by Jeff Siegel
July 31, 2019
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.
It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.
Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.
Grade B=Solid Play.
Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.
Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.
The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.
Today’s Day Maker: Jeff Siegel's Top Two Plays at Saratoga on July 31st, 2019
RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 7-Keota; 9-Pure Praise
Forecast: The new week begins with a starter allowance middle distance affair for fillies and mares that has been transferred to the main track. Keota crushed restricted (nw-3) $35,000 claimers at Belmont Park in late May while earning a career top speed figure and was promptly haltered by J. Servis, whose success with the first-off-the-claim angle (35% with a flat-bet profit) is well-documented. The main question, though, is whether she can act on the main track. Her only previous outing on dirt at Aqueduct last November resulted in sixth place finish (speed/fade) in an off-the-turf miler in which she was beaten 13 lengths at 2-1. Pure Praise, first off the claim for B. Brown, actually has run better on dirt than turf, so the surface switch won’t be a concern and she could control the race on the front end if gate-to-wire strategy is employed. Tread lightly here.
RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Zandora; 8-She’s Not Bluffing
Forecast: She’s Not Bluffing, first off the claim for Gullo (strong stats, 20%, flat-bet profit), missed as the favorite when worn down in the final furlong in a $16,000 restricted (nw-2) affair earlier this meeting but earned a career top figure in the process and could make amends on the class hike from her cozy outside post. She’s also shortening up a half-furlong, which won’t hurt, and is reunited with “win” rider L. Saez. Zandora adds blinkers for the first time and certainly has a right to improve for the B. Cox barn, which has excellent stats (26%) with this particular equipment change. She also has the route-to-sprint and turf-to-dirt angles working for her, along with a significant class drop from open $40,000 to nw-2 $25,000. If she can avoid trouble from the rail, the Jimmy Creed filly should be in the thick of it.
RACE 3: Post 2:10 ET. Grade: B+
Single: 1-Risky Mischief
Forecast: Maiden 2-year-old New York bred fillies meet over six furlongs in a field that contains only one prior starter. Among the newcomers, Risky Mischief, entered last week in a race that was cancelled due to weather, is the most intriguing. The daughter of Into Mischief brought $350,000 as a yearling last year at Saratoga and has done some excellent work in the a.m. for J. Engelhart, who is thoroughly proficient (21%) with debut runners. Earlier this month she breezed evenly and looked a tad the best over the unbeaten My Italian Rabbi, winner of the Stillwater Stakes a couple of weeks ago, while giving every indication that she has more than enough ability to win a maiden race such as this. Rail and all, we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 4: Post 2:45 ET. Grade: B+
Single: 7-Niko’s Dream
Forecast: Kid is Frosty and Niko’s Dream were in a photo together at Belmont Park last month, when ‘Frosty barely lasted over ‘Dream to win by a diminishing neck. They meet again in the Saratoga installment of the New York Stallion Series Stakes, but this time there’s a significant 6 lbs. weight advantage in favor of Niko’s Dream in addition to the race being a furlong farther and around two turns. It all points to Niko’s Dream, who has steadily improving speed figures and should be capable of producing the last run. We’ll make the B. Tagg-trained daughter of Central Banker a straight play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 5: Post 3:20 ET. Grade: C
Use: 4-Girlintheyellowtaxi; 8-Kit Kat Katie; 9-Morality Clause; 14-Astarte Gold
Forecast: This maiden sprint for juvenile fillies restricted those that sold or were RNA’d for $45,000 or less has been transferred to the main track. Use as many as your budget allows. Kit Kat Katie ran well to be second in her debut in early May in a race that has since proven to be productive, but then lost all chance when caught outside of a bolting horse down the backstretch in the same race Morality Clause exits. She’s had three nice workouts since that outing, so with good racing luck the J. Englehart-trained daughter of Sky Mesa should be in the thick of it, assuming she can transfer her turf form to dirt. Morality Clause is in the same boat in that her first two career outings came on turf and there’s reason to believe based on pedigree that grass might be her preferred surface. The daughter of Verrazano was a no-excuse runner-up vs. similar last month at Belmont Park in a race that was slow early but fairly quick late. She should be within striking range and have every chance again. Girlintheyellowtaxi is a first-timer in the W. Ward barn with an okay work tab so she’s probably worth including, as is the MTO entrant Astarte Gold, a Cairo Prince filly with a bullet half mile workout (48 1/5 seconds, fastest of 21) over the Saratoga main track last week.
