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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Thursday, August 19

by Jeff Siegel

August 19, 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: B-
Use: 1-True Castle; 2-Anna’s First

Forecast: Anna’s Fast handled True Castle the last two times they met and should be capable of continuing her dominance over her chief rival in this $40,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. The R. Atras-trained daughter of Fast Anna was overmatched and faded when tackling tougher over a sloppy track here last month but if she can catch a dry surface today she should be able to get back on track. Johnny V. knows her well and stays aboard. True Castle, first or second in 12 of 21 career starts, should be primed for another big effort and projects to be forwardly placed throughout from her inside draw. She doesn’t need the lead to win, in fact, she might be most comfortable when stalking and pouncing so I. Ortiz, Jr. has that option. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with a slight edge on top to Anna’s First.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Pipito; 4-Osbourne; 7-Big Scully

Forecast: This maiden special weight sprint is restricted to juveniles that brought $45,000 or less in their most recent auction. Big Scully has the benefit of a prior outing and not a bad one at that, finishing third of nine while more than four lengths clear of the rest in a similar event here last month that earned an okay speed figure. Drawn comfortably outside, the son of Cross Traffic will be hard to beat unless there is a better than average first-timer among the others. Pipito was bought back for $95,000 as yearling at Keeneland but most recently went through the ring for only $17,000 in the OBS April sale, hence his eligibility for this affair. The Mastery gelding was a bit green in his preview, was on his wrong lead, and breezed in 10 2/5 seconds, just an average time for that venue over the all-weather surface. That said, he didn’t look half bad while displaying a long, athletic stride and the feeling is that he can run enough to act with these. Of course, from the rail, he’d be advised to break with his field. Osbourne, a $9,500 RNA as a yearling, arrives from Ellis Park where he worked a bullet half mile in :48 flat (fastest of 23) last month. Maybe he can run some.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B
Single: 7-Smooth Pebble

Forecast: Smooth Pebble made the pace but weakened in the final furlong to finish sixth of eight in a tougher starter’s allowance sprint over this course and distance earlier this month. She’s realistically spotted in this softer restricted (nw-3) $40,000 affair and was fortunate enough to have drawn a field that guarantees her an easy trip as the controlling speed. Given the projected pace scenario she really should not miss the opportunity to win her third race from five career starts as a logical rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade:
Use: 1-Misty Veil; 5-More Moonshine

Forecast: More Moonshine won her debut here last month like a good thing, settling towards the back of the pack and then exploding when set down for the drive to win going away before being eased up late in a fast, highly-rated seven furlong sprint. How much did the muddy track move her up, if any? Hard to say. With just that one sprint underneath her, she tackles tougher while stretching out to a mile and one-eighth, so the W. Mott-trained daughter of Malibu Moon still has plenty to prove. However, due to her upside, she must be considered the filly to beat. Misty Veil easily disposed of a starter’s allowance field over this track and distance last month but, like our top pick, did so on a wet track that may have flattered her form. From her inside draw the daughter of Tonalist seems sure to employ the same kind of front-running tactic as last time and based on speed figures she’ll be right there if she can perform as well on dry land as she did in the mud. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics but otherwise not get too involved.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-O’Gotten Girl; 5-Silver Strand

Forecast: Silver Stand, a $575,000 Saratoga yearling purchase two years ago, finally makes it to the post in this extended maiden sprint for fillies and mares. A half-sister to a Grade-1 winner in Japan and out of the multi-stakes winning/producing India, she has displayed efficient action and plenty of ability in her morning trials to be fit and ready for W. Mott, whose first-timers often run better than they work. This is hardly the toughest maiden sprint of the season, so we’ll be surprised if ‘Strand isn’t quite competitive and maybe even good enough to win it. O’Gotten Girl, freshened since February, failed as the favorite in her three most recent races before being stopped on and hopefully the vacation will help her return to her best form. The T. Pletcher-trained daughter of Competitive Edge likely will show plenty of early zip under l. Saez from her rail post position and if not pressured early may take this field gate-to-wire. We’ll prefer Silver Strand on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B+
Single: 6-Fenway

Forecast: Fenway always has wanted to be a sprinter and finally, in his fifth career start, the son of Into Mischief gets a chance to display his speed around one turn after shipping to Saratoga from the West Coast to take advantage of New York-bred company. The son of Into Mischief catches a field that on paper he should be able to dominate from start to finish, so we’ll take the short price and make him a rolling exotic single.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Shamrocket; 5-Dynadrive

Forecast: Shamrocket, a respectable third in the Bowling Green S.-G2 over this course and distance last month, shows up in a second-level allowance race and should find this group well within his capabilities. He’s always been the type that prefers to run second or third (12 times) rather than win (three times), but his recent numbers are strong so we’re expecting a top effort from the T. Pletcher-trained son of Tonalist. Dynadrive, not as strong in the speed figure department as our top pick but always genuine and consistent, should have no issue with this mini-marathon trip and is a relatively fresh horse making his first start in almost two months and bringing with him a perfect (1-for-1) record over the Saratoga lawn. We’re expecting the M. Maker-trained colt to settle in a cozy second flight position and then have dead aim when the pressure is turned on.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: C+
Use: 3-Gambling Cat; 4-Coworth Park; 5-Kitten With a Whip; 6-Battle Bling

Forecast: This messy $50,000 claiming middle distance turf event restricted to 3-year-old fillies that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go four-deep but otherwise pass the race. Gambling Cat is lightly-raced with steadily rising speed figures, and with another forward move today the daughter of Kitten’s Joy should be capable of regaining her winning form. A solid third with a career top mark sprinting on grass in late June, the M. Maker-trained filly stretches out again and projects to enjoy an ideal stalking position in a race that seems certain to be slowly run early. Battle Bling drops $25,000 below her claim level in just her second start since being haltered by D. Gargan, not a particularly healthy sign, but this barn can be very aggressive with its claiming stock and at this level and given this pace scenario the daughter of Vancouver looks well-spotted for a major effort. Kitten With a Whip is a fit on numbers and remains well above her claim level, so the connections apparently still like her. Runner-up vs. tougher allowance foes at Pimlico last month, the daughter of Big Blue Kitten should be dangerous from off the pace. Coworth Park, freshened since mid-June, had been protected since winning a maiden $25,000 claimer last December at Gulfstream. This class drop coupled with the return to a 3-year-old only race are positive factors along with being reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: X
Single: 1-Sadie Lady

Forecast: Sadie Lady must concede a ton of weight in this year’s renewal of the Union Avenue H. for New York-bred fillies and mares, but the veteran daughter of Freud simply should be too quick for her five rivals, though this six and one-half furlong trip might be stretching her range to the max. Freshened since June after winning a state-bred stakes at Belmont Park, the R. Atras-trained mare has ticked over nicely with a series of easy and steady drills to have her fit and sharp, so we’re expecting another flag fall-to-that’s all performance as a logical, short-priced rolling exotic single.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B
Single: 4-Marvelous Maud

Forecast: Marvelous Maud overcame a slow start to rally and pick up third money in her debut over a mile on grass at Belmont Park in mid-June and today makes her second career start while trying two turns in a similar state-bred maiden affair for fillies and mares. She doesn’t appear to have a significant turn of foot – she’s more of a grinder – but at this trip and with that bit of experience behind her the C. Brown-trained filly should improve enough to graduate. She was actually entered in a race last month but was scratched when the race was moved to the main track, so we wouldn’t be concerned about the layoff. In a race in which there doesn’t’ appear to be a viable alternative, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.