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Thursday, September 3: Saratoga Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

September 3, 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.

Churchill Downs Best Plays:

Churchill Downs 7th race – Post Time 4:16 ET
3-Mystical Man (3-1)

Was given an easy race in his debut on turf at Saratoga and should be much more serious today when switching to the main track in this maiden two-turner for juvenile colts. The son of Mucho Macho Man closed ground into the teeth of slow fractions when winding up a respectable fifth (beaten 3 lengths) without being knocked behind just ahead of yesterday’s With Anticipation Stakes winner Fire at Will behind him. The A. Stall, Jr. barn has powerful stats with the second-time starter angle so we’re expecting this $155,000 OBS March sale purchase to step forward and graduate while offering good value at 3-1 on the morning line.

Churchill Downs 10th race – Post Time 5:58 ET
6-Crazy Beautiful (2-1)

Could not have been more impressive winning the 7-furlong main track Debutante S. at Ellis Park last month after graduating at first asking two-turn on grass the previous month, both victors accomplish by daylight and with ease. Steps into graded stakes company today in the Pocahontas S.-G3 but has the perfect style for this one-turn mile distance and should be able to handle the class hike in stride. The daughter of Liam’s Map is listed at 2-1 on the morning line and we’ll take that price if we can get it both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

Saratoga Analysis and Wagering Strategies:

RACE 1: Post 1:10 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1a-Lokoya Road; 9-Lost in Rome

Forecast: This race has been transferred to the main track. Lokoya Road, away since February, returns in a soft spot for M. Maker/J. Ortiz and will try dirt for the first time after a couple of runs on grass during the winter at Fair Grounds. He can win if he returns with the type of form previously displayed but, of course, that’s question mark. Lost in Rome gets in as an MTO in his first off the claim for B. Brown. He’s up from $30,000 to $75,000 but has earned speed figures that fit at this league and certainly can handle dirt.

RACE 2: Post 1:44 ET. Grade: X
Single: 3-Long Term Thinking

Forecast: Away since last November and returning in a maiden claiming $20,0-00 extended sprint, Long Term Thinking must have a hole in him the size of the Grand Canyon. He’s listed at even money on the morning line but there’s no guarantee he’s even close to the same colt that displayed ability in three maiden special weight races last year, one of which he actually won before being disqualified. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or better yet simply pass the race.

RACE 3: Post 2:17 ET. Grade: B-
Single: 6-Con Lima

Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and will be contested at seven furlongs. Not sure how good Florida shipper Con Lima is, but she’s a dirt specialist in a race in which the other contenders prefer grass, so on that basis we’ll give her the edge on top. Her maiden win at Gulfstream Park at this seven furlong distance was impressive, so in a race reduced to just five runners we’ll make her a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post 2:51 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 4-Blunt Force; 5-I’ll Take the Cake

Forecast: Blunt Force blew a clear lead in mid-stretch when runner-up in a similar spot in late July in a race that didn’t earn much of a number, but a repeat of her race before last – a good win in a restricted (nw-3) $10,000 seller at Churchill Downs – makes her the one to beat in this modest claiming sprint for fillies and mares. I’ll Take the Cake takes a nosedive in class after displaying good early speed but then faltering badly in the final furlong vs. much tougher $40,000 foes. At this level, the old pro (11 wins, 7 seconds in 48 starts) must be given a chance to bounce back. She’s a stakes winner of nearly $300,000 and you’d think she’d be worth the money as a broodmare prospect if nothing else.

RACE 5: Post 3:25 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Mendham; 9-Big Time Lady; 12-Sweeter

Forecast: This race has been taken off the turn and will be run at seven furlongs. It’s a spread race matching maiden state-bred juvenile fillies, so tread lightly. Big Time Lady has the benefit of a prior run and should stick better today for a barn that has solid stats with second-timers. Mendham, a first-timer from the T. Pletcher barn, is a daughter of Munnings with a fair to moderate work tab and in an open fray is worth including. We’ll also toss in MTO entrant Sweeter, favorably drawn outside and with good :47 2/5 drill over the local main track last month that was the second faster of 34 for the distance. Maybe she can run some.

