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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Friday, September 3

by Jeff Siegel

September 3, 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: 2-Bet; 4-Coastal Chaos

Forecast: Handicapping the Friday opener pretty much is reduced to a guessing game in what appears to be a weak maiden $75,000 claiming sprint for juveniles. Bet was off slowly and always far back when unplaced in his debut at Woodbine in July, but he did receive some support (6-1) on the tote in a 12-runner field and, as a $25,000 yearling purchase, he’s still being protected at this level, so by process of elimination we’ll put him on top for the always-potent S. Asmussen/R. Santana, Jr. trainer-jockey team. Coastal Chaos is a first-timer from the T. Pletcher barn, and while he didn’t appear to be anything special when second best in a recent team gate drill the son of Goldencents should be able to act with this modest group. None of the others offer any real appeal, so in a race that probably is best left alone we’ll use the two listed above in our rolling exotics.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Nay Say; 3-Bubble Rock; 10-Vaccine of Hope

Forecast: Maiden juvenile fillies sprint on turf in a race that features a pair of W. Ward first-timers and another filly with proven form as the main contenders. Bubble Rock, a sharp runner-up over this course and distance in her debut last month, earned a strong speed figure when chasing home the talented Lady Danae and has every right to build on that initial impression for trainer B. Cox, who has terrific stats (29%) with the second-time starter angle. The daughter of More Than Ready may not be able to handle a truly top prospect; we’ll have to wait and see if one of Ward entrants fall into that category. No Say, an Irish-bred daughter of the prolific No Nay Never, shows a bullet breezing gate drill (4f, :48 2/5, fastest of 13 for the distance) that indicates ability for a trainer that hits at as remarkable 32% with debut runners. You’d have to think she’s a live item. Stable mate Vaccine of Hope, a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, lands J. Rosario and also shows a healthy series of workouts at Keeneland before being vanned up to make her debut. Her female family is mostly European turf, so it makes sense to start her in this spot. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics with the proven element, Bubble Rock, getting the edge on top.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Risk Profile; 5-Repo Rocks; 6-Cousin Andrew

Forecast: Risk Profile, freshened since mid-June and dropping out of a starter’s allowance event to return to his claim level, can regain his winning form with a repeat of his runaway maiden score at Belmont Park two races back in a race that earned a giant speed figure. The Into Mischief gelding retains L. Saez, has the proper stalking style for this seven furlong sprint, and goes for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. In a field lacking early speed, the G. Weaver-trained gelding might get away with some soft early splits on the front end. Cousin Andrew, a $20,000 claim following a maiden claiming win over this track and distance last month, is raised to today’s $40,000 level while taking advantage of the non-winners of two restriction, and he could improve enough for new trainer P. Walder to rate a decent look. His speed figures are shy of where they need to be, but this barn hits at 23% with a massive ROI with the first-off-the-claim angle, so a forward move can be anticipated. Repo Rocks has been compromised by rough starts in his last two outings, and with a clean trip today against this softer group the T. Morley-trained gelding may run back to his fast, highly-rated maiden win at Belmont Park in June. If he does, he can win.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: C+
Use: 3-Austrian; 7-Grape Nuts Warrior; 8-Panster

Forecast: This state-bred first-level allowance two-turning grass event is knee deep in contenders. Big ticket players should use as many as they can afford to; we’ll recommend three major players as a starting point. Austrian was victimized by a lack of pace when third as the favorite in a similar event in mid-July and deserves another look for the powerful team of D. Gargan and L. Saez. His lack of tactical speed always seems to put him behind the eight ball, but the son of Freud will be rolling late and have his chance to wear down the speed if he’s not given too much to do from the quarter pole home. Grape Nuts Warrior, a close fourth in the same race Austrian exits, removes the blinkers he had added in his previous outing and should continue to improve in what will be just his fourth career start. The C. Brown-trained colt doesn’t have a great turn of foot, so it would behoove J. Castellano to have him close up and within range throughout. Panster handled a starter’s allowance field last month while earning a speed figure that makes him a fit with these, so we’ll toss him in as well.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Triple Americano; 2-Dee Bro; 5-Papa Smooth

