Analyzing the Travers Day card…

Lots to get to with Travers Day in focus. I’ll list my top 3 for each race on the card, along with overlays.  I will update this post upon scratches and changes, which should be around 7am. Overlays stated below were decided based on original morning line.  Revised overlays will be tracked and communicated on Twitter at @idealisticstats
Race 1 is for 2YO maidens at the 93k level, going 6 furlongs. Top 3 are Reckling, Factor of War, and Your Secret’s Safe.
Reckling was 2nd in her debut here vs 83k maidens, with best distance and track speed figure of this field, an 83. I like how she gained some on the leader between the first 2 call points.
Race 2 is for 93k maidens also (3YO+), 9 furlongs on the turf, 93k purse also. Top 3 are the favored Sport, then Nseventeen, then Brianbakescookies.  Sport as a deep closer hasn’t yet reached top 3 at most call points in 4 races. All have been turf routes. Best distance speed rating with a 67, in his proper debut. Followed up with scores of 84 to 90 since, a strong pattern. Improved slightly at 2nd call last time out, first race following a 7 week layoff. Also gained 1.5 lengths on leader at 2nd call.
Race 3 is an optional claiming event, 62.5k, non winners of 3, 6.5 furlongs. Top 3: Jimbo Fallon, Tiz Shea D, and Cerro (no longer coupled entry).
 Race 4: Back to the turf, 8.5 furlongs for fillies/mares 3YO+, nonwinners of 2, 95k.   Top 3 are Mighty Souper, Wedding Dress and Stella Rose.
Mighty Souper’s 93 speed rating 3 races ago is best for track and distance. Best pace numbers of the field in general, and a pattern of low 90’s scores. Improved on leader last time out by 4.5 lengths, and gained 19 points between last 2 races.
Race 5: is an optional claimer for 3YO+, 11 furlongs on the inner turf, 25k, non winners of 2. Top 3 are the favored Revved Up, then Havana Moon, then Bingo Kitten.
Revved Up broke maiden status last time, following an 8 week layoff. 7 weeks later and 4 great local works, here he is again, ready to score.
Race 6 is the Grade 1, 750k Personal Ensign, 9 furlong race for fillies/mares 3YO +.  Top 3 in this field of 5 are Forever Unbridled, I’m A Chatterbox, and Cavorting.  Likely to be the chalkiest of races today.  Forever Unbridled won the Apple Blossom, the Houston Ladies Classic and the Comely as far as Graded races go. Daughter of Unbridled and Lemons Forever, herself sired by Lemon Drop Kid. 103 score is best for distance of these (last year’s Comely). Good pattern of speed figures around 100.  Best workouts of the field here too.
Race 7 is the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes for fillies/mares 3YO+, 500k purse, 7 furlongs.  Top 3: Birdatthewire, Spelling Again, and By The Moon. Top 2 are also my two overlays.
A competitive record but no wins since the La Brea last December, Birdatthewire comes out of a sloppy route in the Molly Pitcher. Generally running in the 90s, strong pattern compared to others. Dale Romans has her for 4th race since reclaim, and removes blinkers.
Race 8 is the King’s Bishop Stakes, Grade 1, 500k  for top 3YOs, at 7 furlongs. Top 3: Tom’s Ready, Fish Trappe Road, and Mind Your Biscuits.   Value galore in this one.
Tom’s Ready very competitive in his career, comes out a win in the Woody Stephens, plus an 11 week layoff. Track bias is being kind to early-pressers (39% winners) and outside posts.   Turn time of 22.6 between last 2 races, a 1.6 gain.
Race 9 is the Grade 1 Forego Stakes, for 3YO+, going 7 furlongs, 700k purse.   Top 3 are The Truth Or Else, Ready for Rye, and AP Indian.
 The Truth Or Else might be 30-1 but I like him. One of 2 horses to have recent small top over last year’s best. 2 races back he scored a 102 at 6 muddy furlongs at Belmont. Only deep closer in the field. Turn time of 21.8 plus downturn in speed figure last out in the Tale of The Cat Stakes reveals he’s got more in the tank today.
Race 10 is the Sword Dancer Stakes for 3YO+, 12 furlongs on the inner turf, for $1 million.  Top 3 are Twilight Eclipse, Inordinate and the heavily favored Flintshire.
Twilight Eclipse as a 7YO has 8 lifetime wins, most recently a 90k allowance race at Belmont on 7/8.  Best current pace numbers of the field, with pace pattern around 100.  Made contact with the gate last time out in the Bowling Green on 7/30, yet still posted a sharp 101 score for 11 furlongs.   Only early closer in the field.
Next is the marquee race, the Travers Stakes, for top 3YO going 10 furlongs, and for a 1.25 million purse.  Top 3 horses are My Man Sam, Governor Malibu and Destin.
My Man Sam won his 2nd maiden race (first at route), then 2nd in an 80k optional claimer, 2nd in the Blue Grass, 11th in the KY Derby, and 2nd in an 85k allowance here on 7/23.  Gained 1 length on leader by 2nd call last time, and increased speed figure by 3 points, his first race since the Run for The Roses.
12th Race is the Ballston Spa, Grade 2, 8.5 furlongs on the turf for fillies/mares 3YO+, 400k purse. Top 3 are Strike Charmer, Excilly, and Sentiero Italia. Top 2 are overlays.
Strike Charmer is a 6YO with 5 wins in 20. Last win was the Beaugay at Belmont on 5/14.  That race produced a 100 Brisnet, best for the distance of this field. Seems to have the best pace numbers, running with a pattern in the high 90s. Last time out here in the Diana, she posted a 99 while running 3 wide late.
Finally the 13th race, an 85k allowance for 3YO+, statebred nonwinners of 2, 8.5 furlongs on the inner turf.   Top 3 are Kerjillion, Lucky Town and Space Oddity.
Kerjillion is strongly favored. 4 for 4 in the money, racing vs statebred only. 87 speed figure in 2014 is still best for track, distance and surface. 80 last time out 3 weeks ago. had some traffic trouble tho still finished 3rd. Slight gain in speed figure last time out plus 2 length gain on winner by 2nd call.
An exciting day of racing for sure, with the King’s Bishop and the Travers promising to deliver the most value.  The all-Graded Pick 4, with a guaranteed $1 million payout, yours at .50 per combo, looks most inviting.

