The road to unlocking Friday’s Late Pick 4 at Saratoga went through jockey Joel Rosario in July. The track’s second-leading rider rode winners on all three Fridays the 50-cent wager was offered. Two of Rosario’s winners went off at 12-1 and 7-1, respectively, producing Pick 4 payouts of $981 and $720. He has mounts in a pair of graded stakes on the turf that are part of this week’s sequence.
SAR 7th race (4:29 EST) -- LIL COMMISSIONER cruised up 4-wide on the turn to take a commanding lead, then dug in while tiring and drifting in the final sixteenth to win on the class drop at 7F. He spoiled a repeat bid by class-rising Zavion (9-38, $235k), who ran into traffic on the turn. DIRECT ORDER rallied for two wins and a second in his last three starts at this level and gets ample pace flow to strike again for his fourth new barn this year. DARK STORM, plagued by slow starts throughout his career, drops in for his cheapest claiming tag to date and could capitalize on an ideal setup to spring a mild upset.
SAR 8th race (5:05 EST) -- STOLEN BASE seeks his second Grade II turf stakes victory in the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes. He advanced steadily after he clipped heels on the first turn to beat a quality field in the $500,000 American Turf at Churchill Downs two starts back. He out-kicked Balnikhov, who came back to win the restricted Oceanside Stakes at Delmar, he handed G-III winner Sy Dog his first loss in four starts and he finished 7-3/4 lengths ahead of Main Event, who followed with a wire-to-wire victory in the Grade III Kent Stakes at Delaware Park. Stolen Base back-pedaled in the G-I Belmont Derby a month ago, but delivered an encouraging 4F workout on the Saratoga lawn Sunday. WIT is sure to draw a lot of attention with a 5/2-1-1 graded stakes record, with two of the setbacks coming against multiple G-I winner Jack Christopher. But he makes his turf debut and the foals of his unraced dam, Numero d’Oro, are 20-for-71 overall but 0-for-6 in turf routes. DOUBLE CLUTCH made a 5-wide, last-to-second move in the final eighth in his first stakes try. He got up to finish second behind sharp, odds-on winner Annapolis.
SAR 9th race (5:39 EST) -- GOLDEN PAL returns to the states after a nightmarish trip to Royal Ascot when his five-race, graded stakes winning streak ended with an unprepared start. He breezed a pair of 5F bullets at Saratoga recently and tries to reaffirm trainer Wesley’s Ward belief that he is the ‘fastest horse on the planet.’ If he doesn’t rebound, ARZAC, with Rosario summoned to ride, could be the one to spoil the homecoming. He lost ground throughout in the G-II Highlander at Woodbine but still managed to sweep 5-wide to a commanding lead at the 1/8-pole before tiring late to finish second. He should sit a dream trip off a rapid pace on the cutback from 6F to 5-1/2F.
SAR 10th race (6:13 EST) – Taking nothing to chance in this maiden claimer for New York breds. With four well-beaten class droppers, two first-time starters and the 2-3 finishers from a recent 6F sprint at this level, hit the ‘ALL’ button.
Suggested 50-cent Ticket
SAR 7th Race: 2, 3, 4
SAR 8th Race: 5, 7
SAR 9th Race: 3, 5
SAR 10th Race: ALL