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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Sunday, July 25

by Jeff Siegel

July 25, 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+
Single: 2-Trade Secret

Forecast: The first-timers in this maiden juvenile sprint don’t impress so let’s stick with the known element, Trade Secret, who isn’t any world beater herself but at least has the benefit of two prior outings, most recently when beaten a head last month in a decent effort at Churchill Downs. She was more than three lengths clear of the others, and while the speed figure wasn’t strong (14 points lower than par for this level) not much better will be needed today. We’ll put her on top but at 2-1 on the morning line she’ll not offer much wagering value in a race that might be best left alone.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Scotty Brown; 4-Dr. Blute; 5-Veterans Beach

Forecast: This race was handicapped for turf only. We’ll go three-deep in the second race, an abbreviated turf sprint for state-bred first-level allowance older horses. Veterans Beach, in his second start off a layoff for the red-hot J. Rosario/C. Clement jockey-trainer team, earned a career top speed figure when rallying to be second in a fast, productive event at Belmont Park last month, and though it’s been a while since he’s visited the winner’s circle (August of 2018) the son of Big Brown appears set for a major effort. The veteran gelding has a good stalking style that should keep him free of trouble. Scotty Brown, freshened since early May and now in the W. Ward barn, is just 1-for-15 and not one to trust but on pure numbers he’s a major player with a right to step forward for his new high percentage trainer. The Big Brown gelding will be doing his best work from off the pace. Dr. Blute is lightly-raced with perhaps a bit more upside than the others but could do no better than fifth as the favorite in a similar affair at Belmont Park two weeks ago. He has a fast speed figure three runs back that makes him dangerous and Johnny V. rides him back, so will toss him in as well.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Dancing Firefly; 3-Marvelous Maude

Forecast: This race was handicapped for turf only. Marvelous Maude was taken up sharply at the start to lose several lengths and allowed to lag, angled wide for the drive and finished steadily to be third in her debut in a similar state-bred maiden turf event for fillies and mares last month at Belmont Park. She didn’t display any kind of massive turn of foot but at least she was willing in the final stages would have been right there with a better break. The C. Brown hits with a strong 24% with second-time starters, so with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. she appears the likely choice and one to beat. Dancing Firefly projects to inherit a good ground-saving trip from the rail after finishing a reasonably decent runner-up in a maiden $40,000 affair in her debut in May. She’s protected today while switching to L. Saez for trainer D. Gargan (powerful stats with both the layoff and second-time starter angles) so we’re expecting a forward move, one that makes her a major contender.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: X
Use: 1A-Bronx Bomber; 2-Tale of the Union

Forecast: Bronx Bomber always has preferred to run second or third (nine times) than win (four times) but he’s fast on numbers, adds blinkers, and projects to settle in the second flight and have dead aim from the head of the lane to the wire. He’s listed (along with entry-mate Excellent Timing) as the 7/5 morning line favorite, just ahead off Tale of the Union (8/5), a respectable third in his comeback last month and likely to be fitter and sharper today for trainer J. Terranova, whose record with this angle (25%, massive ROI) points him out as the one to beat. Either one can win, so we’ll double the race with the two favorites in our rolling exotics but otherwise not participate.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: -
Use: 2-Herald Angel; 10-Lime

Forecast: This race was handicapped for turf only. Herald Angel exits a much tougher race, and this drop to the restricted (nw-2) $40,000 claiming level in her third start off a layoff along with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. (22% with a powerful ROI with the M. Maker barn) indicates the daughter of Exaggerator is live and extremely well-meant. She should be quick enough from the rail to secure a good pace-pressing position and then have every chance from there. Lime is a fit on figures and projects to draft into a good stalking position outside. Her grass sprint form is fairly solid, and she’s run well under Johnny V. in the past. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Herald Angel.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Shared Future; 2-Four Dawns; 6-Gal in a Rush