RACE 6: Post 3:56 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Tulanian; 6-Figure of Speech; 7-Hallajoori; 8-Thissmytime
Forecast: Here’s another two-year-old filly sprint, this one with no restrictions. There are a ton of possibilities, requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Hallajoori has some eye-catching drills in Kentucky and arrives at Saratoga fit and ready for a major effort first crack out of the box. The Asmussen barn always has good stats with debut runners (22% with a flat-bet profit) and with the stable’s main man R. Santana taking the call we suspect the filly from the first crop of Bayern is very live. Thisismytime previewed nicely at the OBS April Sale (10 1/5 seconds, nice mover) and had a bullet three furlong breeze over the Saratoga main track two weeks ago in 35 seconds (fastest of 37). Purchased at auction for $140,000, the B. Brown-trained daughter of Carpe Diem should be very competitive. Tulanian, a $120,000 daughter of Twirling Candy trained by T. Amoss, is another Kentucky invader with an impressive work tab and this stable has superior stats with first-time starters (29%). Figure of Speech, a $200,000 Into Mischief filly, has done everything asked for C. Brown and is yet another that simply has to be included in rolling exotic play.
RACE 7: Post 4:32 ET. Grade: X
Forecast: Mascha was supposed to run in a similar race last week but the event was cancelled due to weather, so let’s try this again. The French-bred import, a first-time Lasix user, has worked like she’s fit and ready for C. Brown and on paper out classes this first-level allowance field after last year winning a listed stakes in Germany and then finishing second to the high quality and current Brown-trained stable mate Homerique in the Prix de Psyche-G3 at Deauville. The form makes her a stick out at this level at a very short price, so we will use her as a rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.
RACE 8: Post 5:09 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Short Pour; 6-Theaterintheround; 9-Aquariva; 10-Ailish
Forecast: This is a better-than-par race for state-bred turf sprinting fillies and mares. We’ll spread four deep but you could make a reasonable case for several others. Short Pour encountered severe traffic trouble in a performance that was highlighted in a Black Book segment and did well to finish as close as she did when fifth, beaten two lengths, in a productive turf sprint in early June. She retains J. Ortiz, ran well over this course as a 2-year-old, and with good racing luck may prove best in a cavalry charge from the quarter pole home. Ailish likes to settle and blast home, and just won a starter’s allowance race on grass at Belmont Park using those tactics with a speed figure that makes her a solid fit in this first level allowance dash. Rosario stays aboard and with good racing luck could wear down the speed again. Theaterintheround also is fresh from a win, hers coming vs. $35,000 restricted claimers after pressing a quick pace throughout. Today’s shorter trip shouldn’t be an issue, so we’re expecting the R. Handal-trained mare to be a strong factor from gate to wire. Aquariva was a clever winner in her debut in an off-the-turfer at Belmont Park last September but then disappeared. She returns in a logical spot with an okay work tab and lands Johnny V., who was aboard in her win. She’ll have to improve her speed figure but from 2-years-old to 3 they usually do.
RACE 9: Post 5:44 ET. Grade: B
Use: 2-Talk Veuve to Me; 3-Awestruck
Forecast: The Shine Again Stakes, a restricted seven furlong affair for fillies and mares, came up fairly light both in quality and quantity. Talk Veuve to Me was a beaten choice over a muddy track she may not have cared for in an overnight race here two weeks ago, but the daughter of Violence has more than enough back class to handle this assignment and can break through with anything close to her best effort. She’s winless this year – that’s why she’s eligible for the race – but could benefit with the switch to J. Ortiz. Awestruck was a closing second in the overnight Roxelana Stakes behind Mia Mischief and just ahead of Covfefe last month, but that race probably flattered her, as the major players ran well below their usual standard according to speed figures. The daughter of Tapit does have the proper style for this extended sprint distance and should be heard from late. These are the two that we’ll include in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Talk Veuve to Me.
RACE 10: Post 6:18 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Morelikelythannot; 8-To a Friend
Forecast: The finale is a maiden-claiming turf raffle for older fillies and mares. To a Friend is being culled after just two career starts, so the barn probably doesn’t think all that much of her, but against this group she should be hard to beat. The daughter of Scat Daddy removes blinkers, drops from straight maiden into a $40,000 seller, switches to Gaffalione and shows a healthy series of workouts that should have her primed and ready in a modest affair. Morelikelythannot is another dropping into a claimer for the first time and takes off blinkers after one poor run with the hood on last month at Monmouth Park. The C. Brown-trained filly doesn’t look like much on form – she isn’t – but on pure numbers from her best efforts she’s a contender. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics but then press with extra tickets keying To a Friend.