Saratoga Short Notes Review: 8-4 and 8-6

SARATOGA SHORT NOTES REVIEW

A Race By Race Review Of Saratoga Races
Monday 8/4 & Wednesday 8/6

Monday 8/4

Race 1—Another of what appears to be this year’s “filler” race for the secretary this 9 furlong main track NYSB entry level allowance resulted in a strung out field of plodders with 6-5 favorite One Cat’s Chance pressing the pace setter early, taking over at the 3/8ths pole and drawing off by 6½ lengths. Beyond Empire was 7 lengths in front of the show horse who was 3 in front of the 4th place finisher, etc. etc. There has been little to take from these races run at 9 furlongs over the main track since the beginning of the meet so it is probably better to just ignore them.

Race 2—Sometimes things do come in small packages. David Cannizzo won his 3rd race from 7 starts at the meet as he sent out PARX shipper Greg’s Intuition to a front running victory in a NYSB 40K maiden claiming sprint. It was the first start for the conditioner, first out of MSW ranks and the runner took plenty of late money to go off the favorite. The second third and fourth place finishers, Hampden Fiveone, Bryce Bryce Baby and Gettigan’s Baby all came out of the same 7/12 maiden claiming sprint at Belmont where they finished 4th, 2nd and 3rd respectively and were separated by a head in a blanket finish for the place spot. Worth following in another 40K restricted maiden claimer.

Race 3—Third straight favorite got top honors as Mark My Way tracked a slow early pace in the one mile New York Stallion Series Stakes over the Inner Turf. Cornelio Velasquez, who has done very well at the meet with a limited number of mounts (see article on True Jockey Value posted Monday) kept the 3-year old out of trouble while 3 wide on the far turn, moved up entering the stretch and gradually wore down the opposition before drawing away at the sixteenth pole. It was the third career win from 5 turf starts and the gelding appears good enough to compete against open entry level allowance foes. Free Mugatu rallied smartly from the rear in the 7 horse field and is still eligible for restricted second level allowance foes while third place finisher Prophet’s Cat was beaten just a nose and is still entry level qualified.

Race 4—In this 9 furlong MSW turf test Iced Over settled in close pursuit early on, waited patiently and at the quarter pole moved three wide and wore down the front runners to claim the victory. It was the 4th career start for the son of Utopia and second on turf and around two turns. He should improve moving forward. But the best performance was turned in by runner up longshot Talladega. The Street Her gelding was making his career debut and after getting caught 3 wide going to the first turn dropped to the rear. He continued there down the back stretch and came out again on the far turn, dropped to the inside again entering the lane and ran with the winner late while inside that one and between rivals. That he was only beaten a half length speaks volumes as to his prospects. Blue Shark set a decent pace until deep stretch and gave way grudgingly while well clear of the fourth place finisher.

Race 5—It has been a struggle for David Jacobson in the early days of the meet but last out claim Italian Rules hopefully got him going with a sharp pressing win vs 40K rivals in a 6 furlong sprint. Part of an entry with Immortal Eyes the winner sat just off that one as the entry ran 1-2 from the gate into the lane before the winner passed his entry mate and drew off while that one continued on for the show after also getting passed late by Doubledown Again who was in third behind the entry throughout before moving up. Favored Frazil, who has to be on or near the front end to have any impact reared at the start, broke last and never had any intention of getting involved from the back. It was the second straight time Frazil broke badly so follow closely.

Race 6—In the filly division of the New York Stallion Stakes, longshot Selenite got a dream trip in the one mile turf event and swept by on the outside to take top honors over a number of rivals that had compromised trips. Selenite had shown enough past form that 10-1 was probably an overlay after just one bad race but nonetheless, Old Harbor and Henry’s Gal, who set much faster fractions than the boys did in their division (and contributed to a faster final time), did well to hold second and third. Funky Monkey Fever was away awkwardly, battled to find her best stride through the first half mile, eventually got into gear but had to go 3 wide on the far turn and 5 wide into the lane before picking up her pave late. In addition, Takeoff Your Hat broke close up along the inside, was pinned on the rail all the way down the backstretch while just off the pace, continued to attend the front runners as they entered the lane but was never able to get off the rail or lengthen her stride. The hole opened briefly and she began to move but just as quickly a rival came over and she steadied back off the pace and lost all momentum. It was her first start since mid-May and she is still eligible for the restricted second allowance level so is worth a look if she races back during the meet or early in the Belmont meet.