Stakes analysis, picks (Arlington Park, Albuquerque, Saratoga)

Today I cover 7 races for you, 5 consecutive at Arlington Park, 1 at Arapahoe Park, and 1 at Albuquerque for the Enlightened Trails.   Not much time before they race at AP, so I’ll post just my top 3 and detailed analysis of my top pick only, and any possible overlays based on morning-line.
At AP first, race 5 is the BRUCE D MEMORIAL, 75k for 3YOs going 1 mile on the all-weather track.  Top 3 are Yo Carm, Runningfromthefeds, and Michael J.   No favorites in the top 3 so I’d key it for playing against favorites.
Yo Carm is 9-2-2-0 lifetime, returning to his home track yet has never run on the AW track here. Winner of an optional claimer in January, he’s failed to place in Graded events. Best mile speed figure for the field, achieved in that OC race. Only horse to win fresh off layoff. Slight bounce risk as he gained 9 points in last race on 6/18. Best workouts of the field, with 5 at AP, 2 very fast.
Overlays: Yo Carm.

Next at AP is the 1-11/16 mile American St. Leger, which I supposed is patterned distance-wise against its comparable race in the UK. Indeed there’s quite the European presence here. This is run on the turf course, a G3 event for 300k, 3YO+. Top 3 are Da Big Hoss, Montclaire and Tobias.
Da Big Hoss is actually the big favorite here with no real competition. 10 wins in 19 lifetime including the KY Turf Cup, the JB Conley, the Elkhorn and the Belmont Gold Cup at the Graded level. Last time out he scored a mighty 106 in the latter race, best turf speed of the field. Unquestionably he is the speed horse. I also like his works, 7 in all, with 2 bullets. Only horse with prior win while moving up in class in the field.
Overlays: My 2nd choice, Montclair is best of the rest for value. After racing at the top level in France, he’s raced rather competitively in the US, with an optional claimer win at Gulfstream, and a 2nd place finish in an ungraded stakes event last summer at Delaware. He and Da Big Hoss have best turn times of the field, and I like his progression against the leader last time out, prior to reclaim.

The SECRETARIAT STAKES is a Grade 1 event for 3YOs going 10 furlongs on the AP turf course, for 400k.   Top 3 are longshot Cordon, Surgical Strike and Beach Patrol.
Cordon with a win and 2nd lifetime in 2 starts, winning at the 32k maiden level here at 9 furlongs on turf. He won that race after 4 months away, and improved by 10 points at the 2nd call, 9 overall. 2 works since here, 1 a bullet.   He is the lone overlay of the field, in a race where I can remove the favorites out of the top 2.

