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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Saturday, July 17

by Jeff Siegel

July 17, 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: B
Use: 2-Neuro; 8-Sheriff Bianco; 9-Martinez

Forecast: Sheriff Bianco looks highly logical in the Saturday Spa opener, a turf sprint for older state-bred maidens. The W. Ward-trained colt missed by a head in a similar affair at Belmont Park in early June, has trained well since at the barn’s home base at Keeneland, and catches a modest field that should be able to handle. Neuro actually is faster on speed figures than our top pick but is a 13-race maiden and therefore not one to trust. The son of Freud should be doing his best work late and with clear sailing figures in the fray in the final furlong. Martinez, away since December and returning as a first-time Lasix user, is another that tends to be sluggish early but should be able to pick it up through the lane and be a late factor. In a race that we’ll probably not get too involved in, all three should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Baby Yoda; 5-Repo Rocks

Forecast: Baby Yoda is listed at 7/2 on the morning line but we wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves lower than that. A shipper from Pimlico and now in the W. Mott barn, the sophomore gelding broke his maiden at the bottom by eight lengths and then actually moved forward according to his numbers when third after a slow start in a first-level allowance affair last month. Though this group could be tougher than the field he just faced, the son of Prospective likely has plenty of improvement still in him and could be up to the task. Repo Rocks is listed as the even money favorite, and while he’s certainly the one to beat based on pure form he’s not quite as solid as the odds will show, having finally broken his maiden in his 11th career outing with a strong speed figure that strikes us as being a bit inflated. We’ll use him but try to beat him.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Love and Money; 7-Magisterium; 9-Third Draft

Forecast: Love and Money earned a giant speed figure when graduating at first asking in gate-to-wire fashion sprinting at Monmouth Park last month and today tackles tougher after moving to the C. DeVaux barn. Very quick and almost certainly the controlling speed, the daughter of More Than Ready had the pedigree to stay the mile and should be dangerous right back despite the class hike. An impressive series of workouts at Keeneland since that race indicates she's likely to step forward. Magisterium is listed at 10-1 on the morning line but we suspect in her first start since being claimed for $62,500 by O. Noda (21% with this angle) the Irish-bred filly will get plenty of play. Though worn down late after hitting the front and missing at 4/5 last time out, she’s likely to inherit a good stalking journey, and if our top pick fails to see out the trip she’ll be in the right spot to pick up the pieces. Third Draft has steadily rising speed figures for Shug and should at least hit the board. Toss her in as a saver or a back-up.

RACE 4: Post: 2:47 PT Grade: B-
Use: 7-Grape Nuts Warrior; 8-Austrian; 9-Matty’s Express

Forecast: Austrian, freshened since Aqueduct after a series of good, consistent outings in starter allowance and state-bred affairs, seems fairly solid in this first-level affair for New York bred older horses and if he fires his best shot the D. Gargan-trained colt should be hard to beat. The son of Freud likes to settle in mid-pack and then rally when called upon and is reunited with “win rider” L. Saez, who was aboard in a career top victory at Gulfstream Park during the winter. Grape Nuts Warrior a clever debut winner at Belmont Park in April and then a respectable third when troubled in this condition in his most recent start, adds blinkers today and should continue to improve with experience. The C. Brown-trained son of Vancouver will be doing his best work from the top of the lane to the wire. Matty’s Express seems most effective when held up early behind cover and then produced late. Given that type of trip, the K. Breen-trained gelding should be set for an improved effort in just his third start of the year.

RACE 5: Post: 3:23 PT Grade: B
Use: 5-Uninvited Guest; 7-Montauk Point; 9-Chattalot

Forecast: Uninvited Guest has the benefit of a prior run, a wiling runner-up effort at Monmouth Park while appearing to need more ground to work with. He’ll get an extra half-furlong today, and with the expected forward move for T. Pletcher (23% with second timers) the son of Distorted Humor should bet set to graduate. There are two debut runners that warrant consideration in rolling exotic play. Montauk Point, a Violence colt that brought $550,000 as a yearling, is a half-brother to the brilliant sprinting filly Covfefe and has done some good work in the a.m. but goes for a barn that doesn’t often win with first time starters. We’ll use him, nonetheless. Chattalot is a June foal by Midnight Lute with a staying bottom line, but he displayed quick action when breezing in 10 seconds flat at the OBS April sale and put together a series of fast workouts at Keeneland before vanning up to the Spa. The S. Asmussen barn has been red hot with its babies this summer and we suspect this colt will turn up live on the tote.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Rattle N Roll; 4-Portfolio Company

