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Saturday, July 25: Del Mar/Saratoga Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

July 25, 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 Del Mar Best Plays:

First Race – Post Time: 2:00 PT
6 – Caisson (7/2)

Has trained okay on dirt – not great, but good enough – for his racing debut but we suspect the $340,000 Keeneland yearling purchase will be much more comfortable and effective running long on the lawn, conditions that he’ll find today in his racing debut. By War Front and the second foal from E. P. Taylor S.-G1 winner Curvy, the R. Mandella-trained colt lands F. Prat and faces a field in which the known element doesn’t inspire. At 7/2 on the morning line he’ll offer value both in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.

Third Race – Post Time: 3:00 PT
6 - Lambeau (3-1)

Lightly-raced and progressing with each start, this J. Shirreffs-trained colt earned a career top speed figure in winning a first-level allowance main track miler at Santa Anita in May and trained consistently well since, so despite the raise in class the son of First Samurai looks capable of scoring right back. In a race that doesn’t have a whole lot of early speed, this devout front-runner should make the running without much pressure and then be tough to catch under regular rider M. Smith. He’s 3-1 on the morning line; let’s hope we can get it.

Fifth Race – Post Time: 4:00 PT
8-Never Be Enough (9/2)

This razor sharp Bay Area invader moves up from the $40,000 claiming ranks into this first-level allowance affair, and at this marathon turf distance the English-bred mare – a former hurdler – should be right at home. She’s strong on speed figures, sports a healthy work tab since raced, and projects to be close up throughout in a race that should be slowly run early. At 9/2 on the morning line the M. Padilla-trained mare offers excellent wagering value both as a win play and as a rolling exotic single.

Seventh Race – Post Time: 5:00 PT
5-Mystery Man (3-1)

Was well-meant in his debut sprinting on dirt last month but may have been a tad short, and after pressing the highly-regarded Cezanne to the head of the lane, lost his steam and weakened to finish fourth, beaten almost six lengths. The son of Violence shortens up a furlong, switches to grass, retains M. Smith, and seems likely to improve considerably with that bit of experience behind him. There’s good value here at or near his morning line of 3-1.

Today’s Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies:

RACE 1: Post 1:10 ET. Grade: B

Use: 1-Speightstown Gal; 7-First Appeal

Forecast: Speightstown Gal is a progressive filly with rising speed figures and the potential to be a decent New York-bred sprinter. Her recent maiden win on grass at Belmont Park was visually pleasing, and with another forward move the daughter of Cairo Prince appears capable of winning on the raise. Two easy breezes since raced should have her on edge, and if the G. Weaver-trained sophomore can avoid trouble from the rail she’ll be hard to contain in the final furlong. First Appeal is a first-off-the-claim for Rudy, switches to I. Ortiz, Jr., and is a veteran mare with all six of her career scores on grass, two of which have been accomplished over the local lawn. This raise to the $40,000 level can be taken as a sign of confidence, so at 6-1 on the morning line she’s worth including somewhere on your ticket.

RACE 2: Post 1:43 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Vivazano; 5-Munnings Muse

Forecast: Munnings Muse flashed plenty of ability when a good second in her debut last year behind the very fast Fierce Lady – she was more than nine lengths clear of the third place finisher who won her next start – but then had to be stopped on. She returns more than a year later in this New York-bred maiden special weight sprint that has nothing remotely as fast in it as ‘Lady, so if she returns as well as she left the G. Gullo-trained sophomore will be hard to beat. The work tab looks healthy and a recent gate blowout (3f, :36.3bg) should have her on edge. J. Rosario, who rode her last year, returns, so at 5/2 on the morning line she’s the obvious top pick. Vivazano ran well in her debut when setting the pace and then hanging on reasonably well to wind up third while earning an okay speed figure. A subsequent outing 15 days ago was disappointing (fourth, beaten 10 lengths) but it’s possible she didn’t care for the sloppy surface, so we’ll toss her in on a small ticket as a back-up or a saver while reserving the main push to Munnings Muse.

