Thursday, July 31, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Saratoga Analysis for Friday, Aug 1
Race 1: #7 The Mooche is third back from the layoff today and switching to grass for a trainer who has gone 4-for-7 with maidens making this surface switch since starting out with his own string last year. Meets the right kind of field and distance isn't supposed to pose a problem for him. #8 Royal Posse ran deceptively well a couple of times over a route of ground at Aqueduct earlier this year and figures to appreciate the class relief he gets here. #4 Invasion Point took a little money but failed to offer much after showing brief speed in his debut; figures to be on the front, but that pedigree rating of 59 for this distance on dirt has to be a concern.
Race 2: #3 Point to the Wild has posted a solid record sprinting over turf and has picked up her game since being taken by this high-percentage barn. Each of her four turf sprints for these connections (she won three of those) has earned her TFUS Speed Figures of 90+, which is rarefied air in this field on grass. #4 Justalittleloopy is a huge question mark in here based on her first two starts back from the layoff, but she may be set for better now, and getting to turf may suit her based on her prior synthetic form. #6 Ave's Halo will likely need to improve a bit if Point to the Wild brings her best, but she is eligible to do so off the claim by a dangerous trainer.
Race 3: Super-interesting maiden route features the Saratoga debut of Rachel Alexandra's little sister, #4 Samantha Nicole. She ran well to be second-best after a very awkward break in her debut and can be expected to go forward here, but is a cinch to be overbet.
#3 Dragonberry was defeated as a heavy favorite first time out, but actually ran well that day while appearing to be a horse who wanted more ground. Stretches out here, and will be very tough to beat if improving upon the 94 TimeformUS Speed Figure she earned first time out. #7 Twenty in One was rated back away from a moderate pace when on fast dirt for the first time last out. She finished well in there behind a repeat winner.
Race 4: We always thought highly of #2 North Slope as a turf horse, but he disappointed there and then surprised running a huge race when switched to dirt last time. He was after a fast pace all the way that day, and wound up in a long duel with the eventual runner-up, Escapefromreality, before they were both closed down by a perfect-trip winner. They may not be looking to send him again as he takes on more distance, but there is not much confirmed speed in this race.
#3 Praetereo has fast races to get back to, but he seemed to really improve once cut back in distance off the claim, and he has never been that effective over this trip. #4 Ever Rider gets some much needed class relief here and has the kind of tactical speed to get the right trip.
Race 5: #10 Solly's Mischief was rated back to last and then had no chance to catch an impressive winner in his last start, but finished gamely to get up for 2nd in there, and he has faced better than this right along since breaking his maiden at the end of last year. #11 Brendan G is the horse to beat for a trainer who scores a strong 96 rating moving horses from turf to dirt, but he has some hang in him, and we're not taking it as a good sign that he drops below the level of the claim so quickly. #7 Herd Mentality has run some competitive figures for Asmussen and has some speed.
Race 6: #7 How is clearly the horse to beat on the drop into restricted claiming company after rating and giving way in a tough spot on turf last time. Dirt form is solid, and Pace Projector indicates that he will be up close in a race that favors runners on or near the early lead.
We'll lean on him in the mid-card multis and make #2 Daddy Loves Gold our backup, as he figures to appreciate the class relief, as well, and he was wide all the way in his lone dirt start, which came over an inside-speed-favoring track.
Race 7: Pace Projector for this race favors runners on or near the early lead, and expects the horse to beat, #8 Shore Runner, to be in position up there on the outside. He has come away narrowly second-best in each of his two recent turf starts, but earned a TimeformUS Speed Figure of 99 for that last one, and drops back down in class. #12 Pirate's Pleasure arrives with recent excuses and is entered right back at the level of the claim by a sharp trainer. For a price, include #2 Greeley Pack, who will start in a claiming race on the turf for the first time here. He was a strong winner over this track and trip last summer.
Race 8: #11 Arch Avenger made the transition to turf that his pedigree suggested he would last time (his dam is a sister to Stroll, a Grade 1 winner on grass), digging in gamely after a wide trip to just miss. Claimed by a going concern, and will be tough with a similar effort.
#6 Aripeka stepped it up on turf when last seen, to be second-best behind the talented Middleburg; layoff is the concern. #8 Peb the Champ put in an inexplicably poor performance at Pimlico two back, but his two turf starts surrounding that one are solid, and he was much the best last time, albeit with a perfect trip.
Race 9: #5 Munnings Sister holds dangerous speed and a pedigree rating of 93 for turf sprints, which suggests that she may be a handful as she switches to grass for the first time here. #10 Madam Giry has been at her best over this course in the past, and appeared to get back to one of her good races with blinkers added last time. #3 Free as a Bird is very nearly 5-for-5 since concentrating on turf sprints this year, though she has benefited from some easy trips. Still, she is the horse to beat here.
Race 10: Hard to believe that #3 All Cash remains a maiden a year after arriving on the scene here last summer, considering some of the races he ran, but here he is, in for $40k and carrying an 0-for-11 record. We'll give him one more chance back over this turf course, as he projects to be on a clear early lead and is supposed to be tough with that scenario. #9 All My Trails had little chance to impact in a race that held together up front last time, and figures to benefit from this class drop. #7 Dividend was picked up by trainer John Terranova last time, and he gets a 99 rating with horses making their first start out of his barn, from a limited sample.