by Dustin Fabian
August 29, 2019
It’s hard to believe that Saratoga and Del Mar are already wrapping up and it seems this summer’s most popular meets have come and gone in mere days instead of over a relatively grueling eight-week span. It’s crazy to think that Sistercharlie’s win in the Diana, Guarana’s CCA Oaks score and Catalina Cruiser’s San Diego Handicap victory (not to be confused with his Pat O’Brien win) were all well over a month ago.
But that’s life with these summer meets. There’s so much phenomenal racing – and betting – flying at you from all over the country that it is very easy to get lost in the weeds of “what’s next” and what graded stakes race I can play tomorrow.
Saratoga’s Saturday card is headlined by the G1 Woodward this week and it’s a field loaded with horses that are fun to follow and easy to cheer for. Yoshida is a G1 winner on both surfaces. Vino Rosso (translation: red wine) wins over fans with both the way he races and his name. Preservationist earned our respect with a massive win in the G2 Suburban and Mongolian Groom, the Pacific Classic third-place-finisher, cost just $12K at auction but has earned $369K in his career.
Xpressbet customers who hit Saratoga's Late Pick 4 will win a Split of 1 Million XB Rewards Points and my ticket for that bet is below.
Del Mar’s Saturday card features an exciting showdown between Vasilika and Toinette in the G2 John C. Mabee Stakes, while the G1 Del Mar Debutante always seems to send a handful of horses to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies as favorites.
Plus, not for nothing, racing returns to Kentucky Downs on Saturday and their Opening Day card is loaded with great races and big fields. The $750,000 Tourist Mile attracted 14 entrants and both stakes races for juveniles are well overdrawn. The card features a 14% Takeout All-Stakes Pick 4 that I’m not capable of passing up.
I guess it’s one of those things – even with Saratoga and Del Mar on their last legs, the next big tracks are just around the corner. And, for horseplayers, there’s always a race somewhere to play.
Here’s my Woodward Day Late Pick 4 ticket:
Race 9 (4:54PM ET) – Allowance (7F on Dirt)
The kickoff leg of the Late Pick 4 is a decent first-level allowance race for fillies and mares going 7 furlongs on the main track. This looks like a ‘go deep’ leg to me. The ML favorite is #2 PROXIMITY BIAS, but she’s going to be an underlay because it’s Klaravich/Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr. She’s light on figures and wasn’t bet – and didn’t show a ton – in a similar race on July 24. I’ll use her defensively but that’s about it. My ticket here is going to include #1 HALLAWALLAH (4/1), #3 ARRIFANA (7/2), #7 MY ROXY GIRL (8/1), #8 OUR CIRCLE OF LOVE (10/1) and #11 TAKE CHARGE AUBREY (8/1). That gives me a solid mix of experienced vs raw and speed vs closers.
Race 10 (5:27PM ET) – G2 Glens Falls Stakes (1 3/8 Miles on Turf)
Sound the alarms! A graded stakes race…in New York…on turf…that Chad Brown has never won. There can’t be many of these left and Brown is looking to cross this one off his list as he sends out the two favorites, #4 SANTA MONICA (2/1) and #2 FOOLS GOLD (5/2). FOOLS GOLD beat SANTA MONICA by a length in the G3 Waya here on August 4, but she was aided by a slow early pace that day. SANTA MONICA may be the ‘better’ of the two horses, with more speed entered here. I talked myself out of using #7 LADY MONTDORE (12/1) but she is the defending champion and was unbeatable at Saratoga last summer. If Tom Albertrani has her right, she is going to be very tough.
Race 11 (6:00PM ET) – G1 Woodward Stakes (1 1/8 Miles on Dirt)
I loved PRESERVATIONIST’s (7/2) huge run in the Suburban but maybe wheeling back quickly in the G1 Whitney wasn’t the best idea in hindsight, especially as he butted heads with McKinzie early. That rival stayed home, but #1 MR. BUFF (8/1) and #9 TOM’S D’ETAT (4/1) both have speed and it isn’t the cheap variety. #7 YOSHIDA (5/2) is simply a different horse at Saratoga and he won this race last year. This year’s field is a little better than the ’18 version of this race, but he’s going to be flying late. #3 VINO ROSSO is a G1 winner but his poor record at Saratoga can’t be overlooked. He’s 0-for-3 locally.
Race 12 (6:33PM ET) – Maiden Special Weight (6 Furlongs on Dirt)
Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher flex their muscles in the nightcap, as they send out #5 AIRTOUCH (3/1) and #8 FREE ENTERPRISE (7/5), respectively, and it’ll be hard to beat them. Each has run a Beyer Speed Figure in the mid-80s and nobody else in the field can come close to that. The only other horse I’m going to use is #7 FANTASTRY (12/1), a first-time starter for Ken McPeek. McPeek is having a sneaky solid meet (5-for-22) and I’m really intrigued with Jose Ortiz riding this colt. McPeek and Ortiz have teamed up to win with 5-of-7 combined starters at Saratoga over the last two years, a 71% clip.
Race 9: 1,2,3,7,8,11
Race 10: 2,4
Race 11: 7,9
Race 12: 5,7,8
Ticket Cost: $36 for 50-cents