Thursday, July 24, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Saratoga Analysis for Friday, July 25
Race 1: Difficult to find anything clever to say about the opener. The favorite, #7 Silver Union, takes the required drop while adding Lasix. The second choice, #5 Vision of Mine, takes an even bigger drop after running into a pair of repeat winners to begin her career. Nothing so compelling about the others, unless you're interested in first-time starter #3 Lovely Elle, whose dam was a debut winner in NY for Pletcher several years ago and went on to win seven more races in her career.
Race 2: #5 Shaunna Alexandra has earned a pair of 90+ TimeformUS Speed Figures for her last two races, which is rarified air in this field of $20k claimers. Pace Projector indicates that she will be forwardly placed in a race that favors front-runners, and we expect her to be tough in this field. #2 My Place is the horse to beat as she is dropped out of allowance company for Mott, which is something he does well from a limited sample (99 Trainer Rating). #8 Valerie Victoria comes up a little light on our speed figures, but she's making just her second start off the layoff, and she raced on gamely to be second-best last time after chasing the pace throughout.
Race 3: Well-matched field of older turf horses set to go 1 1/2 miles here, with the distance likely to be the equalizer. Favored entry of #1 Artic North and #1A Clearbrook have stayed the longer trips most effectively, which is a strong point in their favor. #4 Saffron Hall has competitive form up to 9 furlongs on turf, but he won over longer on dirt, and this barn is due to break out at some point. #7 Rapscallion has never really delivered on his early promise, but he did run very well in a strong field over 1 1/4 miles two starts back.
Race 4: This is a good NY-bred sprint that brings together several horses showing improved recent form and is open to just about any one of the seven entered. We are most interested in #5 Leilani's Ticket. He is one of the biggest prices on the board, and he has really improved his form since being claimed by these connections here last summer. He has run very well twice while sprinting on dirt this year, posting a 100 TimeformUS Speed Figure for his late-running second over the inner dirt on March 8th, and coming right back with a 94 despite trouble at the break next time out. His recent turf form is fine, but he's better on dirt and will be running late. #6 Horatio has turned his life around since turned over to Jimmy Toner, and his last race was his best yet. #7 Dan's Gold is another who is listed at a big price on the ML, and he has dangerous speed to use from his outside post. #1 The Big Deluxe also has speed and may be forced to use it from the rail as he steps up off the claim.
Race 5: #9 Animal Style is the horse to beat here as he drops down in class after putting in a strong run to fall just short vs. much better last time. Pace Projector indicates that he'll have a fast pace to set him up. Appears these connections, who have gotten off to a slow start here for the second year in a row, are starting to look for wins. Interested to see what we get from #6 Road Agent, who switches to a turf sprint off the claim. He has the pedigree to handle it and may appreciate a change after tailing off on the dirt recently.
Race 6: Solid entry of #1 Guilt Trip and #1A Code West entered here, but only one will go, with Leparoux named on both. Whichever one goes figures to be the horse to beat in here. But we're going to play multi-race wagers mostly through #3 Qualify, who is on the upswing for Graham Motion after winning all three starts so far this year. May need to step forward one more time here, but he's been impressive during the current streak. We're skeptical of his more accomplished, and so far faster, rivals.
Race 7: Wide-open turf maiden race. #3 Hope Cross makes her third career start for Chad Brown, and she could easily have won either of her first two with any luck at all. She had trouble at the break of her debut, and wound up getting bumped late while rallying through traffic to just miss. She was then heavily backed for her second start at Belmont, only to find herself hooked into a fast duel and getting run down by a perfect-trip closer. #2 Shift Colors came with a big run on the outside when second best in her turf debut in Kentucky and is eligible for better. #5 Rapid Repair made a promising debut on grass before switching to the main track for Mott, but she is also entered into an easier spot on turf on Saturday.
Race 8: #4 Noble Doss has returned running since being switched to dirt off the layoff. He won easily over a one-turn mile vs. weaker, and then rushed up to contest the pace after missing the break last time, staying gamely to the end. 9yo #2 Writingonthewall is back to dirt for sharp connections after getting a short break. He's been in good form and likes to win. #9 Bug Juice easily handled Noble Doss at the end last time, but he got a perfect trip that day and may be better over a wet track. #10 Regulus has the top last-out speed figure in the field, but he was facing just three others in that off-the-turf event, and he got loose on the lead.
Race 9: $100k Curlin stakes for 3yos may have a different look come post time, as ML favorite #1 Commanding Curve and third choice #6 Cousin Stephen are both cross-entered into Saturday's Jim Dandy. Either way, we'll take our chances with #3 Protonico, who impressed in contesting the pace all the way to a 100 TimeformUS Speed Figure in his first start for Pletcher. Pedigree suggests taking on more distance should be no issue. This trip may be pushing the limits of how far #10 Life in Shambles wants to go, but he has speed and was a very good 3rd last time after being forced to gun to the lead on a solid pace from his inside post.
Race 10: #3 Illapa made a positive impression on turf last year as a 2yo, and she got in what appeared to be a useful prep going shorter off the layoff downstate. We liked what we saw from #5 Jolene in her turf debut last time, as she was forced to try her rally up the inside and just missed getting 2nd from #4 Knotty Pine, who was controlling the pace that day. Well-bred #9 Fresh Feline could be dangerous in here after racing very greenly in her debut, but we have been leery of runners from this barn in NY all spring and summer, and want to see some life out of their runners before getting on board.