The Saratoga meet began today, the first of a 36 day meet. The first day was highlighted by 55-1 shot Kelly’s Prize capping a pick 4 that paid over $88k and a pick 5 that paid an astounding $228K. So it goes without saying that there is money to be won at what many consider the best meet in all of thoroughbred racing.
Let’s take a look at tomorrow’s late pick 4. Which feature two graded stakes races, and two very contentious claiming races.
8th – OC 62K 1 1/16th Turf
The sequence starts out with a very contentious field of twelve. Although it is a difficult race to handicap, this is the type of race you want to start with because you’re trying to beat the other bettors. Catching a price early in the sequence will ensure that you’ve knocked out a good percentage of tickets.
Flashlight (10-1) Flashlight is interesting here for a couple of reasons. For one thing he can be a pace factor, he can also sit off the pace with tactical speed. The Irish bred has shown in the past if given the right setup he has the ability to outrun this group to the winners’ circle. Since trainer Brian Lynch began stretching him out to run in two-turn route races, Flashlight has been running stronger races with competitive speed figures. Should figure.
Lord Trondor (10-1) –Trained by the somewhat unknown barn of Gustavo Delgado, and coming off a layoff this lightly raced four-year-old may fall in-between the cracks at the betting windows. Nevertheless this son of Tiznow was a $500,000 purchase who also happens to have the highest Tomlinson rating (statistical analysis of breeding success for suface/distance) for turf breeding in this race.
Barrel of Love (15-1) – Coming out of post 11 is the eight-year-old Barrel of Love. This New York bred has been nothing short of consistent in the last year. In his last race he benefited from an excellent ride by veteran rider Cornelio Velasquez to get up for second at odds of 13-1. That race which took place on the 4th of July is the same level condition as this one. The only difference is that this will be a stretch out of distance of an extra 3/16th’s. Barrel of Love earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 in that race which is the highest last race Beyer in this field. So despite a questionable postposition, odds of 15-1 seam very reasonable to toss this one into the mix.
Picks: 6, 10, 11
9th – G3 Sanford, 6furlongs dirt
Two-year-old races are always interesting; any horse can improve so much in-between races. In addition there is the unpredictability of their form and how green they may be. So it goes without saying that you’re taking your life in your hands to use this race to key a horse. But it really wouldn’t be gambling if the risks were not that high. That is why I’m going to take a shot and key the favorite Cocked and Loaded (8) . In two lifetime races Cocked and Loaded has looked very impressive. The son of Colonel John has already beaten the top three contenders in this race. Not only has he beaten them but also he did it showing a gritty tenacity that is not taught. The running lines in the Racing Form read as: “Broke out st, drove pst, and Ins to 4w 1/4p, gamely. This loosely translates to “despite every effort to be defeated Cocked and Loaded turned back all rivals”. So for that reason I’m going to roll the dice and single the 8horse, Cocked and Loaded.
10th – G1 Diana Stakes, fillies and mares, turf at 1 1/8th
This is a seven-horse field that can be broken down two ways. One is that it’s a two-horse race between Tempin (3-1), who is undefeated since Julian Leparoux has taken the mount and My Miss Sophia (5-2) who was an impressive four-length winner in her turf debut at this distance. The second is that Tempin is vulnerable at this distance and My Miss Sophia will not be able to wire this field like she did last out. Thereby making this a wide-open seven horse race.
Since I am singling the 8 in the previous race, I’m opting for the latter.
In addition to Tempin (1) and My Miss Sophia (6), I will be using the 4, Hard Not to Like, and the 5, Waltzing Matilda.
Hard Not to Like (5-1) – Multiple Grade 1 winner was last seen taking a rail-skimming ride under Triple Crown jockey Victor Espinoza in the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita. This time she will carry J.R. Velasquez, who scores with trainer Christophe Clement at a rate of 38 percent.
Waltzing Matilda (8-1) – If you tried beating the 1-5 Ramsey entry in the New York Stakes in early June then hopefully you had Waltzing Matilda at 22-1. If you did then you understand why you want to toss this Irish bred into the mix. The daughter of Danhill Dancer is an honest 8-1 in the morning line. The victory came only one month after coming over from Ireland, now she had time to get acclimated. She also will get aggressive jockey Javier Castellano for the mount.
Picks: 1, 4, 5, 6
11th – Clm $50,000, 7 Furlong
The last leg offers no let up, this is another deep wide open field of 11. If I’m lucky enough to still be alive I will try and go as deep as possible. In addition to some more obvious choices these two I will play a bit more aggressively.
Classic Salsa (5-1) Pace makes the race, and on paper Classic Salsa has all the speed. The only question here is whether he can carry and extra furlong. In 18 lifetime races he’s only run seven panels once and couldn’t hold the lead. Beat the 1 horse Sir Bond two races back, when he came back after being passed.
MonsterMash (10-1) Third off the layoff, the son of Ghostzapper has had his best moments on dirt. Trainers have mixed turf and synthetic races in between, most likely to darken his form up. Made a big close in his last race at six furlongs, passing 6-1 shot Comandante (7) down the stretch.
Picks: 2, 5, 6, 7, 8,10,11