3-10. Still chuggin' at the 30% rate. Three winners on top [1st, $7.50; 4th, $7.60; 8th, $6.60]. Cold exacta in the 8th [$20.00/$2]. A few other gimmicks mixing up the selections as well.
Probably the most Saratoga-like day of the meet so far. Warm summer weather, good racing, and a crowd of 19,435. In the feature -- it was The Chief, Allen Jerkens, pulling off yet another upset in a graded Saratoga stake as 6-1 Any Limit wired 'em in the G3 Honorable Miss as the longest price in the five-horse field.
Off-track, next-door watering hole Siro's, a longtime favorite post-race stop for race-goers might have lost its luster over the past few years as prices creeped upwards. The crowds enjoying their backyard have been far sparser this year than in the past and while Friday's numbers were up, a check at down-the-street competitor The Horseshoe turned up a large and raucous group of party-ers. We'll see how the battle of the bars plays out this summer.
Absolutely a tough card. A number of races have three or four or five that one could make an argument for. Plus, the weather forecast indicates rain is likely -- meaning off-the-turf is possible, which isn't going to make things any easier.
Mogul Man...Last two on the turf were good improving efforts and he should fit here.
Youbethecan...Will be rolling late.
Cabazon...Might appreciate the company and the return to turf.
On dirt: Gansevoort, Cabazon, No More Green, Mogul Man.
Blank Check...Typically we find a little something to hang our hat on in these baby races -- but this one just looks wide-open so we'll jump on Pletcher. Certainly not as potent as in previous years -- but he's had some win here already. This one also might appreciate any moisture that might fall from the skies this afternoon.
Nowhere to Hide...Zito firster cost $250K as a yearling. Working well. Bred well.
Spaniard...Experience counts and Baffert trainee is certainly able to improve with one under his belt.
I'm So Lucky...Seems to be improving with each start.
On Board Again...High-promise shown as a 3YO two years ago. Certainly dangerous on the comeback -- but this sprint looks like a prep for other things.
Japengo...Been going well since late winter. Would like it wet.
FOURTH RACE - Flanders $80K
Lovely Isle...Interesting -- undefeated in NY and outside of graded stakes company.
More Happy...Showed promise as a 2YO -- on this track. Working well in SoCal for return.
Irish Smoke... Also impressed here last year. Disappointed afterwards -- but last could indicate a return to good form.
Ready for Fortune.
Just as Well...Our Sheppard Specials usually have a little bit of a different profile -- they aren't owned by the trainer himself. Otherwise the set-up to a nice Sheppard payoff is similar: Comes in from mid-Atlantic and looks like he'll have to step it up. We'll hope he's ready to do so.
True Dancer...Been competitive against slightly better.
Pennington...NY-bred is probably better than her last.
Storm On the Track.
On dirt: Irish Majesty, Ketchikan, Slambino, Perfect Bullet, True Resurgence.
Fort McCoy...Needs help to get in from AE list but trainer does well with these turf sprints.
Can't Buy Love...We'll excuse the latest. Rebound to prior form will put him in the mix.
Cobre...3YO debut was promising.
Tee With the Tiger.
On dirt: Bullstar, Sophie's Splinter, Narration, Fort McCoy.
Compromise...Seems to lay over this field.
Shive's Success...Perhaps a little closer to the pace last time than he would prefer.
Quasicobra...Working well and a return to form shown last year will get him into the mix.
Vision of Sunrise.
On dirt: Screen to Screen, Tend, Shive's Success, Vision of Sunrise, Numaany/Ea.
Heather's Angel...Last seems to indicate she has rounded into good form.
Catty Madeline...Nice improvement in her second start. Looks like she can continue moving forward.
Zip by You...Also seems to be getting good now.
National Pride...Impressed in career debut last year. Was purchased by Godolphin following that win and has been on the bench since. Might need one -- but need only approach that earlier effort to be a player in here.
He's Solid Gold...Beyers moving in the right direction.
The Darp...This one might be better than his record indicates.
TENTH RACE - G1 Test
Indian Blessing...Not totally convinced that 7F is completely to her liking -- but it's a short field and the threat of rain will only help her chances.
Sweet Hope...Undefeated on dirt.
Palanka City...Brings in a three-race win-streak.
More Than Coolin...Should appreciate the class relief.
Chief Talkeetna...Maiden-breaker seemed to indicate he could be something special -- but that was a long time ago. Now comes back for a modest tag. Red flags -- but potentially better than these.
Spider Rock...Another that is dropping today.
Let's Go Yankees.
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