by Jerry Shottenkirk
August 9, 2020
Sunday is a Empire 6 mandatory payout day at Saratoga, and while I normally get after the Late Pick 4, I’m willing to jump into the big pool. Sunday's Mandatory Payout carryover is $1,393,463 and that pool should jump several million dollars before the start of the sequence.
Of course, no one would expect it to be an easy proposition, and it certainly is not. Below is a suggested $86.50 ticket on the Empire 6, which goes in 20-cent increments. For those who follow weekly on the Late Pick 4, the same numbers lining up in races 7 through 10 run $36 on the 50-cent Pick 4 minimum, so that option as well.
The Empire 6 goes in races 5-10 and the featured event is the $85,000 Alydar Stakes, which brings out a field of veterans, most notably Endorsed, Bodexpress and Tenfold. Here’s a look at the Empire 6 races:
Race 5 (3:28PM ET, Maidens)
The opening leg comes down to WINDFALL PROFIT and BASTET. WINDFALL PROFIT had the misfortune of losing photos in his last two and he could get his break today. BASTET finished with interest going seven after faltering on the front end of his first one. He apparently learned a lot in his return and continued improvement could be enough.
Race 6 (4:07PM ET, Allowance)
Chad Brown having a pair of strong of runners in the same race seems as right as rain in New York, but an “outsider” could have a hand in the outcome. Brown’s promising runners SECONDARY MARKET and PRIMACY will battle it out with Michael Trombetta-trained ESCAPE FUND for top honors here, and ii might not be easy. ESCAPE FUND had a professional debut as he waited patiently until being asked, and when that happened, she was on his own in the final furlong. She scored by four lengths in that six-furlong race and there’s nothing that says she can’t be just as deadly going 6.5 furlongs. SECONDARY has been off since last September, but we’ve seen that before: Long layoffs are not a problem in this stable. She romped going this distance in a maiden win at Belmont and has trained well for her return. Stablemate PRIMACY took three starts to break her maiden and she’ll attempt to parlay that Belmont win into Saratoga success.
Race 7 (4:43PM ET, Claiming)
A trio of runners rate the edge in turf sprint, and AUNT NADINE’s improvement in her first over the grass makes for a great opportunity here. She can from just off the pace and finished second. It was her first attempt for the Steve Asmussen barn after running for Jorge Navarro. MO ME MO MY tired in her first at Saratoga after shipping in from Santa Anita. She’s been in some difficult races and should improve with this step down in class. SUMMER FORTUNE showed speed in all three starts and goes to the turf for the first time. Gets some class relief and fits well with these.
Race 8 (5:17PM ET, Allowance)
The fourth leg has the most runners on the ticket as four runners look good enough to warrant attention. SHAMROCKET just missed at this distance last time after breaking his maiden going longer and is a serious threat at this distance in his second against winners. MR JAGGERS broke his maiden at this distance and has another opportunity to be close up throughout. BUY ME CANDY didn’t fire last out but his best gives him a chance here. Another with an opportunity to stay closer from the beginning. CITY MAN closed well for fourth in the G3 Transylvania at Keeneland. Has enough speed to overcome his post and stay in range.
Race 9 (5:50PM ET, Alydar Stakes)
The Alydar drew a decent field overall, but three of these are accustomed to races with larger purses. BODEXPRESS ran fifth in the G1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational and most recently was third in the G3 Hal’s Hope. He should be able to get some confidence back as he should get on the lead or very close to it. Has the class to be a strong player, as do TENFOLD and ENDORSED. TENFOLD is a bit Jekyll-Hyde in his ways as he has run close to some of the best but has lost to some he should’ve defeated. He has picked up his game a bit this year as he was sixth in the Pegasus, fourth in the G2 New Orleans Classic and third in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita. He’s plenty good enough to show his late run in this spot. ENDORSED has run some good races and was in the mix for three-quarters before tiring in the G1 Met Mile. He has shown the ability to adjust to pace on occasion and hold his own in this event.
Race 10 (6:22PM ET, Maiden Claiming)
IMPERIO D and BRUNATE rate the edge in this maiden-claiming event to end the day. IMPERIO D comes off his best effort as he took the lead and was caught late. A similar try over this surface gives him a legit chance. BRUNATE was on the board in his last two and finished a neck IMPERIO D. If you like IMPERIO D, you have to like this one.
Saratoga Empire 6 Ticket
Race 5) #5 Windfall Profit, #6 Bastet
Race 6) #1 Escape Fund, #5 Secondary Market, #6 Primacy
Race 7) #4 Aunt Nadine, #5 Mo Me Mo My, #10 Summer Fortune
Race 8) #3 Shamrocket, #5 Mr Jaggers, #7 Buy Me Candy, #8 City Man
Race 9) #1 Endorsed, #5 Bodexpress, #6 Tenfold
Race 10) #1 Imperio D, #8 Brunate
20-cent Empire 6) 5-6 with 1-5-6 with 4-5-10 with 3-5-7-8 with 1-5-6 with 1-8. ($86.40)