The BEVERLY D Stakes is for fillies and mares 3YO+ going 1-3/16 miles on the turf. This is a 700k race at the Grade 1 level. Top 3 are Al’s Gal, Fauflier and Coolmore.  Another race with no favorites, and absolutely ripe for value.
Al’s Gal is 23-6-7-3 lifetime, winning the Keertana at Churchill 2 races back in late May. Prior to that she scored matching triple-figure Brisnet speed figures, running 2nd in the Bewitch at Keeneland. This mare does her fastest running on the backstretch and seems to have the best speed figures if measured that way.  Bumped against the eventual winner last time out in the Modesty here in July while still running a 92 score.

Overlays: Al’s Gold plus these:
Lots o’Lex has 5 wins in 14 lifetime tho no stakes wins yet. She hasn’t raced since October at Hawthorne, and is stretching out from 8.5 furlongs. Best works of the field, with 3 bullets in the 10 month layoff.

Personal Diary has had mixed blessings in her runs. She ran very close to the lead last time out in the Ellis Park Turf on July 9 with a slight gain on leader midway through the race. I’m banking on the idea that she can improve further.

Zipessa, my 2nd choice overall has 4 wins in 7, including the Grade 3 Dr James Penny Memorial at Parx last time out.  That race was actually a downtick in her speed figure to 89. Best turn time gain of the field.

The Arlington Million is the featured event, 1 million dollars at stake for 3YO+, a 10 furlong distance on the AP turf course.  Top 3 are Dubai Sky, Pumpkin Rumble and The Pizza Man, last year’s winner of this event.
This race is another where there will likely be no real value in the top 3 and is one to shell out more dollars.
Dubai Sky is 6-4-1-1, with wins in the Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream last year and also the Spiral Stakes (Grade 3). The big difference for me is turn time, where he’s the only horse to gain out of the field and also doing so while lowering his speed figure (down from 103 to 93). William Mott is 10-3-1-2 for the meet and has done a good job with this horse. Gaining 4 lbs for this race, a move which gave Dubai Sky the Spiral win, plus a switch back to his jockey for that win, Jose Lezcano. Not to mention, but I will mention, his works are best of the field, with 5 at Churchill in prep, last 2 were breezing and very fast for 4 furlongs.
I also like these as overlays: Pumpkin Rumble is 19-4-3-4, whose last stakes win came last summer at Canterbury. Only horse in the field with improving pace form: Small new top to 96 running 3rd in the Stars and Stripes here on 7/9. He made a late wide move to stay in the money in that race, and I really think he fired too late. He’s also the only horse racing under reclaim (4th race under Gary Scherer).

As for The Pizza Man, since last year’s Million, this 16-time winner was 5th in the Breeders Cup Turf, won a Grade 2 event at Del Mar, then 5th in the Gulfstream Park Turf, 4th in the Wise Dan, then 4th in the Stars and Stripes. Best lifetime turf score of 111, plus best track speed of 103. He’s 10 of 14 at AP.
Shifting gears a bit as we go to Albuquerque Downs for the next race in my Enlightened Derby Trail series. The big race is the 50k Manzano for leading 2YOs, going 6 furlongs . Top 3 are General Council, Ranger Rod and Stem The Tide, removing the favorites from the top 2 here.
General Council won here at this distance last month against 15k maidens, taking the lead at the top of the stretch.  His 61 figure is best for the distance of the field, and is the only horse who does his best running on the backstretch. Turn time of 22.4 also leads here. He is the lone overlay of the field.
Last up for today is the Fourstardave Handicap, a Grade 1 event at Saratoga, 1 mile on the inner turf course, for 500k.  Top 3 are Tourist, Grand Arch and Blacktype.
Tourist is 15-4-3-3, with his last wins coming in the More Than Ready at Kentucky Downs last year, and the Sir Cat on this track. Best overall pace of the field, running with a high 90s pattern. 3-wide trip last time out running 2nd in the Shoemaker Mile, at Santa Anita in June.
Overlays: King Kreesa won the Forbidden Apple at Belmont last time with big gain in speed figure to 100. Owns the best figures for distance and the Spa along with turf. Could bounce from the 100 number. I project him to be fastest along the backstretch where he does his best running.

A fine day of wagering should be had at Arlington, especially with the Beverly D and the Million.

