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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Thursday, July 15

by Jeff Siegel

July 15, 2021

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.

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.

RACE 1: Post: 1:05 ET Grade: C+
Use: 4-Wagon Boss; 5-Charlie’sarchangel; 6-Flowers for Lisa; 9-Hammerin Aamer

Forecast: The season opener is an inscrutable low-level claiming main track router that requires a considerable spread in rolling exotic play. Most of the major contenders are making their first start following a claim, so don’t be surprised if there are several form reversals. Use as many as your budget allows. Flowers for Lisa turned in a clunker when facing $25,000 sellers two months ago but could perform much better today following a brief vacation and a return to his winning level. He was re-claimed two races back by B. Levine, a positive sign, and has a prior win over the Saratoga main track to go along with 13 other career scores. Hammerin Aamer, claimed in four of his last five outings, makes his first start for R. Diodoro (25% with a massive ROI with this angle) so a significant forward move can be anticipated. The veteran Jump Start gelding has never had much luck at Saratoga but has been first or second in 16 of 42 career starts (with seven other placings) so you know if he’s feeling good he can win. Wagon Boss, in the frame in 33 of 62 starts and coming off a game win at Churchill Downs, was claimed for $16,000 and today shows up for $12,500, not normally a healthy sign, but with the presence of J. Rosario in the saddle he could easily fire another winning shot. Charlie’sarchangel, a close second to Wagon Boss last time out in Kentucky, gives Diodoro a second bullet to fire and is a “must use” with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B+
Use: 3-Prima Della; 4-Microbiome; 9-Speedometer

Forecast: Speedometer has the benefit of a prior outing, a better-than-looked third place finish in a hot race at Churchill Downs last month won by Pretty Birdie (entered in today’s Schuylerville S.-G3). In that race, the daughter of Tapit was in tight quarters early and was forced to steady while pressing the pace inside, then loomed a threat entering the lane but lugged in while racing greenly and failed to change leads, costing herself her best chance. The S. Asmussen barn hits at an excellent 21% with second-timers so we’re expecting a forward move today, one that should be good enough to win unless there’s a good thing among the first-timers. Microbiome shows a bullet local workout over a wet track six days ago after impressing in series of sharp drills in Kentucky. The T. Amoss stable is a solid 18% with newcomers so we suspect this daughter of Twirling Candy will fire a big shot. Prima Della is worth including on a ticket or two as well. The Into Mischief filly vans up from her home base at Monmouth Park, where she put together a brief work tab that indicates at least some ability.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B+
Use: 6-Point Me By; 7-So Suave; 9-St. Joe Louis; 10-Treason

Forecast: This is a stronger than par entry-level allowance turf miler featuring a few lightly-raced prospects on the way up. St. Joe Louis, beaten as the favorite in Tampa Bay in his debut in January, left that form far behind when graduating in mid-May at Belmont Park in a fast, highly-rated race for the always-powerful jockey/trainer team of J. Rosario and C. Brown. In that race he pulled hard early, settled midway and then quickened when set down to take control easily before being geared down late. As a twice-started 4-year-old gelding, the son of Kingman obviously has had some issues but if runs back to his smart maiden win he’ll be hard to beat. Point Me By was cold on the board (14-1) in his debut sprinting on turf at Churchill Downs last month but blew away his field in the final furlong with an impressive turn of foot before galloping out in powerful fashion past the wire to indicate he’ll be even better as the distances increase. Bred to run long (Point of Entry) and stretching out in a field with plenty of pace signed on, the E. Kenneally-trained sophomore may be capable of producing a winning late kick right back. Treason also was a surprise debut winner (25-1), capturing a maiden grass miler at Belmont Park in smart fashion despite a slow break and failing to secure cover at any stage. The son of Constitution earned a strong speed figure in victory, shows a couple of easy breezes since that race to tick him over, and picks up J. Ortiz. Like our top two picks, his chances should be promoted by the projected race flow. Worth including on your ticket as well is the Irish invader So Suave, from the C. Clement barn. The first-time Lasix user has been away for 11 months but has won off a similar layoff in the past, appears to be training well, and lands I. Ortiz, Jr. He raced in valuable handicaps overseas while facing tougher foes than he’s seeing today.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: B-
Use: 11-Alpha Babe; 12-Ocean Air

Forecast: This race is a bit treacherous because the main contenders are drawn far outside and will need to negotiate a good trip in this middle distance starter allowance turf event for fillies and mares. In a race that is loaded with early speed types, we’ll concentrate on the two that appear most capable of producing a late run. Alpha Babe is a progressive daughter of Malibu Moon fresh from a confidence-building maiden-claiming win at Belmont Park in a career-top figure in her fifth career outing. She likes to settle early and rally late and given the likelihood of a fast, contested early pace the R. Atras-trained 3-year-old filly should have every chance to step forward and win again. At 10-1 on the morning line, she certainly provides good long shot value. Ocean Air is a fit on numbers but is a one-paced type coming off a pair of runner-up efforts in similar company as a short-priced favorite. Perhaps not one to trust but dangerous from off the pace despite her poor draw, the C. Clement-trained daughter of English Channel will be doing her best work late under I. Ortiz, Jr.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Lady Scarlet; 5-Outfoxed; 6-Solasta; 7-Echo Zulu