Race 7—This was another of those NW2L mid-level turf sprint claimers that produce all sorts of from reversals. After a rapid pace set by PARX longshot shipper Player To Be Named, whose lone career turf race was a 40 lengths beaten effort, longshots Rumble Doll ($35.60), who had shown little late kick at 7 furlongs on dirt in his last pair came roaring from last of 10 to draw away inside the sixteenth pole while 1 for 18 overall and 1 for 12 on turf Datt’s Da Boss rallied from the back as well to outgun the 9-10 favored Thundering Gale, who was a non-threatening third after getting bumped from both sides at the break and probably rushed to early as she was already under a drive when they reached the top of the lane. There are no tougher races…or as you can see by the payoffs…more high paying races than these 5½ furlong turf sprints.

Race 8—This NYSB non-conditioned mile turf allowance race was a rider’s race from the start as the jockeys played cat-and-mouse through very slow early fractions for the level. Velasquez put turf sprinter Double The Energy on the early lead and tried to slow it down while pressed by Lady Luciano, who had sprinted on dirt in her previous three and was making her turf debut. Double The Energy soon put her presser away and as she took the field through a pedestrian :49 3/5 half mile eventual winner Invading Humor joined her at the quarter pole. With plenty left after the slow fractions those two then began the sprint to the wire while Stock Fund, a committed closer who was most compromised by the slow pace had to wait briefly behind runners in the lane but when she got out she rallied steadily to get within a half length of the winner late. She was definitely best and is in good form so is worth coming back to.

Race 9Photon made it 2-for-2 at the same 20K claiming level since moving to the Diane Balsamo barn with a strong late rally in the 6 furlong test. The connections might consider themselves fortunate that the stewards didn’t take a look or there was no claim of foul by third place finisher Ancient Rome, who was slammed solidly by the winner leaving the gate, bobbled badly after that and dropped back to dead last and was allowed to settle into stride and run on his own as he eventually continued a mild rally for the show spot. John Kimmel dropper Sense Of Peace was just off the pace-setter Lucci The Lion, who bolted on the turn and was pulled up, and had a clear lead entering the lane before being run down late by the winner while 3½ lengths clear of the troubled Ancient Rome.

Favored Cast A Doubt was down on the inside and might have been better placed by John Velazquez but still had no answer when urged entering the lane.  There were four claims out of the race. The winner went to Rudy Rodriguez, the runner up was taken by Neal Terracciano, 4th place finisher Reserved Quality was haltered by Mike Trombetta and Cast A Doubt joins the barn of Abigail Adgit.

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Wednesday, 8/6

Race 1—Steeplechase

Race 2Moonluck made first start since October and third start of career vs 20K maiden claimers and validated the 3-5 ML with easy 4¾ length victory at 7-10. Hey Kid ran second for the second straight time at the level and the remaining 3 in the race scratched down to 5 runners from original 8 produced little else. Moonluck was claimed by David Jacobson, the runner up by Kevin McCarthy and also ran Boss man by Abigail Adgit.

Race 3—The claim box was busy again in this 25K mile and an eighth claimer as Conspiracy shipped up from Ellis Park, dropped in class and lay just off the early pace before drawing clear in the final furlong as the 5-2 favorite. He was claimed by Gary Contessa from Bruce Brown who saddled him first time in his barn. Spring Court and Dynamical, who ran third and fourth in a common 35K mile claimer at Belmont on July 6th checked in second and third, with the former rallying from last of 7 and the latter setting the pace before tiring. The latter was claimed by Merrill Scherer and disappointing second choice Cease who continues to drop in class to no avail was haltered by Jason Service. This was another plodding fractions 9 furlong race that leaves little hint moving forward.

Race 4—The 5½ furlong juvenile 75K maiden claimer went to one of only two experienced runners in the 6 horse field. Thirtypiecesofsilver made a quick turnaround after running up the track here vs MSW foes in his debut at 32-1 but was nonetheless sent off as the second favorite behind first time starter Jet Alley. The Wesley Ward trained ridgeling son of Badge Of Silver raced greenly once again after taking a bad step, racing a bit wide on the turn and lugging in a bit in the lane while putting his head in front. First time starter Dangerous Cowboy was with the pace from the start, had every chance to hold the winner at bay in deep stretch but fell a ½ length short while 3 clear of the show horse. Favored Jet Alley lunged at the break, bobbled shortly thereafter and never left his back of the pack position. New trainer David Jacobson took Jet Alley for the 75K and will have some work to do.