Later today I’ll give my thoughts on the Longacres Mile at Emerald.

Stakes selections 7/30 ( Arapahoe, Saratoga, Del Mar)

4 races to look at today across several tracks:

The Enlightened Oaks Trail continues today with the Arapahoe Debutante Stakes for 2YO fillies, 5.5 furlongs, 55k purse.  My top 3 are favored Galactic Princess, Emma’s Dilemma, and McKenzie’s Honey.  Logical top 3, really.
Galactic Princess won her maiden debut here 7/4 with a 78 Brisnet, much the best pace figure for track distance and lifetime compared to today’s field. I also like she’s one of 2 horses who improved on the pace leader by the 2nd call last time out.
Emma’s Dilemma 1st or 2nd in 3 lifetime..2nd last time in the CTBA Lassie here on 7/9, forged new lifetime best of 68 in her maiden win prior to that. Only other filly with comparable pace numbers, noting this sprinters 95 Brisnet at first call, and is the lone sprinter. Also had a 3 wide trip last time out.

McKenzie Honey ships from Turf Paradise, winner of two there, then laid off since May. Best AWD numbers of the field (Parading/So Beautiful, by Arch). Adds Bute for this race following layoff. Only filly with prior win that follows a class and distance increase.
My odds: McKenzie Honey 29-1; Galactic Princess 7-1, Emma’s Dilemma 3-1, Ms Wild Rush 9-1, Lite Em Up Linda 7-1, Miss Pretzel and Lucky Dolly are 4-1 (both are overlays).  Miss Pretzel also showed gain on leader by 2nd call last out  Lucky Dolly has best work tab of these.
Not a good betting race here tho the overlays should be used for win and under faves. McKenzie Honey as 2nd morning line pick should take on less money. More $ likely will go on Lucky Dolly and might not be an overlay by post time.
To Saratoga we go and the Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap,  a 6 furlong race at the Grade 1 level for top 3YO+.  My top 3 are Holy Boss,
Holy Boss had a nice win streak going this time last year, and then had finishes between 3rd and 4th since. Won last year’s Amsterdam Stakes here, was 3rd in the King’s Bishop with a 102, which is best pace for this track of the field. Last time out in the True North, he was half a step slow out of the gate, but still managed a 100. Adds blinkers for this race. Nice works coming in too.
Anchor Down also ships from Belmont, following the Met Mile. Playing bounceback angle, 2 races from achieving lifetime best numbers (108) and bouncing from there. Pace patterns suggest a return to triple digits. Track bias is kind to sprinters (44% winners at the distance) and post (19% wins from rail).  Best turn time of the field.
Chubilicious comes out of her win in the Mr Prospector at Monmouth, 6/26, with a 108 score.  Best pace numbers measured by run style. Only true closer in the field.
My odds: Holy Boss 2-1; Delta Bluesman 12-1, Catalina Red 12-1, Anchor Down 7-2, AP Indian and All Star Red 29-1, Requite 22-1.  No overlays here.
Can’t really go against the chalk here, tho the chances are good Anchor Down and Holy Boss will take less money than others.
Next is the Clement L Hirsch at Del Mar, a Grade 1 race for fillies/mares going 8.5 furlongs for a 300k purse.  My top 3 are Stellar Wind, Beholder and Divina Comedia.
Stellar Wind 2nd choice by morning line. 5 wins in 9 lifetime including the G1 Santa Anita Oaks. In fact she’s constantly been in Graded company ever trainer switch to John Sadler.  She is the absolute speed of the small field. After bouncing from triple digits to 93 in the Vanity at Santa Anita, I expect a return to faster pace here. Good competitive turn time too. Waiting since June to stretch out, has multiple shipping wins following layoffs. Best works of these too.
Beholder has a dazzing 27-17-3-0 record. Winner of 8 straight going back to 6/7/14. Best speed figures for distance and track (112, Pacific Classic, 8/22/15). Only other horse with great turn time, also stretching out with the 7 week layoff.
Divina Comedia is the only value and overlay hope.  Top AWD numbers via European stock, this 5YO mare increased speed figure from 86 to 95, a small new top at that. I like that she closed onto leader by 2nd call in most recent race, her win in the Southern Truckin at Santa Anita 7/3/16
My odds: Beholder 5-2, Stellar Wind 2-1, Divina Comedia 8-1 and an overlay.
Back at Saratoga again for the Jim Dandy Stakes, 9 furlongs for top 3YOs, 600k purse in this Grade 2 event. Top 3: Destin, Laoban, Governor Malibu

Destin won the SF Davis and Tampa Bay Derbies earlier this year.  Easily the speed of the field, he forged small new top last out in the Belmont with 103.  Good consistent pace numbers too.

