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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Saturday, July 24

by Jeff Siegel

July 24, 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: 1-Giocare; 7-Royal Realm

Forecast: Royal Realm is realistically dropped into a claimer for the first time and the J. Jerkens-trained colt should make the most of the opportunity. With a decided edge in the speed figure department, the son of Empire Maker removes blinkers (love that angle) and tries two turns for the time (he’s routed around one turn in three of his four career outings) and should be able to settle in mid-pack and then produce a winning bid when called upon. Giocare lands the good rail and is the one to fear most. He, too, is surfacing in a seller for the first time in his second start off a layoff for T. Pletcher (20% with this angle) and is very likely to improve against this group with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. In what appears on paper to be a modest race for the level, we’re expecting the winner to be one of these two with a slight edge on top to Royal Realm.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B+
Use: 3-So Enchanting; 4-Pathetique

Forecast: Pathetique was eliminated at the start in her debut sprinting at Churchill Downs last month, but after dropping back almost 20 lengths behind the leader in this five and one-half furlong turf dash the daughter of Uncle Mo closed a significant gap in the final furlong to finish a much-better-than-looked eighth (beaten eight lengths) before galloping out full of run into the clubhouse turn. Since arriving in New York, the P. Bauer-trained sophomore has trained extremely well – good enough to make our Primed and Ready List – so we’re expecting a significant amount of improvement today in this one mile inner turf maiden event for older fillies and mares. Hopefully, she’ll leave with her field this time, so at 15-1 on the morning line she’ll offer considerable long shot value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. So Enchanting has displayed ability in three sprint races including a recent comeback effort in her first start since October. The C. Brown-trained filly might find herself on the front end, and if she can clear without pressure she’s very likely to take this group a long way. The barn hits at a superb 27% with second-off-layoff runners so we’re expecting ‘Enchanting to step forward in a significant way. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to the big priced Pathetique.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Cantrell Hill; 6-Strolling

Forecast: Strolling has been claimed in four of his last five starts, most recently by the capable C. Summers stable and the veteran gelding, compromised by a wet track when runner-up at this level last time out, should be capable of returning to winning form in this $25,000 extended sprint for older horses. We’re projecting J. L. Ortiz to have him in a good second flight, stalking position outside and then have dead aim from the quarter pole home. Cantrell Hill has been primarily a middle distance performer in this career but this six and one-half furlong trip shouldn’t be an issue. Fresh from a game win in optional claiming company at Churchill Downs, the son of More Than Ready is a fit on numbers and has finished first or second in 10 of 20 career starts. We’ll be surprised if he doesn’t fire another big shot today.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Bardolino; 7-Vodka Lemonade; 10-Forced

Forecast: We’ll focus on three main players in this contentious grass sprint for older restricted (nw-2) $40,000 claimers. Pimlico shipper Forced must leave from the far outside 10-hole but should be quick enough to get over and be on or near the lead throughout. He’s always suspect under pressure in the final sixteenth but he’s fast enough on speed figures to outrun this group and a repeat of his only prior grass effort (two races back) should be good enough. Bardolino shows up in a claimer for the first time, shortens to an abbreviated sprint and may be capable of improvement against this softer field. He’s not likely to outrun Forced during the early stages of the race but projects to be in the right spot if that one hits a wall close home. Vodka Lemonade is noticeable slower on numbers than our top pick, but he switches to J. Rosario and has hit the board in five of his last six starts. The M. Maker-trained colt probably is worth including on your ticket as a back-up or a saver.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: X
Single: 1-Malathaat

Forecast: Unbeaten Malathaat has just three rivals in this year’s edition of the C.C.A. Oaks-G1 and will be a very short price to extend her perfect streak to six in this nine furlong main track event for sophomore fillies. Fresh from a career top performance in the Kentucky Oaks-G1 and training better than ever in recent weeks, the daughter of Curlin seems certain to become even more dominant than she’s been so far been with distance, experience, and maturity. She’s a no value rolling exotic single in an unplayable race.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B
Use: 7-Watasha; 10-Fluid Situation

Forecast: Watasha, a debuting Into Mischief colt for the C. Brown/I. Ortiz, Jr. combo, is listed at 3-1 on the morning line in this maiden sprint for juveniles but we’re expecting him to go lower than that. The well-regarded colt, a $450,000 Keeneland purchase, looks the part and has trained to expectations, showing a couple of smart local gate works, both in :48 flat, a bullet drill (fastest of 18) on June 30 and then the third fastest of 98 just eight days ago. We like him on top but also will include on a back-up ticket Fluid Situation, who breezed in :21 flat at the OBS April sale before bringing $200,00 through the ring. A full brother to Indiana Derby winner Axelrod, the son of Warrior’s Reward lands J. Rosario and an outside post and while there’s nothing fancy about his recent workout times he’s been giving enough of a foundation to be fit.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B+
Use: 4-Hombre; 7-Calilbrate; 11-Space Launch

