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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Thursday, July 29

by Jeff Siegel

July 29, 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: X
Use: 5-Bourbon Rising; 7-Mo Heat

Forecast: Bottom level ($20,000) maiden claimers meet over nine furlongs on the main track in the Thursday opener in what appears to be an easy spot for Mo Heat. Second in both starts this year with speed figures that are better than par for this level, the G. Weaver-trained gelding should find himself on the lead in a race that has little of it and then improve his position from there. But he will offer little value at 7/5 on the morning line. Bourbon Rising, third in the same race Mo Heat exits last month, should be prominent throughout and have his chance to make a race of it, but as an 11-race maiden the son of Uncle Mo isn’t one to count on. In a race that is best left alone, you can use both in the various rolling exotics with preference on top to Mo Heat.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Cold Hard Cash; 4-Scuttlebuzz; 7-Straw Into Gold

Forecast: The second race is a contentious allowance optional claiming inner turf miler for second-level state-bred older horses. Straw Into Gold, a winner of two of four starts and a close third in the listed Manilla S. vs. open 3-year-olds last month at Belmont Park, tackles older horses today while returning to the New York-bred ranks, and based on speed figures potential upside is strictly the one to beat. The C. Clement-trained son of Hard Spun is a versatile type that can win on the lead or from a stalking position, so I. Ortiz, Jr., who stays aboard, can choose his strategy depending upon how the race shapes up. Best guess is that he’ll draft into a second flight stalking position and then turn up the pressure from the quarter pole home. Cool Hard Cash has speed figures comparable to our top pick and is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from the rail after finishing second in a similar spot last month. He’s won three races from 14 starts while finishing second or third seven times, so occasionally he’ll hang under pressure. Also worth including in the razor sharp Scuttlebuzz, fresh from earning a career top speed figure against a lesser field sprinting on grass at Belmont Park and clearly on an improving pattern since joining the R. Rodriguez barn via a $30,000 claim last spring. The 4-year-old gelding is unproven around two turns, but in his present form he must be given a chance to be dangerous from off the pace. All three should be included in rolling exotic play with edge on top going to Straw Into Gold.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-Mystery Bank; 4-Stanhope; 6-Montauk Summer

Forecast: A full field of restricted (nw-3) $35,000 older claimers makes this race extremely challenging. We’ll use three and hope that’s enough. Montauk Summer ran well when a close fourth in a tougher first -level allowance event last month and takes a realistic class drop for the money run. Most effective when held up in the second flight and then turned loose late, the son of Summer Front shows rising speed figures in each of his last four starts and should get the proper waiting ride with the switch to E. Cancel. Mystery Bank had a right to be rusty when never a threat in his comeback last month at Gulfstream Park, but with that tightener combined with a class drop to his proper level the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained colt looks very much like a live item, especially with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. Additionally, he has a prior win over the local lawn and tactical speed that should allow him an ideal second flight trip. Stanhope, a $35,000 R. Rodriguez claim last month, returns for the same price while stretching out again and seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics. Slower on pure numbers than the other two main players but going for a barn that hits at 23% with the first-off-the-claim angle, the son of Street Sense has a right to improve and could get brave if not policed early. Toss him in at 10-1 on the morning line.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: C+
Use: 5-Bronzed; 6-Vineyard Sound; 8-The Queens Jules

Forecast: This messy main track extended sprint is loaded with question marks and suspect form, so tread lightly. Vineyard Sound has run well at Saratoga in the past, has hit the board in his last pair, and is dropping to a realistic level while being reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr. If he’s feeling good, he’ll be on or near the lead throughout. The Queens Jules is another dangerous class dropper with several recent speed figures good enough to beat this field. A respectable third vs. $32,000 foes last time out, the son of Scat Daddy plummets to the $12,500 after being claimed for $20,000 last month, certainly not a healthy sign. He’ll be doing his best work late if he’s up to it. Bronzed, off for nearly two years, was a listed stakes winner for J. Servis and is now finds himself in the R. Rodriguez barn. The Fed Biz gelding returns cheap, an indication that his connections may not think he’ll last too long this time around. Many of these long layoff suspicious types will fire a big shot fresh and then regress, but he’s certainly fresh today, so we’ll throw him in somewhere.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: C
Use: 6-Ravizzol; 7-Shinjuku; 9-Flipping Fun

Forecast: The Pick-6 begins with an ugly bottom-rung maiden claiming state-bred sprint for older horses. Nothing would surprise us. Shinjuku shows up in a seller for the first time and returns to the main track, so if he can regain his best form from last spring the H. DePaz-trained colt can handle this field. Ravizzol, listed at 15-1 on the morning line, was beaten 18 lengths in his debut in a maiden $40,000 dash in May but was “only” 12-1 and did show a bit of early speed. He returns with a healthy series of workouts, picks up L. Saez, and may be better than his first race shows. Flipping Fun is an 18-race maiden and clearly not one to bank on, but he’s a first-time gelding and has finished in the frame in two of his last three starts with reasonable speed figures for this level. At this extended sprint distance, the son of Central Banker should make some noise late.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Halo of Fire, 4-Empress Tigress; 5-Her World; 7-Benbang