Laoban still a maiden but maybe not for much longer. Poor record in 7 races, but I like that he’s the lone sprinter and was impressive in turn time gain between the last 2 races.
Governor Malibu won the Federico Tesio and the Gander. Best track speed here with an 84 (2nd in his maiden debut vs 73k maidens). Prior winner first off layoff,
My odds: Mohaymen 2-1, Governor Malibu 29-1, Destin 2-1, Laoban 2-1.

Saratoga stakes analysis 7/25/15

2 big stakes races for the first Saturday of the Spa meet:

The Grade 3 Sanford Stakes is for top 2YOs going 6 furlongs.
Top choice:  Cocked & Loaded is the morning-line favorite.Winner of the 250k Tremont at Belmont last out,undefeated in 2, layoff before Tremont and today. Gained sharply from 81 to 89, so mind the bounce possibility.  Won while stretching from 4.5 to 5.5 furlongs. 4 works at AP since the Tremont, last 2 virtual bullets. Shipper win last time as well. Waiting since June to stretch, so he should be raring to go.
I also like Uncle Vinny and Percolator here to fill out the top 3, upon the scratch of my original 2nd choice.
Suggested odds:  Awesome Slew 14-1. Magna Light 7-1 and the lone overlay thus far. How so? He has best pace numbers of the field (103 at first call in his maiden debut) and must be considered should there be off track conditions.   He’s Comin In Hot: 7-1. Cocked And Loaded 2-1.We turn then to the TVG Diana Stakes, Grade 1 race on turf for fillies/mares going 9 furlongs on the turf.

Top 3:
Kitten’s Queen is one of 2 that I like as an overlay. Winner of the Jersey Lilly at Sam Houston in February, she’s been in the money for her last 10 races, and is 20-5-3-7 lifetime. Prior win from cutback in distance, she is the only prior winner from last year’s Spa meet of the field, and owns several shipping victories. Very good worktab compared to the others.
Stephane’s Kitten, like Kitten’s Queen, is out of dam Kitten’s Joy.  Best turf speed and shares in top distance speed of the field.  Also shares in fastest turn time at :23 in last race while running lower speed figure.

Lady Lara  forged a lifetime best speed figure this year and gained sharply in speed last out in the Just A Game Stakes at Belmont on 6/6. Waiting the longest of these to stretch out.  I’m willing to forgive her wide trip in that race, as she did make up for lost time in closing. Has a good close pattern of Brisnet scores, and also :23 turn time from last race.

Suggested odds:
Stephanie’s Kitten: 3-1.  Kitten’s Queen: 2-1 My Miss Sophia 7-1.  Lady Lara: 3-1.

Idealistic Stats podcast 7/23/15

8th edition of the Idealistic Stats podcast is now available.
Also accessible permanently at the Internet Archive:
In this edition:
Recap of prior week’s coverage and selections
Analysis of the 7/25 fight for the light-heavyweight title in 3 organizations, Kovalev/Mohammedi
Analysis of this week’s RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour
Selections for stakes races at Saratoga Race Track, 7/25
Main website:
Music used in this program:
Annie Wenz “Play Ball” – Ride The Sky
Revel 9 “San Jose” – The Razorblade Diaries EP
Matt Ellis “On The Horizon”- The Greatest Escape CD
DJ Flowerdove “Distant Project Gate (Remix)”
Thanks for listening!
Dan Herman
Twitter: @idealisticstats

Saratoga stakes analysis for 8/30/14

This post was edited Saturday morning after initial scratches were reported.
In this post I’ll go through the 3 major stakes races taking place at Saratoga on the final Saturday of the meet. These races are part of The Racing Biz’s  monthly handicapping challenge, which I’ve several entries in, including a 2nd place finish early on, giving me an extra entry.
8 stalking-type horses battle in the 6-furlong Grade 2 Prioress Stakes, race 8.
2 STONETASTIC won a 20k optional claimer last time out. Never out of top 4 in 6 lifetime. Top jockey/trainer combo in ithe field, Paco Lopez with 15% wins, and Kelly Breen 2-for-6. Matched lifetime best Brisnet of 91 in the Grade 2 Goldenrod at Churchill last fall, then surpassed last time out with a 95, just her 2nd start at age 4. Only horse with serious pace progression in the field. Won that previous race, her first start in a sprint since her maiden debut, and she won both races rather easily, nearly wiring the field, in fact.  Morning line 6-1.  My odds: 2-1. Contender, a favorite, and certainly an overlay.

