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Jeff Siegel's What You Need to Know - Saratoga | Saturday, August 20, 2022

by Jeff Siegel

August 20, 2022

(For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing).



Seventh Race – Post: 3:52 ET
Top Pick: 5-Echo Again (9/5)

As this is written, trainer Steve Asmussen has won eight races form 30 starters at the current Saratoga meeting (27%), so by that metric he’s enjoyed a highly successful season. However, many of his maiden 2-year-olds have performed below expectations. This first time starter is supposed to be one of the barn’s best prospects, and as a son of Gun Runner from the dam of the speedy Pneumatic we’ll be anxious to see if he runs to his works. Based on video, this colt is immensely talented and owns enough speed to win at first asking and enough stamina (and pedigree) to run on later in his career. At 9/5 on the morning line (hope we can get it), we’ll make him a strong win play and rolling exotic single.

Ninth Race: Post: 5:02 ET
Top Pick: 4-Sarah Harper (12-1)

This year’s renewal of the Smart N Fancy Stakes is a wide-open affair for turf sprinting fillies and mares. Let’s take a shot at a price. 4-Sarah Harper has been away since January, she’s never won or placed in a stakes, and she’s never raced on turf. That’s why she’s 12-1 on the morning line. But there are a few reasons to believe that she will produce a career top effort. Her pedigree (on both sides) suggests she should improve considerably on grass. She has excellent gate speed but doesn’t need the lead to win, and projects to enjoy an ideal stalking trip behind need-the-lead sprinter 3-Robin Sparkles. She has trained exceptional well for her comeback, lands Flavian Prat, and has speed figures that are within striking range of what it will take to win this race. Finally, she has every right to be a better filly now than she was six months ago. All and all, she’s a gamble worth taking. Among those that warrant inclusion on backup tickets (or in exactas and/or trifectas are 9-Caravel (assured a clean trip from her cozy outside post and with several prior races that are good enough to win) and 6-Miss J McKay (below her best with troubled trips in her last pair but more than good enough to win on her best day with good racing luck).



(Races 1-5)
1st race: 4-Floki’s Flight; 2-Sebaray
2nd race: 4-Spooky Road; 6-U Cant Handle This
3rd race: 4-Favorite Outlaw; 3-Peaceful Waters
4th race: 6-Ard Macha; 5-Shinfull; 1-Road to Remember
5th race: 1-Coach Petro; 5-Rarified Flair

(Races 6-11)
6th race: 1a-Best Idea
7th race: 5-Echo Again
8th race: 1-Win The Moonlight; 3-Eminent Victor
9th race: 4-Sarah Harper; 9-Caravel; 6-Miss J McKay
10th race: 4-Nest; 3-Gerrymander
11th race: 4-Wicked Fast; 7-Aviano; 6-Saratoga Flash




Conversing (August 14, Saratoga, 4f, :52b TT TC DU). Grade: B-
Slightly second best outside Fort Washington (same time) with even splits of :26 flat for Shug, a bit green but never really being asked much through the lane, then galloped out a length or so behind workmate. Some ability noted but we’d prefer to see one first.
View Workout Video

Taking Candy (August 14, Saratoga, 4f, :48.4bg). Grade: B-
Asked hard leaving the gate, then went without undue pressure while a tad second best outside Cagliostro (same time) for DeVaux, okay drill, not great. Brought $400,000 at the OBS March sale, where he previewed over the all-weather in 10 seconds flat; would not surprise us to see him perform better on grass than dirt.
View Workout Video



Best Idea (August 13, Saratoga, 4f, :48.3b). Grade: B
Slightly best outside Causin’ Mayhem (same time) for T. Pletcher, light coaxing only and then galloping out well past the wire, final quarter in :24.4. New York-bred son of Honor Code maintains his edge.
View Workout Video



Expected Value (August 14, Saratoga, 5f, 1:01.2b). Grade: B-
Went under a nice hold outside Peak Popularity (same time) for C. Brown, slightly best at the wire before galloping out the stronger of the two, final quarter in :25.2 with plenty left. Hard to say how quick he is; juvenile son of Flatter may eventually prove to be most effective over a distance of ground.
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Good News Rocket (August 7, Saratoga, 4f, :47.2b). Grade: B-
Ridden from the gate while even but slightly second best inside Lady Caraggio (same time) for W. Mott, both displaying decent speed throughout but being asked most of the way. Runhappy colt brought $700,000 at the Fasig-Tipton March sale, where he impressed previewing in 10 1/5 seconds but looked something less than that in this move.
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Echo Again (August 7, Saratoga, 5f, 1:01b TT). Grade: B+
Smart drill by talented Gun Runner colt in S. Asmussen barn, breezing under a stout hold throughout while appearing slightly best over Favorite Outlaw (same time), final three furlongs on our watches in :37.3, plenty left late while just coasting home. Well-regarded, looks the part, and seems plenty fit. Could be the goods.
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Spinzar (August 14, Saratoga, 4f :48.2bg). Grade: B+
In three-horse gate drill outside Self Confident (middle) and Pleasant Passage (inside) and was always going the easiest of the trio while under a nice hold early and never really asked much late. Tapit colt trained just okay prior to this drill but might be waking up. Intriguing for Shug.
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Eminent Victor (August 5, Saratoga, 4f, :50.1b TT TC). Grade: B
Stride for stride inside Dolce Zel (same time) for C. Brown in training track turf drill inside the dogs, both looking sharp and happy. ‘Victor lost a toughie in the Lake George and should fire a similar shot in the Lake Placid; ‘Zel went quite nicely, too, after nosing out her stablemate in the Lake George.
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Consumer Spending (August 14, Saratoga, 5f, 1:012b TT TC). Grade: B
Easy drill inside the dogs over turf training course for C. Brown while stride-for-stride with Haughty (same time), final quarter in :24.1, neither one asked, both finishing with plenty left. Couldn’t really separate them.
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Sarah Harper (July 28, Saratoga, 4f, :50.1b . Grade: B+
Smooth as silk while breezing through the lane under a tight hold, looking quite sharp and eager for Moquett. Away since January but is returning in peak form, it would appear.
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Caravel (August 14, Saratoga, 4f, :47.4b TT TC). Grade: B+
Solo training track turf breeze around dogs for B. Cox looking razor sharp while finishing under a tight hold, final quarter in :24.1. Had a rough trip when well-beaten as the favorite in the Caress S.-G3 last time out but certainly appears capable of bouncing back.
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Gerrymander (August 13, Saratoga, 5f, 1:01b). Grade: B+
Under a stout hold every step of the way in solo breeze for C. Brown, final quarter in :24.2 before eagerly galloping out with plenty left. Won the Mother Goose S.-G2 convincingly and appears even better now than they. Warrants respect in the Alabama S.-G1, especially if she makes the lead without pressure.
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Nest (August 5, Saratoga, 4f, :49.3b). Grade: B
Even but slightly second best outside Malathaat (same time), not really asked much while a neck behind most of the way (workmate under a hammerlock, looked terrific). May not be quite a sharp as she appeared prior to the CCA Oaks but she’s so good it may not matter. Just a very minor cause for concern.
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