Forecast: Lady Scarlet ran a winning race in defeat when second while four lengths clear of the rest in a fast five furlong dash at Churchill Downs last month. The B. Cox stable hits at a terrific 30 percent with second-time starters so this daughter of Union Rags seems likely to step forward with that race behind her. Outfoxed is a dangerous first-time starter from the W. Mott stable that brought $360,000 at the OBS April sale after smoking a quarter mile during the preview session in 20 4/5 seconds. She’s the first foal of out a stakes-winning Kantharos mare and is from the first crop of her sire, a son of Candy Ride who won his only start in 1:08 and change for B. Baffert when beating maidens at Santa Anita in 2017. S. Asmussen sends out Echo Zulu, a daughter of the highly-promising freshman stallion Gun Runner from the dam of several black type performers including Gotham S. winner J Boys Echo. A :47 2/5 bullet gate drill (fastest of 44) at Keeneland last month catches the eye. If you can find room on your ticket, you probably should use Solasta somewhere. The Gun Runner filly shows a bullet gate drill at Keeneland last month that indicates at least some speed and ability. Preference on top goes to Lady Scarlet for having had a prior race but we’ll include all four in our rolling exotics.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-Alba’s Star; 5-Kitten by the Sea; 11-Jazzy Lady

Forecast: Alba’s Star missed at 6/5 under similar conditions at Belmont Park last month but seems likely to stick better today in a race that projects to have a favorable race flow. Clearly a need-the-lead type, the lightly-raced Elusive Quality filly lands the inside draw and seems certain to be the controlling speed, so given this type of trip we expect the M. Stidham-trained filly to be tough to catch. Kitten by the Sea, freshened since November, returns for T. Pletcher (a superb 28% with layoff runners) and shows a series of workouts at Monmouth Park that should have her plenty fit. She performed well over this course last year, has run well fresh in the past, and should draft into a second flight, stalking position under I. Ortiz, Jr. Jazzy Lady is drawn farther out than we’d prefer but is a first-off-the-claim play for R. Handal (a solid 17% with this angle) and is fresh from a nice score against a lesser group at Churchill Downs in late May. First or second in five of 11 career starts, the daughter of Cairo Prince will be heard from late if she can get a little help up front.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Arham; 8-Dust Devil

Forecast: Arham and Dust Devil are tough to separate – they finished two-three in a similar first level allowance main track affair at Belmont Park last time out – and both have a right to improve so we’ll try to survive and advance using just these two in our rolling exotics. Arham had every chance when missing as the favorite in that mid-June affair but adds blinkers, retains L. Saez, and shows a bullet half mile drill (:48 3/5) over the Belmont Park training track since raced. ‘Devil joins the W. Mott barn, retains J. Rosario, and has several speed figures that are faster than par for this level. He projects to settle outside in the second flight and then have every chance to seal the deal when the pressure is turned on.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: X
Single: 3-Golden Pal

Forecast: Golden Pal, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland last November, makes his 3-year-old debut for W. Ward and needs only to return as well as he left to pick up where he left off. The son of Uncle Mo is simply much faster than his rivals based on his two-year-old form, and he should be bigger, stronger and more mature after being given the winter and spring off. The work tab at Churchill Downs prior to shipping to Saratoga indicates he’s plenty fit and ready, making him a logical short-priced rolling exotic single.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Mainstay; 7-Happy Soul; 8-Eagle Express

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Schuylerville S.-G3 for 2-year-old fillies is unique in that every one of the nine entrants is coming off a win. That said, there are three that appear a cut above the rest. The Texas invader Eagle Express was a stakes winner at Lone Star Park vs. state-bred rivals last month in such a manner that suggests she can be highly competitive against this tougher group due in part to her apparent ability to settle off the pace and blast home. She’s drawn comfortably outside and likely will be allowed to stalk and pounce, similar to the trip she enjoyed when blowing away her outclassed foes last time out. Happy Soul is the likely choice and one to beat. She’s put together back-to-back wins by a combined 23 lengths including the Astoria S. at Belmont Park last month for W. Ward and on pure numbers is clearly the fastest in the field. We’ll see how she deals with pace pressure today. Mainstay looked like Ruffian when breaking her maiden at first asking over a wet track at Monmouth Park last month. She probably beat nothing and the going might have moved her up, but if she’s as good as she looked she’ll be very dangerous. Check out her two workouts since raced. Scary.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B
Use: 5-Viking Zim; 8-Clever Fellow; 10-Big Georges Kingdm

Forecast: The nightcap is a state-bred maiden turf event over a distance of ground that should set up quite well for the improving Viking Zim. The son of Mshawish was given too much to do when a closing fourth vs. similar last time out but this will be his first try around two turns and with some help up front and good racing luck he can be along in time. Clever Fellow has burned money in each of his last three starts and certainly isn’t one to count on but today he’ll add blinkers for the first time so on that angle alone he might be worth one more chance. Big Georges Kingdm, freshened since mid-April and training well in the interim at his home base at Finger Lakes, is bred for grass on both sides of his pedigree and will be trying turf for the first time today. Competitive on numbers and eligible to produce another forward move, the son of Animal Kingdom is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.