Tuesday, August 19, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Race Analysis for Wednesday August 20th at Saratoga
Race 2: #2 Ridingwiththedevil figures tough to beat at a short price as she takes the MSW-to-Maiden Claiming class drop for the first time, and Pace Projector places her on the early lead in here. Most likely upsetter may be #6 Status, who debuted in a loaded field on grass at the end of last year and makes 3yo debut sprinting on dirt. Her dam was a Grade 1 winner on grass, but she was also Grade 1-placed on dirt, so she is eligible to handle the switch.
Race 3: #2 Hear the Footsteps may be at his best over shorter distances, but he has managed to run well routing on turf several times and has faced tougher than this right along. Has the speed to land a good trip either on or near the early lead from his inside post, and may simply be the best horse. #6 Sanctify has the upside, and he impressed with quick acceleration in the stretch when stretched out on grass last time, though he did get a perfect trip in there. #1 Captain Gaughen disappointed last time, but that was the second start in a row where he was stuck trying to rally on the inside through the stretch, and he didn't appear comfortable either time. He's better than that and can factor if able to produce his run out in the clear.
Race 4: Tough maiden claimer for 2yos, with three firsters squaring off with a trio of experienced runners. We generally prefer the ones who have a race under their belt, and Pletcher drops two out of MSW competition. #3 Jimbaran Bay debuted at Monmouth and raced greenly after being outrun in the early going, and he was trying to lug in all through the stretch. Still thought he showed enough to project improvement. His stablemate, #2 Mariano Intheninth, faced a tougher crew, and he also lacked early speed while going postward as the less-fancied of two Pletcher runners in the field at 20/1 (his favored stablemate finished 2nd in there). #5 Dangerous Cowboy tried hard every step when chasing an experienced drop-down winner here earlier in the meet, and he is eligible for better. #6 Richie's Rich debuts for Nick Esler, who has won with 4 of 9 first-time starters since striking out on his own last year.
Race 5: #8 Conzig finally broke through with her first career win early this year, and has since faced better on a muddy sealed track, and then tried turf to no avail. This is a better spot, and Pace Projector places her in a perfect outside stalking trip in a race that favors runners up close to the pace.
#7 Charming Eyes drops back down in class in first start for new high-percentage trainer. Second best to a 3/5 favorite in lone start at around this level since breaking maiden. #2 Gingee is tough to take on top at 1-for-25 lifetime, but she gets a class drop back to an appropriate level along with a turn-back in distance, and she is competitive with her best effort.
Race 6: #7 Roman Approval is the horse to beat as he drops in class for his third start since arriving in NY. He has faced better without coming close so far and was disappointing last time when failing to make a run after sitting a good trip. For alternatives, we would go to #2 Signature Seven or #3 Bigger Picture. Signature Seven won three straight dirt races earlier this year before catching off tracks at Churchill Downs vs. better horses. Connections have been ice-cold up here. Bigger Picture is lightly raced with upside. Hasn't been seen since February, when second best to a front-running, odds-on favorite.
Race 7: #6 Hardly went to the sidelines after getting stuck three-wide chasing the pace in Grade 3 company back in early March. Found a tough spot off the layoff, but she's shown real potential. #5 Almurra was a debut winner sprinting up here last summer. Has the pedigree to stretch out, and will run better this time with Lasix on after missing the break off the layoff. #4 Fade to Black stepped up with the surface switch last time and was unlucky not to win after stretch trouble. Big factor right back, but won't be getting a big price this time. #8 Kenzadargent is a wildcard coming from France with a trainer change to Chad Brown and Lasix on. Has held her own in group company over there, but has settled for second-best in seven of 12 lifetime starts.
Race 8: #7 Sheriff Taylor was off slowly and outrun early in sloppy track debut, but he put in a run to catch up to the field before flattening out late. Has the pedigree to handle the switch to grass, and he'll likely be a price in this loaded field.
#2 Banana Thief also ran well in his main track debut. Settled for second best at the end to a heavily favored Main Track Only entrant, and he's also bred for grass. #10 Saratoga Dreamer makes his debit for Christophe Clement, who is among the very best in the game at preparing first-time starters for turf races, whether long or short. #1 One Eyed Ray is a half to a turf winner in France, and his dam was a Grade 3 winner on grass a few years ago. #3 Gear Jammer attracts Castellano and is another well-bred for turf, as his dam was a three-time winner on this surface and is a half-sister to the dam of Notacatbutallama, an earner of over $500k on turf.
Race 9: #2 Heart to Heart impressed in turf debut at Keeneland earlier this year, and ran well in most recent start when back on grass, despite failing to see out the 9 furlongs through that long Woodbine stretch. #6 Storming Inti is the horse to beat for a trainer who is heating up, and he had little chance up here opening day vs. the speed of the talented Tourist. #5 Craftsman was an easy winner in first start off the trainer change last time. Group 3 winner in Ireland as a 2yo still holds some upside. Interested to see what we get from #7 Pure Sensation as he tries to stretch it out for the first time. Has big speed, and impressed in turf debut last time, but this distance may be pushing it beyond his limit.
Race 10: Finale centers around #1 Battle Hardened, who was eased in his most recent start when claimed for $40k and returns 55 days later for $16k. He's obviously tough to trust, but better than these if he can still run. If he can't, #7 Le Deluge ran well when hung up in a wide trip chasing a front-running winner here earlier in the meet, and figures competitive if running as well right back. We'd take him at the expense of recent course and distance winner #6 Chairman Now, or the three exiting the last race on July 28th, which was contested over a sloppy track and went to longshot #9 Bedouin Now.