So let's tackle the easy races today, check back later tonight for a couple of long shots. If you remember last year, I wrote about Saratoga this time of year, when short favorites start taking over in the stakes races and it's no different this year. Weather looks to be dry, which should make things easier.
R12) The Travers- Let's make it very simple: #2 Essential Quality has run faster in every race this year than every other horse HAS EVER RUN. In this race, every horse is running at the same weight, but that hasn't been the case in some of his other races, and that tends to even things out a bit. E.Q. has a morning line at 4/5, but expect it to be 2/5 or there abouts race time. Midnight Bourbon #1 is probably the only horse that even has a remote chance against him at 9/2 ML, as his pedigree shows his brothers getting better and better with age. It's a 2 horse race, but expect no surprises and low pays all around. Dynamic One #4 at 6-1 ML will probably round out the trifecta. Fun to watch but probably not worth a bet............
R7) The Ballerina- Well, now you have #1 Gamine at 3/5, at even shorter odds than Essential Quality. She a Baffert horse, and incredible fast. The only time she shows weakness is off a short rest from her previous race, and that's not the case here. #3 Casual is intriguing though, especially at 15-1. She's getting five lbs from the favorite, and we saw what a difference that made last week in the Delmar race #12 that paid $50 to win. Another race not worth betting, as she'll probably go off 1-2 or 1-5, unless you can figure a way to incorporate Casual at 15-1 in there somewhere with exacta's or trifectas- watch the odds and exotic payouts.
So, there's two races with two overwhelming favorites........probably not worth betting either of them with those 2 monsters.
R8) The Forego- At least this race is a bit more contentious, but still, the favorite looks best- #7 Yaupon at 5/2, especially since he's in 4-6 lbs. light. #4 Mind Control at 7/2 ML is a Pletcher horse and could be a major player here. Last year, on fast tracks, he ran some monster races. He recently switched barns and ran well last out, and is probably a major player here. #1 Mischevious Alex ran lights out in the Carter but he bounced terribly in his last, the trainers horses are not doing well at Saratoga and he's probably still not ready to come back strong yet. #2 Whitmore is good, but he's surely not what he once was- probably a borderline contender. #3 Lexitonian ran to his best last time out, but always bounces off a top performance. So nope. The two favorites make sense, everyone else has some knocks.
Now that's three races above where I feel confident the favorites are much the best. I'll probably pass on all 3 races, and look for something more open with better payouts.
R9- H. Allen Jerkins Memorial- A 7F race with a short field, some weight variations and tons a speed open this race a bit. Probably the first race to serious consider wagerig on. Let's look at some of the contenders:
#1 Drain the Clock at 6-1 ML- 2 races back, a really good race with a bounce last race. Again trainer Saffie's horses have not been doing well here.
#2 Jackie's Warrior at 1-1 ML- super fast as a 2 year old, but hasn't ahown any improvement as a 3 year old. Still though, a strong contender everytime he steops onto the track. Shitty odds, the one to try and beat.
#4 Following Sea at 5-1- In light, some big numbers and bounces off them. If he's fresh, he could be right there.
#5 Judge N Jury at 15-1- had a big effort off a layoff and with some past soundness issues, probably not.
#6 Life Is Good at 8/5- had won 3 of his starts with big figures early in the year but some others have matched his numbers lately. Outside draw might hurt him a little with lost ground. Might move forward or backwards, it's hard to tell. Life Is Good probably needs to be used, but Following Sea and Jackie's Warrior are better values (with a serious chance).
So, now we have 4 races with no real surprises. The short fields suck too. It's a great day to watch some nice horses, but unless you are "freshstart" or JR, it's probably not worth settling on any of these races with shitty payouts. Later tonight I will finish my handicapping and try to find 3 races with some longer odds horses to throw a couple hundred at. Check back later this evening for the rest of the card.........