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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Friday, July 23

by Jeff Siegel

July 23, 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: 5-Not Yet Charlie; 6-Good Skate; 8-Buckingham Prince

Forecast: Buckingham Prince was nosed out after relinquishing a two length lead in mid-stretch when runner-up over a sloppy track at Ellis Park earlier this month, a race that if repeated today probably will be good enough to win this conditioned (auction restricted to $45,000 through the ring) maiden juvenile sprint. The question is whether he requires a wet track to fire his best shot. Not Yet Charlie, one of two newcomers from the R. Rodriguez barn, worked a quarter mile in a quick :22 flat at the Timonium sale while looking reasonably decent, while stable mate Good Skate breezed a furlong at the same sale in :10 3/5 without need of urging and seems to have some ability, as well. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Buckingham Prince on top.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B-
Use: 10-Fetching; 9-Kinky Sox; 1-Time Limit

Forecast: We’ve identified three main contenders in this turf sprint for state-bred second-level allowance/optional claimer fillies and mares, with top billing going to Fetching. The daughter of Afleet Alex makes her first start off a $45,000 claim by G. Weaver (super stats from a small sample for this angle) after finishing a strong second (nailed close home) in a similar affair at Belmont Park last month. Perhaps most effective when held up early and allowed to run late, the veteran mare has run well over this course in the past, lands rail, and with good racing luck should be capable of tagging the speed. Time Limit must leave from the extreme outside post but should have enough gate zip to get over and secure her coveted front-running trip. This will be her third start off a layoff, and with another forward move the M. Maker-trained filly could be hard to catch. Additionally, she’s reunited with “win rider: I. Ortiz, Jr., who was aboard the daughter of Bustin Stones in an off-the-turf. sloppy track score two runs back. Kinky Sox has races that put her right there and is a “must use” as well. She was sharp in victory when easily winning a lesser race at Belmont Park last time out while earning a career top speed figure. Her main issue today is the shorter distance by a furlong and one-half that could be a bit too sharp for a veteran mare who has always been most effective a deep-closing sprinter.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Big Everest; 6-American Law; 11-Realm of Law

Forecast: We’ll spread the third race, a maiden inner turf miler for older horses. Though he’s burned money in each of first three career outings, Realm of Law continues to impress in the morning (he’s on our “Primed and Ready List”) and may have been a tad unlucky when a closing third in a strong race vs. similar at Belmont Park last month. The C. Brown-trained colt likely will be taken back from his outside draw and then attempt to get cover before producing his best stuff from the quarter pole home. He’s certainly no single but we’ll give him one more chance and put him on top. American Law, in the money in all four career outings but a disappointing third as the odds-on favorite in his most recent outing at Churchill Downs, tries grass today while picking up I. Ortiz, Jr. and shouldn’t have any excuses. Big Everest, fourth in the same race Realm of Law exits, was rank and pulled hard and probably cost himself his best chance but retains J. Rosario and will be dangerous if he can drop his head and settle.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: X
Single: 8-Dark Money

Forecast: Dark Money crushed a similar state-bred $25,000 claiming field at Belmont Park in early June, was claimed by G. Weaver, and returns for the same price in his first start in seven weeks. The veteran gelding, a winner of nine races from 23 career starts, has changed barns six times in his last 10 starts and has a prior win at Saratoga on his resume, so if he has one good one left the son of Central Banker should be able to continue his winning ways. In a race that won’t likely offer any real wagering value, you can use him as a short-priced rolling exotic single or perhaps better yet just pass the race.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: C+
Use: 2-Dame Time; 5-Tuscan Queen; 8-Six Feet Apart

Forecast: There’s little to separate the three main players in this state-bred turf sprint for older fillies and mares, so we’ll triple the race in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit it out. Six Feet Apart appears the quickest of the group, though she’s been suspect under pressure in her first two outings, most recently taking a clear early lead but then weakening late to wind up third in a six furlong affair at Belmont Park in early June. The W. Ward-trained filly shortens up a bit today, retains Johnny V., has worked well since and may be able to hang on this time. Tuscan Queen, a decent third at 16-1 in her debut in a similar grass dash, has a right to improve for a barn that has solid stats with the second-time starter angle and should draft into a good stalking position and have every chance from there. Dame Time, in the frame in both starts with improving speed figures, should settle in the second flight and then have dead aim from the quarter pole home.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: C+
Use: 3-Carom; 5-Opry; 6-Dot Matrix; 7-Ajourneytofreedom

