Log In

Sunday, August 16: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

August 16, 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 ET. Grade: B
Use: 1-School of Thought; 4-Cantata

Forecast: Two highly-regarded juvenile fillies comprise the main contention in the Sunday opener, an extended main track sprint that drew just six entrants. Cantata, a $950,000 Keeneland yearling purchase by Medaglia d’Oro from stakes winning Stoweshoe, has been impressive in the a.m. while showing good speed and athleticism in a series of drills that should have her fit and ready. Her Aug. 10 breeze (5f, 1:00.4b, fourth fastest of 14) was accomplished in company with Lutescoot N Boogie, who finished as respectable third in her debut earlier this week, with Cantata going the easier of the two and appearing best. With the barn’s “go to” rider R. Santana, Jr. taking the call, the Stonestreet Stable color bearer is playable at or near her morning line of 5/2. School of Thought, the morning line 7/5 choice, must leave cleanly from the rail but if the daughter of Empire Maker manages to avoid a troubled trip she should be prominent throughout with every chance. Though her pedigree suggests she’ll be better with more ground – and she trains like that will be the case – the $130,000 Keeneland purchase appears to have plenty of class and ability so we’ll include her as well.

RACE 2: Post 1:44 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Chocolate Bar; 2-Complex System; 3-Seize the Hay

Forecast: Complex System, in the money in all three career starts when facing straight maiden foes, shows up in a seller for the first time in his first outing since early June, not a healthy pattern for sure. However, a steady, solid workout pattern at Monmouth Park may alleviate some fears that all is not right and the C. Brown barn hits at 25% with layoff runners such as this, so despite the mixed signals this colt – originally a $210,000 yearling purchase – certainly looks like the logical top pick though not offering much value at 8/5 on the morning line. Chocolate Bar has the blinkers off angle we like, is comfortably drawn inside, and should go better with the drop in class from straight maiden company last month at Keeneland. The Cairo Prince colt projects to enjoy a ground-saving trip from his good inside draw and may prefer the patient tactics that resulted in a good runner-up try three races back. Seize the Hay is another class dropper likely to improve against this level of competition. He’s a deep closer with speed figures that fit, and if he can negotiate a clean trip from the rail he should be heard from late.

RACE 3: Post 2:18 ET. Grade: C
Use: 2-Pick Up the Fone; 5-Lady C; 6-Our Lady of Loreto

Forecast: We’ll use three of the six entrants in this restricted (nw-3) $25,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares but otherwise pass the race. Lady C perhaps gets a very slight edge on top at 9/5 on the morning line based on a class drop to her lowest level ever and speed figures that are slightly stronger than the other two. But she doesn’t have to win. Pick Up the Fone, first or second in seven of 11 career starts, was beaten a half-length when runner-up in a similar affair here last month and not much more will be needed to beat this field. She’ll be on or near the lead throughout. Our Lady of Loreto probably is the quickest in the field and will try to take them as far as she can. She’s won two of her last three while on the front end in good style but on pure figures she has some improving to do.

RACE 4: Post 2:54 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Lido Key; 6-Skye Snow

Forecast: Skye Snow, purchased as a yearling for $250,000, is being tossed away in this restricted (nw-2) $40,000 claimer for fillies and mares in her first start since April and just two races removed from a fairly decent maiden-special-weight score at Gulfstream Park in early March. She went a month in between works between late June and July so there may be an issue or two that comes with the package, but the M. Maker-trained daughter of Lemon Drop Kid clearly is good enough to beat this field if she has at least one good one left, so we’ll put her on top but question whether at 2-1 on the morning line she’ll be offering any real wagering value. Lido Key is dropping in class as well, but in her case she’s simply trying to find her proper level. Another daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, she has figures that fit and may be the one to fear most, but as a one-paced grinding closer she’ll need some help up front to have her best chance. In a race that should be treated cautiously, both can be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: X
Use: 1-Pillar Mountain; 6-Nakamura

Forecast: Nakamura finished third in the Elkhorn S.-G2 at Keeneland last month in a strong effort that earned a career top speed figure. He returns to the allowance ranks today over a course and distance that produced a sharp score last year, so we’re expecting the Animal Kingdom gelding to get back on track for the always-potent G. Motion/Johnny V. combo. He’s 9/5 on morning line but we suspect he’ll go lower. Pillar Mountain is another with a win over the local lawn on his resume, and while his recent form is uninspiring the Irish-bred horse is very competitive on numbers and is the one to fear most. Perhaps the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. will help wake him up a bit. Both should be included in rolling exotics in a race that doesn’t much wagering value.