Forecast: Portfolio Company breezed like a nice colt on the local main track for C. Brown six days ago but as a son of Kitten’s Joy almost certainly will show his best stuff on grass. He gets his chance in this two-turn turf affair for juveniles and appears cranked up and ready to go in a field filled with unknowns and question marks. Based on his connections, he’s certain to get plenty of play. Rattle N Roll was off slowly, green, and fell back early but took hold through the lane and finished willingly before galloping out in front entering the clubhouse turn when third in a dirt sprint at Churchill Downs last month. The K. McPeek-trained son of Connect will likely improve with experience and distance and clearly is the best of the known element. We’ll prefer Portfolio Company on top but use both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1a-Shekky Shebaz; 2-Battle Station; 4-Souper Dormy

Forecast: Familiar faces meet in this second level allowance/optional claiming sprint at five and one-half furlongs on turf in a race in which several have a legitimate look. Spread as deeply as your budget allows. Shekky Shebaz, a two time winner over the local lawn, was worn down late while perhaps in need of the outing when second in a similar affair at Belmont Park in late May in his first start since the previous September. If he can produce even a slight forward move, the veteran gelding can win, but the same can be said for a few others. Souper Dormy, in the frame in his last three starts and always dangerous from off the pace, is solid on numbers and shows a bullet half mile main track drill here in :47 seconds flat, the fastest of 89 for the distance. The M. Casse-trained colt has a chance to make some noise in the late stages and should be a decent price. Battle Station has disappointed lately but could perk up with the return to his favorite course (three wins in five starts). The barn’s “go to” rider D. Davis takes the call so at 6-1 on the morning line he’s worth tossing in.

RACE 8: Post: 5:03 PT Grade:
Use: 1-Beau Liam; 5-Ten for Ten; 12-Mahaamel

Forecast: Beau Liam won his debut at Churchill Downs in powerful fashion with a monster number, doing so with a perfect trip from a cozy outside post against a moderate group. He’s good for sure, but this will be a much tougher test, especially from the rail against several more seasoned horses that have accomplished speed figures similar to his. The son of Liam’s Map was able to settle off the leaders and produce his run when ready; today he’ll probably be under pressure every step of the way, so it will be interesting to see what he’s made of. Mahaamel broke he maiden in his second career start after an excellent runner-up debut performance behind unbeaten First Captain and is the likely choice and one to beat, especially from his favorable outside draw. This extended sprint distance appears made to order for this high potential son of Into Mischief. Ten for Ten makes his first start since he was beaten a neck in the Remsen S.-G1 last December, and it’s logical to expect that he’s using this race as a spring board to a more serious effort over a distance of ground. However, Shug has a good record with comebackers and the son of Frosted will be racing with Lasix for the first time, so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll toss him in.

RACE 9: Post: 5:40 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Wit; 2-Candy Landing; 9-Headline Report

Forecast: Wit seemed hopelessly beaten after a poor start in his debut at Belmont Park in early June but figured things out after the opening quarter mile and launched an extended rally wide that produced a six length margin of victory that could have been more had he not been taken in hand in the final sixteenth of a mile. He’s come back to train extremely well since that race for T. Pletcher and will be hard to beat once again, though this time he would be encouraged to break well from his rail post position. Two other first-out winners must be considered strong contenders and are worth including in your rolling exotics. Headline Report was bet like he couldn’t lose at Keeneland (1/5) and didn’t, as he proved much the best despite a slow start. He’s a strong, powerful colt from the first crop of Gormley and brought $550,000 at the OBS March Sale. Candy Landing was a convincing winner at Churchill Downs last month, scoring with authority with a pace pressing trip. Interestingly, his Beyer speed figure (70) is the exact same number assigned to Wit’s winning effort.

RACE 10: Post: 6:16 PT Grade: B+
Use: 6-Summer Romance; 8-Althiqa

Forecast: Summer Romance ran too well to lose when worn down by stable mate Althiqa in the Just A Game S.-G1 in her U.S debut on Belmont Stakes day but at this longer nine furlong trip – the same distance that produced her thoroughly convincing score in the Balanchine S.-G1 in Dubai last winter – the daughter of Kingman should take full advantage of her projected role as the controlling speed and perhaps turn the tables on her talented stablemate in a race that seems certain to produce soft splits. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Summer Romance on top.

RACE 11: Post: 6:51 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Deferred Taxes, 7-Ducale; 8-Askin for a Baskin

Forecast: Ducale tipped his hand with an excellent debut effort at Churchill Downs last month, winding up in a dead-heat for second in a strong heat that produced a sharp number. The B. Cox second-timers almost always step forward (30% win rate) so we’re expecting this son of Twirling Candy to be hard to deny. Askin for a Baskin earned a huge figure when second to the highly-promising Muhaamel in his second career start and today will add blinkers and switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. A similar effort today probably wins, the only question being how much the muddy track moved him up, if at all. At 12-1 on the morning line, we’ll also include Deferred Taxes. The Flintshire colt has yet to run to his sharp works but will be making his first start on dirt, so perhaps the surface switch will make a big difference, his grass pedigree notwithstanding.