Forecast: The seventh race is a grass grab bag for first-level allowance older horses requiring a considerable spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll use four and hope to get a price home. Calibrate was an excellent runner-up to Kinetic Sky while five lengths clear of the rest when earning a career top speed figure in his most recent outing in late June, and if he can duplicate that form in his first try on turf the son of Distorted Humor can spring a mild surprise at 6-1 on the morning line. He does his best running on or near the lead and in a race that projects to produce soft early fractions the S. Asmussen-trained colt should be just where he wants to be every step of the way. Hombre was a visually pleasing maiden winner in his second career start last month at Belmont Park, doing so with a comfortable stalking trip before producing a good late kick to register a strong speed figure. The Tourist colt is still a bit green and sloppy on his leads, but we expect continued improvement from the B. Tagg-trained colt, who projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, second flight, stalking trip. Space Launch has produced a forward move in each of his three career starts and is another lightly-raced colt headed in the right direction. The C. Clement-trained sophomore is drawn a bit farther outside than we’d prefer but he retains J. Rosario and should be able to settle in mid-pack somewhere and then have his chance to at least hit the board.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Split the Double; 3-Rastafara; 9-Ego Trip

Forecast: This maiden event for older fillies and mares over a mile on the inner course came up quite strong and it should take a pretty good performance to win it. The three listed above all appear capable of doing just that. Rastafara, beaten as the favorite in her first two career starts but perhaps a tad unlucky in both, gets a chance to make amends after being freshened since early May. The C. Brown-trained filly continues to be very impressive in her a.m. drills, so with a clean start and a comfortable second flight, stalking trip the Irish-bred daughter of Shamardal should be tough to deny for the powerful C. Brown/I. Ortiz, Jr. team. Her stable mate Split the Double, beaten in a photo in her last two starts while earning rising speed figures, lands the good rail and projects to settle in mid-pack and then have her chance to rally when called upon. Ego Trip makes her U.S. debut for B. Walsh after finishing a distant but solid runner-up in her only outing in May overseas at Newcastle. She gets Lasix and sports a solid work tab to have her fit but must overcome an extreme outside post.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B
Use: 6-Caramel Swift; 7-Zainalarab; 8-Flash Magic

Forecast: Flash Magic crushed maidens in her first start since last October and her first since being transferred from B. Baffert’s barn to trainer S. Asmussen, doing so at Churchill Downs last month after the pressing the pace and then drawing clear with authority. This raise in class at this extended sprint distance is the logical next step and she’s probably the to beat once again, though on pure numbers she’s hardly dominant. Therefore, we’ll include a couple of others in rolling exotic play. Caramel Swift broke her maiden by a pole at Keeneland but then was flat and no factor when perhaps overmatched in the Eight Belles S.-G2 at Churchill Downs in late April. Freshened since then and training extremely well for W. Mott, the daughter of Union Rags is reunited with “win” rider J. Alvarado and will be tough with anything close to the highly-rated performance she turned in when breaking her maiden during the spring meeting at Keeneland. Zainalarab, a bit slower on speed figures than our top pick, has plenty of room for development after just two starts and appears to be a filly of some potential for C. Brown. She has the proper stalking style for this distance and seems likely to produce a forward move in her first outing since late April.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Caravel; 2-Robin Sparkles

Forecast: Robin Sparkles has won three of her last four in the only manner she knows how to win – on the front end, every step of the way – and recent workouts since her most recent victory indicates she’s ready for another blazer. A perfect one-for-one over the Saratoga grass course, the daughter of Elusive Quality will have to deal with the intense speed that pace-rival Jakarta is capable of dishing out. The latter stumbled at the start when they met in that June 24 allowance race at Belmont Park and didn’t bother ‘Sparkles; today it might be a different story and if so then the late-charging Caravel will have a chance to blow by both of them late. The Mizzen Mast filly, a winner of three of her last four including a massive victory at Monmouth Park in a listed last month, has captured six of eight overall and should be set for another career top effort. We’ll give Robin Sparkles a very slight edge on top, but Caravel is a “must use” as well in rolling exotic play.

RACE 11: Post: 6:47 ET Grade: X
Single: 7-My Lips Are Sealed

Forecast: Let’s take a stand in the nightcap and single My Lips Are Sealed in this inner turf course middle distance affair for first-level allowance state-bred fillies and mares. Beaten a half-length when third in a strong, highly-rated (and stakes quality) allowance race at Belmont Park in early June, the daughter of Algorithms faces a considerably easier group today and should draft into a comfortable pace-stalking trip and then have her chance to exert her superiority when the pressure is turned on. On pure numbers, she’s a standout and recent workouts indicate she’s plenty after a nearly six week freshening. She’s listed at 7/5 on the morning line and that seems about right.