Forecast: Gal in a Rush brought $375,000 at the OBS April sale after an impressive :10 1/5 breeze during the preview session and makes her debut for the powerful J. Rosario/C. Clement team after impressing in her local workouts as well. From a barn that hits with 24% (with a strong ROI) with first-time starters, the daughter of Ghostzapper has shown to be an athletic, sensible filly with good action and plenty of quality. At 4-1 on the morning line in a field with lots of unknowns and question marks, we’ll put her on top but also include a couple of other well-regarded, fast working debut runners. Shared Feature shows a couple of fast gate works at Keeneland last month and looks like a live item for the hot S. Asmussen outfit. She’ll have to leave running from the rail but with a good break she seems likely to be a strong early factor. Four Dawns, a likewise a Kentucky shipper with two noteworthy gate drills on her resume, is a Nyquist filly from the B. Cox barn that almost certainly has ability.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: X
Use: 3-Master of Hope; 7-Kaley’s Sister

Forecast: It’s hard to get past Keeley’s Sister (the 3/5 morning line favorite) in this starter’s allowance sprint for fillies and mares. Freshened since mid-May, the B. Cox-trained daughter of Maclean’s Music shows a decided edge in the speed figure department and the versatility to win on the lead or from a stalking position. Those wishing to protect in rolling exotic play may wish to consider the late-running Master of Hope on a back-up ticket. Her numbers are moving in the right direction and the lightly-raced daughter of Bodemeister, almost five lengths clear of the rest when a good second in a slightly softer field at Belmont Park last month, figures to produce another forward move.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B
Use: 4-Value Engineering; 9-City Man; 12-No Word

Forecast: This race was handicapped for turf only. City Man was overmatched in the Manhattan S.-G1 last time out but isn’t today, so we’re expecting the C. Clement-trained colt to return to good form in this second level allowance turf event over the inner course. His runner-up effort two races back – when he earned a triple-digit Beyer speed figure after finishing second to Tribhuvan - will beat this field, and with the barn’s main guy (and “win rider”} J. Rosario taking the call the son of Mucho Macho Man should draft into a comfortable second-flight early position (where, as a one-paced grinder he needs to be), and then be able to wear down the leaders late. Value Engineering is a strong fit at this level, though like our top pick doesn’t really provide much acceleration when asked through the lane. He does have a history of running well over the Saratoga lawn and his numbers are consistently solid, so we’ll his typical effort he’ll be in the firing line late. No Word is drawn farther out than what is ideal, and the T. Pletcher-trained colt hasn’t been out since last November, but the barn has powerful stats with layoff runners (27%) and this son of Silent Name is graded stakes placed on two occasions with speed figures last year that make him a strong fit if ready.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B
Use: 4-Dunbar Road; 7-Royal Flag

Forecast: A good second to Latruska in the Shuvee S.-G3 last year, Royal Flag should be capable of winning the 2021 edition of this nine furlong main track event after running well but missing by a head in her seasonal bow in the Doubledogdare S.-G3 at Keeneland last April. Showing a steady, healthy series of workouts in recent weeks to have her fit and ready, the daughter of Candy Ride retains J. Rosario and projects to settle in the second flight and then grind out another graded stakes victory. Her C. Brown-trained stablemate, Dunbar Road, a sloppy track winner of the Alabama S.-G1 in her only prior outing at the Spa, appeared in need of the race when weakening late to finish fifth (beaten four lengths) in La Troienne S.-G1 in late April, her only start so far this year. She, like Royal Flag, has done some very good work leading up to this race and is the one to fear most. They’re hard to separate so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics with a slight edge on top to Royal Flag.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: C+
Use: 3-Villainous; 6-Someday Jones; 8-Mubarmaj

Forecast: Mubarmaj obviously is more than good enough to win this $20,000 claiming router for older horses. However, he was a voided claim two runs back and is dropping a level following a more than five length romp when competing for a $25,000 tag at Belmont Park last month. So, what kind of shape is he in today? Sure, you may find the need to use him in rolling exotic play but for those looking for a better price you should consider both Villainous and Someday Jones. The former has a good look off his solid runner-up effort at this level two races back and should be running on late, while the latter, a respectable runner-up to Mubarmaj over a sloppy surface at Keeneland in the spring, goes for the powerful I. Ortiz, Jr./M. Maker combo, drops to his lowest level ever, and shows 12 career wins from 36 career starts, quite an admirable record for the 8-year-old son of Smarty Jones.