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Friday, July 27, 2012

Saratoga (Early) Saturday

A couple of the early races, will try to get back with the stakes races at some point:

In the first, Big Screen (5-1) returns to a two-turn dirt route for trainer Tom Albertrani, looking (as of this writing) for his first Spa win of the year (came close with 15-1 Better Lucky in the Lake George on Wed).  Three-year old son of Speightstown has done by far his best running under these conditions, and progressed well in Florida after graduating while keeping some pretty good company.  culminating in a narrow loss in the Calder Derby behind graded stakes placed Good Morning Diva.  Comfortable tossing last two, the one-turn Peter Pan and the grassy Hill Prince, both graded stakes; class relief should suit here.  This Hard Land (15-1) showed major improvement against state-breds in the spring, then disappointed in open company, but may have bounced after two fast races; money prospects here.  Westshore (3-1) ships in and drops in class for trainer James Baker, who is an interesting case.  Barn is just 4 for 46 overall at Saratoga, but three of them came in the last two weeks here last year.  He's one of two horses in this field to have run second in the Curlin.   The other is prospective favorite Raison d'Etat (5-2), the horse to beat off his effort in that stakes here last summer, but he'll be overbet making his first start since January for Mott.

In the 4th, Crown the Chief (9-2) drops from 30K to 20K off the claim for Bruce Levine, who won with his last two starters (as of this writing).  Good off-the-claim barn is five-for 10 when dropping in tag by 50% off a claim, which I know doesn't quite fit the math in this case (one of my very few pet peeves about Formulator is that this is the only available criteria for drops in claim price), but perhaps serves as an indication of his intentions.  Additionally, Castellano, who rode for Contessa last time out, not only sticks around, but jumps off a live contender in Runawayeightyfour to do so.  Beat three of these in that last race, finishing a solid second to class dropping even money favorite The Fed Eased.  Can easily outrun the other speed types based on Moss figs, and has shown ability to sit slightly off the pace as well.  Solid prospects here, though that morning line seems a pipe dream.   Laysh Laysh Laysh (4-1) returns to the David Jacobson barn after a three-year absence.  Thrived for R. Dutrow since then, winning a stakes and narrowly missing in a G2 last year.  Been dropping steadily down the claiming ladder of late though, and does so off the claim here for a barn which surely knows how to place them; would hardly be a surprise if he recaptures his old magic for his old trainer.  Coffee Boy (7-2) ships from CD and also drops, for leading trainer (AOTW) Asmussen.  Been burning quite a lot of money of late and we'll stand against here.