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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Thursday, September 2

by Jeff Siegel

September 2, 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: C+
Use: 1-Bee Bit; 5-Claddagh’s Run; 8-Mopolka

Forecast: This race has been handicapped for grass only. Bee It, claimed in her last pair and freshened by her new connections since mid-June, returns on the one-level drop, not always the healthiest of signs, but in this case the daughter of English Channel appears properly spotted from a good inside draw with the switch to J. Rosario. In the frame in 19 of 30 career starts, the M. Kantarmaci-trained mare does her best work when she can stalk, pounce, and go, and projects to enjoy that type of trip in a small field of six. Mopolka is the likely controlling speed while returning to the claiming ranks for L. Rice. She has a prior win over the local lawn but speed figures that don’t quite match up with our top pick. However, given her projected trip, she must be considered a major player. Claddagh’s Run, first or second in eight of 13 starts, is the most dangerous of the closers, and in her second start off the layoff she may be heard from in the final furlong.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: C+
Use: 1-Java Buzz, Slipstream; 8-Dr Brownes Miracle

Forecast: This race has been handicapped for grass only. Java Buzz ran well in her debut over this course and distance last month, overcoming some trouble leaving the gate to rally gamely from the top of the stretch to the wire to wind up second while two lengths clear of the rest. She failed to change leads through the lane; hopefully she’ll utilize proper footwork today and if so the daughter of Mshawish may be hard to contain close home. Slipstream exits a hot off-the-turf event when winding up a well-beaten third, but we suspect she’ll go much better in this softer spot, especially with the return to grass for the always powerful C. Clement/J. Rosario trainer-jockey team. Dr Brownes Miracle has had some issues coming out of the gate in the morning and doesn’t really strike us as a win-early sprint type, but out of respect to the trainer’s success with first-time starters (26% with a massive ROI) we’ll include the daughter of Temple City on a back-up ticket. None of the other first-timers intrigue us but there’s always the possibility of one or more running better than they work, so tread lightly here.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: C+
Use: 1-Esotica; 3-Red Pepper Grill

Forecast: Esotica comes off two much improved efforts, a third place finish when a voided claim for $25,000 at Belmont Park in May and then an easy six length romp for that same price last month here at Saratoga. However, both races occurred over sloppy surfaces so on fast ground she still has plenty to prove. This drop into the (nw-2) $16,000 level is proper so from the rail she’s sure to be sent hard to obtain her coveted from running trip. Two nice breezing half mile works since raced are encouraging, so it may simply be a matter of handling a dry track, if required. Red Pepper Girl has the route-to-sprint angle we like, and with the return to her claim level the J. Sharp-trained filly switches to L. Saez and will be bearing down in the final furlong. On pure numbers, she’s right there with these. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: B
Use: 4-Aloha West; 5-Three Techniques

Forecast: Aloha West made hard work of it when desperately beating a lesser field in a photo and today moves up a notch to the three-other-than condition that in theory should be a tougher spot. Based on numbers, it isn’t. The Hard Spun colt lacks gate speed but generally puts in a strong mid-race move to enter contention, a style that seems well-suited for this seven furlong trip. With J. Rosario staying aboard, the W. Catalano-trained colt should be set for another major performance following a bullet half mile drill (:47b) that was the fastest of 32 for the distance last week. Three Techniques, drawn just to the outside of Aloha West, was overmatched in the Vanderbilt S.-G1 but is realistically spotted today and seems likely to return to good form. Best as a mid-pack stalking sprinter and a prior winner over this track, the son of Mr Speaker switches to I. Ortiz, Jr., and should be bearing down in the final furlong. Preference on top goes to Aloha West but both should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1a-Deferred Taxes; 3-Mubtadaa

