On Saturday, Saratoga Race Course will run a stakes filled card, headed by the Grade 1 Travers Stakes. There are 5 graded stakes on the card, all in the pick 6. There is a guaranteed cool million in the all-stakes pick 4, comprising of the Grade 3 Victory Ride, the Grade 1 Ballerina, Grade 1 King's Bishop and main event, the Grade 1 Travers Stakes. 3 sprints and a race at the classic distance make up the sequence. Here is this blog's rundown of the races in the sequence:
Race 9: Grade 3 Victory Ride S. - 6 furlongs
#1 Kid Kate Prado E 120
#2 My Jen Leparoux J 120
#3 Rapport Garcia M 116
#4 Sister Dawn Maragh R 116
#5 Worstcasescenario Garcia Alan 120
#6 Simply Spiteful Lezcano J 118
#7 Beyondallboundarys Borel C 120
#8 Touching Beauty Castellano J 123
#9 Katy Now Velazquez J R 118
This is a wide open race with a lukewarm 7/2 morning line favorite in #3 Rapport. She was last seen setting a blistering pace but fading in the stretch in the Grade 3 Azalea last out at Calder. She came back with several swift works in the interim. Before that, she had two stylish front-running wins at Hollywood. She is reunited with Martin Garcia. the jockey of her two wins. He will try to ration out her speed in an attempt to go gate-to-wire.
The selection is #8 Touching Beauty. This daughter of Tapit was last seen winning the Grade 3 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct last April. She has made several good work off the layoff, and her trainer has good stats off the layoff. The only time she stepped foot on this track in the afternoon, she won her debut going 5 1/2 furlongs. She should get a good stalking trip and run down the speed. Others to consider are #9 Katy Now, whose best race is arguably at this distance two back; #4 Sister Dawn, who goes first time dirt for SoCal trainer John Sadler; and #7 Beyondallboundarys, who rides a 2 race win streak and is 3-for-3 at 6 furlongs.
Race 10: Grade 1 Ballerina S. - 7 furlongs
#1 Rightly So Velasquez C 117
#2 Warbling Castellano J 119
#3 Jessica Is Back Trujillo E 122
#4 Informed Decision Leparoux J 119
#5 Qualia Maragh R 115
#6 Pretty Prolific Prado E 117
#7 Devil by Design Desormeaux K 115
#8 First Passage Bridgmohan J 117
This race is a two horse race for this blog, with the selection being #2 Warbling. This daughter of Unbridled's Song goes 3rd off the layoff for trainer Eddie Kenneally. She has tactical speed, but can rally as well. The distance will be no problem and she should float up from her 4/1 morning line. The other horse is the favorite #4 Informed Decision. She cuts back after a winning a rare race around two turns and looks to be in fine form third off the layoff. The distance is not a problem.
Race 11: Grade 1 King's Bishop S. - 7 furlongs
#1 Latigo Shore Dominguez R A 117 L
#2 Hurricane Ike Borel C H 119 L
#3 D' Funnybone Prado E S 123 L
#4 Discreetly Mine Velazquez J R 123 L
#5 Bulldogger Garcia M 117 L
#6 Bank Merger Garcia Alan 117 L
#7 In Jack's Memory Mena M 117 L
This blog will take a chance in the pick 4 by singling #3 D'Funnybone. He comes in off a brief freshening and has run well off the layoff. He is undefeated at the Spa and at the distance (4-4). He will have to hold off #4 Discreetly Mine, who is coming off a smashing win in the Grade 2 Amsterdam here at Saratoga. Both will sit off #5 Bulldogger, who has blistering speed but will get the class test in this race.
Race 12: Grade 1 Travers S. - 1m & 1/4
#1 Miner's Reserve Cohen D 126
#2 Trappe Shot Garcia Alan 126
#3 Admiral Alex Desormeaux K 126
#4 First Dude Dominguez R 126
#5 A Little Warm Velazquez J 126
#6 Ice Box Leparoux J 126
#7 Afleet Express Castellano J 126
#8 Fly Down Lezcano J 126
#9 Friend Or Foe Maragh R 126
#10 Afleet Again Velasquez C 126
#11 Super Saver Borel C 126
The main event is a real brainteaser, as only Super Saver has won at the distance before. Only two come in off a win. Most are untested at the distance. The division leader, Lookin at Lucky, did not make the trip from southern California due to spiking a fever on the return trip from his win in the Haskell. The lukewarm favorite is #5 A Little Warm. This son of Stormin Fever won the local prep, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy last time out. He stalked the #1 Miner's Reserve around the track and took over in the stretch. He has two good maintenance works in the interim. There are questions over whether he can last the mile and a quarter, especially with the expected quick splits. he will be attending.
The selection is #7 Afleet Express. This son of Afleet Alex, sire of three in the field, finished a lackluster 3rd in the Jim Dandy. This blog feels that the race was an aberration caused by the odd spacing between his last two races and the fact that the horses who ran 1-2 were 2-1 the whole way around. There have been two steady works in the interim, and he deserves another chance. At 6-1 on the morning line, he should offer some value, but by no means is a single.
Others to consider are #8 Fly Down, who was the favorite in the Jim Dandy but failed to produce his best and #11 Super Saver, who won the Derby but was well beaten his last two starts. This blog is taking a stand against #2 Trappe Shot, who may end up the favorite off of his 2nd in the Haskell. This blog doesn't feel that he is at his optimum at this distance, and his depressed price creates zero value in the sequence
To recap, the ticket is:
Victory Ride: Touching Beauty, Beyondallboundarys, Rapport, Sister Dawn, Katy Now
Ballerina: Warbling, Informed Decision
King's Bishop: D'funnybone
Travers: Afleet Express, Fly Down, A Little Warm, Super Saver
A $40 ticket in total.
This sequence lacks any heavy favorites, and could easily pay over a thousand dollars. This blog wishes all good luck and great betting!