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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Friday, August 27

by Jeff Siegel

August 27, 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: 3-Devil or Angel; 4-Surprise Boss; 10-Open Til Midnight

Forecast: Open Til Midnight was green in his debut, drifting in and finishing on his wrong lead, but kept to his task in the final furlong and wound up a willing third, beaten less than two lengths, while earning a respectable speed figure. Blinkers are added today, so we’re expecting a bit more professionalism from the son of Midnight Storm in this maiden special weight turf sprint for state-bred juveniles. From his outside draw the J. Ryerson-trained gelding should settle somewhere in the second flight and then have his chance from the quarter pole home. Surprise Boss will be making his fifth career start and on pure numbers is strictly the one to beat. Third in the fast, highly-rated race on dirt 15 days ago won by Key Point, the War Dancer colt tries grass for the first time (bred for it) and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. We’ll view the switch to talented speed rider R. Santana, Jr. as a positive move. Devil or Angel shows a bullet half mile gate work (:48 1/5, fastest of 43) at Belmont Park earlier this month, and as a son of Shackleford certainly is bred for speed. The barn doesn’t win often with first-timer starters but for protection we’ll use this colt on a ticket or two as a backup.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: X
Single: 3-November Rein

Forecast: November Rein missed by a neck in a promising debut in June at Belmont Park and then produced a significant forward move when graduating by more than five lengths while improving her Beyer speed figure by 10 points the following month at Saratoga. She’s had plenty of time off in between races (six weeks) and her work tab in the interim has been a bit spotty, but we’ll assume the daughter of Street Boss is ready to roll and be a short price in this sprint stakes for state-bred juvenile fillies. The K. Breen-trained filly took early heat and then came away with authority, so today’s extra furlong shouldn’t be an issue.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade:
Use: 5-Yarrow; 7-Barrage

Forecast: Barrage began his career competing for a maiden $16,000 tag (he finished second) but since then the son of War Dancer certainly has improved, finishing a close third in a New York Stallion stakes race sprinting on grass at Belmont Park and then most recently winding up fifth in a similar added money event but earning a good speed figure in defeat. The D. Gargan-trained gelding drops into maiden special weight company today and appears to have found a proper spot while switching to L. Saez. In a field without much speed he’s likely to be on or near the lead throughout. Yarrow displayed some ability when third of 10 in a maiden turf router at Tampa Bay Downs in February but then disappeared. The C. Clement barn has excellent stats with layoff runners and I. Ortiz, Jr. takes the call, so if this sophomore son of Lookin At Lucky shows some improvement in his second start he should be competitive. We’ll have tickets using both in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Barrage.

RACE 4: Post: 2:47 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Senbei; 5-Montebello; 6-Bourbon’s Hope

Forecast: Montebello failed to change leads but otherwise was quite impressive breaking his maiden at first asking in open company at Del Mar earlier this month while earning a good speed figure. He deserves extra points for having won from the rail and displaying reserve energy under heavy pressure that a lesser colt wouldn’t have found. Today’s extra half-furlong won’t be an issue at all, so if he breaks well and gets his footwork down properly the son of Curlin can handle this New York-bred stakes for B. Baffert. However, there are others in here who appear equally promising. Like Montebello, Senbei won at first asking from the rail, doing so over state-bred competition on a wet track while on the lead with complete authority and earning the same Beyer speed figure (73) as our top pick. The son of Candy Ride must leave from the inside post again but should be quick enough to gain a favorable position and have his chance. Today’s six and one-half furlong distance should be well within his range. Bourbon’s Hope won at first asking at Belmont Park last month like a nice sort, and as a son of Exaggerator should get nothing but better with distance and maturity. J. Rosario stays aboard and should have him doing his best work from the top of the lane to the wire.

RACE 5: Post: 3:23 ET Grade: C+
Use: 6-Escapewithfriends; 7-Caumsett

Forecast: Caumsett is a seven-race maiden and therefore not one to totally trust but she’s hit the board in her last three starts and is adding blinkers for the first time after displaying a liking for this course and distance when third, beaten less than two lengths, vs. similar foes earlier this month. She’s really not all that much but in a shallow field she’s the top pick by default. Escapewithfriends ran quite well in her debut when overcoming significant early trouble to finish second in a maiden $40,000 sprint at Belmont Park last month but then disappointed in a similar event over a distance of ground earlier this month, a race in which she was claimed by M. Dini. She’s up in class vs. straight maidens today but is back around one corner, and a repeat of her first race could make her dangerous, especially with a clean trip. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise not get too involved in.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B-
Use: 7-I’m Fine; 8-Bustin Bay

Forecast: This seven furlong first-level allowance affair for state-bred fillies and mares attracted 11 entrants but lacks quality depth. We’ll try to survive and advance using just two. Bustin Bay makes her first start since being claimed by K. Broberg, and while she’s moving up from a modest $14,000 restricted (nw-3) claimer she’s actually reasonably competitive on speed figures. The barn hits at an excellent 20% with the first-off-the-claim angle and this extended sprint distance is right up her alley, so with regular rider M. Franco staying aboard, the daughter of Bustin Stones could easily step forward and produce a mild surprise. I’m Fine, second in her last three with rising speed figures, is strictly the one to beat. Freshened since March but with an effective late-running style that works well at this distance on this track, the J. Englehart-trained filly shows a steady if unspectacular recent work tab that should have her fit enough.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Betsy Blue; 8-Coffee Bar; 9-Make Mischief

