Saratoga picks and bets preview for July 18


Is there anything better than a summer in Saratoga? It’s a complex question, but it has nothing short of the simplest of answers. Once again, NYRA will host one of the most celebrated meet of all thoroughbred racing.

HorseRacing.net/us will be with you every step of the way, as we offer a comprehensive list of selections and offer specific analysis on a selected set of races. This time of year brings the threat of pop-up showers, so be sure to monitor the forecast each day as this could impact conditions on the Mellon and Inner Turf courses. Stay tuned …

If you’re looking for choices elsewhere in the country on Sunday, be sure to check out our free horse racing picks via the golden button below.

Race 2: Grass, 1 1 / 16th, MC75k, 3+

Saratoga Sunday begins with this Inner Turf extravaganza, and it’s a special Maiden Claiming — level 75k event. This 3-4 year bundle includes a full field of 12, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a prize came up at the end. I’m not at all interested in supporting Chad Brown Amano # 8, which will debut in 2021 at age 4. The newly created Temple City gelding was a lukewarm runner in the MSW division last year, competing in grass distance events. He has never finished better than 3rd out of 5 races, some of which took place at the SPA. I know Irad Ortiz is an amazing turf rider, but he can’t win them all.

Instead, I prefer to focus on a few others. Jeremiah Englehart Charleston Strong # 2 is the one that automatically comes to mind. At least this Flatter colt has a lap under him, having finished 3rd at Belmont in an MSW90k race. He had a certain pace to face (0.46 at halftime), but he was pushed hard enough. Maybe this excuse will do … Englehart’s decision to put on “blinders” sounds shrewd. Manny Franco can improve his handling on turf, and if he can, you might see late gears … accelerate.

As for a slightly longer shot, I want someone who could look the part when it comes to a nice grass pedigree, and who has a decent lawn jockey. I’m quite convinced that the entry of Al Stall, Mystic man # 6 does the trick. After all, he comes from Mucho Macho Man and puts Joel Rosario in the saddle – well done at those points. I like the fact that although this gelding has not tried the turf, it comes out of high level MSW competitions which have been very difficult. This experience should serve him well, and ironically his debut took place on Saratoga grass last August (he finished 5th out of 10). The action looks nice, and I want to work this one into… the odds are in my favor at almost 6/1!

Betting recommendation: $ 2 Exacta Box, 2/6/8

Race 3: Turf, 5½F, ALLW90k, F&M 3+

A New York State-raised lot comes into this race, and they’ll burn the track, trying to get home in this grass sprint. It’s a safe bet that coach Michelle Nevin will have the favorite in Get candy # 5, when it is ready to go. Twirling Candy’s sons and daughters get a lot of attention on the turf, and this one is no exception. Luis Saez’s services are retained, and the last time she took him all the way in an MSW75k event. No competitor could really take it that day, but I doubt that is still the case today at Saratoga.

Money will flow into the pocket of Christophe Clément’s 4 years old, Snack # 9, it is assured. When this trainer and jockey Joel Rosario come together, they can form a powerful consortium. This Lemon Drop Kid girl has a lot of ALLW Co. experience under her saddle, and she has the ability to take charge of a race. The problem is, it remains to be seen if it can actually deliver a victory. I take a stand against it.

In a place like this, I want to try and find a well priced filly that has enough rear class to wrestle but will be overlooked by the masses. Fracturing # 10 comes out of a handsome turf dad in The Factor, and John Kimmel ranked him 3rd on the proverbial layoff. What better ? I think this one would like to come back a little shorter on the grass. Jose Ortiz has just achieved a solid Belmont Meet, and he has once again the chance to ride this filly. The timing seems good, especially at 8/1… My choice…

Bet recommendation: $ 100 bankroll, graduated bet, WPS # 10 ($ 10, $ 15, $ 75)

Race 8: Dirt, 6F, AOC45k, F&M 3+

The grass sprint turns into the dirt sprint, and we have another group of New Yorkers coming out of the gate. Going 6F takes moxie up front because, as any handicapper knows, it is difficult to come from behind. Coach Danny Gargan knows how to train in the first place, and he sends Awesome Debate # 8 in this AOC event. It might be okay (looking at his numbers), but even with Luis Saez, I’m not convinced this is your winner.

Of course, the money from the pool is not going to neglect Linda Rice’s safe. Betsy Blue # 7. A filly from Tonalist, she looks special after winning the 125k “Non-G” at the end of May at Elmont. It was a 5 length win that day, and Rice could use more good news after 2021 that she has had. There’s no doubt she can win with this one, especially since Irad Ortiz keeps the mount. There’s no way she’ll finish 4/1 at the end time… more like 2/1, or even less.

Looking for value elsewhere, I found a gem that could yield significant profits. Ray Handal has a pair entered in this race, but I especially like the look of his higher odds entry. Diva Banker # 4 the class is raising just at the right time, and I want to be there to witness. When Handal took over this 5 year old mare she was your average claimant. He made a few changes and got her ready to run in the late spring at Keeneland. It was a disappointing race in an OC10k at Lexington, which saw her finish last. Her conditioner, who incidentally also owns her, recalibrated once more, and she was smart looking at Churchill Downs. Coming to Belmont, she then won an ALLW80k… is she ready for that spotlight? I think so … as the crafty Dylan Davis climbs aboard again. Hope this one drifts into double digit numbers… might be interesting.

Bet recommendation: Trifecta Box at $ 2, 4/7/8

Race 9: Turf, 5½F, Coronation Cup S., $ 120,000, 3F

The “hallmark” of Sunday is that grass sprint that will make your head spin with the possibilities. They’re not quite endless, but it’s close.

When it comes to a first choice, and I’m pretty high on the exploits of Christophe Clément Goodbye # 5. He’s my kind of racer… you get the Into Mischief lineage… the aggressive riding style of Joel Rosario… and best news of all, a cut to 5½ F. Back in Gulfstream, this filly shone in an MSW55k, then her conditioner sent her to a G3 at Belmont. The result was a signing victory. In the Wild Applause100k Rosario made the mistake of eliminating him on the front end.

Whether or not Clement asked him to do it doesn’t matter. I think it is much more suited to a score of 2 or 3 on speed… if it can be picked up, it can be essential for an on-the-spot score. Others like Honey pants # 3, It’s okay # 4, and Illegal smile # 10 will stuff the ballot boxes, but do not sleep on those who possess the clandestine form. Discover something much better… It’s a great message… horse racing as an allegory.

Bet recommendation: $ 25 / $ 50 WP # 5

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Enjoy the action of the SPA! The tradition at the Saratoga Racecourse walks on …


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