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Sunday, July 19: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

July 19, 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.

RACE 1: Post 1:10 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Dowse’s Beach; 3-Dr. Shane

Forecast: Dowse’s Beach, a 9-year-old pro with six wins from nine starts over the local lawn, had a prep at Belmont Park last month in his first outing since November and was predictably a tad rusty when pressing the pace and then weakening late to wind up a respectable third. He’ll be fitter and tighter today and will be reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr., so the M. Maker-trained gelding deserves the edge on top. Dr. Shane probably is worth tossing in as a saver or a backup. Freshened since April, the Freud gelding has several back speed figures that are good enough to win at this level and should be heard from late.

RACE 2: Post 1:44 PT. Grade: C
Use: 2-Lazarus Project; 5-Deep Sea; 7-Hardcore Folklore

Forecast: At first glance Deep Sea looks pretty solid in this $12,500 claiming extended sprint; he was a decent runner-up despite traffic trouble in a similar affair last month at Belmont Park and has been first or second in 15 of 31 career starts. However, he’s winless since December of 2018 and his lack of tactical speed makes backing him at a short price somewhat problematic. He can win, but he doesn’t have to. Hardcore Folklore, third without mishap in the same race Deep Sea exits, is a perfect one-for-one over this track and distance but is another who has to come from out of it. Like Deep South, this Curlin gelding could use some help up front. Lazarus Project projects to have enough early speed to be within range, and in his second off a layoff and the drop to his lowest level ever the veteran gelding should return to good form. Show bettors should give him a good look; he’s finished third 19 times in 52 career starts. These are the three we’ll be including in our rolling exotics in what otherwise for us is a pass race.

RACE 3: Post 2:20 PT. Grade: X
Single: 1-Dovima

Forecast: Dovima was very well-meant in her debut last month at Belmont Park in a similar turf miler for maiden fillies and mares but lost by a head-bob in a promising run for C. Brown. The stable hits with an amazing 35% with second-timers, so we’re expecting the daughter of Union Rags to step forward from her good rail post under J. Ortiz and be along in time at what seems certain to be odds-on. We’ll pass the race but use her as a no-value rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post 2:54 PT. Grade: C
Use: 5-Releasethethunder; 6-Twelfth Labour

Forecast: After finishing a fair third at Delaware Park in his first start since October, Releasethethunder drops into a seller for the first time and should have every chance to regain his winning form with a good stalking trip outside for Clement/Rosario. Not sure we totally trust him, though (two wins, seven placings) and the barn’s record with the second-off-the-layoff angle isn’t great. Twelfth Labour, is a first-off-the-claim for R. Diodoro (31%, massive flat bet profit with this angle) but the main concern is that because he’s usually sluggish early and with a one-paced, grinding style, the son of Quality Road always has found this six furlong trip a bit sharp. In a race that is otherwise best left alone, we’ll include both in our rolling exotics but not with any real degree of confidence.

RACE 5: Post 3:28 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Martinez; 3-Wicked Easy; 8-Competitive Hero

Forecast: Maiden juveniles sprint five and one-half furlongs on grass in the first leg of the 20 cent Empire-6, which offers a jackpot carryover pool of $175,795. It’s a wide open affair; we’ll try to get by using just three. Martinez is an intriguing first-timer from Shug’s barn with a work tab that shows a bullet five furlong gate drill (1:00 flat, fastest of nine) last month over the Belmont Park main track. The Twirling Candy colt draws the rail, and if he breaks with his field he’ll more than likely contest the pace. At 5-1 on the morning line, we’ll put him slightly on top. Wicked Easy has done some decent work in the a.m. for C. Clement, whose stats with debut runners are nothing short of impressive (26% with a powerful flat-bet profit in a significant sample). His main guy J. Rosario takes the call, so this son of Wicked Strong is a “must use.” Competitive Hero disappointed in his debut when establishing the pace before fading to fourth while late changing leads as the favorite but could improve a bunch for the B. Cox stable, which hits at a strong 25% with second time starters. Perhaps the switch in surface will help, though his pedigree hardly screams turf.