Forecast: This race has been handicapped for grass only. Mubtadaa and Deferred Taxes are making the all-important class drop from maiden special weight to maiden claiming and both should benefit considerably from today’s easier assignment. Mubtadaa has numbers are stronger than par for this level, so the War Front colt just needs to bring his best race and he’ll be hard to catch. Deferred Taxes, freshened since mid-June, switches to I. Ortiz, Jr. and appears the one our top pick must fear the most. The son of Flintshire projects to settle in the second flight and then have every chance from the quarter pole home.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-The Institute; 8-Father Walsh

Forecast: The Institute has done some excellent work in the a.m. leading up to his debut and this New York-bred son of Into Mischief seems plenty fit and ready to win at first asking for a barn that has superior stats with debut runners. He appears to be quick enough to take full advantage of his inside draw, so if the H. DePaz trained colt breaks cleanly under J. Ortiz he should he find herself on or near the lead and have every chance from there. The other first-timer in the field that looks live is Father Walsh, a strong-looking son of Twirling Candy that appears to have at least a fair amount of ability. The barn doesn’t have much of a record with debut runners, but this colt probably is worth consideration as a backup or a saver.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B
Use: 5-Motivated Seller; 7-Gotta Go Me; 9-Time Limit

Forecast: This race has been handicapped for grass only. Motivated Seller tries turf for the first time and has the proper pace stalking style to be effective under these conditions. She shortens up a furlong in her second start off a layoff for C. Brown (26% with this angle) and has a few back speed figures that fit very nicely in this league. Time Limit must overcome her extreme outside draw but should have enough early speed to fold over into a good stalking position and have her chance from there. She’s up a level following a clever score over this course and distance last month when earning a career top speed figure, and with another forward move today she’ll be right there. Gotta Go Me was beaten at odds-on under these conditions last month when missing in photo. She’s been first or second in six of 11 career starts and figures in the fray once again.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Candy Tycoon; 5-Musical America

Forecast: Candy Tycoon shows up in a claimer for the first time and has recent speed figures that are good enough to win at this level. The T. Pletcher-trained gelding was in a tad steep when a weakening fifth over this track and distance last time out yet still earned a career top number, and against this group nothing much more will be needed to get back in winning form. Musical America won an off-the-turf main track sprint with a big figure last month for this same $40,000 tag and it may be significant that J. Rosario, who rode them both, opts for this gelding over Candy Tycoon. Most effective on the front end, the son of Malibu Moon surely will employ gate-to-wire tactics. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B
Use: 5-Silvery Rill; 6-Take the Backroads; 9-Mystic Eyes

Forecast: This race has been handicapped for grass only. Mystic Eyes looked terrific winning her debut sprinting on grass last month, but she’ll probably have to outrun her pedigree to be effective over a distance of ground in this year’s edition of the P. G. Johnson S. That said, she’s a beautiful mover with an easy, efficient stride, so the distance may be within her range. From her extreme outside post, the daughter of MacLean’s Music will need to hit the ground running. Take the Backroads is improving with racing and looked quite good graduating in a maiden turf sprint here last month. She’ll probably try gate-to-wire tactics on the stretch out, and her pedigree suggests a mile should be within her range. Silvery Rill missed in her debut at 6/5 when worn down after rallying wide into the lane and hitting the front close home. She never changed leads, and that’s a part of her game she’ll need to correct. The daughter of War Front is sure to receive the patient ride she apparently prefers from J. Rosario and if the pace comes up contested she could easily produce a winning late kick.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B-
Use: 6-Babagram; 7-Sandor Clegane

Forecast: This race has been handicapped for grass only. Babagram, second over this course and distance at this level last month, is the least exposed of the contenders and with another forward move may earn his diploma in his third career start. The T. Morley-trained 4-year-old gelding earned a solid number when stalking the pace outside and then staying on gamely; he’ll be part of the pace again today and should remain a strong factor throughout. Sandor Clegane flashed speed before faltering in an off-the-turf muddy track sprint at this level in a race that probably can be ignored. The speed figure he earned two races back when fourth vs. maiden special weight foes makes him the one to fear most, and the addition of Lasix won’t hurt his chances, either. Babagram is the slightly faster of the two on numbers, so we’ll give him the edge on top.