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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Saturday, August 28

by Jeff Siegel

August 28, 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: 11:35 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Electability; 10-Sweeping Giant

Forecast: There are no world beaters among those that have raced so let’s take an educated guess with a first-timer on top. Electability, listed at 7/2 on the morning line, has looked fairly decent in the morning for C. Brown and has been given a good foundation of steady workouts that should have him fit enough to handle the trip in this middle distance turf event for juveniles. The son of Quality Road seems to have a bit of speed, so with a clean break he could find himself close up throughout in a race that projects to be slowly run early. Sweeping Giant, runner-up in a similar affair in his debut last month, has as right to step forward with that race under his belt. The son of Curlin gives the indication of being a one-paced grinder and probably can’t beat a good colt but this doesn’t look like a strong field so he may go favored by default.

RACE 2: Post: 12:08 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Dr. Perry; 5-Jack Christopher

Forecast: There are at least two superior prospects in this maiden sprint for juveniles and both are expected to be extremely well-meant after impressing with a series of sharp workouts for their high profile connections. Dr. Perry, a colt by Into Mischief from a full sister to Gr. 1 winner Cross Traffic, has done everything like a win-early type for S. Asmussen despite not been permitted to show anything close to his true speed in local drills since arriving from Keeneland, where he posted a bullet gate drill (4f, :47bg, fastest of 62) last month. A strong, powerful grey colt, he was a $690,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland and looks the part for a trainer who that can get his young stock ready to win without demanding fast workout times. This colt could be one of his better ones. Jack Christopher, listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite, made our “Primed and Ready” list a few weeks back and is the one to fear most. The C. Brown-trained colt is a high quality son of Munnings that has outworked everything led up to him and is another that hasn’t been asked to show his best stuff in the morning despite registering a :59 3/5 gate drill Aug. 7 when he best of a team while just breezing along in hand. Dr. Perry is listed as the better price (7/2) so we’ll put him slightly on top, but both are “must uses” in rolling exotic play.

RACE 3: Post: 12:44 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Golden Plume; 7-Kitten by the Sea; 8-Love and Thunder

Forecast: Trainer C. Brown has major players in the third race going long on the lawn for fillies and mares. Love and Thunder has a considerable edge in the speed figure department, but can you trust her? A beaten choice when second in all three of her U.S. starts after being imported from England, the daughter of Siyouni surely will receive plenty of play again after hitting the front and then getting nailed close home in a similar middle distance event last month. Drawn farthest outside and likely to drop over, settle, and be asked to produce one late one, the Irish-bred four-year-old is listed at 7/5 on the morning line so once again she won’t be offering a whole lot of value. Stable mate Golden Plume won her debut last winter at Tampa Bay Downs in clever style but then disappeared. She’s trained well for her comeback and picks up F. Prat, so while she still has plenty to prove she shouldn’t be dismissed despite the discrepancy in speed figures between herself and the race favorite. Kitten by the Sea is an ex-claimer in good form for T. Pletcher and may be a bit better than her morning line of 8-1. She earned a career top number when winning a recent starter’s allowance event over this course and distance while on the lead, and similar front-running tactics likely will be employed again. She could take the field a long way if not respected.

RACE 4: Post: 1:17 ET Grade: A-
Single: 3-Viadera

Forecast: Viadera was plenty fit for a winning performance in her first start since November when 6/5 in the listed De La Rose S. earlier this month but ran into a roadblock when launching her bid entering the lane and lost her best chance, eventually winding up fourth, beaten less than three lengths. She gets a chance to make amends today in this year’s renewal of the Ballston Spa S.-G2, and despite a pace flow that should be very slow early, the Grade-1 winning English-bred mare should be able to produce enough of a late kick to get up in time. A logical rolling exotic single, she’ll offer value in the win pool at or near her morning line of 8/5, though we suspect the C. Brown-trained daughter of Bated Breath will go lower.

