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Saturday, July 18: Saratoga Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

July 18, 2020

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 Monmouth Park Day MakersWatch Video

RACE 1: Post 1:10 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 3-Mo Mischief; 6-Repo Rocks

Forecast: Mo Mischief brought $500,000 at the OBS March sale after breezing a quarter mile in a sizzling :21 flat, and the T. Pletcher-trained colt should be plenty fit following a healthy series of drills that date back to late May. We caught a glimpse of this colt at Palm Beach Downs in early June (view workout) and came away with the impression that he would be capable of displaying plenty of zip when turned loose. Repo Bucks is a debuting Tapiture colt from the W. Mott barn, and while the stable isn’t known to crank ‘em up first time out this colt is bred to be quick and shows a work tab that indicates plenty of speed and ability. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two and both will be included in rolling exotic play, with preference on top to Mo Mischief.

RACE 2: Post 1:43 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Mr. Kringle; 3-Winning Factor

Forecast: Mr. Kringle has been competitive in recent stakes and allowance races but is eligible to this starter’s affair for having started in a $50,000 claimer in his debut last October. The J. Terranova-trained colt is dropping to steal a purse after finishing a distant but respectable third in a listed event last month at Belmont Park. From the rail, the son of Shakin It Up is guaranteed a second flight, ground-saving trip and against this group certainly will be a short price to regain his winning form. Winning Factor is worth consideration in rolling exotic play, at least as a back-up or a saver. Considerably improved in his last pair after joining the D. Donk barn, he broke his maiden last time out in $40,000 seller while earning a number that makes him fairly competitive with ‘Kringle. A son of The Factor who prefers to lay back and then blast home, he came against the grain to graduate going away like a colt who has finally figured things out.

RACE 3: Post 2:18 PT. Grade: X
Single: 7-Decorated Invader

Forecast: Decorated Invader has the makings of an exceptional turf colt and is most deserving of strong favoritism in this year’s edition of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S.-G2. Perfect in two starts as a 3-year-old, the son of Declaration of War was a Grade-1 winner as a juvenile (Summer S. at Woodbine) and looks even better in 2020, having won the Cutler Bay S. in March at Gulfstream Park and then most recently blowing past his opposition to capture the Pennine Ridge S.-G2 last month. He’s certain to be odds-on, so let’s pass the race other than to use the C. Clement-trained 3-year-old as a no-value rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post 2:51 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Baby Boss; 7-Letmetakethiscall

Forecast: Baby Boss is a stakes winner dropping into a seller for the first time – certainly suspiciously so off a nearly seven month layoff– but if the New York-bred mare reproduces her best form (and leaves cleanly from the rail) she should be able to outrun this group at short odds. The work tab at Finger Lakes seems decent enough but the barn’s record with comebackers is only so-so. There are too many mixed signals to have any degree of confidence, so for protection we’ll also include Letmetakethiscall, a solid third vs. $25,000 foes last month and being raised a notch in class today in what we’ll take as a sign of confidence. Always thoroughly genuine and consistent, the veteran Take Charge Indy mare does her best running on the front end and will try to pop and go from her cozy outside draw.

RACE 5: Post 3:24 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Conglomerate; 6-Oak Hill; 9-The Angry Man

Forecast: This looks like a stronger than average maiden race for older horses at a mile over the inner turf course. We’ll go three-deep while preferring The Angry Man on top. With the always-preferred two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern and a pedigree that suggests he’ll improve dramatically on grass, the son of Summer Front is strong on speed figures, switches to J. Rosario, exits a fast, highly-rated race, and should find himself on or near the lead throughout. Oak Hill closed a gap sprinting on grass in his debut at Churchill Downs last month in a fairly promising effort and hails from a barn that usually does well with second-timers. The A. Stall-trained son of Distorted Humor shows a nice three furlong blowout on grass just five days ago to have him right on edge. Conglomerate has been in training for a long time and finally makes it to the post. The C. Brown-trained colt has shown plenty of promise in drills dating back to last year, and as a son of Lemon Drop Kid (and a long-striding one at that) he should be especially effective on grass. We suggest you include him.

RACE 6: Post 4:04 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 5-Catman; 8-Breakthrough; 10-Pivotal Mission

Forecast: Here’s an intriguing two-turn maiden race on grass for 2-year-olds. Breakthrough has the benefit of a couple of prior runs and sports the dangerous two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern. The W. Ward-trained colt has burned money in both of his outings, hitting the board but failing to punch it in as the favorite, but his most recent race wasn’t bad as he was almost three lengths clear of the rest despite a less-than-ideal trip. He’s a son of Nyquist and therefore should handle the trip, and at 6-1 on the morning line he’s a gambling number. Catman has been training at Indiana Downs but shows up for his debut at Saratoga, so he were going to assume that he’s somewhat well regarded. The M. Maker-trained son of Kitten’s Joy is 8-1 under I. Ortiz, Jr., so at that price we’ll give him some consideration. Pivotal Mission, purchased for $200,000 as a yearling, is a son of Noble Mission from a strictly European female family and has been doing some good work at Fair Hills for G. Motion. It’s possible he’ll need a race but a bullet five furlong drill over the all-weather track in 1:00 1/5 nine days ago catches the eye so we’ll toss him in.

