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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Saturday, August 21

by Jeff Siegel

August 21, 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: 1a-Major General; 6-Triple Elvis

Forecast: Major General breezed well enough to make the Clocker’s “Primed and Ready” list earlier this month, and while he may not be one of T. Pletcher’s top juveniles he should be good enough to be competitive first time out against this group. This looks like a decent band of juveniles but maybe without a world beater. Triple Elvis, a $700,000 yearling by Into Mischief, looks like a win early type for C. Brown and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Unfortunately, there are several in here that we’ve haven’t seen on video, so we won’t get too aggressive other than to include the two listed above in rolling exotic play.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: C+
Use: 2-Zainalarab; 3-Primacy; 5-Dial Me Up

Forecast: We see three of the five entrants as major players in this first-level allowance extended sprint for fillies and mares, so we’ll triple the race in rolling exotic play but otherwise sit it out. Dial Me Up is clearly the quickest in the field, though this seven furlong trip might be stretching her limit and she shows a brief work tab for her first start since March. Zainalarab isn’t particularly fast on numbers, but she’s only had two starts and has plenty of room for development. A solid runner-up when last seen at Churchill Downs in late April, the War Front filly is listed at 7/5 on the morning line and probably won’t offer any value at that price, though she certainly could win. Primacy*

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: X
Use: 1-Robin Sparkles; 2-Lead Guitar

Forecast: We’ll handicap this race under the assumption that the race will remain on grass. Robin Sparkles should easily make the running and probably will keep on going, though at even money on the morning line here’s not much we can do with her. The main challenger is Lead Guitar, who was declared a non-starter in the Royal North S.-G2 after being eliminated at the break but if nothing else still got the benefit of an outing in her first start since November and should be fitter and tighter today. The G. Weaver-trained mare can turn it on late, loves the Saratoga turf course and will have dead aim on ‘Sparkles from the head of the lane to the wire. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: C+
Use: 3-Tellaperfecttale; 7-Know It All Red

Forecast: Tellaperfecttale has little to beat in this state-bred maiden $25,000 sprint for fillies and mares and this drop in class coupled with numbers that are good enough to win makes her a fairly solid choice. Although she’s ben away since April and a layoff like this always is a concern, the barn has pretty good stats with this angle, so we’ll assume that she’ll return as well as she left. Know It All Red has gradually rising numbers and finished second at this level in her last two outings so she’s the one to fear most. The daughter of Dialed In is a nine-race maiden from a low percentage outfit but against this group any sign of life makes one a contender.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Ghost Giant; 8-Good Old Boy

Forecast: We’ll handicap this race under the assumption that it remains on the turf. We’ll pass if it’s switched to the main track. Ghost Giant has been extremely popular at the claim box of late, going from K. Rubley to G. Weaver to M. Kantarmaci to R. Abras, with the latter owning a spectacular record with the first-off-the-claim angle (34% with a massive ROI). The veteran son of Frost Giant makes his first start since early July, has a prior win over the Saratoga lawn, switches to I. Ortiz, Jr., and is solid and consistent in the speed figure department. He’ll likely draft into the second flight and then have his best chance from there. Good Old Boy, a $45,000 claim by R. Diodoro when finishing fourth in the same race Ghost Giant exits, goes for a barn that also has powerful stats with next-out claims and projects to enjoy the same type of trip as his main rival. With a local win on his resume and the switch to the barn’s “go to” rider D. Cohen, this son of Freud is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Silky Blue; 8-Kokopelli

Forecast: Here’s another race that we’ll pass if it taken off the turf. Kokopelli was impressive breaking her maiden two runs back last fall at The Big A, returned in May to record a sharp first-level allowance win at Belmont Park, but then regressed when a no-excuse third as the odds-on favorite at this level in her most recent outing. The C. Clement-trained filly likes to settle early and blast home and after a brief freshening could easily return to top form. Silky Blue has failed the last three times she’s gone favored so the daughter of Hard Spun may not be totally trustworthy, but against this group she should again be a major player. Look for regular pilot M. Franco to have her in an ideal stalking position that will give her every chance when the pressure is turned on. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with the preference on top to Kokopelli.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-My Prankster; 9-Cogburn

