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Sunday, September 6: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

September 6, 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 12:45 ET. Grade: B
Use: 1-Jordan’s Leo; 7-Bellamore

Forecast: Bellamore has trained like a very nice prospect and the daughter of Empire looks plenty fit and ready for a major effort first crack out of the box. A $350,000 OBS April sale purchase (where she previewed in :21 2/5), the C. Brown-trained juvenile should eventually be most comfortable around two turns but may have the quality to win at first asking at this extended sprint trip. Jordan’s Leo has been burning up the Belmont Park training track lately and could be dangerous if she breaks running from the rail. The daughter of Malibu Moon hails from the T. Pletcher barn (21% with first-timers) and seems certain to receive plenty of play. Both should be included in your rolling exotics.

RACE 2: Post 1:19 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Bad Beat Brian; 5-Bourbon Currency

Forecast: Here’s a restricted (nw-3) $35,000 claiming turf sprint for older horses with a low degree of predictability. We’ll double the race, but we suggest you use as many as your budget allows. Bourbon Currency seems most effective when held up early and allowed to run late and should get his preferred trip/ride from regular jockey J. Ortiz. A willing runner-up over this course and distance at this level last time out, the son of Speightstown needs help up front and good racing luck to have his best chance, and since the J. Kimmel-trained gelding is just 2-for-20 in his career he needs all the good luck he can get. Bad Beat Brian, nosed out in a $40,000 turf router in late July in a race that was restricted to 3-year-olds, faces older today but has the route-to-sprint angle in his corner and speed figures that fit very well with this group. It’s hard to say what kind of style he’ll employ but there’s other speed in the field so perhaps the Jack Milton gelding will find a good stalking spot and then turn it on late.

RACE 3: Post 1:51 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Blood Moon; 4-Cold Hard Cash; 5-Majestic West

Forecast: Here’s another challenging affair, a starter’s allowance event over nine furlongs on the main track. Majestic West makes his third start off a layoff and has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern that always catches the eye. The son of Quality Road shouldn’t have any difficulty with the two-turn trip, and with rising speed figures and the switch to J. Rosario the P. Bauer-trained 4-year-old may deserve a very slight edge on top. Cold Hard Cash has gradually improving speed figures and with another forward move should be capable of regaining his winning form. Second in a tougher first-level allowance race over this track and distance last month, the L. Rice-trained gelding projects to settle in the second flight and then produce his best bid from the quarter pole home. The other major player from the Rice barn, Blood Moon, is a first-off-the-claim play for a stable that has superior stats (23%) with this angle. In the frame in four of his last five starts and switching to Rice’s “go-to” rider J. Lezcano, the Malibu Moon colt can be dangerous on the lead or from a stalking position.

RACE 4: Post 2:23 ET. Grade: X
Single: 1-Price Talk

Forecast: By all rights Price Talk shouldn’t be eligible this maiden two-turn turf affair; he actually finished first in his debut over the local lawn in mid-July but had his number taken down, so here he is, back with maidens again hoping this time to run straight and true. From the good rail, the son of Kitten’s Joy should be close up throughout while saving ground and then have his chance to kick clear when set down at the top of the lane. At 6/5 on the morning line the J. Abreu-trained 3-year-old will be heavily favored to do just that. He’s a logical short price, no value, rolling exotic single.

RACE 5: Post 2:55 ET. Grade: X
Single: 5-Mo Dean

Forecast: It wasn’t a particular fast race but Mo Dean certainly ran well in her debut when a fast-finishing second here last month and today gets an extra furlong to work with for the C. Brown barn that hits at a remarkable 35% with second-time starters. The question isn’t whether this daughter of Uncle Mo will improve, but rather by how much? At 6/5 on the morning line she’ll no doubt be too short to play the win pool, but we can still use her as a short price rolling exotic single.

RACE 6: Post 3:31 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1-A Little Faith; 3-Bean Counter; 8-Keota

Forecast: We’ll spread the sixth race, a first-level allowance turf dash for fillies and mares. Keota is the 2-1 morning line favorite and the one to beat following a clever starter’s allowance score over this course and distance last month. The veteran mare is fast on figures and shows two easy recent breezes to tick her over, so we’ll assume she’ll fire a similar shot today from her typical second flight, stalking position. A Little Faith also comes off a nice win, hers earned at the expense of state-bred entry-level allowance foes in late July in her first outing since November. She accomplished a career top speed figure in the victory and returns after a six week vacation during which she was kept on edge with a healthy work pattern. Bean Counter seeks her third straight win, is strong in the speed figure department, and is shortening up from a series of solid two-turn efforts. Tough at any distance but moving up from the restricted claiming ranks, the T. Pletcher-trained daughter of Into Mischief switches to J. Rosario and seems likely to make her presence felt every step of the way.