Race 5—Second level allowance/optional 62.5K turf sprint went to Quay in a well timed rally that just got there at the wire. It was a good effort considering the cut back in distance from 7 and 6 furlongs in her previous two, in which she just failed with similar late rallies. The Tapit filly seems to be getting even sharper as a sprinter but with conditions dwindling she may have to stretch out again. Brian Lynch shipper Kiama turned in a sharp effort as well as she lay off the pace set by Subtle and Sweetmarys Success, collared those two in mid-stretch and got the lead before grudgingly giving way to the winner while clear of the show horse. After setting what should have been a manageable pace at the level favored Subtle gave way readily and showed once again that she struggles outside NYSB races. It was Kiama’s first race in 7 weeks and first away from Woodbine so if Lynch gets her in vs these or comparable before the meet ends, she is a definite play.

Race 6—It is a rare occasion when a juvenile filly as good as Hard To Stay Notgo is such a well kept secret but that was the case in this NYSB 6 furlong MSW test. This debut daughter of More Than Ready was a monster as she broke right to the lead, was under a hand ride down the back stretch and on the turn, continued on her own to open a 5 length lead in mid-stretch and coasted under the wire in 1:11 2/5. The performance was even more amazing by the James Jerkens trainee seeing that she was head-strong early, held tightly by jockey Alvarado and wrapped up inside the sixteenth pole. If she stays through NYSB condition she wins odds-on but won despite racing greenly and looks good enough for open stakes company. Runner up firster Sweetpollypure bred turned in a credible effort for the place. She was in a bit of traffic early and bumped a bit in the stretch and continued on well. She’ll not face the likes of the winner next time so should win soon.

Race 7—Dogged battle between Kitten’s Queen and Flamingo Lane inside the furlong marker went to the former by a neck. Kitten’s Queen settled off the pace set by Flamingo Lane, who was seeking her 4th win in a row as she moved up the claiming latter and faced entry level allowance rivals in this 9 furlong turf affair and managed to wear that one down in the final jumps. The runner up was on the lead with pressure from the break, put away her main pressure and when the winner moved alongside it appeared as though Flamingo Lane would fade. But she still had something left and fought to the wire well clear of the show runner. Third place finisher Precarious got a good ground saving trip, moved out when the real running started but wasn’t able to sustain the drive. The final time of 1:48 1/5 was good for the level.

Race 8—After just missing in race 5 with his other Woodbine shipper, Kiama, trainer Brian Lynch sent his second one and this time got the job done as Silver Freak went wire-to-wire to easily control a good field of second level allowance mile turf rivals. The Badge Of Silver gelding is now 8-3-2-3 in his career as he beat the gate, opened a clear 2 length lead and kept that margin all the way around the course. Joe’s Blazing Aaron took up the chase followed closely by Middleburg and when the former gave up the battle at the 3/8ths pole the latter took over and followed the winner home while 2 lengths clear of the late rallying Helm. Middleburg has been equally consistent with a 9-2-4-2 turf mark and should eclipse this level soon. Longshot Brickyard Kitten had all sorts of trouble at the break, was steadied when looking for room from the back of the pack moving towards the far turn and altered course while rallying. All and all he did well to get fourth so is probably worth following.

Race 9—Four late scratches took the featured John’s Call Stakes marathon down to a field of six and Tricky Hat reached deep for class in what was probably his softest spot of the year and managed to survive a finish that saw 4 horses finish with a length of each other after playing cat and mouse through a 1:16 six furlongs and 1:41 mile in the 13 furlong race.

Race 10—The fact that Island Therapy finally got his first career win in start number 10 when he faced 40K NYSB maiden claimers and did so as the favorite without dropping in class tells you just about everything you need to know about the field. Class notwithstanding Island Therapy ran 20 lengths slower than Silver Freak did at the same distance an hour earlier and did so in a tandem rally from the back of the 10 horse field with runner up Sole Train, who he beat by 2 ¾ lengths while that one was well clear of the show horse as the field collapsed in front of them. There is little to take out of this race.

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