Forecast: Maiden juvenile fillies sprint five and one-half furlongs on grass in what appears to be a strong field matching several highly regarded first-time starters, including a pair of W. Ward-trained newcomers that have shown extremely well in the morning. Her World, from the first crop of the brilliant European sprinter Caravaggio, looked like a high quality, win-early type in a pair of recent grass breezes around the dogs over the Saratoga (“Oklahoma”) training track and may be be ready to win right now. The same can be said for Halo of Fire, a Munnings filly who has trained like she’s a lot quicker than her moderate times might indicate. Empress Tigress, a daughter of the freshman stallion Classic Empire, looked terrific when smoking a quarter mile in 20 2/5 seconds at the OBS April sale after which she brought $410,000 through the ring. She’s a lovely mover from a barn that excels with first-time starters. We’ll also toss in Benbang, highly impressive when breezing a furlong in 10 seconds flat in Ocala during the June sale, where the Shanghai Bobby filly was purchased for what might be bargain at $65,000. We’ll try to get by using just these four in our rolling exotics, leaving out other well regarded runners who hail from the barns of McGaughey, Brown, Clement, and Mott. It’s that kind of race.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Abiding Star; 3-Hieroglyphics; 4-Attentive

Forecast: This $40,000 inner turf claimer for older horses is yet another on today’s highly challenging card that requires a significant spread in rolling exotic play. Hieroglyphics, a $25,000 claim by D. Schettino (from M. Maker), returns on the double jump despite being away since late May, a sign of confidence, and if he returns as well as he left the veteran gelding can score again despite the class hike. A three-time winner over the Saratoga turf course, the veteran son of Pioneerof the Nile switches to the barn’s “go to” rider L. Saez and should settle somewhere in the second flight and then have his chance to blast home when it counts. Attentive, now in the R. Diodoro barn after a $40,000 claim (also from M. Maker) last month, returns for the same price and should be tough once again after winning two of his last three starts with solid numbers for the level. The son of Power Broker can lay within range if the pace flow dictates but probably is most comfortable if allowed to lag early and take hold late. Abiding Star, the likely pacesetter and therefore drawn just where he wants to be on the rail, is a perfect one-for-one at Saratoga, having scored in sharp style last year at this level in gate-to-wire fashion. If allowed to be the controlling speed without pressure, the son of Uncle Mo could easily get brave and never look back.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B+
Use: 1-Secondary Market/1a-Motivated Seller; 7-Malibu Mischief

Forecast: Klaravich Stables and C. Brown are represented by a powerful coupled entry of Secondary Market and Motivated Seller in this second-level allowance main track sprint for fillies and mares and both are capable of winning if ready off long vacations. On pure form Motivated Seller is the better of the two. She hasn’t been seen since finishing unplaced in the La Brea S.-G1 at Santa Anita last December but was a highly impressive debut winner and also has won off nine month layoff, so we know she can fire fresh. Recent workouts appear good enough to have her fit and ready. Secondary Market, off the track since November, is another that has proven successful off a layoff and also shows a nice win over the Saratoga main track with a career top speed figure last year. Together they make a formidable team and are listed at 6/5 on the morning line. Malibu Mischief, an 11-time winner from 28 starts, appears to be the quickest in the field and will take them as far as she can. She returns to her favorite surface (dirt) and is a two time winner at the Spa, so while her recent form is below her best we’re expecting the R. Rodriguez-trained daughter of Goldencents to take this field a long way at 8-1 on the morning line.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-My Boy Tate; 5-Wuddu U Think Now

Forecast: Wudda U Think Now returns to state-bred competition in this year’s edition of the John Morrissey H., and after chasing home Beau Liam here 12 days ago we suspect the son of Fast Anna will greatly appreciate the class relief. First or second in six of nine career outings and extremely fast on speed figures, the R. Rodriguez-trained gelding can take heat and dish it out, and with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. we’re expecting to see his best stuff today. My Boy Tate is co-high-weighted at 123 lbs. (equal with Our Last Buck) and is dangerous with anything close to his old form. Away since early May, the seven-year-old gelding was third in this race last year and is more than good enough to win off the bench if ready. The works look promising and the M. Nevin barn has strong stats with returnees, so this son of Boys of Tosconova is a serious player and a “must use.” There are a few others in the field that warrant consideration, at least as back-ups, but we’ll sink or swim using just the two listed above in our rolling exotics.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Wicked Happy; 8-Gabby Squared

Forecast: Gabby Squared appears well-spotted to graduate in this maiden $40,000 middle distance turf affair for fillies and mares. The daughter of Jack Milton missed as the 6/5 favorite when third vs. similar at Belmont Park last month, but may have been given too much to do after lagging to the head of the lane. Today, with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr., the C. Brown-trained filly may be able to settle a bit closer and then tag the speed late. Wicked Happy, second in the same race Gabby Squared exits, is a 16-race maiden and certainly not one to trust, but she’s hit the board in each of last four starts and today goes first-off-the-claim for a barn that has had plenty of success with this angle. She should draft into a pace-stalking trip and have every chance from there.