JEFF SIEGEL'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - SARATOGA - 7/15/23

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Saratoga Handicapping Analysis, Wagering Strategies, and Workout Commentary identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.

For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Grade Descriptions:

Grade A=Highest degree of confidence

Grade B=Solid Play.

Grade C=Least preferred or pass

Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play

Selections/analysis published before late (morning) scratches.

RACE 1: POST: 1:10PM ET GRADE: X

Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Pirate; 4-Special Element

Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Pirate makes his debut for Todd Pletcher following a series of strong, healthy workouts and seems likely to get bet off the board after being listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite. From the first crop of Omaha Beach, he’s out of a long distance stakes winning turf mare, so he may not show his best stuff until somewhere down the road, but apparently he’s displayed enough in the morning to expect a debut victory. Special Element is the one to fear most. The son of the precocious stakes winning juvenile performer Copper Bullet breezed impressively in :10 flat at the OBS April sale and then brought $260,000 through the ring, so despite what appears to be a moderate local work tab we know the Bill Mott-trained colt absolutely can run.


RACE 2: POST: 1:42PM ET GRADE: C+

Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Win For Gold; 5-Talkin Pharoah

Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Win for Gold appears well-spotted for a major effort in this starter allowance main track sprint, though having failed at odds of 3-1 or lower his last four starts (twice when favored) he may be a bit hard to trust. The Goldencents gelding has only one way to go - on the lead from gate to wire - so from the rail he’d be advised to leave with his field. Talkin Pharoah crushed maiden claimers with a career top speed figure last time out, and with another forward move today he could be quite competitive. He’s been protected today in what we view as a sign of confidence. Sugar Gray Leonard often produces a good late kick and if a pace meltdown materializes – quite possible considering the projected race flow – the Richard Dutrow-trained gelding should be heard from close home.


RACE 3: POST: 2:16PM ET GRADE: B+

Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Isola

Backups/savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Isola displayed winning form in her debut over the left-handed Fontainebleau layout on soft ground in April but struck the front too soon and was tagged late when finishing more than six lengths clear of the others in a promising performance. She makes her U.S. debut in this middle distance maiden affair for new connections and should be more than capable of handling the assignment. While we’d much prefer to see her draft in behind cover and produce a late kick, she actually has her share of early speed, so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the Irish-bred filly close up throughout. Listed at 9/2 on the morning line, the Jack Sisterson-trained filly offers good wagering value in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.


RACE 4: POST: 2:46PM ET GRADE: X

Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-In Italian

Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Not that she needed the help, but In Italian will once again be gifted the lead in this year’s edition of the Diana S.-G1 and given the role as the controlling speed the English-bred mare looks impossible to beat. With five consecutive triple digit Beyer speed figures on her resume, the Chad Brown-trained mare simply outclasses her four rivals, three of which are her own stable mates. Obviously, she offers no wagering opportunity other than as a short-priced rolling exotic single.


RACE 5: POST: 3:18PM ET GRADE: B

Main ticket (in order of preference): 8-Mariachi; 2-Always Charming

Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Always Charming and Mariachi finished two-three (with a nose separating the two) in a similar seven furlong sprint for New York-bred fillies and mares last month at Belmont Park and meet again, this time over three quarters at Saratoga. The latter has had just three outings while ‘Charming shows 10 previous starts, so perhaps Mariachi has more right to improve. We’ll put the daughter of Maclean’s Music on top but include both in rolling exotic play.


RACE 6: POST: 3:52PM ET GRADE: B+

Main ticket (in order of preference): 10-Silver Skillet

Backups/Savers/Underneath: 6-Sals Dream Girl; 9-Snowy Evening.

Forecast: Silver Skillet has run a mile three times in her six race career, but this will be her first around two turns. The daughter of Liam’s Map projects as the controlling speed, and after missing by a neck in her first start on grass last time out (and earning a career top speed figure in doing so) the Christophe Clement-trained sophomore looks ready to step forward big time. At 7/2 on the morning line, she offers value in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.


RACE 7: POST: 4:26PM ET GRADE: B

Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Playlist; 4-Breeze Easy

Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Playlist left her previous form far behind with a runaway first level allowance turf sprint win at Ellis Park last time out in a performance that earned a Beyer speed figure 17 points better than her previous career top. A similar effort today beats this field; let’s just hope that she’s not a one hit wonder. Breeze Easy can be a difficult ride – much of her troubled trips are of her own doing – but if she switches off and settles before taking hold in the lane the English-bred filly will have a legit chance to produce a winning late kick.


RACE 8: POST: 5:02PM ET GRADE: B-

Main ticket (in order of preference): 9-Neigh Jude; 6-Island Rose

Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Par for this New York-bred maiden special weight level is 74 (Beyer speed figure). Nothing among those that have raced have earned anything better than a 61 Beyer, and most are much slower than that. So let’s look at a couple of newcomers. The Monmouth Park-based Neigh Jude attracts Irad Ortiz, Jr. for a barn that hits at a reasonable 16% with debut runners and the daughter of Union Rags has put together a decent work tab that includes a bullet half mile breeze (:48 flat, fastest of 44) late last month. The Kelly Breen-trained filly looks very much like a live item in a race begging to be won by a fresh face. Island Rose, a daughter of Uncle Mo in the Charlton Baker stable, has a couple of bullet moves in her recent workout sequence that appear fairly decent. As a daughter of Gun Runner, she really has a right to be any kind but certainly won’t have to be a world beater to act with this group.


RACE 9: POST: 5:45PM ET GRADE: B

Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Annapolis; 8-Casa Creed

Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Annapolis has two wins and a second in three career starts on grass at Saratoga and arrives fresh from a solid win in the Opening Verse Stakes at Churchill Downs in early May. Effective as the controlling speed but just as comfortable in a second flight, stalking position, the son of War Front projects to enjoy a soft trip behind the committed speed types (Big Everest, Mid Day Image) and then have every chance when turned loose at the head of the lane. While there’s no great value at his morning line of 8/5, on paper he looks it. Casa Creed is a Grade-1 winner over this course and distance, so on his very best day he’s quite dangerous. The noted deep closer should have enough pace up front to compliment his style and have every chance to tag the leaders.


RACE 10: POST: 6:19PM ET GRADE: X

Main ticket: (in order of preference): 9-Gold Sweep

Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Based on his runaway (nine length) win in the Tremont Stakes, Gold Sweep has a right to claim title as the best 2-year-old in North America right now, or at the very least, one of them. The son of Speightstown earned a 91 Beyer speed figure in victory, and that puts him in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1 territory. How far he’ll run remains to be seen, but at this six furlong distance the Steve Asmussen-trained colt should be 10 lengths the best of this group and maybe even more if they allow him to be.


RACE 11: POST: 6:52PM ET GRADE: B+

Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Beer Run

Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Beer Run is a colt of some promise. In the frame in his first two starts, most recently when runner-up in a quick turf sprint at Belmont Park that earned a strong speed figure, the Wesley Ward-trained son of City of Light should produce another forward move, and with a trouble free trip from the rail he looks quite capable of earning his diploma in this abbreviated dash. Johnny V. knows him well and stays aboard, so at 2-1 on the morning line (and likely to go lower) he’s a logical rolling exotic single.

continue reading