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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Wednesday, August 18

by Jeff Siegel

August 18, 2021

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

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). 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.

RACE 1: Post: 1:05 ET Grade: X
Pass/No Play

Forecast: The Wednesday opener is a race for hurdlers. We will pass the race.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B+
Use: 3-Flat Out Beautiful; 6-Free Enterprise

Forecast: At first glance it would appear that Free Enterprise is another Klaravich Stables class dropper being culled to make room for new blood. In his case, though, it may be a simple case of a veteran gelding, with just 11 career starts and with issues throughout his career, merely being placed where he can be most productive. A winner of a restricted $50,000 claiming sprint last month in the mud over this track and distance, the son of Curlin shows up today in a $32,000 seller, and on pure numbers, this is where he belongs. His career record at Saratoga (5-1-2-1) is too good to ignore as well, so we’ll include him in rolling exotic play along with the intriguing Flat Out Beautiful, who shows several powerful angles in his chart, most notably being a first-off-the-claim play for R. Atras, who is simply remarkable with this maneuver (34% with a massive ROI). Additionally, the son of Flat Out is dropping from $40,000, shortening to what might be his best trip (seven furlongs), is strong in the speed figure department, attracts the barn’s “go-to” rider R. Santana, and when properly spotted always has been genuine and consistent (first or second in 12 of 27 career starts). It will be a major letdown if the veteran gelding doesn’t fire a huge shot.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Morning Matcha; 7-Call Sign Charlie; 9-Monshun

Forecast: This maiden special weight sprint is restricted to juvenile fillies that went through the auction ring for $45,000 or less in their most recent sale. Morning Matcha, a fast-finishing third (and then galloping out far in front) in a similarly restricted event last month, gets an extra half furlong to work with today and should continue to improve in her third career outing, though her total lack of early speed and her awkwardness with lead changes makes backing her a bit problematic. She’s clearly the best of those that have raced, but there are a couple of newcomers that must be considered as well. Monshun, drawn comfortably outside, is a first timer by Unified that has trained reasonably well for R. Handal and lands J. Rosario, while the J. Abreu-trained Call Sign Charlie shows a noteworthy gate work 12 days ago (4f, :48bg, third fastest of 43) for a barn that has superior stats with first-time starters (27% with terrific ROI). All three should be included in your rolling exotics.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: C+
Use: 2-Dark Storm; 3-Blewitt

Forecast: Blewitt has seen better days but in his second start off a layoff combined with a considerable class drop to the $25,000 level the veteran son of Uncle Mo will beat this field if he has one good one left. The T. Pletcher-trained 7-year-old does his best work on the front end and in this nine furlong main track event he should be able to secure his preferred role as the controlling speed. It’s just a matter of how much he has left in the tank. Dark Storm is another with recent form that is uninspiring, though his last pair of starts over wet tracks at Belmont Park probably can be excused. A prior winner over the Saratoga main track, the G. Weaver-trained gelding is reunited with “win rider” E. Cancel and projects to be comfortably placed in a stalking position and then have his chance to go after the leader when called upon. In a race that probably should be handled with care, we’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-Shine; 3-Diamond Hands; 4-Gun Boat; 8-Vagaries

Forecast: There are several high-quality prospects debuting in this maiden juvenile turf router and we’ll be surprised the race doesn’t produce a stakes performer or two down the road. Diamond Hands brought $425,000 in the OBS April sale and has breezed like a good type for the always-powerful C. Clement/J. Rosario team, so she’s certain to get plenty of play for a stable that has excellent stats with the first-time-starter angle (23% with powerful ROI). The daughter of Frosted and the multi-stakes winning mare Love Cove has shown to be a sensible type with a lengthy stride and should have no trouble two-turning first time out. Look for her to be taken back and then produced late. Shine brought $240,00 as a yearling, a goodly sum for a daughter of Jimmy Creed with nothing in the first dam, and she’s done everything asked in the a.m. for W. Mott, who starts her off going long on grass even though her pedigree suggests she should be most comfortable sprinting on dirt. It wouldn’t surprise us in the least if she finds herself on the front end from her rail post and based on what we’ve seen of her in the morning she could easily take this field a very long way if not pressured early. Gun Boat has a world of natural talent but can get a bit keen in the a.m. and will need to drop her head and relax to maximize her talents. Assuming she breaks cleanly, the daughter of War Front is projected to be prominent throughout and is a “must use” even though Shug is average at best with debut runners. Vagaries has looked fairly promising in her grass breezes, including one in company on Aug. 1 when stride-for-stride (though second best) with stable mate McKulick, a subsequent first-out winner earlier this month. Typical of the young runners from the C. Brown barn, the Irish-bred filly has been given a strong foundation of easy drills to have her plenty fit and ready. We suspect she’s another that will be doing her best work from off the pace. Of the four listed above, Diamond Hands may be the most likely to run to her abilities so we’ll put her slightly on top but with so much untapped talent in the field it’s difficult to know for sure which ones will perform best when the lights go on.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B+
Single: 1-Sand and Sea