3 SOUTHERN HONEY had  won 3 straight including the Winning Colors at Churchill 2 races back. That race was a 101 Brisnet score, lifetime best, and also best of today’s field for the distance  Last time out was a poor 9th in The Test here at the Spa. Bounce back? Not sure.  Morning line: 10-1. My odds: Beyond 20-1. Dark horse, best to avoid.

4 WHO’S IN TOWN always in top 4 in 8 lifetime including a first in the Grade 2 Adirondack here last year. I type ‘first’ because she actually was replaced to 4 due to disqualification. Last time out was a slight downturn from 94 to 88 in an ungraded stakes effort. Not sure she’ll bounce up from this. M/L: 20/1. I agree with these odds, and is likely worse.

5 SWEET WHISKEY was in top 4 for first 7 races, then a close 5th in The Test earlier in the month. Still managed a 95 Brisnet, part of a 5 race run with similar numbers. Also won the Old Hat (Grade 3) at Gulfstream. Won her maiden debut at the Spa with a a dazzling 91 over 5.5 furlongs, best performance on track of this field. I do want to like this field for her consistency, but doesn’t measure up to the others.
ML: 2/1. My odds: Worse than 20-1. Stay away.

6 MISS BEHAVIOUR won the Matron at Belmont last year, plus the Miss Preakness in May. 8 of 9 in top 4 lifetime. Was 2nd in the Victory Ride (G3) with an 89 Brisnet, then 2nd in The Test with a 96. Could bounce from this effort. 2 wins from a middle post. Also lacks evidence to win today compared to rest. ML: 5/2. My odds: Beyond 20-1. Avoid.

7 TEA TIME Won 3 ungraded stakes efforts in 9 lifetime, 4 wins and 1 3rd overall. Pedigree is impressive (Pulpit/Asian Empress, by Empire Maker). 2 wins in 3 races at the distance, with top score of 101 2 races back in the Beautiful Day. Was 7th in the Test, dropping to 86. Gambling on a bounceback here.  ML: 12/1. My odds: 14-1.Outsider

8 PRINCESS VIOLET was 1st or 2nd in 4 lifetime, including 2nd in the Mother Goose, dropping in Brisnet from 99 to 90, 9 lengths behind winner. It was her first route race. Among the 8 stalker-types in the field, she has the fastest speed. 4 works since the Mother Goose, 3 at the Spa. Both wins came from an outside post. ML: 5/1. My odds: Better than 1/1. Favorite, contender, possible overlay.
My top 4:
1 8 Princess Violet
2 2 Stonetastic
3 7 Tea Time
4 6 Miss Behaviour.

Overlays: 8, 2
Decent value here, maybe even sneaky value with overlays on top.
Race 10 is the 7 furlong Forego Stakes, Grade 1.
1 CAPO BASTONE won the Grade 1 King’s Bishop last year at the Spa. Since that race he’s largely been a disappointment with only 1 race in the money. Went from 89 to 95 to 88 in speed last 3 races, so I’m thinking there’s a possible bounceback.  ML: 15-1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
2 BIG BUSINESS is fairly consistent with 22 of 28 lifetime in the money, and 10 wins, last 5 finishing 1st or 2nd. Has not won any stakes races in at least 2 years. 2 of his last 3 wins have come from an inside post. ML: 15-1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.
4 ZEE BROS ran several races in UAE before returning here earlier this month with a good optional claimer as prep.  My best guess is that he did run competitively in his last race on the Meydan poly despite being 6th, that race the Grade 1 Golden Shaheen. Moved to an 89 Brisnet last time out. Maybe a bounceback but not sure. He is the lone speed tho.  ML: 20-1. My odds agree with this.
6 PALACE won the AG Vanderbilt (Grade 1) here last month and is a multiple Graded winner. 104 Brisnet in the Vanderbilt is best of the track of this field. Inherent quality to win is quite evident.  Even tho he’s making closest approach to lifetime best 109 from last fall, I’m not sure he’ll sustain today. ML: 3-1. My odds: 10-1. Outsider.

