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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Thursday, August 5

by Jeff Siegel

August 5, 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+
Use: 1-Mystic Eyes; 2-I’m So Sorry; 5-Cost a Fortune

Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in the Thursday opener, a maiden special weight turf sprint for 2-year-old fillies that went through the sales ring for $45,000 or less. We’re basically flying blind, with no video works to guide us, so we’ll try to survive and advance focusing on breeding and connections. Mystic Eyes is a daughter of Maclean’s Music from the T. Pletcher barn with an okay series of drills and an inside draw, so if she has the early speed that you’d expect from her bloodlines she’ll be in the right spot to display it. I’m So Sorry, an Uncle Mo filly from the B. Lynch barn (fair stats with first-timers), shows a bullet half mile drill (47 2/5 seconds) last month that looks promising, while Cost a Fortune> should be quick (Runhappy) and vans up from Delaware Park without showing anything in her morning trials to tip her hand. Tread lightly here.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: C
Single: 8-Danny Deep Cuts

Forecast: Suffice to say this maiden $25,000 claiming sprint for older fillies and mares is one of the weakest races carded so far this meeting. There’s nothing to embrace, so we’ll “guess” that the least exposed of the runners, Danny Deep Cuts, is better than shown and will have every chance to display whatever ability she may have. A voided claim for $25,000 when a troubled fifth in her debut in late May at Belmont Park, she shows up in the R. Rodriguez barn today with blinkers on and will leave from a cozy outside post. Let’s hope that she can break with her field today, and with a clear run outside she may be good enough to handle this soft assignment, though at 7/5 on the morning line she won’t be offering much in the way of wagering value.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B+
Single: 6-Mystery Messenger

Forecast: Mystery Messenger appears much the best on paper in this turf sprint for older $25,000 claimers, and if he brings anything close to his best stuff he’ll handle this group. The only concern is that he’s dropping a notch off a claim following a good runner-up effort last time out. Perhaps trainer R. Falcone, Jr. is simply trying to steal a purse (a healthy one of $55,000, at that), so if the veteran gelding fires his best shot he’ll be along in time as a rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: C+
Use: 2-Turn of Events; 3-Bar Fourteen; 10-Risk Manager

Forecast: The improving Bar Fourteen earned a career top speed figure when beating state-bred rivals on the lead sprinting at Belmont Park in late June and we suspect similar tactics will be employed today. Turn of Events, claimed for $35,000 in his last pair and now in the G. Weaver barn, also went gate-to-wire when registering a nice win with a solid figure, though in his case the early fractions were slow and made his task a lot easier. We suspect Bar Fourteen will get the lead if he wants it, but if he’s taken back to assume the role of a stalker, then ‘Events will be happy to take up the running. What if they hook up? Risk Manager is a first-off-the-claim play for D. Gargan (39%) being protected in this starter’s allowance race and definitely can finish. On all counts, he’s a major player.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: C+
Single: Wartime Hero

Forecast: Wartime Hero is another one of those suspicious class droppers that can win or run nowhere. Claimed for 50,000 a year ago July, he returns off a year layoff in a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 affair for new trainer D. Grogan, who isn’t afraid to take a shot and run one cheap. When last seen the son of Empire Maker was finishing far back in the Pegasus S. at Monmouth Park and today returns as a gelding while showing a decent series of recent workouts that may have him fit enough to handle this nine furlong, main track trip. If you need a single in rolling exotic play, he’s a shaky one but if it’s not him, then who? Perhaps this is a good one to simply sit out.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: C+
Use: 5-No Time Alone; 9-Eridromos

Forecast: This five furlong turf sprint for maiden New York-bred juvenile fillies didn’t come up particularly strong, which means No Time Alone, runner-up under similar conditions at Belmont Park last month, is the likely choice and one to beat. The W. Ward-trained daughter of Flintshire pressed the pace, stayed on as best she could, and probably won’t need to step forward much to graduate unless there’s a first-timer in the field that is better than average. We’re guessing (and that’s all it is) Eridromos could be just that, so we’ll include her in rolling exotic play. Bred to be quick (Kantharos) and with a series of what looks to be decent drills at Fair Hill, she comes from a low profile barn that has had some success with debut runners in the past. We’ll toss her in on a ticket or two.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Mystery Bank; 9-Life On Top

