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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM


A Race By Race Review Of Saratoga Races
Saturday 7/19—Sunday 7/20

By Jim Hurley

Saturday 7/19

Race 1—Todd Pletcher juvenile colt Kamarius showed nothing in dirt sprint debut at Monmouth in prior, but went two turns on turf and easily dominated. Firster Luck of Kitten set pace and held second but the winner was much the best.

Race 2—Sol The Freud and Handy Stan separated from the pack in entry level restricted NYSB allowance sprint. They went head to head throughout, exchanged leads back and forth through the lane and the former edged the latter at the wire due in large part to Handy Stan struggling to changed leads and throwing head sideways. The latter conquers the condition in next.

Race 3—After the pair in Race 2 went to the front and stayed there the early-meet speed edge continued as longshot Waco broke on top from rail in 6½ furlong MSW test. It was sixth career start and first after three straight turf tries. Runner up Cosmic Gold, a PARX shipper ran on well against the speed to get place clear of the show horse.

Race 4—Not much drama as one of what will be a number of odds-on first time juveniles from Pletcher barn, Blame Jim was hustled to the front soon after the break and increased margin under steady urging. Second place finisher Bold Conquest, also a first time starter moved three wide to chase the winner and looked good in the process.

Race 5—Longshot Sam Sparkle was much the best in 7 furlong 50K claimer. The 6-year old did win from off the pace, but was within 3 lengths of the leader at the 5/8ths pole so good early speed was still in play. Consistent upper-level claimer Be Bullish was also close early and finished second while favored Majestic Hussar, who on paper looked to have speed edge and was bet late did get lead but had no answer when challenged mid-stretch and faded.

Race 6—Very impressive off-the pace win in NYSB MSW mile and a sixteenth turf race as Thurgood broke from extreme outside, bided time at the back of the back and despite moving wide off the turn passed them all to draw away by a healthy margin. Had the look of a repeat winner. Third place finisher Boston Strong made just second career start and first beyond 6 furlongs and showed plenty of promise as he broke towards the rear early from his 10 post, quickly moved into contention before they reached the turn, put away the pace setters and after getting a brief lead dug in to get nosed for second by a more experienced rival. He’ll get his initial restricted win soon.

Race 7—In the Sanford Stakes the public bet it like a two horse race as perhaps playing the perceived speed edge as well as the connections made speedsterts, Nonna’s Boy (Pletcher) and  Grade III Bashfor Manor winner Cinco Charlie (Asmussen) the clear cut favorites. Those two indeed flashed their speed and went out battling early and dueled each other into defeat as longshot Big Trouble, ignored perhaps because his speed figures weren’t as high as his rivals despite his breaking his maiden in his debut as a 1-5 favorite while under a hand ride, completed a relentless rally and prevailed by a neck over fellow longshot Mr. Z even as the latter bore out on him through the lane. Both have plenty of promise moving forward but they were each hard used so if they return later in the meet should be followed carefully.

Race 8—In an entry level allowance one mile turf test, 6 of the 12 entrants were priced between 3-1 and 7-1 and the top 6 finishers were within 3 lengths of each other with Devilish Love digging in for a nose win over longshot Fade To Black. Race was run in moderate time and all got decent trips so there isn’t much to take from it.

Race 9—The pace in this 9 furlong second level allowance/65K optional claiming turf test was slow on the front end and North Star Boy got the best trio for the win while Pyrite Mountain, making his first start since last October at Woodbine tracked close in mid-pack and moved on even terms with the winner late and just dropped a nose decision. Paceless race might have obstructed PARX shipper Shock Leader the most as he broke towards the rear, had to swing 6 wide in upper stretch and was beaten less than 2 lengths in fourth.

Race 10—In Grade I Diana at 9 furlongs on grass favored Alterite, who was making her first start since close third in last year’s Filly and Mare Turf, never seemed comfortable and though she pressed the pace early, that pace was slow and she had no answer once they came off the far turn. Longshot Somali Lemonade, who many thought would strike the lead got a brilliant stalking trip under Luis Saez, who timed his move perfectly and got the neck victory. Stephanie’s Kitten showed improvement in gaining the place and pace setter Discreet Marq held on for the show just in front of the late charging Abaco, whose running style couldn’t have been helped by the pace. In fact, the top 8 finishers in the race were separated by 2½ lengths…which is not surprising given the quality of the field.

