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Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies - 8/19/20

by Jeff Siegel

August 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 12:50 ET. Grade: X
Use: No play/Pass

Forecast: The first race is carded for hurdlers. We will pass the race.

RACE 2: Post 1:21 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Ruby Stiletto; 4-Sister Kew

Forecast: A couple of intriguing first-timers comprise the main contention in this juvenile sprint for New York-bred fillies. Siesta Kew has been doing some good work over the Belmont Park training track for M. Maker, showing a recent pair of fast four-furlong gate drills including a bullet :48 flat (fastest of 39) and a :47 3/5 (second fastest of 63) that probably makes her the one to beat. From the first crop of the promising Uncle Mo stallion Outwork, she lands the barn’s “go to” rider I. Ortiz, Jr. and is listed at 3-1 on the morning line. Ruby Stiletto is a quick-actioned, smallish filly by Maclean’s Music, and while there’s not much to her she appears to have the kind of speed that makes her dangerous first time out. The barn doesn’t often win with debut runners but at 9/5 on the morning line she’s a logical contender in a field that just drew six runners. Preference on top goes to Siesta Kew but both should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 3: Post 1:54 ET. Grade: A-
Single: 1-Ingrassia

Forecast: Ingrassia has trained like an exciting prospect for C. Brown, looking very much like a filly with stakes potential. A long-striding, athletic daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, she has handled her work mates with ease, strength, and power, and looks plenty fit to win first time out in this two-turn maiden juvenile grass affair. She might be a short price worth taking, though at 7/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower she’ll likely not offer much wagering value other than as a rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post 2:29 ET. Grade: C
Use: 1-Majid; 2-Hoffenheim; 4-Scarf It Down

Forecast: Hoffenheim is listed as the 7/5 morning line favorite in this $12,500 claimer over a distance of ground, and while her certainly looks like the favorite on paper he’s hardly one to trust. You have to go back more than two years to find his last win and though dropping sharply in class to his lowest level ever the ex-classer in W. Potts’ barn was a non-competitive seventh of eight, beaten 17 lengths, over this track and distance last month. Perhaps the trainer change and the easier company will wake him up. Majid represents inside speed and will take this field as far as he can. Winner of the Easy Goer S. last year, the son of Shackleford had faltered badly in five consecutive outings before being stopped on in February, but after a six month vacation and severe drop in class for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners he has to be considered dangerous under I. Ortiz, Jr. Scarf It Down, a two-time winner at Saratoga, was awful last time out when virtually eased in a $16,000 seller last time out but his sharp runner-up two runs back at this level with a decent speed figure puts him in the hunt. We’re not sure which version we’ll see today. Tread lightly here.

RACE 5: Post 3:02 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1a-Zero Gravity; 5-McErin; 8-Financial System

Forecast: Here’s a contentious claimer for $40,000 claimers on grass that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Financial System just won a $50,000 affair here last month and is dropping off that victory, not a healthy sign, but if he has one good one left he’ll be tough once again. The 6-year-old gelding has had just 10 career starts (winning five), so the connections obviously won’t mind losing him while perhaps looking ahead to reinvesting in next month’s yearling sales. Never worse than second in three starts over the local lawn, the son of Twirling Candy is a versatile sort that can win on the lead or from a stalking position, so regular rider J. Castellano can play it by ear. Zero Gravity, drawn next door on the far outside, makes his first start on the drop after being haltered for $50,000 in the same race ‘Systems exits, and while he was non-competitive in that race with a less-than-ideal trip the son of Orb could be capable of bouncing back for a barn that has excellent stats (23% with a flat-bet profit) with the first-off-the-claim angle. He’ll be running on late. McErin is the likely pace-setter and could get brave if not pressured early. The T. Pletcher-trained gelding is an ex-J. Servis runner that hasn’t done much since switching barns, but after a bit of freshening he’s not being dropped in class in a sign of confidence and we can envision a bounce-back performance with the return to grass and the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr.

RACE 6: Post 3:37 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 3-In Front; 4-Joyous Times

Forecast: Six of the eight projected starters in this first-level allowance inner turf miler for fillies and mares exit the same race, a July 23 affair in which the entire field finished in a heap. Joyous Times finished second in that race when being nailed close home after pressing the pace 1-off-the-rail every step of the way. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy may encounter a similar type of trip today if In Front, drawn just inside of her, is committed to a front-running strategy, but if rating tactics are employed on that filly ‘Sea could find herself as the controlling speed. In Front just broke her maiden over this course and distance last month with a good number, and with another forward move she could be dangerous right back. The daughter of War Front is lightly raced and may have a bit more upside than most of the others. In a race in which nothing would surprise us, we’ll try to survive and advance using just these two, but the best advice is to include as many as your budget allows.

RACE 7: Post 4:12 ET. Grade: B
Use: 1-Golani Brigade; 5-Quickflash

Forecast: Golani Brigade was fairly impressive breaking his maiden over this track and distance more than a year ago but then was sent home. He reappears in this first-level allowance extended sprint for state-bred older horses and can win if he returns as well as he left. The work tab looks very good (two successive bullet half mile drills, including a :47.4b, fastest of 30 here 12 days ago) and the C. Brown barn has superior stats with layoff runners (29% with a large sample) so let’s assume this Maclean’s Music gelding is fit and ready. J. Castellano, who rode him in both of his career starts, stays aboard. Quickflash has improving speed figures and earned a career top number last time out when a solid third at this level in early July at Belmont Park. The Flashback gelding has never finished off the board in six career starts and has the proper stalking style for this seven furlong trip. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Golani Brigade.

RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 6-Tobys Heart; 8-Amanzi Yimpilo

Forecast: Despite a slow start, Tobys Heart ran away and hid in her debut at Churchill Downs in early June, earning a huge speed figure that makes her odds-on to score again in this year’s edition of the Bolton Landing S. for juvenile fillies sprinting on grass. The daughter of Jack Milton has been kept on edge in the interim with a steady series of drills and ships in from Kentucky looking to verify that extremely favorable initial impression. She’ll be a single on many rolling exotic tickets, but we’ll have a saver or two including Amanzi Yimpilo, a clever winner of her debut at Gulfstream Park in a visually pleasing performance that came up light in the speed figure department. She’s 8-1 on the morning, continues to impress in the a.m. for W. Ward, and may be capable of producing a significant forward move.

RACE 9: Post 5:20 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Big Al’s Gal; 8-Women Not Easy

Forecast: The nightcap is an inner turf maiden claiming miler for $40,000 fillies and mares. Big Al’s Great has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern, lands the good rail, and projects to enjoy a ground-saving, pace pressing trip for a barn that is superb (28%) with this angle. J. Rosario stays aboard the daughter of Al Khali, who shouldn’t have any difficulty with the added distance. There’s value here at 5-1 on the morning line if you can get it. We’ll also toss in for protection Women Not Easy, fourth with a rough trip in a similar affair at Belmont Park last month after a good runner-up effort with a career top speed figure two races back. She’ll likely to be on or near the lead throughout.