Forecast: Cogburn smoked a quarter mile in :20 3/5 at the OBS April sale and then brought $150,000 through the ring. As fast as that breeze was, the son of Not This Time has looked even more impressive in his slower, easier moves, so when the dust settles this could turn out to be a very good colt for S. Asmussen. Drawn comfortably outside, he appears quick enough to get over and establish the running or he could settle in the stalking position and then accelerate when called upon. At 3-1 on the morning line we like him in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics. My Prankster has done some good work himself in the a.m. and in fact made the Clocker’s “Primed and Ready” list following a sharp gate work for T. Pletcher two weeks ago. The son of Into Mischief should be included as a backup or a saver just in case our top pick for whatever reason performs below expectations.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-Golani Brigade; 4-Identify Politics; 5-Charlie Five O

Forecast: Golani Brigade shows up in a restricted (nw-3) $35,000 claimer for the first time and has numbers that make him the one to beat at this level. A perfect two-for-two over the Saratoga main track, the lightly-raced 5-year-old gelding has been started and stopped on a number of times and clearly has a condition question, but if he shows up with anything close to his best stuff in his first outing since May the C. Brown-trained gelding should be hard to beat. The “other” C. Brown in the field, Identity Politics,is fast on figures and also should thoroughly enjoy this softer assignment. He’s another Klaravich Stable runner being culled from the roster after being Grade-1 placed earlier in his career. The son of Into Mischief lacks tactical speed, but at this extended sprint distance against this level of competition he should make his presence felt late. Charlie Five O blew out a soft restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming field when last seen at Belmont Park in May while earning a career top number. He’s being ambitiously placed today in his first off the claim for L. Rice, so we’ll assume he’s doing well and probably better than his 15-1 morning line might indicate. Toss him in somewhere.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Technical Analysis; 4-Runaway Rumour

Forecast: Technical Analysis sprung a 7-1 surprise to win the Lake George S.-G3 here last month but will be a considerably shorter price to win right back in this year’s edition of the Lake Placid S.-2 for 3-year-old fillies. She earned by far a career top speed figure in the process and there’s no reason to think she won’t continue to improve. The C. Brown-trained Irish-bred filly has good tactical speed and in a race without pace projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Runaway Rumour was a highly respectable fourth (beaten less than three lengths) in the Lake George and did so despite being fanned wide into the stretch while trying to rally into the teeth of soft splits. Under the circumstances, it was excellent effort for the daughter of Flintshire, who should continue to improve as well. Because she’ll be a much better price, we’ll take a shot and put the J. Abreu-trained filly on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: X
Single: 6-Malathaat

Forecast: Malathaat was beaten in a photo at 30 cents on the dollar in the C.C.A. Oaks here last month but she under heavy pressure through fast splits every step of the way and under the circumstances actually ran quite well when upset by Maracuja. We’re expecting the daughter of Curlin to turn the tables today. Drawn comfortably outside the other speed, she’ll be able to stalk, pounce, and go this time and in the process regain the form that saw her win her first five career starts, including the Kentucky Oaks-G1 during the spring. At even money on the morning line and likely to go lower she’ll be unplayable in the win pool, but we can use her as a short-priced rolling exotic single.

RACE 11: Post: 6:45 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Gauff; 4-Split Then Double; 9-So Enchanting

Forecast: This race has been handicapped for turf only. We’ll pass if the race is moved to the main track. Split Then Double has earned rising speed figures in each of her four career starts, hitting the board in her last three, so the English-bred filly appears ready to graduate in this moderate maiden turf miler for older fillies and mares. She doesn’t have a great turn of foot but should find herself in a comfortable stalking position and have her chance from there. So Enchanting, in the frame in all four starts but slower on numbers than our top pick, missed by a neck while having every chance over this course and distance last month. With only slight improvement, she’ll be right there again. Gauff ships in from Ellis Park where she recorded some decent drills, including a bullet half mile gate move (:47 4/5) 11 days ago. The Irish-bred filly in the B. Cox barn is bred for grass top and bottom and won’t have to be a champion to act with this group. From her good rail post, she’s worth including somewhere on your ticket.