RACE 6: Post 4:04 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 5-Financial System; 7-Sentry; 9-Kroy; 11-Zero Gravity;

Forecast: This grass grab bag for $50,000 claimers looks fairly treacherous; we’ll go four deep and hope to survive and advance. Sentry likes to win races and has shown an affinity for the Saratoga lawn. He’s been away since October but Shug is solid with comebackers (19%), the work tab is promising, and the race is loaded with front-running types that should set things up nicely for his deep closing kick. J. Rosario, who rode him to victory last time out in a starter’s allowance affair, will give him the patient ride he needs, so we’ll put the veteran Smart Strike gelding on top. Zero Gravity is another stretch-running type with a chance to make a dent in the final furlong. His recent Churchill Downs races were solid and earned numbers that put him in the hunt, however, he’ll probably need to negotiate some traffic along the way. Financial System, away since January following a win in a first-level allowance affair, shows up unprotected today but has run well over the course in the past and has shown the ability to win on the lead or from the second flight. The works should have him fit enough. Kroy has numbers and back class that can win at this level but he’s always been a need-the-lead type and is hooking plenty of speed today. Can he stalk and win? He never has. We’ll include him on a few tickets just in case he manages to inherit the lead but our pace projection isn’t seeing it.

RACE 7: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Iaintfraidofnoghost; 5-Capstone Girl; 9-Lucifers Lair

Forecast: Lucifer’s Lair is first-timer by Quality Road for the T. Pletcher/I. Ortiz, Jr. team (27% with a flat-bet profit) that seems certain to get plenty of backing in what appears to be a fairly wide open main track sprint for juvenile fillies. The work tab since she arrived from South Florida looks workmanlike at best, but she did handle Gulfstream Park debut winner Son of a Beast is a workout at Palm Beach Downs and looked pretty decent doing it (see video)Iantfraidofnoghost breezed a furlong in a sharp :10 flat at the OBS March sale and then brought $190,00 at auction. The daughter of Ghostzapper hails from a barn that does well with first-timers, so we suspect this filly will have a say in the matter if she can leave cleanly from the rail. Her stablemate (and workmate) Capstone Girl is a Hard Spun homebred and is worth some attention as well, especially at 8-1 on the morning line. These are the three we’ll be including in our rolling exotics; feel free to go deeper if your budget allows.

RACE 8: Post 5:14 PT. Grade: C
Use: 2-Saratoga Love; 4-My Sassy Sarah; 5-Light in the Sky

Forecast: Light in the Skyran out of room when missing by a neck in a similar turf sprint for first-level state-bred fillies and mares in her first outing in nine months and not much more will be needed to beat this field, though as a late-running sprinter she’ll always have to worry about traffic trouble. The same can be said for My Sassy Sarah, third in the same race ‘Sky exits in her sophomore debut and another that is eligible to step forward in her second-off-a-layoff for a barn that does quite well (21%) with this angle. Though she exits a maiden $40,000 affair, Saratoga Love looked good winning geared down gate-to-wire last month and did so with a speed figure that makes her highly competitive right back despite the tougher assignment. She’s facing considerably more heat today, though. In a race we’ll otherwise watch, we’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.

RACE 9: Post 5:46 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Lashara; 4-Queens Embrace; 6-Stunning Sky

Forecast: Lashea is a lightly-raced and progressive daughter of American Pharoah with speed figures that are rising with each outing. Her style suggests she’ll enjoy this nine furlong trip, so with another bit of improvement the M. Casse-trained filly might be able to tag the speed in this year’s edition of the Lake Placid S.-G3 for 3-year-old fillies. Stunning Sky exits a series of tough stakes races and most recently earned a career top number when sixth (beaten four lengths) in the Regret S.-G3 at Churchill Downs last month. This looks like an easier task and she’s reunited with I. Ortiz, Jr. (who’s perfect in two starts when riding her), so the daughter of Declaration of War seems the likely favorite and one to beat. The main concern is her complete lack of tactical speed, which makes her pace and trip dependent. Queens Embrace toyed with a much softer allowance field at Monmouth Park 16 days ago and earned a competitive number with this group. She’s won five of eight starts and doesn’t know that she once ran for maiden $16,000. At 6-1 on the morning line you have to find room on your ticket for her.

RACE 10: Post 6:18 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Control Group; 5-Shadow Rider; 7-Malibu Pro

Forecast: Malibu Pro is a tough old gelding seeking his first win this year and based on his recent speed figures the Canterbury Park shipper may have found a proper spot to get back on track with this class drop to the $16,000 level. Dangerous on the lead but capable of stalking and pouncing if the race flow dictates, the R. Diodoro-trained son of Malibu Moon lands the barn’s go-to rider, D. Cohen. Horses that are taken for $32,000 and run for half that amount three races later aren’t often good gambles but this barn isn’t afraid to drop and cash and we suspect that’s the situation here. Control Group, a winner of 11 races from 33 starts and twice successful over the Saratoga main track, switches to I. Ortiz, Jr. in his second off the layoff for Rudy and is strictly the one to beat. His uncoupled stable mate Shadow Rider is a deep-closing class dropper that could be dangerous with some help up front, so we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as well.