8 CLEARLY NOW won the Grade 3 Bold Ruler and Belmont Sprint on that track, the latter being his most recent race in a huge 109 score. The 109 is among those for the distance. I like the pedigree here: Horse Greeley/Bend, by Arch.  Consistently in Graded company. Trainer Brian Lynch reclaimed over a year ago and the prices are likely to be rather short for the ML favorite at 7/5. One of 2 horses with positive pace progression here. The 109 score was just past his effort in the Bold Ruler, a 106. He’s truly the speed of the field and should close well. 5 works since last race, 4 of those 5 very fast, 1 a bullet. My odds put him at even-money. Favorite, contender.
9 WEEKEND HIDEAWAY has several ungraded stakes wins. In the money for last 5 races. Trainer Philip Serge has 2 wins, 3 in money in 9 Graded stakes this year, for a 5.38 ROI. Had the best trip coming into this race, nearly wiring the field earlier this month here in an ungraded stakes race. ML: 10-1. My odds: 8-1.
10 CONFRONTATION in the money all 7 lifetime races, makes his stakes debut here. 3 wins in 3 races at Saratoga. He’s the other horse with strong pace progression. Surpassed lifetime best with a 100 last time out, better than his 98 in 2nd lifetime race. 2 wins from an outside post.  ML: 10-1. My odds: 6-1. Contender and overlay.
My top 4:
1 8 Clearly Now
2 10 Confrontation
3 9 Weekend Hideaway.
Overlays: 10

Chalk should reign ahead of value, decent for exactas.
Race 11 is the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes, at 9 furlongs.
1 LONG RIVER won several ungraded stakes, has had poor luck in Graded tho.  Irad Ortiz Jr has worked with Kieran McLaughin 19 races in last 60 days, earning 8 wins, 12 in the money, for ROI of 3.42. ML: 8/1. My odds: 20-1. Dark horse.

4 MORENO Won the Grade 1 Whitney earlier in the month, and the Grade 2 Dwyer last year. Easily the class of the field, 3 for 3 in the money at the Spa, with a best effort of 109 in last year’s Travers. The Alvarado/Guilliot connection have 1 win and 4 placings in the last 60 days for a serviceable 2.40 ROI. Was a 107 Brisnet in the Whitney, up from 100 in the Suburban. Very good trip coming in, as the sprinter wired the field for 9 furlongs. Also is the lone speed here. ML 2/1. My odds: 6-1. Contender.
6 ZIVO won the Suburban last time with new top of 104. On the bench since that race, and has won before from layoff. 6 works since then, 4 here. Never out of the money in 15 lifetime, and winner of last 6 races. ML: 5/1. My odds: 15-1. Dark horse.
7 NORUMBEGA won the Brooklyn Handicap in June with lifetime best 112, bounced to a 95 in the Suburban. Top jockey/trainer combo here: Javier Castellano with 25% wins, and Shug McGaughey with 21%. Also can win off layoff. This deep closer I’ve rated fastest of the field. 5 works to prep for today, 3 very fast, 2 bullet works.  Makes his best runs from an outside post. Predicting a bounceback here. ML: 10/1. My odds: Better than even-money. Favorite, contender, overlay.
9 STEPHANOATSEE hasn’t won in over 2 years. Great pedigree here (AP Indy/Oatsee, by Unbridled). 3 works at Saratoga, generally very fast, last one a bullet.  ML: 30-1. My odds are similar. Stay away.

My top 4:

1 7 Norumbega
2 4 Moreno
3 6 Zivo
4 9 Stephanoatsee
This is the one stakes race where I predict an upset.
This afternoon, coverage of the Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trails, with races at Evangeline Downs and Del Mar involved.


Adirondack Stakes/Saratoga Special analysis

Happy to be back providing analysis in advance. If you’ve followed me on Twitter, I’ve given you instant analysis and picks of races.  Here with the notebook, I can give a little more time and thoughtfulness without the pesky internal keyboard to work with.

Also if you look at the page devoted to the Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trails, you’ll see a much-needed update to the results.

I’ve sunk to 12th place thus far in the Emerald Downs online contest with about 6 weeks left to go.  I’ve also been playing the daily contest race for Del Mar, and am somewhere in the top 15%. I am playing 3 across the board bets plus a few more $ with overlays on each of the contest races.  Remington Park comes back into focus later this month too, the site of my biggest contest win to date, $1000.

