Log In

Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Wednesday, September 1

by Jeff Siegel

September 1, 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
Use: No Play/Pass

Forecast: The first race is carded for hurdlers. We will pass the race.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: X
Single: 1-Mubarmaj

Forecast: In a race that probably should be left alone, Mubarmaj projects as a short- priced favorite after beating $20,000 claiming foes in late July before being returned to his owners after a voided claim. Given the issues this horse has had in the past, this drop to the $12,500 level seems logical. The T. Pletcher-trained son of Curlin has worked twice in the last month in a pattern that includes a gap of 19 days, so it’s anybody’s guess if he has at least one good one left, though with five wins from nine starts (and victorious in three of his last four) he has a history of performing when it matters. You can use him as a rolling exotic single or better yet simply sit it out.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: C+
Use: 1-Static Fire; 6-Sweet Surprise

Forecast: This turf sprint for juvenile fillies is restricted to those that brought $45,000 or less at auction in their most recent sale. Though we doubt she’s any kind of world beater, Static Fire has shown enough in the a.m. to be considered a major player following a series of better than average workouts, including a team drill in :47 flat Aug. 22 that ranked as the second fastest of 152 for the distance. If she leaves running from the rail, the daughter of Speightster seems likely to be forwardly placed in a race that should produce a soft opening quarter. Sweet Surprise lacked early speed, responded when set down and finished with interest (and galloped out well) in her debut over this course and distance vs. similar last month and has every right to improve with that bit of experience behind her. J. Rosario got to know her, rides her back, and should have her doing her best work once again from the quarter pole home. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Sun Summers; 6-In a Hurry

Forecast: Sun Summers is winless in five starts this year but in her third start in her current form cycle and with solid recent speed figures the M. Maker-trained mare could break through in a below average second level allowance/optional claiming turf affair for fillies and mares. Her best races have come when she’s able to lay fairly close to a modest pace, and today’s pace flow projects to compliment her style. The daughter of Broken Vow switches to J. Ortiz and may be capable of grinding out a win close home. In a Hurry, freshened since mid-June, is strictly the one to beat. Shug’s filly earned a career top speed figure when second at this condition last time out, has done well in the a.m. in recent weeks, and should run at least as well if not a bit better today with the switch to J. Rosario. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to spread a bit deeper, go right ahead.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Speed Effect; 5-Lokoya Road

Forecast: Speed Effect may have been a bit rusty when flashing good speed but then fading late in his first start in 18 months when facing restricted (nw-2) $25,000 sprinters over seven furlongs in late July. However, with that tightener behind him, the B. Levine-trained gelding stretches out to nine furlongs, drops to the $16,000 level, and surely will employ gate-to-wire tactics. His sole victory -albeit in an off-the-turf maiden claimer, shows what he’s capable of when he’s able to be the controlling speed. Also, he’s reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr., so there are several factors in his favor. Lokoya Road returns to his claim level and is a strong fit on speed figures, so while the Quality Road gelding always has been a one-paced grinder this is a field with a projected race flow that should bring out his best. We’ll prefer Speed Effect on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: C+
Use: 4-Flipping Fun; 6-Big Little Risk

Forecast: Maiden-claiming state bred older horses sprint six furlongs in a pedestrian affair in which Flipping Fun, winless in 19 starts, might be the one to beat. It’s that kind of race. After finishing second at this level in his last two starts - he hit the front in mid-stretch but couldn’t hang on in his most recent start - the son of Central Banker surely will get plenty of play again, but his numbers have stagnated and the barn doesn’t win very often, so he’s hardly the type to take a short price on. Perhaps a tad more interesting is Big Little Risk, third in the same race Flipping Fun exits but with more room to improve in what will be just his sixth career outing. The son of Big Brown retains Luis Saez and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Tread lightly here.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Jilly’s a Hot Mess; 2-Athena Dancer; 9-Social Whirl