Forecast: This allowance optional ($80,00) claiming turf marathon is quite intriguing. Some of these haven’t had the chance to run this far and a few may enjoy the trip, so we’ll go four-deep and hope that’s enough. Ajourneytofreedom wants to run all day and was a very respectable third in the Belmont Gold Cup-G2 last time out. He tries easier foes today while retaining J. Rosario, and though he’s never been big on winning the son of Hard Spun gets ideal conditions and should make the most of it. Dot Matrix, a 10-time winner and proven at the trip, adds blinkers (not sure if he’s ever worn them) and switches to J. Ortiz after failing to hit the board in his last four starts. Perhaps the hood and the stretch out in trip will wake him up, and if so he’ll have a legitimate look. Opry was a stakes winner over this course as a 2-year-old and earned a career top speed figure when an improved dead-heat runner-up at this level at Belmont Park last month. He’s never been this far but there’s no reason he won’t be able stay the trip. Carom absolutely can cope with this distance and should settle close to the pace (perhaps in a stalking position behind Real Factor and then have his chance to grind away.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: X
Use: 10-Air Show

Forecast: Air Show certainly doesn’t show a healthy pattern – he was claimed for $50,000 in April and today shows up for $16,000 after failing at 2/5 in a $32,000 seller at Indiana Downs last time out – but if there’s anything left in the tank the T. Amoss-trained colt should handle this group. Of course, that’s a big “if.” Given that he’s so much faster on numbers than the others in the field, the son of Street Sense surely will be a very short price in a race that offers no real wagering value. You can use him as a rolling exotic single; better yet you can pass and look for a better gambling opportunity.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Ninth Hour; 6-Big Bobby; 7-Judge N Jury

Forecast: Here’s a strong race but a tough one featuring entry-level allowance state-bred older horses over seven furlongs. Big Bobby is fast enough on pure numbers to win right back after graduating over a wet track at Belmont Park in his second career start in late May. He has trained steadily since, so we’re expecting the W. Mott-trained gelding to step forward at this extended sprint trip that is made to order for his pace-stalking style. Ninth Hour, first off a $25,000 claim by an outfit that hits at a strong 21% with this angle, is protected in a sign of confidence by his new connections, and with eight career victories from 20 starts he certainly knows where the wire is. If the son of Bustin Stones breaks sharply from the rail he should be on or near the lead throughout. Judge N Jury returns as a gelding following an 11 month layoff after winning a state-bred juvenile maiden race over this main track in good style in just his second career outing. The works look good and the D. Gargan stable has a superlative record with comebackers, so this son of Tapiture may come back as well as he left, perhaps even better. You have to use him.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Jouster; 7-Tobys Heart; 10-Minaun

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Lake George S.-G3 for sophomore fillies over a mile on the inner turf is typically very contentions with several possibilities to consider. Jouster projects as the controlling speed, and after being worn down late in the nine-furlong Wonder Again S.-G3 at Belmont Park she shortens to what might be her best trip, a flat mile. She’s a proven graded stakes winner and is likely to benefit the projected race flow that should really bring out her best. Tobys Heart, a sprint stakes winner over the Saratoga lawn last year, rallied against slow fractions to finish an excellent second in the Tepin S. at Churchill Downs last month and may be the most dangerous of the closing types. That said, she’ll need some help up front to have her best chance. Minaun will need to work out a trip from the 10-hole and is another that requires decent early splits to have her best chance. If Jouster is allowed to stroll on the front end her chances will be compromised, but if not the Irish-bred filly will have a legitimate late look.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Thrill/1A-Miss Domina; 3-Epicurean

Forecast: Thrill, away for 11 months, returns in a claimer for the first time so we’re guessing whether or not she’s the same filly this year as last. She’s now four years old for connections that focus on good young prospects, so perhaps they are simply being realistic. Based on her previous form the Candy Ride filly can handle this moderate group for a trainer who has strong stats with layoff runners. Additionally, she ran well over this course and distance last year while earning a speed figure that is more than good enough to win today. As a bonus, entry mate Miss Domina (different owner, same trainer) has a reasonable look as well, most recently missing by a neck in a grass dash at Gulfstream Park last month with a speed figure that puts her right there. For protection, you may want to consider Epicurean, likely the quickest in the field but somewhat suspect under pressure. The lightly-raced daughter of Speighster from the W. Ward barn is fairly competitive on speed figures and will appreciate this shortened five and one-half furlong trip.