RACE 5: Post: 1:54 ET Grade: B
Use: 4-Whittington Park; 6-Brady’s Legacy

Forecast: Whittington Park may have been a tad short in his debut when looming a threat but then settling for second money earlier this month, but with that bit of experience behind him he should be ready to graduate in this state-bred maiden sprint for juveniles. The B. Cox barn hits at a terrific 30% with the second-time starter angle, and also is quite proficient (24% ) when adding blinkers, so in a race that didn’t come up particular tough the son of Midnight Lute seems pretty solid at 2-1 on the morning line. Among the newcomers, Brady’s Legacy is worth consideration. The son of Street Boss sizzled in the preview session of the OBS April sale when working two furlongs in :21 flat, after which he brought $250,000 through the ring. The barn is okay with first-timers, so we’ll have this colt on our rolling exotic ticket while reserving the main punch for Whittington Park.

RACE 6: Post: 2:26 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-After Five; 9-Shiraz; 7-Collton’s Command; 11-Big Package

Forecast: Colton’s Command had a nightmarish trip when sixth, beaten more than six lengths, in a similar turf sprint over this course and distance last month, and it’s not an exaggeration to say he could have won had he not been stopped cold when full of run entering and through the entire stretch. He’s a lightly-raced son of Twirling Candy with plenty of improvement in him and makes a monumental jockey switch to red hot J. Rosario. With clear sailing today, he’ll have an excellent change to wear down the speed at 5-1 on the morning line. Big Package is drawn a bit farther out than we’d prefer but the son of Big Brown is good enough to make his presence felt in the final furlong, though his lack of tactical speed always is a bit concerning. Runner-up when too late in the same race our top pick exits, the D. Donk-trained gelding will need good racing luck, and some help up front to regain his winning form. Shiraz was up in time to win a state-bred affair at this level last time out over yielding ground that may have moved him up a bit. The number was strong, and he’s won on firm ground as well, so we’ll consider him a threat right back, even though he's always preferred to run second or third (17 times) rather than win (five times). After Five is lightly raced with room for improvement, though on numbers he’ll need to step up considerably after finishing well beaten in a similar affair at Belmont Park in mid-July. The W. Ward-trained colt lands the rail and projects to enjoy a good second flight, ground-saving trip and may be able to get at least a piece of it.

RACE 7: Post: 3:02 ET Grade: B+
Use: 1-Gamine; 7-Ce Ce

Forecast: Gamine is a winner of eight of nine starts, her only defeat occurring when she was third in the Kentucky Oak-G1 over a nine furlong distance that was out of her range at that stage of her career. This year’s edition of the Ballerina H.-G1 came up without any other early speed, so the B. Baffert-trained filly theoretically should cruise to the front without being asked and then dominate as she usually does. That said, Ce Ce might give her a run for her money. She’s a one-turn specialist that has never been sharper or trained better, and from her outside draw will have the perfect opportunity to employ her preferred stalk, pounce, and go style that brings out her best. Given the discrepancy in price, will give Ce Ce a chance to spring a surprise while recognizing how difficult a task it may be. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 8: Post: 3:37 ET Grade: B+
Use: 1-Mischevious Alex; 2-Whitmore

Forecast: 2020 Breeder’s Cup Sprint-G1 champion Whitmore switches to J. Rosario and may benefit enough from the patient ride he’s sure to receive to produce his first victory of the year in the Forego S.-G1. A gelding who prefers to be left alone to the top of the lane, the veteran son of Pleasantly Perfect can settle early and blast home in a field he’s capable of beating on his best day. He’s been close this year – four in the money finishes, all in high class company – but we’ll gamble at 4-1 that the “first time Rosario” angle kicks in. Mischevious Alex has two poor runs over the Saratoga main track on his resume so it’s conceivable that he simply doesn’t like this track. But the S. Joseph, Jr. gelding does his best in extended one-turn events, and in a race that projects to have a comfortable early pace flow the son of Into Mischief should draft into a second flight, stalking position while saving ground and have every chance from the quarter pole home. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics while giving Whitmore a slight edge on top.

