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Saturday, August 1: Eddie Olcyzk's Spot Plays

by Eddie Olczyk

July 31, 2020

It’s great to have racing back at so many of North America’s premier venues and it’s hard not to get excited anytime we’ve got an afternoon at Saratoga and an evening at Del Mar.

Here are my picks for six races on Saturday, including the day’s marquee event, the G1 Whitney at Saratoga.

Stay safe out there and I’ll see you at the track soon! 

Saratoga, Race 4 (2:51PM ET) - #8 MATTY’S MARAUDER (30/1)
Maiden Special Weight – 7 Furlongs (Dirt)

Bombs away! Several enticing angles make this horse stand out to me. He’s cutting back from route to sprint and going from turf to dirt. He showed speed and faded last time, but maybe this go around he’ll try to come from off the pace. He’s a solid underneath horse and we should get every bit of 25/1 on him.

Saratoga, Race 9 (5:42PM ET) - #3 CODE OF HONOR (5/2)
G1 Whitney Stakes – 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)

They’ll all have to beat Tom’s d’Etat, who is just in phenomenal form for Al Stall Jr. That said, I thought CODE OF HONOR ran an impressive race to close and finish 3rd in the G1 Met Mile on July 4 at Belmont. I have upgraded that performance a bit since it came over what I believe was a speed-favoring track. He should get pace to run at in the Whitney as Mr. Buff and Improbable are both ‘forward’ horses and, like many of us, CODE OF HONOR loves the ‘Spa. He won the G1 Travers here last summer.

Saratoga, Race 10 (6:18PM ET) - #8 THREE TECHNIQUE (6/1) 
G1 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes – 7 Furlongs (Dirt)

There is plenty of speed signed on in this year’s Allen Jerkens and THREE TECHNIQUE (hopefully) gets back to a dry track after his last three races were competed over surfaces with varying degrees of wetness. I think he is a true one-turn horse – he flattened around two turns – and he broke his maiden here last summer. I am looking for Jose Ortiz to stalk and pounce on the leaders for what is hopefully a winning run. 

Saratoga, Race 11 (6:50PM ET) - #4 DOT MATRIX (9/2)
G2 Bowling Green Stakes – 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)

Draw a line through his last race in the G1 Manhattan where a pedestrian early pace forced him closer to the front than he seems to prefer. Plus, the horses in that race are a little better than the horses he faces today. With a little more pace expected here, he should sit a truer trip and have more punch down the lane. Getting Joel Rosario back (who piloted him to a pair of runner-up efforts in their last two races together) doesn’t hurt.

Del Mar, Race 5 (7:00PM ET) - #7 DREAMS OF VALOR (4/1)
Allowance – 1 Mile (Dirt)

Yes, he’s winless on dirt. And yes, he’s stuck with an outside post. But his last couple of dirt races were pretty good and I like the fact that Craig Dollase set him up for this route race with two solid sprint efforts.  Let’s let Tizamagician and Nolo Contesto take the money and hopefully we get 5/1 on DREAMS OF VALOR.

Del Mar, Race 10 (9:30PM ET) - #9 COLLUSION ILLUSION (9/2)
G1 Bing Crosby Stakes – 6 Furlongs (Dirt)

With McKinzie an expected scratch, this race is wide-open and the best of this bunch just might be the outside-drawn three-year-old, COLLUSION ILLUSION. I love his outside draw and the fact that he’s 4-for-4 in sprint races and undefeated with Flavien Prat in the saddle is a feather in his cap. Taking on older horses is a big test, but I think he’s up for it.