Sunday, August 31, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Analysis of the Racing at Saratoga on Monday September 1
Race 1: #2 Cushion wound up going a fast pace when stretched to 1 1/2 miles in stakes company last time. She was impressive in her win over this distance off the layoff downstate, and she is perfectly drawn for the cut-back. #3 Keening has picked up her game since being switched back to turf, and she earned the top last-out speed figure for game runner-up finish last time. #1A Kitten's Queen has run well twice up here already and picked up a win over this trip last time. She was a game 2nd to the talented Crown Queen one start prior, and is a threat if she's the half of the entry that goes.
Race 2: #5 Moonlight Fantasy raced very greenly throughout her debut and was left far behind her talented stablemate Girlabouttown, who rolled away to a big win in the stretch. Figures better for having had that run for a trainer who gets perfect 100 rating with second-time starters. #4 Sweet Sweet Afleet is a half to a pair of multiple winners, and she hails from a very strong female family (87 pedigree rating, dam and second dam both stakes winners). Ships in from Finger Lakes with some good works in tow. #3 Saharan Serenade has yet to make an impact through four starts, but she had trouble at the start the last time she was on dirt, and she was outrun over an inside-speed favoring track one start before that.
Race 3: 2yo NY-breds will sprint on turf to close out the Pick 3. #3 Memories of Peter is a full brother to Image of Noon and Image of Disco, who have both earned over $140k on grass. #5 Mark My Style is a half to a pair of turf winners, and his dam won the Grade 3 Pebbles Stakes on grass a few years ago. #9 Fleeting (94 pedigree rating for turf sprints) is from the female family of Plenty of Grace, a multiple Grade 2 winner on grass, and a sister to turf champion Soaring Softly. #10 Cats Landing's dam was a turf winner, and she is a half to Incurable Optimist, who was undefeated in four career turf starts, including a pair of graded stakes.
Race 4: #6 Competitive Edge was perhaps the most impressive 2yo to debut in NY this year, and he takes the next step for Pletcher. Has some quality speed to deal with in this race, as well as an experienced stakes-winning rival, so he'll have to be as good as advertised. #5 I Spent It is 2-for-2 and already a stakes winner. There is no substitute for experience, and he was professional coming through on the inside to win the Saratoga Special. #3 Requite got bet and then toyed with MSW rivals earlier in the meet. We were impressed with him, but this is a tough spot.
Race 5: #5 Keen's Cupla finished well behind a clear-cut winner in his debut, and he endured a very tough trip behind Shimba last time on dirt. Dangerous at a price as he cuts back and switches from turf to dirt. #7 Stenson disappointed when last seen over a muddy sealed track, but he had run quite well in all three prior starts and is eligible to have developed further during his down time. #1 Shimba got away poorly from the gate when switched to dirt last time, then finished gamely behind a strong winner to be 2nd best. Has to break cleanly from the rail, but he's the horse to beat.
Race 6: #11 Abilio is at his best on the lead but hasn't made the front since running a gutsy 4th at a huge price in a tough Mohawk last October. Has to use his speed from the outside in this paceless field, and if he does, Pace Projector indicates that he'll have all the best of it. #12 Monument Hill also has enough speed to get position from his tough post, and he is the horse to beat in here assuming he can pull a trip. #7 Depeche Chat drops in class after a no-factor effort earlier in the meet. Has enough speed to be up close, and is good enough with his best effort.
Race 7: Interested to see what we get from #1 Carpe Diem, a half to Grade 1 winner J B's Thunder who debuts for Pletcher. Brought $1.6 million after working 10.1 in March, and shows up here with a pair of fast recent gate works. #2 Old Mexico is a firster for Asmussen, who has brought them over ready all meet, and he's a half to three winners. #9 Because I'm Happy debuts for a dangerous trainer, and #8 Ask Chuck is a half to Grade 1-winning sprinter Here Comes Ben.
Race 8: Wide-open dirt route for entry level allowance runners drew a full field and is projected to have a strung-out field, with plenty of speed signed on. We'll hope that helps #1 Wizardly most, as he's a late-running type, and he was finishing gamely over a shorter trip in the mud last time. #7 Grand Strand has disappointed to this point, but he's off the claim for dangerous connections and he may appreciate getting stretched out in distance. #11 None Like Nolan will have to step it up off his recent maiden win, but he has upside and will appreciate being able to make one run into this race after forcing the pace out wide en route to that victory.
Race 9: We liked #8 Bashart a bit last time and were dead wrong as he never got involved in the Hall of Fame, which was upset by #10 Wallyanna. Still, he ran well off the layoff when contesting a fast pace all the way, and we'll give him a chance to rebound, as we expect that he will be forwardly placed this time in a race that is projected to favor the horses up close. #5 Storm is facing tougher, but he's undefeated on grass and already a two-time winner over this distance. Horse he ran over late last time came back to confirm the quality of that effort in Saturday's night cap. #1 Ring Weekend may be best positioned to take advantage of the expected pace, as he draws the rail with enough speed, but we're expecting him to be a bit over bet off his last race, in which he ran well, but not overly so in our opinion.
Race 10: #2 Socialsaul is a question mark after being pulled up and vanned off when last seen, but his new trainer is having a breakout meet, and he's consistently done well with older horses like this off the claim #10 Shankopotamus looks for three straight in the right spot to close out the meet, and a repeat of his last up here will likely be enough to get it done. #6 I Want You to Know and #8 Moe Man are both getting the proper cut back in distance here after trying longer races that did not suit them.