Jeff Siegel: What You Need to Know - Saratoga | Saturday, August 13, 2022

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First Race – Post: 1:05 ET
Top Pick: 5-Calycanthus (5/2)

It what appears to be a below standard race for maiden juveniles competing over a distance of ground on grass, this son of English Channel appears to have found a proper spot to graduate at first asking.  Clearly bred for the conditions, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt has done some good work in the a.m. on the dirt, both at Monmouth Park and then most recently over the local main strip.  We suspect he’ll step forward considerably on the lawn, and with I. Ortiz, Jr. in the saddle this good-traveling 2-year-old should be primed and ready.  He’s listed at 5/2 on the morning line and we’ll take that if we can get it.  For protection, you might want to find room on your ticket for Full Coverage.  Though the son of Kitten’s Joy hasn’t been all that impressive in his morning workouts, he is bred for grass and could show a whole lot more on what we presume will be his favorite surface.  

Seventh Race:  Post: 4:29 ET
Top Pick: 5-Skellig (4-1)

This first-time starter is listed at 4-1 on the morning line but we suspect he’ll go lower in this maiden sprint for juveniles.  From the first crop of the promising stallion Girvin, this colt brought $235,000 at the OBS April sale, where he was highly impressive breezing a quarter mile in sizzling :20 3/5 seconds and has been equally outstanding in his a.m. drills since arriving at the Spa.  A recent gate work in 48 1/5 seconds when best of a team (see below) really points him out as the likely winner of this race.  Let’s hope he leaves promptly from the gate and is able to show his true speed.  



(Races 1-5)
1st race: 5-Calycanthus; 1-Full Coverage
2nd race: 3-Mount Athos; 5-Jake Rocks
3rd race: 2-Cadencia; 1-No Payne; 6-Rigby
4th race: 4-Gulfport (pictured above)
5th race: 1-Tosconova Beauty; 2-Seet Mystery

(Races 6-11)
6th race: 7-Sheriff Bianco; 3-Neuro
7th race: 5-Skellig
8th race: 1-Portfolio Company; 6-Martini’nmoonshine
9th race: 1-Unlimited Potential; 4-For Good; 8-Final Approach
10th race: 3-Regal Glory; 4-Masen
11th race: 7-Gregg’s Honor; 3-Good Soldier; 5-Left On Boylston




Full Coverage (August 5, Saratoga, 4f, :48bg).  Grade: B-
Wasn’t asked much but was second best inside Conversing (same time) for Shug, losing a bit of ground in the final stages.  Appears to have some early speed but based on pedigree should be much more comfortable going long on the grass than sprinting on dirt.  
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I’m Very Busy (July 31, Saratoga, 4f, :48.3bg).  Grade: B-
Ridden most of the way while even outside Army Times (same time) in steady gate work for C. Brown.  Not a sprinter, should be much more comfortable over a distance of ground, probably not much more than an okay type at this stage.  
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Calycanthus (August 6, Saratoga, 4f, :48bg).  Grade: B
Stride-for-stride outside (False Impression, worked under dam’s name) (same time) for T. Pletcher, doing so without being asked and edging clear late, rather nice drill for the son of English Channel.  Whatever he can do on dirt in the morning he’s certain to do better on grass in the afternoon.  Was given a good foundation of drills at Monmouth Park before joining the big circuit.  
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Torigo (July 29, Saratoga, 5f, 1:01,4bg).  Grade: B-
Not a pretty mover (egg-beater action) but proved slightly best outside Queenspin (same time) in gate drill for D. Gargan, slightly behind early but catching up and finishing in front at the completion of the drill, fair to moderate under the circumstances.  Maybe a down the road type at this time.  
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Gulfport (August 8, Saratoga, 3f, :37.3b TT).  Grade: B+
Just galloping through the lane, never taking a deep breath, slow leaving the pole but then picking it up steam late, final quarter in :24.2.  Arrives fit and ready for another major performance.  
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Read On (August 7, Saratoga, 4f,, :47.1bg).  Grade: B
Ridden every step of the way under feathery exercise rider and proved much best in gate drill with Away From Home (4f, :48.4hg) for D. Romans, doing his best throughout to record quick time.  Nice moving son of Ghostzapper has ability and may be competitive with maidens if no monsters show up.  
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Surprise Payoff (August 1, Saratoga, 5f, 1:00.4b).  Grade: C+
Ridden a bit through the lane (workmate not asked) while inside and slightly second best with Heart N Soul (same time) for G. Weaver in steady five furlong main track drill.  Probably no world beater at this stage.  
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Marty’s Magic (July 23, Saratoga, 4f, :48bg).  Grade: C+
Slightly second best inside Quick to Accuse (same time) for De Paz, hustled along to show a bit of speed but appearing to weaken late.  Fair to moderate at best right now.  
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Skellig (August 7, Saratoga, 4f, :48.1bg).  Grade: A-
Even from gate outside Equalizer (same time) for Terranova but was tons the best, finishing slightly in front when eased up after a half but under severe restraint throughout while able to go much faster if turned loose.  Girvin colt is a half-brother to the good sprinter Tiger Blood and smoked a quarter mile in 20 3/5 seconds at the OBS April sale, which was a bullet work for the session.
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What a Blast (July 27, Saratoga, 5f, 1:03.2b).  Grade: C+
In blinkers, broke off a couple of lengths behind Gaslight Dancer (same time) and managed to get the best of that one approaching the wire, ridden through the lane, final quarter mile in :26.2.  Neither one appears to be too much at this stage.  
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General Jim (July 30, Saratoga, 4f, :47.2b TT).  Grade: B
Blaze-faced Into Mischief colt worked outside Perform (same time) and was ridden in the final furlong (workmate not asked much), reasonably nice through the lane but clearly second best. Has some ability but we’d prefer to see an outing.  
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Black Rain (July 30, Saratoga, 5f, :59.2bg).  Grade: B-
Asked hard and ridden outside Point Proven (same time, well-beaten favorite in recent debut) to be second best for T. Pletcher, decent move but probably not as good as flashy final time might indicate.  Doesn’t strike us as a win early type against maiden special weight company on this circuit ( in part based on workmate’s disappointing debut run).  
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Martini’nmoonshine (July 11, Saratoga, 4f, :49b TT TC DU).  Grade: B
Decent turf drill while much best inside Higher Standard (4f, :49.2b TT TC DU) for T. Amoss, drawing clear with authority in the final furlong without undue pressure.  Away for 10 months but seems to be returning in good shape.  Won his maiden gate-to-wire going long on the lawn, so he’s likely to employ similar strategy in his comeback race.  
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Leading Contender (July 31, Saratoga, 5f, 1:01.4b).  Grade: B
Gun Runner colt was inside For Good (same time) and was ridden a bit through the lane to appear slightly second best (workmate not really asked), final quarter mile in :24.4.  Doesn’t really appear to be all that much at this stage, may need some experience for C. Brown.  
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Regal Glory (July 31, Saratoga, 5f, 1:02.1b TT TC DU).  Grade: B+
Under a tight hold outside Virginia Joy (same time) for C. Brown while appearing in fine fettle, stride-for-stride throughout.  Maintains her winning form.  
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Masen (August 5, Saratoga, 5f, 1:01.1b TT TC).  Grade: B+
Even but slightly best inside Sacred Life (same time) while breezing inside the dogs, both going easily, looking sharp, and finishing with plenty left.  Keeps getting better and should give stable mate Regal Glory a serious test in the Fourstardave H.-G1.  
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