Forecast: Sand and Sea, a good runner-up over this course and distance last month in a similar affair for maiden state-bred fillies and mares, seems likely to receive the bulk of the play after apparently finding her preferred surface following a couple of disappointing main track outings to begin her career. In that race on July 23 the improving daughter of Liam’s Map made a right had turn from her outside draw to cost herself better early position, but then steadily moved within range, had her best bid into the lane before proving no match for the talented Tuscan Queen while clearly best of the others. She shows a bullet blowout just four days ago at Belmont Park (3f, :36b, fastest of 43) so we’re expecting her to take control early from her favorable inside draw and keep on going as a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Cadeaux de Paix; 5-Chloe Rose

Forecast: Cadeaux de Paix was more than five lengths clear of the rest when second in a similar starter’s allowance sprint here last month and not much more will be needed to beat this modest group of fillies and mares. She’s not really that quick early and doesn’t really blast home either, but the veteran Majestic Warrior mare should find herself within range throughout and then have the chance to grind out a win. I. Ortiz, Jr. got to know her last time out and stays aboard. Chloe Rose has been quite popular at the claim box lately, changing hands in three of her last four starts, most recently for $32,000 by J. Toscano, who’s had a slow year but always does extremely well with the first-off-the-claim angle. She’s back on short rest (10 days) but we’re expecting the daughter of Twirling Candy to settle in the second flight under J. Rosario and then have dead aim on the suspect speed-types at the head of the lane.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Taos; 7-Attentive; 11-Troubling Moon

Forecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for $40,000 older claimers that requires heavy usage in rolling exotic play. Attentive, first off the claim for R. Diodoro (26% with a superior ROI), makes his first start since winning at this level in mid-June at Belmont Park when trained by M. Maker. The two month layoff is only mildly concerning for a barn that has such success with these types of runners, so if the son of Power Broker fires his best shot he’ll be right there. Taos has been away since May of 2020 but returns for D. Gargan, whose stats with layoff runners in a relatively small sample is off the charts. We’re expecting the son of Tapit to be quite dangerous with his front-running style from his favorable inside draw. The works indicate the gelding has retains all of his speed, and it’s hardly inconceivable that he’ll deliver a career top performance for his new conditioner, who employs his “go to” rider, L. Saez. Troubling Moon had the misfortune of drawing the extreme outside post but he’s a deep closer and likely would have dropped back early, anyway. Freshened since May and returning in a realistic spot for trainer G. Arnold (22% with a strong ROI with layoffs), the son of Into Mischief shows a bullet Saratoga training track drill (4f, :48.4b, fastest of nine) last week to have him on his toes, and also has back speed figures that put him the picture. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics, but you should spread as deeply as you can afford to.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Derrynane; 8-Fulinate; 9-Chi Town Lady

Forecast: Several of these juvenile fillies produced impressive debut victories sprinting on grass, so the winner of this year’s renewal of the Bolton Landing S. probably will be the one that makes the most progress between her first and second starts. We’ll use three and hope that’s enough. Derrynane was thoroughly professional when beating maidens over this course and distance last month, settling behind the leaders, waiting her turn, and then quickening when room to developed at the furlong pole to draw clear before being taken in hand in the closing stages. The daughter of Quality Road shows a bullet training track breeze in the interim (Aug. 8, 3f, :36.3b, fastest of eight) to remain on edge, so with good racing luck today we’re expecting the C. Clement-trained filly to be along in time. Fulminate may be the quickest in the group and the M. Casse-trained daughter of Get Stormy is a “must use” after a sharp Gulfstream Park score last month with a Beyer speed figure 15 points stronger that what our top pick was assigned in her win. A private purchase by sharp connections while remaining in Casse’s care, she didn’t really break well in her debut and probably is even quicker than the running line might indicate. Chi Town Lady looked good winning out of the chute at Keeneland in mid-April, pressing the pace and then opening up when called upon as the 1/5 favorite. She returns for W. Ward with an easy, steady series of workouts, and as granddaughter of More Than Ready she has every right to handle grass.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: X
Single: 1-Clever Humor

Forecast: Clever Humor ran well at this level in just his second career start when second while more than three lengths clear of the rest, pressing the pace throughout and staying on well through the lane. He makes his first start for high-percentage trainer B. Russell, who doesn’t dabble in the claiming game too often but does well with pretty much everything in her barn. L. Saez stays aboard the son of Distorted Humor, who should handle this modest field with a clean break from his inside draw as a logical, no value, rolling exotic single.