RACE 9: Post: 4:12 ET Grade: X
Use: 2-Jackie’s Warrior; 6-Life Is Good

Forecast>: Jackie’s Warrior demolished his rivals, including the high class sprinter Drain the Clock, over a sloppy track in the Amsterdam S.-G2 earlier this month and we see no reason why he can’t do it again over what we’re expecting to be a fast strip. The son of Maclean’s Music earned a career top speed figure in victory and projects to enjoy a similar pace-pressing trip outside of ‘Clock and then be able to go on with it when called up on. Life Is Good is the wildcard. Undefeated in three starts last winter when trained by B. Baffert, the son of Into Mischief launches a comeback for new conditioner T. Pletcher and though working very well may be a race a way from being totally cranked up. Clearly good enough to win if ready based on speed figures, he’s comfortably drawn outside and could fold into a stalking position and then pounce when ready. In a race that we have no plans to play, Jackie’s Warrior rates the edge on top but Life Is Good is simply too talented to completely dismiss.

RACE 10: Post: 4:47 ET Grade: X
Single: 6-Letruska

Forecast: On resume Letruska is head-and-shoulders above the others in the older filly and mare division and is legitimately listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite in this year’s edition of the Personal Ensign S.-G1. A winner of five of her last six starts and once again the likely pacesetter (her preferred trip), the daughter of Super Saver has been freshened since late June but has fired big shots off similar layoffs in the past and continues to impress in the morning to indicate she’s fit and ready. She’s an obvious short-priced rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

RACE 11: Post: 5:25 ET Grade: B+
Single: 2-Gufo

Forecast: Gufo is developing with maturity and experience and seems set for a career top performance in this year’s Sword Dancer S.-G1 over the marathon distance of a mile and one-half. A confidence-building winner of a listed stakes at this trip in early July at Belmont Park, the son of Declaration of War showed he belonged in Grade-1 company three races back when missing by a nose in the Man O’War S.-G1, and in a race that projects to produce a normal (for this distance) early pace, the C. Clement-trained colt should have every opportunity to produce a winning late kick. This division always seems to produce tough, contentious races, but at the 3-1 on the morning line we’ll take a stand with Gufo as a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 12: Post: 6:12 PT Grade: X
Single: 2-Essential Quality

Forecast: Essential Quality has won seven of eight career starts, the only blemish being his fourth place finish (beaten a length) in the Kentucky Derby-G1. The son of Tapit made hard work of it in his most recent victory, a half-score score over Keepmeinmind in the Jim Dandy S.-G2 here last month, but we’re expecting the B. Cox-trained colt to find a way to manufacture another win in this year’s Travers S.-G1 and lock up an Eclipse Award in the 3-year-old division. The pace figures to be soft – we’re expecting Midnight Bourbon to establish the running – with ‘Quality drafting into an ideal stalking position and then having every chance to grind out another victory as an odds-on favorite and rolling exotic single.

RACE 13: Post: 6:51 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Dancing Firefly; 12-Sister Luck

Forecast: Maiden claiming state-bred fillies and mares run long on the lawn in the finale in a race that should boil down to two main players. Dancing Firefly couldn’t handle the muddy track in maiden special weight off-the-turf affair here last month and was virtually eased, but under these conditions on grass in her debut two runs back the daughter of Ironicus ran a winning race in defeat when second while three lengths clear of the rest, earning a solid number in the process. From her good rail position, the D. Gargan-trained filly is guaranteed a soft, ground-saving trip and then have her chance to kick home went given her cue. With L. Saez riding her back, she’s the logical favorite at 9/5 on the morning line. Sister Luck, a $375,000 auction purchase last year, is being tossed away for a $40,000 tag in just her third career start, not exactly an encouraging sign, but he’s trained okay on grass for her first start since February and she did show some ability at Fair Grounds in her debut when displaying early speed and winding up fourth in maiden special weight company. She returns without blinkers and with I. Ortiz, Jr. in the saddle for T. Pletcher so despite her extreme outside draw we’ll include her on our ticket.