Forecast: Mystery Bank ships up from Florida where he failed to land a blow in a starter/optional turf miler last month in his first outing since being a voided claim following a win last September. The S. Joseph, Jr.-trained colt didn’t get the best of runs and had a right to be a tad rusty as well, so let’s expect a significant forward move today by the 4-year-old colt that ran well on two occasions over the Saratoga turf course last year. The barn’s main guy T. Gaffalione should have him forwardly placed while saving and then have dead aim from the quarter pole home. Life On Top lacks tactical speed and tends to be trouble prone, but after missing as the favorite in two similar starter’s events, most recently in April, the Carpe Diem gelding should be set to fire a big shot off the bench for C. Brown, who has superb stats with comebackers (27% with a flat-bet profit). He’s another with past success over the Saratoga turf course and with some help up front should make his presence felt in the final furlong.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B+
Single: 4-Irish Valor

Forecast: Finger Lakes shipper Irish Valor, in the money in 27 of 43 starts in an admirable career that includes nine victories, was competing for $5,000 last winter but actually fits quite well in this nine furlong main track first-level allowance event for New York-bred older horses. On pure numbers he’s good enough to beat this moderate group and a bullet workout (5f, 1:01b, fastest of eight) last week indicates he’s right on edge. In the frame in his last seven, the son of Dublin projects to settle in mid-pack and then have his chance to grind away when the pressure is turned on. Furthermore, he was nosed out in his only prior outing over the Saratoga main track – two years ago at this distance – in a game effort that produced his career top Equibase speed figure, so in a wide open event that might otherwise require considerable coverage, let’s take a stand with the A. Ferraro-trained six-year-old in the win pool and as a single in rolling exotic play.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: X
Single: 3-Lone Rock

Forecast: Here’s today’s free bingo square in rolling exotic play. Lone Rock, successful in six of his last seven starts and an eased-up winner last time out in the Brooklyn S.-G2, picks up six pounds (to 124 lbs.) off that victory in today’s Birdstone S. over a mile and three-quarters but they’d need to pile on a lot more weight than that to give the others a reasonable chance. The son of Majestic Warrior is 11-for-33 during his career and is still improving, having earned his first triple-digit Beyer speed figure in his most recent race, and based on his recent workouts the six-year-old gelding isn’t about to slow down any time soon. At even money on the morning line, he’ll be too short to play in the win pool, but he certainly is a fun racehorse to watch and admire.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Bella Principessa; 3-Mondeuse; 5-Lookin to Fly; 9-Escapewithfriends

Forecast: The finale is a challenging maiden $40,000 claiming inner turf router for state-bred fillies and mares. It actually appears to be a stronger than par race for the level offering several possibilities and require heavy usage in rolling exotic play. Bella Principessa was disappointing when well-backed in an off-the-turf sloppy track event at this level last month at Belmont Park, but both of her grass outings actually were quite good. The daughter of Constitution has good tactical speed, numbers that fit, and switches to one of Rudy’s main guys, I. Ortiz, Jr. Lookin to Fly makes his second start off a long layoff after encountering early trouble and then rallying with interest to be third as the favorite in a turf sprint last month at Belmont Park. The J. Sharp-trained filly adds blinkers for the first time, retains L. Saez, and stretches out to a distance she’s bred to handle. We’re expecting a career top performance today. Mondeuse is the likely pacesetter from her favorable inside draw, and the daughter of Big Brown could take this field a long way if not pressured early. She was nosed out vs. similar as the favorite last time out while earning a career top figure in what already has proven to be productive race. Escapewithfriends, a closing second in her debut in the same race Lookin to Fly exits, overcame early trouble to produce and good late bid and must be given a strong look to build upon that favorable impression while stretching out to a distance her pedigree suggests she’ll like. E. Cancel got to know her and stays aboard for a stable that has strong stats with the second-time starter angle.