Forecast: The first leg of the late pick-4 is a challenging affair for first-level allowance New York-bred fillies and mares sprinting on grass. We’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. Jill’s a Hot Mess was an extra game winner over this course and distance last month vs. starter’s allowance foes when earning a career top speed figure in her first start since joining the L. Rice barn. Nothing much more will be needed to produce a repeat score, especially if she leaves cleanly from the rail and can secure her preferred pace forcing/stalking trip. First or second in seven of 14 career starts, the daughter of Laoban generally runs her rest when properly spotted and she certainly appears to be in the right place today. Athena Dancer adds Lasix for the first time in her second outing off a long layoff and seems likely to produce a significant forward move after finishing fourth (beaten less than three lengths) in a similar grass dash last month. The concern is the barn (2-for-39 this meeting) and the filly’s lack of tactical speed, but with some help up front and good racing luck the daughter of War Dancer should be heard from late. Social Whirl earned a competitive speed figure when winning a softer restricted (nw-2) $40,000 seller here last time out, and the lightly-raced daughter of Freud can be a strong fit in this league with another forward move. Regular rider J. Castellano apparently has opted for Kreesa La Wrote (another filly he rode to victory last time out) but I. Ortiz, Jr. picks up the call on the T. Morley-trained ‘Whirl, so we’ll live with that.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Runnin’ Ray; 6-Vindictive

Forecast: Runnin’ Ray seeks his third straight win while moving from starter’s company into an entry-level allowance race but based on the speed figures earned in his two recent victories (including a game score vs. next-out winner Winter Pool) the J. Sharp-trained gelding looks capable of extending his streak. The Street Sense gelding could find himself as the controlling speed, though he doesn’t need the lead to win, and while it’s puzzling that L. Saez jumps off to pilot the T. Pletcher-trained Texas Swing, ‘Ray picks up J. Ortiz, so he’ll be in good enough hands. The lightly-raced and promising Vindictive may be the one to fear most. The son of Uncle Mop earned a giant speed figure when graduating over this track and distance in late July in just his second career start, pressing a solid pace and then finding more under severe pressure to graduate by a head from Pipeline, with pair six lengths clear of the rest. A similar effort today certainly could produce a repeat score despite class hike. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with a very slight preference on top to Runnin’ Ray.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B+
Use: 1-Limited Liability; 4-Portfolio Company

Forecast: A couple of impressive first-out winning two-year-old colts by Kitten’s Joy square off in this year’s renewal of the With Anticipation S. with little to separate them, as illustrated by the one point edge on the Beyer speed figures owned by Limited Liability over Portfolio Company. The former ran like a seasoned pro when producing a visually pleasing late kick to graduate in late July at nearly 7-1, indicating that perhaps Shug’s colt ran better than he had trained. Since then, though, the homebred colt has looked quite good in the a.m. while breezing easily and relaxed, and clearly is moving in the proper direction. He’ll be tough right back. Portfolio Company was expected to win his race (he was 6/5) after tipping his hand in the morning and got the money despite being a bit keen in the early stages while always within range of the leader. The C. Brown-trained colt struck the front entering the lane and held sway in a stylish performance, and since then has trained quite well – somewhat surprisingly on dirt - so he should run at least as well if not better today. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, and while Portfolio Company might be the more naturally gifted of the two, Limited Liability may be a bit more advanced mentally. Tough call.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: C+
Use: 1-Acushla; 2-Tapple Cider; 10-La Victoria

Forecast: The finale is a New York-bred maiden middle distance turf event for older fillies and mares. La Victoria lost a tough photo against a similar group in an off-the-grass muddy track event here in late July and if she can duplicate that type of effort on turf the lightly-raced daughter of Tapit should be capable of graduating. The pace should be moderate at best, so we’re expecting J. Rosario to have her on or near the lead throughout. Acushla, fourth in both of her starts, returns after 14 weeks on the shelf while picking up L. Saez, and if she can get out of the gate cleanly and secure a reasonable mid-pack position the daughter of Tiznow should be dangerous from the quarter pole home. Tapple Cider may finally get her chance to run on the lawn after exiting a pair of wet track races that were transferred to the main track. She’s favorably drawn inside and projects to be forwardly placed throughout.