RACE 3: Post 2:18 ET. Grade: X
Single: 5-Sistercharlie

Forecast: This is an unplayable race but an interesting one to watch, with the top-class Sistercharlie making her first start in her six-year-old season. She has a history of running super fresh, having won the Diana S.-G1 last year over the local lawn following a similar nine month layoff and the Jenny Wiley S.-G1 at Keeneland in 2018 off an extended vacation as well. The workouts aren’t fancy but the pattern is steady and healthy and should have her plenty fit enough. Starship Jubilee has won five of her last six starts and projects to have an easy trip as the controlling speed. Overall, she’s won a remarkable 17 of 35 career races and is a credit to her connections but beating Sistercharlie under any circumstance is an extremely difficult challenge.

RACE 4: Post 2:51 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Lady C; 4-Gone Glimmering; 7-Spanish Point

Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in this restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming extended sprint for fillies and mares, a challenging but playable affair. The T. Amoss barn is represented by two major players, with a slight preference on top to Lady C., a Thistledown invader with speed figures and a stalking/closing style that is ideal for this six and one-half furlong distance (she’s 2-for-2 lifetime at the trip). Though dropping into a seller for the first time since being claimed for $30,000 last November, she remains above that price in a sign of confidence and projects to enjoy a good second flight trip and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Her uncoupled stable mate Gone Glimmering, in her third start off a layoff with rising numbers, was almost six lengths clear of the rest when second in a recent $40,000 affair at Churchill Downs last month and this slightly shorter trip may be a bit more suitable. Spanish Point lands the cozy outside draw and though she was pulled up in her last outing in Florida and returning to the claiming ranks, the daughter of Creative Cause shows a sharp five furlong drill (1:00b, third fastest of 20) over the local main track to indicate all is well. In a field without too much pace she should fold into an ideal stalking position and then have her shot when it counts.

RACE 5: Post 3:24 ET. Grade: B
Single: 9-Sir Alfred James

Forecast: Sir Alfred James was a stylish debut winner last month at Churchill Downs in a maiden $50,000 dirt sprint that makes him eligible to this starter’s allowance grass dash. If the son of Munnings can transfer his dirt form to turf, he can score right back, and a nice breeze over the Saratoga turf training track just six days ago (view workout) indicates gives hope that he’ll handle the lawn just fine and justify his 2-1 morning line favorite’s role. Other contenders include Big Wonder and Standup, but the former is 1-for-25 lifetime and hardly one to trust while the latter is stuck outside with no tactical speed, and that’s problematic over this course and distance. You may feel more comfortable including them as back-ups in rolling exotic play but our strategy is to to get home ‘James as a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 6: Post 3:57 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1a-Bronzed; 5-Aristocratic; 8-Mojovation

Forecast: This race is loaded with question marks, so tread lightly. Mojovation is a first-off-the-claim for D. Gargan (53% with a massive flat-bet profit) and that’s normally an automatic angle, but the stable is off to a slow start this meeting (winless in 11 starts) and this gelding is dropping into a $25,000 claimer after being haltered for $40,000 in late May at Churchill Downs. Mixed signals notwithstanding, the son of Quality Road, a previous winner over the Saratoga main track, gets top billing but certainly not as a single. A bullet workout over the local training track (4f, :48b, fastest of 13) in late June followed by an equally noteworthy half mile breeze 10 days ago in :47 flat, (fourth fastest of 35) gives reason to believe the veteran sprinter is perked up and ready. Bronzed, away for almost a year and making the transfer from the suspended J. Servis to R. Astras, was a listed stakes winner two races back and returns for a moderate tag, hardly a sign of confidence. Obviously fast enough if he has at least one good one in him, the son of Fed Biz can be included in rolling exotic play but certainly not with a high degree of confidence. Aristocratic projects as the quickest of the quick and may be a bit fitter today after flashing speed but weakening in a $32,000 claimer earlier this month in what was his first outing since February. The C. Englehart barn has good stats with the second-off-layoff angle (21%) so this Malibu Moon gelding could stick better today. He’s more than fast enough to win at this level when he’s on his game.