Race 11—In entry level allowance race run at a mile and a sixteenth on grass All Included was bet down to odds-on and took the field gate to wire in the finale.  Three time winner McIlroy did well to get the place in his second start at the condition and long time level dweller Jonrah was a well beaten third. The winner might get the second level as well but there wasn’t much else in here beyond the runner up.

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Sunday 7/20

Race 1Chad Brown first timer Tax Package provided instant returns as he won his career debut in 5½ furlong NYSB juvenile MSW in professional manner. Second place finisher Thank You switched from a failed turf effort in his debut and after a slow break rushed up to track the winner in second and continued to the wire to hold off another firster Thirst For glory by a nose. It was 8½ lengths back to the next of the rest. Winner should move through restricted conditions quickly while next two won’t be maidens long.

Race 2—This 20K 9 furlong main track claimer turned out like so many of these 9 furlong races do. Tizmas went to the lead, the rivals came at him a bit at the top of the stretch and he pulled clear for a wire-to-wire win in a merry-go-round race. Not much moving forward other than the winner. Favored Groomedforvictory never got involved and looked like a 9-year old who didn’t like the heat, but was nonetheless haltered by trainer Michelle Nevin.

Race 3—In short field (6 fillies and mares), Scampering dropped out of graded stakes to face third level allowance/optional 80K claimer in mile and a sixteenth turf test and prevailed as the 9-5 favorite. Nonetheless the entire field was separated by 1½ lengths at the finish so not sure where any of these go from here unless dropped to even softer spots.

Race 4—In a 20K 6 furlong claimer 3 late scratches whittled it down to 5 horses and In The Dark let the speed duel and rallied for the win in a field that consists of consistent runners who for the most part do well enough to get pieces without winning.

Race 5—Turf sprint Lucky Coin Stakes went to odds-on favorite Spring To The Sky in wire-to-wire fashion over veteran minor stakes participant Great Attack, who followed the winner all the way around the course. The remaining four followed more or less in place.

Race 6—In 25K mile and a sixteenth turf claimer Lay It Down stalked the early pace, got first run and struck to the lead inside the furlong marker before being caught late by rallying Treasury Devil, despite that one getting tipped 4 wide on the far turn and moving 6 wide into the lane. Slight favorite Dreaming Of Danny saved ground early from the back and was forced outside of the winner and was able to rally for third. According to trackman comments fifth place finisher Gourmet Dinner was tucked in early, moved three wide and only mustered a mile response but a closer look showed that one pocketed for most of the race and stalled twice when trying to move so might be better than the result. The latter was claimed by Rudy Rodriguez so it’s worth following as are the first three finishers.

Race 7Indian Rain Dance went dirt to turf and shortened up to 5½ furlongs in MSW test. The Indian Ocean gelding had flashed speed in his two career starts (both at 7 furlongs) and was never headed on his way to the wire. First time starter Eight Thirty broke out at the start, was slow to find his best stride and brushed with a rival at the half mile. He then found his stride and did well to get the show and is a definite watch.

Race 8—Just when it appears as though pace setters and pressers had the edge on the main track along comes Beautyinthepulpit to rally from dead last to win 9 furlong second level allowance NYSB test. It was an odd race as the first three early battled through a quick for the level :46 3/5 half and 6 panels in  1:11 before one of them dropped out and the other two ran second and third. Hard to determine if the winner passed tiring race horses or is that good…in any case, he is out of state bred conditions so will now face better.

Race 9—In another entry level allowance turf race a dozen fillies and mares went a mile and three sixteenths. Good looking 3-year old Crown Queen continued to impress as she broke off the front runners from her outside post while in 5th and could have moved whenever she was asked. When put down she swept to the lead and moved off to a 4 length triumph as she was ridden out. It made the daughter of Smart Strike two-for-two this year and she hasn’t yet reached her top.

Race 10—Grade I Coaching Club America Oaks was dominated by the two favorites, Stopchargingmaria and Unbridled Forever…though the latter was not as much a match as one would have though.

Race 11—5 time maiden Hard Rumor outgunned 5 time maiden Rontos New York and 9 time maiden Island Therapy as all three came on late in 40K maiden claimer at mile and a sixteenth on the turf. Not much to take out of slow field of perpetual maidens.

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