RACE 6: Post 4:04 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Lost in Rome; 4-Breithorn

Forecast: Lost in Rome, in the frame in four of five career starts, has steadily rising speed figures and may finally be able to break through with a win after the knocking on the door in his last pair. The sophomore gelding lacks gate quickness but at this extended sprint distance the son of Tale of Ekati might be able to wear down the leaders close home. Breithorn was third in the same race Lost in Rome exits, finishing just a head behind that one. The W. Mott-trained son of Into Mischief had a bit of a rough trip from the rail in that outing and is drawn better today, and in a field without much early speed he should find himself in good stalking spot outside with every chance. In another lackluster betting affair, we’ll include both in our rolling exotics while otherwise passing the race.

RACE 7: Post 4:40 ET. Grade: X
Single: 6-La Hara

Forecast: La Hara is listed as the even money favorite in this first-level allowance miler over the inner turf course and the lightly-raced gelding seems certain to go even lower than that after finishing second in a similar affair here last month in his first outing since October. The C. Brown-trained Irish-bred didn’t get the best of runs when beaten almost three lengths by the promising Colonel Liam in that affair but earned a career top speed figure in defeat, one that if repeated today should be more than good enough to win. We’ll make him a short priced rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.

RACE 8: Post 5:14 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Fierce Lady; 5-Letmetakethiscall; 6-Bertranda

Forecast: Here’s a challenging state-bred first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares with a number of entrants quite familiar with each other. Fierce Lady, a close third as the favorite in a similar spot here last month in her first outing since February, may be a tad fitter today while retaining J. Rosario and rates a slight edge on top at 9/2 on the morning line. A stakes winner at two over the Saratoga main track, the daughter of Competitive Edge projects to be part of the pace, though she has scored from a mid-pack position so that option is available if the race flow dictates. Bertranda just edged Fierce Lady when the met last month and must be given a chance right back, although there’s a four pound shift in the weights in favor of ‘Lady. Letmetakethiscall has hit the board in each of her last six starts and should be in the fray again. She’s a quick veteran mare that probably is most dangerous when she’s on the lead, but she can stalk and pounce if necessary. She remains above her claim level in a sign of confidence and has speed figures that are quite similar to the other main contenders.

RACE 9: Post 5:43 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Speaktomeofsummer; 2-Enola Gay; 3-Antoinette

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Saratoga Oaks Invitational S.-G1 came up light in number with just seven entrants but it’s an evenly matched group with no real front-running types. Antoinette may fall into the lead whether she wants to or not and given that role the daughter of Hard Spun has an excellent chance to steal the race at 6-1 on the morning line. A respectable third in the C.C.A. Oaks-G1 on dirt last month, she’s back on the lawn today and seems as good as any at the price. Enola Gay returned off a layoff to win the Appalachian S.-G2 at Keeneland in good style with an excellent display of late speed and should have no trouble with today’s extra three-sixteenths of a mile. She’s the logical favorite and one to beat. Speaktomeofsummer, winner of the Lake George S.-G2 at Keeneland last month, is a progressive daughter of Summer Front with a good stalking style. She’ll enjoy a ground-saving trip from the rail and have her chance from the quarter pole home.

RACE 10: Post 6:18 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Yankee Empire; 3-Southern Bridge; 7-Dangerous Edge

The finale is a messy restricted (nw-2) $40,000 claiming sprint that offers a number of possibilities. We’ll try to get by using just three, but best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. After nine distance races to begin his career, Southern Bridge runs short for the first time and may enjoy this trip. The class drop into a seller won’t hurt, either, so we’ll put the W. Mott-trained colt slightly on top. Dangerous Edge, an okay third in a tougher starter’s allowance sprint last month, earned his best speed figure to date and retains I. Ortiz, Jr. He’ll be within range throughout in a race that projects to have soft early splits. Yankee Empire broke his maiden for this price last month while earning a career top speed figure and with only slight improvement should be competitive right back.