RACE 7: Post 4:32 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Yaupon; 2-Binkster

Forecast: Yaupon showed some moxie in his victorious debut at Churchill Downs last month, battling bravely under pressure the length of the lane and winning by a nose (pair more than four clear of the rest) while earning a strong speed figure. The. S. Asmussen-trained son of Uncle Mo returns off a month’s rest with two easy recent local breezes, and if he can leave cleanly from the rail he seems capable of scoring right back. Binkster is considerably more seasoned, having finished first or second in nine of 20 career outings, including a pair of strong runner-up efforts over the Saratoga main track last year. He projects to be close to the pace throughout and have every chance when it matters. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to the high-potential Yaupon.

RACE 8: Post 5:07 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Creative Style; 7-Shalako; 9-Hammerin Aamer

Forecast: There should be enough pace in this nine furlong $25,000 claimer to set things up for the closers, so in what has to be a spread race we’ll concentrate and those that figure to benefit from the projected race flow. Creative Style is a perfect one-for-one over the Saratoga main track and is fresh from a sharp win with a strong figure in a $32,000 seller at Belmont Park four weeks ago. This class drop off a win always is of some concern, but if the Creative Cause gelding has one good one left he should be hard to beat. Hammerin Aamer actually won his most recent start at Laurel Park in gate-to-wire fashion at a one-turn mile but the son of Jump Star can be effective from the second flight if the race shape dictates. From the high-percentage B. Russell barn, the veteran gelding is fast on speed figures off his best race and is realistically spotted in his first start for a tag. Shalako is most effective when held up early and allowed to run late and in a race in which the fractions should be fairly quick the son of Malibu Moon could be heard from late at a nice price (he’s 10-1 on the morning line). With eight career wins on his resume, the veteran gelding knows where the wire is.

RACE 9: Post 5:43 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Ramsey Solution; 6-Set Piece; 7-Digital Age

Forecast: Set Piece won his U.S. debut at Churchill Downs last month like a gelding with a future, and this jump to the three-other-than allowance ranks should be within his scope. A stakes winner in his final English outing last November over an all-weather surface that was assigned a giant Timeform Rating, the son of Dansili can really blast home and with a repeat of either one of his last two outings he should be capable of producing another winning late kick. Digital Age is another deep closer that should be heard from in the final stages. Though beaten as the favorite in his recent comeback at Belmont Park, the stretch-running Irish-bred colt earned a career top speed figure, and with another forward move today he could give ‘Piece a serious challenge. Second in the Saratoga Derby over the local lawn last year and the winner of the American Turf S.-G2 earlier in his sophomore campaign, the C. Brown-trained colt retains I. Ortiz, Jr., and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. The lightly-raced Ramsey Solution also should be included on a ticket or two as a back-up or a saver. Capable of winning on the front end or as a stalker, the son of Real Solution is fast on figures, and with just five career starts (three wins) the W. Ward-trained gelding has plenty of room for further development.

RACE 10: Post 6:16 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Tonalist’s Shape; 6-Paris Lights

Forecast: Paris Lights has the perfect stalking style for this nine furlong distance and can dictate the race flow from her cozy outside draw. A winner of two of three career starts, the last two by daylight in dominating style, the W. Mott-trained daughter of Curlin should get nothing but better with experience and maturity, and while this will be her first appearance in a stakes race, the daughter of Curlin should be able to take the class hike in stride. Tonalist’s Shape boasts an impressive resume – she’s won six of seven starts including four stakes, three of then graded. Her numbers have fluctuated but she’s fast when she needs to be and has the pedigree to improve as the distances increase. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Paris Lights.

RACE 11: Post 6:49 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 4-Midnight Whisker; 7-Papa Luke

Forecast: The nightcap is a maiden special weight sprint for New York-bred older horses. Papa Luke was more than three clear of the rest when a solid runner-up in a similar maiden dash at Belmont Park last month, and a repeat of that race today could put the Strong Mandate gelding in the winner’s circle. The A. Dutrow-trained 4-year-old is drawn outside the other speed, so stalking tactics can be employed if Johnny V. so chooses. Midnight Whisker has improving form for S. Asmussen, retains J. Rosario, and shows a healthy, steady series of workouts since finishing a close fourth (beaten a neck) in a muddy track affair in early June. The son of Bourbon Courage projects as a pace-forcer, and with another forward move could stick around a long time.