RACE 6: Post 4:01 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Nicky Scissors; 3-Spin a Yarn; 7-Officer Hutchy

Forecast: Officer Hutchy left her previous form far behind when earning a monster speed figure in victory over a restricted (nw-3) $25,000 claiming field here last month and may pay quick dividends for new trainer R. Atras, who appears to have made a shrewd and timely claim. Drawn comfortably outside, retaining D. Davis, and with a nice recent breeze to tick her over, the daughter of Boys at Toscanova could bounce to the moon or come right back and win again. Spin a Yarn, unbeaten in four starts at Finger Lakes, moves into the major leagues today to get tested for class in this New York Stallion Series stakes race for 3-year-old fillies. She’s coming back off short rest – the Forty Tales filly just won an added money event eight days ago – but she’s won with just nine days of rest in the past so perhaps the quick turnaround won’t bother her as much as the tougher competition might. What we like the most is her ability to win on the lead or as pace-stalker, so J. Lezcano can break running and then assess the race flow. Nicky Scissors, third in a state-bred stakes going long on the lawn in late July in her first outing in five months, puts on blinkers today for the first time, shortens up to what probably is her preferred distance, and has every right to produce a forward move for high percentage connections. All three should be included in rolling exotic play with a slight preference on top to Officer Hutchy.

RACE 7: Post 4:37 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1a-Team Win; 2-Sky Kitten

Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and will be contested at seven furlongs. It’s a chaotic affair for $35,000 claiming fillies and mares, so the best advice is to go as deep as your budget allows. Team Win looks a bit intriguing; she’s adding blinkers, shortening in trip and has main track form that charts well against this group. She’s by no means a single or anything like that but she’s worth using, as is Sky Kitten, a winner of an off-the-turf maiden race in her debut in the only dirt outing of her career. As a daughter of Sky Mesa, maybe she’s always wanted to be a main-track type of runner and gets a chance to show it today.

RACE 8: Post 5:12 ET. Grade: B
Use: 3-Palace Avenger; 6-Fair Regis

Forecast: This competitive second-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares has a few possibilities; we’ll go two-deep and hope that’s enough. Fair Regis is winless this year but her recent speed figures are rising so let’s give the tough-as-nails veteran mare a chance to regain her winning form. She shortens up to six furlongs (her best trip) and retains I. Ortiz, Jr., who should have the daughter of Bustin Stones in an ideal second flight, stalking position with dead aim on the leaders at the head of the lane. Pace Avenger moves up a level after a game win over this track and distance in mid-July. She’s been kept on edge with a series of sharp recent drills, including a bullet :47 4/5 breezing drill (fastest of 21) last week and with rising speed figures and ready for another step forward the W. Ward-trained 3-year-old filly is the logical top pick and one to beat.

RACE 9: Post 5:45 ET. Grade: X
Single: 1-Niko’s Dream

Forecast: This race has been transferred to the main track and has been reduced to three runners. Niko’s Dream has never raced on anything but turf but she’s bred to handle the main track and if she can duplicate her grass form in this event she can be along in time. You can use her as a single, buy the race, or simply sit it out.

RACE 10: Post 6:18 ET. Grade: C
Use: 1-Ms Boombastic; 4-Harlem Heights; 5-Yes to Mischief; 6-My Sweet Wife

Forecast: This race has been transferred to the main track. Spread as deeply as you can afford. My Sweet Wife is a daughter of Candy Ride trying dirt for the first time, and after finishing a close fifth two-turning on the lawn while beaten just a length with an improved speed figure she may be set to earn her diploma. Yes to Mischief, a moderate fourth in her first start in mid-July, has a right to step forward today, though the barn (1-for-35 at the meeting at last count) is hard to back with confidence. Harlem Heights earned a speed figure two races back that probably wins this race but a decent filly can beat her. Not sure if there is one in this field, though. Ms Boombastic had a run routing on grass in her debut that wasn’t bad and in which she got some play, so with the addition of blinkers today, the switch to dirt and the shortening in trip improvement is likely.