Forecast: Make Mischief may be somewhat suspect at the nine furlong distance of today’s Fleet Indian S. but she’s far more accomplished than the opposition and takes a monumental class drop from graded stakes competition into this New York-bred added money event. She should be comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout, with I. Ortiz, Jr. having the option to control the pace flow from his outside draw. Betsy Blue makes her third start in 16 days, but her numbers continue to rise and in her first start around two turns (from a favorable inside post) the daughter of Tonalist should continue to improve and be a strong threat throughout. First or second in seven of eight career starts and exiting an extremely fast, highly-rated race, the L. Rice-trained filly has been a beaten choice in each of her last three outings and therefore isn’t one to trust, but under these conditions must be taken seriously. Coffee Bar can handle the trip, adds blinkers and switches to F. Prat. She was beaten at 2/5 in a first level allowance race over this track and distance earlier this month but has finished in the frame in all five career starts and should at least get a piece of it again today.

RACE 8: Post: 5:03 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Rinaldi; 3-Graded On a Curve; 8-Mo Ready

Forecast: Rinaldi just won the Forbidden Apple S.-G3 over the local lawn from open company and today faces state-bred foes in this year’s renewal of the West Point S. The Posse gelding will be the controlling speed from his favorable inside draw and given that type of trip he should be extremely difficult to run down over a turf course he practically owns (four wins in five starts). Fresh from earning a career top 102 Beyer speed figure, the H. Bond-trained veteran seems likely to be a short price to continue his winning ways. Graded On a Curve has been away since November but the C. Brown-trained gelding shows a steady series of local drills that should have him fit enough for a barn that hits at 25% with layoff runners. A winner of three of his last four starts before being stopped on, the son of Noble Mission will need some help up front but should make some noise from the quarter pole home. Mo Ready has enough tactical speed to be within range of the leader and was Grade-1 placed vs. 3-year-olds last year, though on pure numbers he’s not fast enough to worry our top pick. Still, the T. Pletcher-trained gelding comes off a solid effort over the local lawn and switches to F. Prat, so he’s not without some kind of look.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Americanrevolution; 5-Bobby Bo

Forecast>: California shipper Bobby Bo is fresh from a maiden win vs. open company at Del Mar and today tackles New York-bred opposition in this year’s renewal of the Albany S. for 3-year-olds. The son of Speightster projects to be the controlling speed and on pure numbers is as fast as any in the field, so with another forward move the B. Baffert-trained colt will have every chance to wire the field under F. Prat. Americanrevolution, winner of the New York Derby at Finger Lakes by seven widening lengths but not beating a whole lot while earning a Beyer speed figure that is identical (87) to the one assigned to Bobby Bo’s recent career top. He’ll enjoy a similar stalking trip today and will have dead aim and every chance to get by Bobby Bo when the pressure is turned on. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Bobby Bo on top.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Classic Lady; 3-Myhartblongstodady; 6-Chocolate Cookie

Forecast: Defending Yaddo H. winner Myhartblongstodady was no factor from a poor draw in the Eatontown S.-G3 at Monmouth Park last time out but returns to New York-bred company today and should produce a significant forward move in a race that could find herself as the controlling speed. Never worse than second in four career starts on grass at Saratoga, the J. Abreu-trained daughter of Scat Daddy is six years old but relatively fresh, having started just 13 times during her career. A healthy recent series of works indicates she’s spot on for a major effort. Classic Lady makes her second start off a layoff and should be fitter and stronger today for the always-potent C. Clement/J. Rosario team. She’s consistently run well over the Saratoga turf course, has a good stalking style, and was third in this race last year. Chocolate Cookie is lightly-raced and steadily improving for T. Pletcher. She’s not where she needs to be on speed figures but earned a career top number last time out and should be capable of stepping forward enough to at least hit the board.

RACE 11: Post: 6:47 ET Grade: B-
Use: 5-Tackle; 8-Fast Gordon; 12-Brennan’s War

Forecast: Tackle, away since November and dropping from maiden to maiden-claiming for the first time after joining the M. Maker barn, attracts I. Ortiz, Jr., so we’ll assume he’s fit and ready following a steady series of workouts at Ellis Park. His speed figures from last year are better than par for this level, so if he returns as well as he left the son of Flatter should be able to handle this modest middle distance turf event for New York-bred older horses. Brennan’s War , in the frame in both career starts including a decent runner-up while more than five lengths clear of the rest over this course and distance at this level last month, likely will continue to progress with experience and is the one to fear most. His extreme outside post does him no favors, though. Fast Gordon, nosed out in a similar affair here last month, must be considered a contender, though having just failed at even money he’s probably not one to count on. We’ll use him on a ticket or two but that’s all.