The Adirondack Stakes involves outstanding 2YO fillies, 7 in all, going  6 furlongs on the dirt. Here are my contenders:

WONDER GAL is easy to root for after a 14 length victory in her debut.  I actually don’t have the lone closer ranked well at all compared to these, but nevertheless has the classy win, the $125k effort earned at Belmont last month.   Morning line: 3-1. My odds: 20-1.   Dark horse.

PHOENIX PARK broke maiden at first asking  with a head-length victory at 4.5 furlongs at Parx.  Only horse off layoff in the field. Also, note that all horses except this one are running in the generally same posts as prior races. Phoenix Park gets 2nd shot with an inside port, after winning from rail last time. I think this a big sneaky advantage. Morning line 15-1. My odds: 8-5.  Contender, and overlay.

ANGELA RENEE has John Velazquez (17% wins) and Todd Pletcher (28% wins). Unlike the others entered, had to endure a wide trip last out.  But she has the best work tab of the field, with 4 Saratoga workout, 1 recent fast.  Morning line 5-2. My odds: 9-2. Contender.

TAKE CHARGE BRANDI has best average winning distances from pedigree (Giant’s Causeway/Charming, Seeking The Gold). 2nd place finish here on July 18th, in the Grade 3 Schuylerville, 85 Brisnet.  Improved on 78 Brisnet in her maiden debut.  Morning line 10-1. My odds: 9-2, contender and overlay.

CAVORTING has best early speed figures of the field, a 103 first-call  number in debut. Won that race by 11 going 6 furlongs at Belmont last month.  Might burn out tho with this type of field. Morning line 7-2. My odds: 8-1. Outsider.

EMPRESSIVE HUMOR has this ROI angle: Joel Rosario has worked with Steve Assmussen 6 races in the last 60 days, earning 2 wins, 3 in money, for decent ROI of 2.43. Earned her debut win at 5 furlongs by a neck, right here last month.  Morning line: 8-1. My odds: 13-1.  Outsider, best stay away from.

I rank the horses this way:
2 Phoenix Park
4 Take Charge Brandi
3 Angela Renee
5 Cavorting

The Saratoga Special is a Grade 2 sprint for 2YOs. Here’s how I see it:

I SPENT IT has something of an edge having Javier Castellano (24%) and Anthony Dutrow (25%) involved.  Doesn’t rank in any other variable for me. Morning line 7-2. My odds: 28-1. No chance.

MR. Z was 2nd in the Sanford Stakes (grade 3) last month here, with a troubled trip and a 92 Brisnet. That score was well past his debut of an 81. I’m suspecting a bounce here. Morning line 5-1. My odds: 20-1.  No chance.

NONNA’S BOY has best average winning distance from pedigree (Distorted Humor/Nonna Mia, Empire Maker). 4th in the Sanford. Also outranked in other variables.  Morning line 4-1. My odds: 20-1. No chance

CINCO CHARLIE is the experienced of these, with 3 races. 3rd in the Sanford, and winner of another Grade 3 race at Churchill. The win there was  94 Brisnet, later paired with a 90 in the Sanford.  I’ve rated him fastest among the sprinters. Looked good in the Sanford, no trouble.  Morning line 9-2. My odds: 9-5. Contender, maybe overlay.

STANFORD won debut race, 40k maiden race at Monmouth. 4 works since that race, last 2 at Saratoga, and fast ones at  that.  Morning line 12-1. My odds: 8-1. Outside contender, possible overlay.

CLEVELAND SOUND won debut race at Delaware. Borderline ROI of 2.05 in recent races with Irad Ortiz and Graham Motion involved, including 4 wins and 10 in the money for the last 60 days.  Morning line: 15-1. My odds: 28-1  No chance.

MAJESTIC AFFAIR won convincingly in debut at Canterbury.  ROI of 2.73, 2 wins and 5 in the money out of 7 races in the last 60 days for Jose Lezcano and Chad Brown.  Morning line: 8-1. My odds: 28-1.  No chance.

WV JETSETTER ships from Lone Star Park, with 3 races there, 2 wins and 1 show.  Pair of 87s in the latter 2 races. Good trip going 5 furlongs last time in a 100k stakes race victory.   Morning line: 10-1. My odds: 7-1, best of the rest of these, maybe overlay.

I rank my top 4 as:
7 Cinco Charlie
11 WV Jetsetter
8 Stanford
3 Mr. Z.

As usual, I play win bets on any horse in my top 3 worse than 5-1, plus any overlays, and exactas within  my top 3, along with exactas involving favorites over overlays