Saturday at the Spa

We played Snap Decision in yesterday’s Hall of Fame Stakes and he just moved up on the turn but just didn’t have enough late punch behind the very impressive Bricks & Mortar, who is now a perfect 4-4 for Chad Brown and possesses a devastating late kick.

On to Saturday’s card where there are a few horses we think can outrun their odds.

Waya Stakes (G3) – Race 3 – #2 Estrechada (6-1) comes back to New York for another try against the local turf marathon runners after running sixth in the River Memories downstate on July 9th. In that race, Apple Betty, who is in this race, set a very slow pace and wired the field, while Estrechada was buried inside and never had a clear path for even a few strides until it was way too late. She switches to Javier Castellano, who should have her a little closer to the pace today. The favorite is #4 Suffused (7-5), who has disappointed in each of her last two races (though there was a very slow pace in the G2 New York on June 9th). Still, Suffused’s last two races seem worse than her best and she is a bit hard to lean on at what promises to be a short price. We’ll bet Estrechada to win and play her in exactas with the favorite.

Race 4 – This is a 2 year old 8.5 furlong race and we’ll try second time starting #6 Eclipsed Moon (5-1), who was 2nd in his debut at Ellis. In that race, he missed the break and then made a big bold wide move, spun 5-6 wide at the top of the lane and was 4-wide around the turn. The winner saved ground and got through up the inside. The race was slow (44 Beyer) but was at a mile and that route experience can play well here in a field that has several first time starters. Ken McPeek is 16% from 68 starters with second time starters in turf routes with a $2.30 ROI (and the ROI is still $2.00 when you remove the one $62 winner) per DRF Formulator.

Race 5 – This is a typical loaded Saratoga allowance race and we have to try #1 Mighty Mo (8-1) from the inside. Last time out, he was surprisingly rated when he should have been up on the pace in a race that was won wire to wire. He ran well behind Highland Sky two-back at Gulfstream and was part of a very fast pace in the Tropical Park Derby on New Year’s Eve. Switching to the aggressive Paco Lopez should mean a forward trip, or even a pace-setting trip from the inside, which would give this Bill Mott runner a big chance to pull off the upset.

Race 6 – This 2 year old Whitney Day dirt sprint feels likely to produce a Hopeful runner and big performance, and we’ll say that is going to come from #9 Arrival (5-1), a $500,000 yearling for Mark Casse. This son of Tapit, half to Bayern, had an impossible trip at Churchill in his debut. He was bumped hard at the start and took a few strides to settle (and by then was in last place), moved up inside, and then had all kinds of trouble in the line. Part of that was him being a bit green, but he was bumped and had to weave his way through a few times in what should be a very good learning experience.

Lure Stakes – Race 7 – #1 Projected (9-5) is obviously the horse to beat and will be a short price. The horse we’ll use with him in the exacta is #4 Our Way (12-1), who is 2-3 at Saratoga and improved over the winter figure-wise for Jim Bond. He does come off a layoff from April 29th but should be a big enough price. Some of the other horses that will take money (Takeover Target off the long layoff, Camelot Kitten also off a layoff and we’re not sure how good he really was last year anyway, Ring Weekend doesn’t seem as strong this year, etc.) are worth opposing underneath.

We don’t have any interest in opposing Gun Runner, especially on what looks to be a fast track for today’s Grade 1 Whitney.

This is a tremendous card. Enjoy, and let’s pick some winners!

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