-5, with Ramon Dominguez merely a passenger in the final eighth mile.)

Mt Orient was another winner for the George Weaver barn, its 4th in the last week. This guy was 0 for 19 on August 19, and has won six races with his next 19 since then. On Friday, he has horses running in two races; he has a pair of first-timers on the grass, by Giant's Causeway and More Than Ready (the latter out of a Polish Numbers mare), both with Tomlinsons in the 350's. And in the With Anticipation, don't count out Pulla Fast One, who was extremely impressive winning here on Aug 19 at 21-1. He was wide on both turns, and glided around horses easily turning for home, got the lead, took a little bobble step, and came home in a bit less than six seconds for the last sixteenth.

Gotta go, I'll be back later with some more from Thursday's card; but in the meantime, here's the picks for Friday:

Race 1 – SEVENTEEN LOVE rebounded with a nice rail-skimming win here last month, holding off Rizzi's Twist, an authoritative winner of her next race. SMOKIN SARAH checked in third behind a couple of solid state-breds running third in a stakes. WHAT'S YOUR POINT has made his with two straight wins while climbing the ladder, and moves up again first time off the claim for Contessa.

Race 2 – Watch the tote for some clues in this state-bred maiden claimer loaded with debut runners. SIR SHEFFIELD is by the second year sire Outofthebox, thus far successful with debut runners, out of the razor sharp Richard Schosberg barn. EL TAMBERITO has some bullet works at Philly Park for trainer Anthony Dutrow. ONE LITTLE SECRET drops in for a tag after three well-bet tries in maiden special company.

Race 3 – EGYPT LANE has moved significantly up in class after switching barns (to William Badgett), jockeys (to Edgar Prado) and surfaces (dirt to turf). Moves up in class after a fast closing win here, and while a similar fast pace isn't assured, four solid works since her last indicate that she's held her form. ZAYNAB has been close, but hasn't won in his last eight, six of those as the favorite. She's the type I tend to keep from the top of my tickets, but she's generally good for a share. SWEET RANSOM is sharp for leading trainer Bill Mott, but cutback in distance demands odds higher than you're likely to see.

Race 4 – RED HOT POKER makes his monthly start, though he barely squeezes it in. He could also squeeze out a win dropping for a tag after three solid tries in maiden special company since switching to today's rider Julien Leparoux. MIKE'S DREAM TEAM had good energy closing wide and zig-zagging down the center of the track in a very green 4th place finish far from behind; also drops for a tag. FREGATA also rallied from far back, and did so after being left at the gate; looks possible for a share despite a big move up in class.

Race 5 – STASHED AWAY has returned after nine months on the shelf for trainer Timothy Ritvo with two fine efforts despite traffic trouble in the stretch each time; third try of the form cycle from a good post today. SURVIVED drops sharply in class for Allen Jerkens; this filly was beaten less than four lengths by Grade 1 winner Rutherienne just in June. SEEING CLEARLY arguably has better form at Suffolk than did Dr. Rico, a 31-1 surprise in this very class on Sunday.

Race 6 – BOSTON CAT was well-meant when she encountered trouble at the start, and was forced to angle extremely wide in the stretch before finishing with a flurry; stretch out in distance would seem to be an obvious help. George Weaver sends out a pair of first-timers in GIPSY LORE, by Giant's Causeway, and MISS CHALLENGE, by More Than Ready, both of whom have been working on the lawn and have the pedigree for this. OUR DREAMETTE has shown good speed in grass sprints and could be tough to catch stretching out is left alone on the lead.

Race 7 – STORM DIXIE actually did rather well to finish just over five lengths back in her last when solidly four wide both turns in a race which has produced two winners and two seconds. She raced well prior in an overnight stakes and seems well spotted here for the Pletcher barn. DARING DREAMER has put in good efforts in each of her four grass starts, and, benefiting from an inside trip, checked in two lengths in front of the top choice last time out. AS DO I raced well enough in her first three starts to figure she just had a bad day when she faded to 9th in her last.

Race 8 – ZEE ZEE, by Exchange Rate, coupled with the filly SHERENE, just cruised past the field four wide in his debut under a highly confident Kent Desormeaux, and then responded when roused, turning back Showing Up's baby half-sister. Steps right up to the With Anticipation for leading trainer Bill Mott. SEA CHANTER is another filly; this daughter of War Chant was out of the money at 3-10 at Colonial in her last try, after winning her debut impressively at Belmont. Stonerside homebred has a Phipps-influenced pedigree that suggests she'll stretch out. REBOUNDED rebounded after almost falling turning for home to win his debut for the sharp Barclay Tagg barn; looks to have a shot for at least a share, but so does nearly every other runner in the race, so insist on value.

Race 9 – BRAVE EMPEROR drops in for a tag after an OK third in maiden specials, and gets the rail and Kent Desormeaux for Bill Mott; prospect of short price, but a dangerous combination to ignore. PAY IN KIND also takes a class drop and tries grass for the first time; direct descendant of the influential broodmare Glowing Tribute has green in her blood. STAR STUDDED has been finishing well at this level and begs inclusion towards the bottom of your exotics tickets.


TripleCrownRacing said...

Are you doing Saturday's Picks as well? I'm asking because I need serious help concerning the late pick four...

ljk said...

Where did everybody go? There were dozens of EMPTY picnic tables today.

Maybe it was the 5 two year old filly races.

Baffert unveiled the next Chilukki with Indian Blessing today.

Alan Mann said...

Brian - You need help from me? I don't really think so. But I am at least doing the detailed stakes analysis of the Forego and Woodward, and picks for the selection box as well. As of this moment, I'm leaning towards making Chatain my pick in the Forego....and I'm sticking with the obvious Lawyer Ron in the Woodward in an effort to avoid an embarrassing shutout in my stakes picks in the Special this season, ugh.

Alan Mann said...

ljk - Welcome to closing week at Saratoga. The crowds there this week have been rather typical, if not up a bit. And these state-bred maiden claimers don't help.

Anonymous said...

NYRA combining the With Anticipation/PG Johnson Stakes has made for an interesting feature.

Odd the filly version could not fill on it's own, guess they were all afraid of Zee Zee (and Todd's filly too).

The chauvinsitic side of me is begging me to use the logical males, Rebounded(7), Caravel(8) (who would not be a maiden if not for the DQ phobic stewards upstate), and the stretching out High Appeal(3), who may appreciate the rock hard, dust producing, speed favoring "turf" course the most.


Mr. Ed

Valerie Grash said...

Alan, did you notice that Motion lost La Neige to a claim in that race, and Richard Dutrow is running him back on SUNDAY in the G3 Saranac? I've heard of quick turn-arounds, but 3 days seems a bit much...

Alan Mann said...

Valerie - I hadn't noticed that. And not surprised to see Dutrow run him back in three days. He's done that before, and even ran a horse - I forget his name - on back to back days a year or two ago.