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Saturday, August 22: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

August 22, 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.

Jeff Siegel’s Best Plays for Saturday, August 22, 2020

Del Mar 1st race – Post Time: 2:00 PT
7 – Flash Magic (5/2)

Daughter of Pioneerof the Nile from the stakes winning mare Glinda the Good has done everything like a top prospect in the a.m. for B. Baffert and is plenty fit and ready for a huge try first crack out of the box. She had the good fortune of drawing the cozy outside post, which allows F. Prat to pop and go or stalk and pounce. In a terrific field of maiden juvenile fillies that includes other excellent prospects like Princess Noor and Peachtree Road, we’ll put ‘Magic her the edge on top and hope to get close to her morning line of 5/2.

Del Mar 3rd race – Post Time: 3:05 PT
7 – Chaos Theory (7/2)

Makes his first start since being claimed for $62,500 by J. Sadler following an excellent turf sprint win at Churchill Downs in June and has trained like he’s ready to step forward in a big way for his new connections in this year’s edition of the Green Flash H.-G3. Projects to be in the second flight but within striking range at the head of the lane and then have his chance to wear down the leaders close home under outstanding grass rider U. Rispoli. There’s good wagering value here at 7/2 on the morning line if you can get it.

Golden Gate Fields 6th race – Post Time: 4:21 PT
6 – Blakeford (5/2)

Has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern and seems certain to improve routing on grass while dropping out of a pair of straight maiden sprints into this much softer $32,000 claimer. The J. Josephson-trained gelding retains hot-riding K. Frey and should have enough tactical speed to gain a favorable early position before kicking home from the top of the lane to the wire. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a strong win play and rolling exotic single.

Del Mar 11th race. Post Time - 7:04 ET
4 – Shadow Sphinx (7/2)

Loved his comeback win at Santa Anita in a fast, highly-rated race and the R. Baltas-trained gelding has looked every bit as good if not better in morning workouts since, giving strong indication that he’s ready for another winning effort. The veteran gelding has excellent tactical speed in a race that projects to have easy early splits, so F. Prat can have him on or near the lead throughout, just where he wants to be. We’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single at or near his morning line of 7/2.

Jeff Siegel’s Saratoga Analysis and Wagering Strategies:

RACE 1: Post 1:10 ET. Grade: B
Single: 5-Takeaway

Forecast: In a maiden turf sprint for juveniles with plenty of question marks, we’re not going to get too involved other than to pay close contention to what might be considered the “other” W. Ward entrant, Takeaway, who strikes us as being the better of the two in the field from this stable (After Five is listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite). She’s a filly tackling boys and has been trained to break off behind horses and go by in the lane (she’s looked good doing it), so there’s a chance today’s dash is merely a prep for a stretch out next time. On the other hand, the barn’s success rate - 29% with first-timers - is off-the-charts, so let’s operate under the assumption that at 4-1 on the morning line she’s live and well-meant. A daughter of Super Saver with a long, athletic stride, she’s a clearly a filly with talent, so let’s put her on top in the win pool and in rolling exotic play and just roll with it.

RACE 2: Post 1:44 ET. Grade: X
Use: 2-Macho Jack; 4-Airtouch

Forecast: Airtouch, a Tapit gelding with plenty of talent but all kinds of issues, has been away since November and returns in this restricted $25,000 claimer while obviously being culled from the stable. His speed figures are far superior than today’s competition but based on his unhealthy pattern he’s no slam dunk to be as good now as he once was. The work tab is okay, nothing fancy, but the barn excels with layoff runners (29%) so if this first-time gelding has at least one good one left he’ll beat this field. But at 2/5 on the morning line he’s a poor gamble. Mucho Jack is the best of the rest and could be dangerous in his first-off-the-claim for A.C. Avila. A sharp maiden $20,000 winner here 16 days ago with a good number for this level, the son of Macho Uno looks like the quickest of the quick and may get brave if he can shake loose early. Tread lightly here.

RACE 3: Post 2:20 ET. Grade: X
Single: 5-French Reef

Forecast: French Reef was sensational breaking his maiden in his first start since his debut last November over this course and distance last month and did so with a speed figure that makes him tough to beat right back despite the raise to the first-level allowance condition. Two nice workouts since that race (including a bullet :48 2/5 drill on the dirt track training track that was the fastest of 29) indicates the gelded son of New Approach is ready for another top effort. However, at 4/5 on the morning line the C. Brown-trained 4-year-old won’t offer any wagering value other than as a short-price rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post 2:54 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Thebiigfundamental; 3-Super Dude

Forecast: The two main players in this $20,000 claiming router are taking big class drops, which makes trusting either one difficult. Thebigfundamental stretches out after a lethargic sprint comeback that we’re guessing he needed badly, so with less rust to deal with today the T. Pletcher-trained gelding should improve with the stretch out to his preferred trip. Now a 7-year-old and with just nine career starts, the son of Uncle Mo obviously has big issues, so while he may have been way better than these earlier in his career, there’s no guarantee he’s even remotely that good now. From the rail, we expect Johnny V. to try to put him on the lead. Super Dude was dull and fading fifth in a $50,000 seller earlier this month, and while the class drop should help we’re not sure how much the son of First Dude has regressed. First or second in 10 of 22 career starts, the M. Maker-trained gelding has a prior win at Saratoga and retains I. Ortiz, Jr., so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him regain his form. Tread lightly here.

RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Sifting Sands; 6-Nautilus; 7-Snow’s Island

Forecast: This is more of an educated guess than anything else but we’re going to try the Fair Hill shipper Snow’s Island on top in this maiden juvenile turf router that on paper looks completely wide open. A homebred son of Animal Kingdom and the first foal from the multi-stakes winning turf mare Tuttipaesi, the G. Motion-trained colt appears to have done plenty of good work at the training center but perhaps more telling is that the barn’s “go-to” rider J. Rosario takes the call. There are no grass works showing on his resume but we suspect that whatever this colt can do on dirt or all weather he’ll do better on turf, so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll go for a bit of a gamble. Sifting Sands will get plenty of play due to his connections (C. Brown/J. Ortiz) and pedigree but his work tab doesn’t point him out as anything special (he may not have to be against this group. We’ll include the son of Dubawi on our ticket but we’re really not sure what he’s capable of doing. Nautilus has three races under his belt, including a second place finish routing on grass here last month. His numbers are ordinary, so a decent colt can beat him but he may be the most likely in the field to at least hit the board.

RACE 6: Post 4:04 ET. Grade: C
Use: 5-Love Me Tomorrow; 6-Oak Creek Canyon; 7-Shenandoah River

Forecast: Maiden claiming state-bred fillies and mares sprint six furlongs in the first leg of the Late Pick-5 in a modest race that offers three possibilities, none of whom are particularly trustworthy. Shenandoah River hails from an outfit that does extremely well with first-timers (20% with a substantial flat-bet profit) so the daughter of Mission Impazable must be considered dangerous. The barn’s “go-to” rider E. Cancel takes the call, and with a decent if not spectacular series of drills she looks like well-meant in a soft field. Love Me Tomorrow is the best of the known element but already has had nine chances and her speed figures have stagnated. If the two first-timers aren’t all that much she may be able to outlast this field, but at 9/5 on the morning - and always suspect under pressure in the final furlong - she won’t be offering much wagering value. Oak Creek Canyon, from the L. Rice barn, was a $67,000 yearling purchase but debuts for $25,000, not a sign of confidence. Her Belmont Park training track work tab isn’t the worst, so maybe in a weak field she can make some noise.

RACE 7: Post 4:40 ET. Grade: B
Use: 7-Lonesome Fugitive; 8-Kingmeister

Forecast: Lonesome Fugitive had a bit of traffic trouble in the upper stretch before finishing fairly well when second in a similar first-level allowance affair here last month but with clear sailing today the C. Brown-trained colt may get up time. Blinkers go on, J. Ortiz stays aboard, and with the hood on the 3-year-old son of Zoffany seems likely to lay closer to the leaders today than he was last time. Kingmeister, third in the same race Lonesome Fugitive exits, ran reasonably well and has a right to improve in his second start off a layoff for Shug (20% with this angle). He should be within range throughout and have every chance. We’ll have tickets including both in our rolling exotics with the preference on top to Lonesome Fugitive.

RACE 8: Post 5:14 ET. Grade: B+
Single: 2-Growth Engine

Forecast: If there’s ever a race that should set up for a closer, it’s this second-level allowance event over nine furlongs on the main track. Several of these need or prefer the lead, so the fractions should be faster than par and create a race flow that compliments the lightly-raced and improving Growth Engine. A visually pleasing winner last month at Monmouth Park in his first outing in more than a year, the son of Tapit earned a career top speed figure in the process and shows a healthy, steady series of workouts in the interim. Never worse than second in five career starts, the C. Brown-trained gelding is reunited with “win rider” J. Castellano and looks capable of producing the last run. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 9: Post 5:46 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Raging Bull; 6-Uni; 7-Valid Point

Forecast: Top to bottom a chance in this year’s edition of the Fourstardave H.-G1 over a mile on the inner turf course. We’ll just go with the three best of the four C. Brown entrants (you can toss in Without Parole, too, if you like) and hope for good racing luck with at least one of them. Raging Bull has a good inside draw, excellent form over the local lawn and numbers that are more than good enough to win. The drawback is that he’s trip and pace dependent so he’ll need good-to-fast early fractions and room to rally from the quarter pole home. Uni, the Breeders’ Cup Mile-G1 winner last year, was far below that form in her seasonable debut in late June when finishing a non-threatening third in the Just a Game S.-G1 but had a right to be rusty and certainly can step forward today. However, it may be significant that her regular jockey, J. Rosario, opts for Raging Bull. Valid Point (12-1) offers long shot value in a race that might set up for his pace-stalking style. The Scat Daddy colt had a brutal trip when lacking room in the his 4-year-old bow in the Poker S.-G3 last month in a race that we’ll toss out, and at this flat mile trip – his favorite – the lightly-raced 4-year-old could inherit an ideal trip in a race that might have soft splits early. He seems to be working well, so we’re expecting to see his best shot.

RACE 10: Post 6:16 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 5-Battalion; 9-Takeez

Forecast: Rakeez earned a good figure when graduating in his second career start at Gulfstream Park in January but obviously an issue surfaced and he had to be stopped on. The son of Kitten’s Joy returns in a restricted (nw-2) $40,000 claimer rather than in a first-level allowance race, so the Shadwell Stable homebred obviously is for sale. On his best day the C. Brown-trained colt would have no trouble with this group but given the question of health and condition taking a short price on the 8/5 morning line favorite might not constitute sound wagering strategy. Battalio is fairly competitive on speed figures and was a reasonable runner-up in a $50,000 starter’s allowance event over this course and distance last month. The steadily improving son of Tiznow probably can’t beat Rakeez if that one produces his best stuff but if not this W. Mott-trained colt is the logical alternative.