RACE 7: Post 4:32 ET. Grade: B
Use: 3-Don Juan Kitten; 7-Proven Strategies; 8-Lonesome Fugitive

Forecast: The is a contentious first-level allowance inner turf miler for 3-year-olds that projects to have a good-to-fast early pace that should promote the closing types. Lonesome Fugitive, a lightly-raced and promising colt, will appreciate any help he can get up front after breaking his maiden in clever fashion in early June at Belmont Park in a race that had creepy-crawler early fractions before winding up being plenty fast late. Having to rally against the grain always makes things more difficult for a deep closer but this Irish-bred colt accelerated with purpose and was up in time to earn a very strong speed figure. A healthy series of easy recent breezes should have him on edge for C. Brown, and with regular rider J. Ortiz staying aboard the son of Zoffany looks tough right back despite the class hike. Proven Strategies returns to the allowance ranks after performing quite well when runner-up in a pair of turf stakes at Gulfstream Park, most recently behind the high class Decorated Invader in the Pennine Ridge S.-G2 last month. The son of Sky Mesa should be on or near the lead throughout and if he doesn’t get caught up in a pace jam should be in the thick of it throughout. Don Juan Kitten, beaten a neck in a similar non-winners of two turf miler at Belmont Park last month, isn’t quite as fast on figures as the two other main players but is gradually improving and may go better with patient tactics. He’s worth including on a ticket or two as a saver.

RACE 8: Post 5:07 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1a-Money Moves; 6-Prioritize; 7-Leitone

Forecast: Here’s a difficult race, a nine-furlong main track second-level allowance affair offering several possibilities. Money Moves is undefeated in two starts – both wins earlier this year at Gulfstream Park in one-turn events – and today stretches out to a distance his pedigree says he should love. He’s fast on numbers and has plenty of room for further development, but he’s a lightly-raced 3-year-old tackling some tough, seasoned, and professional veterans. If he can beat this field and remain undefeated he’ll certainly be given the opportunity next time to win a good race vs. his own age group, something like the Jim Dandy Stakes in early September. First things first, though, and the son of Candy Ride should be forwardly placed, perhaps stalking the logical pacesetter Leitone, and then have his chance to kick on with it from the quarter pole home. Leitone, claimed in his last pair and now in the O. S. Barrera III barn, will take them as far as he can, and if not policed may produce an upset on the raise for his new connections. First or second in 14 of 25 starts and a winner in his only previous outing over the Saratoga main track last year, the Chilean-bred horse is a “must use” at 8-1 (though we suspect he’ll go a bit lower). Prioritize, runner-up in a similar event at Belmont Park last month with a competitive number, may be the most dangerous of the closing types. He’s kind of a one-paced grinder but with help up front should make his presence felt in the final furlong.

RACE 9: Post 5:43 ET. Grade: B+
Single: 3-Simply

Forecast: Simply, the subject of a recent Black Book segment (view video), won cleverly at first asking two-turning at Sam Houston in March and then tackled significantly tougher foes when facing first-level allowance New York-bred company sprinting last month at Belmont Park. The son of Lemon Drop Kid found the six furlong trip too sharp, but he did pick it up nicely through the lane to wind up a strong third before galloping out very well. Stretching out again and switching to J. Rosario, the S. Asmussen-trained gelding has had four easy breezes to tick him over for what should be a major effort. At 4-1 on the morning line he’s a strong win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 10: Post 6:16 ET. Grade: X
Single: 4-Volatile

Forecast: Volatile tackles real horses today but he’s pretty real, himself. Moving up from listed stakes company into the Vanderbilt S.-G1, the son of Violence earned a Breeders’ Cup-quality speed figure in most recent demolition and anything close to that performance today will give the others no shot, especially in race in which he can be the controlling speed if he wants to be. Obviously, at 4/5 on the morning line he’ll offer no wagering value but we can make him a rolling exotic single and just enjoy the show.

RACE 11: Post 6:49 ET. Grade: B
Use: 5-Timeless Journey; 6-Micromillion

Forecast: The nightcap is a maiden $40,000 claiming inner turf middle distance affair for fillies and mares and should boil down to two main players. Timeless Journey (J. Rosario/C. Clement) goes for the hottest jockey/trainer combo at the meeting and has other credentials that make her strictly the one to beat. She didn’t run badly in a much stronger straight maiden affair in her debut last month at Belmont Park (sixth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths) and since has returned to breeze nicely to indicate improvement is likely. On pure numbers she’s a strong fit and has upside that most of the others don’t. Micromillion, away since February and adding blinkers and trying grass for the first time, is another class dropper with winning connections (J. Ortiz/T. Pletcher) and is the one to fear most. She’s not particularly fast on numbers but hasn’t taken a backward step and could be a better type this time around for a barn that hits at exceptional 24% with layoff runners.