RACE 7: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 5-Calidad; 10-Chocolate Cookie

Forecast: Chocolate Cookie was nowhere in her debut last month over this course when favored, but the daughter of Declaration of War wasn’t knocked about and seems quite capable of improving with that trial run under her belt. The main issue in her poor outside draw, but if I. Ortiz, Jr., who rides her back, can negotiate a decent trip she should produce a significant forward move. Calidad tries two-turns and grass for the first time in her first outing since early July and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the daughter of Quality Road employ front-running tactics. On pure numbers, she’s a fit. We’ll go with just these two in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to include a few more, go right ahead.

RACE 8: Post 4:37 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Thomas Selby; 5-Tiz He the One; 7-Malibu Pro

Forecast: Tiz He the One drops well below his claim level (from $62,500 to $40,00), not normally a healthy sign but a maneuver that is acceptable from the M. Maker stable, which plays the claiming game aggressively. The Tiz Wonderful gelding, a winner of five races from 15 starts (but unplaced in seven other outings) is kind of a hit-or-miss type but this seven furlong trip always has brought out his best (two wins), so we’re expecting to see him in mid-pack early and then taking hold from the head of the lane to the wire. Thomas Selby is very ambitious placed after winning a modest $14,000 seller last time out, but W. Ward usually runs them where they can win so we’ll take this placement as a sign of confidence. Fresh from a highly-rated score, the son of Curlin retains I. Ortiz, Jr. and may offer some real value at 8-1 on the morning line. Malibu Pro, claimed in his last pair and moving way up from the $20,000 level by new trainer A. C. Avila, is a 7-year-old gelding in good form right now and on numbers could be quite competitive despite the substantial class hike. He should be within striking range throughout and could make some noise late at or near his morning line of 10-1.

RACE 9: Post 5:11 ET. Grade: B
Use: 4-Esplanande; 5-Beautiful Memories

Forecast: Beautiful Memories won her debut by 10 lengths at Churchill Downs in her debut in late May and was impressive enough to warrant odds-on favoritism in the Schuylerville S.-G3 in July. She stumbled badly at the start, tried run off early and then was understandably spent and was eased. The daughter of Hard Spun gets a chance to make amends today and if she leaves cleanly this time she’ll have every chance to repeat her maiden performance, which should be good enough in today’s six-runner Spinaway S.-G1. Esplanande is a two-time stakes winner from the minors in Ohio and today shows up against the big girls in a race that truly will test her quality. The daughter of the red hot (but exported to Turkey) young stallion Daredevil is competitive on numbers, so we’ll include her on a ticket or two as well.

RACE 10: Post 5:45 ET. Grade: B
Use: 1-Come Dancing; 2-Blamed; 7-Lady’s Island

Forecast: Come Dancing may have lost a step or two but after exiting the blazingly fast Ballerina S.-G1 won by Serengeti Empress, the 6-year-old mare gets a much easier assignment in this year’s edition of the Honorable Miss H.-G2 and should make the most of the opportunity. She’s a perfect two-for-two at this exact six furlong trip, so if the daughter of Malibu Moon breaks cleanly from the rail she’ll have every chance to return to winning form. Blamed, drawn right alongside in the 2-hole, has won nine of 16 career starts but isn’t nearly as fast on pure numbers as Come Dancing is (or was), yet we have to include her because this turn back to six furlongs (she’s perfect in one start) could bring out her best. She can be very tough on the lead or from a stalking position, so J. Rosario can assess the race flow and employ whatever strategy he desires. Lady’s Island is a Florida shipper with only one way to go, on the front end for as far as she can carry her speed. She earned a triple digit Beyer speed figure in her only prior outing at Saratoga, a starter’s allowance affair last year that she won by more than 13 lengths when she was trained by D. Gargan. The daughter of Greatness is back in the Gargan barn, so lookout.

RACE 11: Post 6:17 ET. Grade: B
Use: 1-Shekky Shebaz; 8-Pulsate

Forecast: Today’s secondary feature, the Lucky Coin S., a listed affair for older turf sprinters that finds Shekky Shebaz the morning line favorite at 8/5. Crossing the wire third but moved up to second in the recent Troy S.-G3 over this course and distance last month, the speedy Cape Blanco gelding lands the rail and projects to secure a good ground-saving position either on the front end or just off it. He’s the defending race champion and will handle this group if he brings his best stuff. Pulsate, fifth in the same race ‘Shebaz exits, likes to settle early and produce a late kick. He didn’t get a clear run in the Troy, but with better luck today he could be heard from in the final stages. We’ll use him in a ticket or two as a back-up.

RACE 12: Post 6:49 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Leeway; 3-Tatterazzi

Forecast: The nightcap is a restricted (nw-2) $40,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares that appears to have two main players. Leeway, in her second start off a layoff and dropping out of a tougher starter’s allowance affair, retains J. Rosario and seems certain to attempt the same front-running strategy that produced her maiden claiming win 11 months ago. But even if she isn’t quite quick enough to make the running, the daughter of Stroll should be within striking range throughout and have her chance when it matters. Tatterazzi, also making her second start off a layoff after chasing first-level allowance state-bred foes last month, is a strong candidate to step forward for the J. Terranova barn, which has superior stats with this angle. She’s another that might be most comfortable on the front end, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see L. Saez aggressively send her from the gate.