Forecast: Dee Bro flashed speed before fading in an open $25,000 claimer here last month and today returns to his claim level ($16,000) while facing restricted (nw-2) company, a significant class drop that should allow the son of Majestic City to regain his winning form. Triple Americano doesn’t look all that hot on paper – he beat maiden claimers last time out but needed a sloppy track to do it – but must be respected due to his high percentage connections (the R. Atras/R. Santana, Jr. team hits at close to 50%). He has some back speed figures that fit, as well. Papa Smooth, claimed out of a similar race in late July by O. Noda (solid with the first-off-the-claim angle), is a fit on figures and switches to I. Ortiz, Jr. If he’s quick enough to make the lead he has a chance to get brave; otherwise, he’ll be vulnerable.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Howdoyoumakeurmoney; 3-Doc Doc Rock

Forecast: The first-timers haven’t shown much in the morning so let’s give the edge to a couple of fillies with prior experience. Howdoyoumakeurmoney and Doc Doc Rock finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in a fast, highly-rated main track sprint last month and both should benefit considerably from that outing, the shortened trip, and the switch to grass. ‘Money displayed more early speed than ‘Rock before weakening late; she’s bred for grass on both sides of her pedigree and the barn has okay stats with the second-time starter angle. Doc Doc Rock was even money in that race and was prominent for a half before gradually weakening in a disappointing try. She’s trained extremely well since that race on grass for P. Pletcher and we suspect she’ll move up a ton on the lawn today. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with perhaps a very slight edge on top to Howdoyoumakeurmoney.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Chocolate Bar; 4-Voodoo Zip; 5-Principled Stand

Forecast: Second level older horses meet at a mile over the inner turf course in the first leg of the late Pick-4. Voodoo Zip took eight races to break his maiden and apparently now has figured things out. A much troubled third at this level two runs back, the City Zip colt continued his improving pattern with a sharp score in his most recent start at Belmont Park while earning a career top speed figure, one that makes him tough to beat on the one-level raise. Best when held up in the second flight and produced late, the C. Clement-trained colt retains J. Rosario and should be set for another major effort. Principled Stand is slower on numbers than our top pick but he’s undefeated in two starts with the likelihood of further improvement. The English-bred colt won both of his starts on the front end and gate-to-wire tactics surely will be employed again. There’s other speed signed on, so today we’ll see what he’s made of and how much early heat he can take. Chocolate Bar lands the rail and is guaranteed an ideal second flight, ground-saving trip. The M. Maker-trained colt is solid on numbers and won over this course and distance last year, so we’ll include him on our ticket as well.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Gold Panda; 6-Work Out

Forecast: Gold Panda displayed promise in his debut when finishing a distant third without being knocked about and then got serious in his next outing when pulverizing state-bred maidens by more than five lengths in a strong race for the level. He won eased up so he could have gone faster, but the win was accomplished over a sloppy track that may have moved him up. Today, we’ll find out if he can be as effective on fast ground. Work Out ran off behind the gate prior to the start, then was captured and reloaded but was in no mood to run and was virtually eased in his first start of the year at Belmont Park in July. Toss the race out. The son of Outwork displayed plenty of promise during his two-year-old campaign and shows a steady recent series of drills to have him plenty fit, so if he behaves himself today the L. Gyarmati-trained colt could have a huge say in the outcome.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B+
Single: 8-Maven

Forecast: Maven should outclass his rivals in this year’s edition of the Lucky Coin S., a restricted turf sprint for older horses. No threat when 11 of 16 in the King’s Stand S.-G1 at Royal Ascot in June, the W. Ward-trained gelding returns to face a field he’ll outrun with a repeat of his facile allowance win sprinting over the Keeneland course two runs back. The triple-digit Beyer number he earned in that race clearly sets him above the rest, and his recent work tab at Keeneland should have him plenty fit. We’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Gauff; 4-Lady Valentine

Forecast: The finale is inner turf nine furlong maiden affair for older fillies and mares. Lady Valentine, in the money in both of her starts, is a one-paced type that probably can’t beat a real good maiden, but there may not be one in here. The daughter of Into Mischief has numbers that are considerably lower than par for the level, but in a shallow field she’s likely to go favored by default. Gauff represents stranger danger. The first-timer from the B. Cox barn is bred to run long on the lawn (Siyouni from a Galileo mare) and appears to have put together a string of good works at her home base at Ellis Park. Drawn comfortably inside and with the stable’s “go-to” rider T. Gaffalione aboard, the Irish-bred filly has the look of live debut runner. Beware.