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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Saturday, August 7

by Jeff Siegel

August 7, 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: 2-Dripping Gold; 3-Morning Thoughts; 5-Boston Flagship

Forecast: Dripping Gold, a $300,000 purchase at the OBS March Sale where he was very impressive previewing in 10 1/5 seconds, is a highly promising youngster by the noted turf sire Lemon Drop Kid and a full-brother to Arlington Oaks-G2 winner Aurelia’s Belle. A strong, scopey, long-striding colt, he’s been given a strong foundation of drills at Fair Hill and locally at Saratoga to be ready for a major effort first time out of the box. Shug doesn’t often win with first-timers, but this colt may be the exception to the rule. One of the barn’s “go to” riders J. Lezcano takes the call. Morning Thought, bred for turf on both sides of his pedigree, is another debut runner worth a look. The son off Air Force Blue (from a mare by Dynaformer) displayed quick action and good athleticism in a recent local turf workout around dogs and is another with a sufficient series of workouts on his resume to be fit enough to fire a good shot right off the bat. Boston Friendship pulled hard and was extremely rank during the early stages of his first outing over this course and distance last month but settled midway and finished willingly to be third in a better-than-par race for the level. The son of Constitution should be more relaxed with that bit of experience behind him and can be a major player if he steps forward as expected. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with Dripping Gold worth a bit of a gamble in the win pool.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Journeyman; 4-Heirloom Kitten; 6-Alkhaatam

Forecast: Here’s another contentious race that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Alkhaatam, making his third start off a layoff and dropping to his lowest level ever, retains F. Prat and likely will receive the patient ride he requires in this nine furlong, main track $50,000 claimer. The veteran six year old exits a pair of hot one-turn mile races, and with three recent breezes in the interim the son of Tapit looks ready to fire his best shot. Fast on numbers and with a projected pace flow that will compliment his style, the T. Pletcher-trained ridgeling is worth a play. There are at least two other solid contenders that require coverage, as well. Journeyman makes his first start in a seller and tries conventional dirt for the first time since winning the Canadian Derby almost two years ago. The M. Maker-trained gelding has been running long on the lawn of late, but at this shortened trip combined with a class drop and the switch to L. Saez the son of Animal Kingdom could step forward significantly for a barn that’s hitting close to 30% for the meeting. Heirloom Kitten, claimed in four of his last six starts, was acquired by former trainer D. Duggan for $40,000 last month when runner-up over a muddy track at Belmont Park, and returns on the one-level raise in a sign of confidence. A prior winner over this track and distance, the son of Kitten’s Joy is slower on numbers than the other main contenders but should be capable of at least hitting the board. Toss him in as a back-up or a saver.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: X
Single: 2-Tuggle

Forecast: Tuggle returned off a 14-month layoff to finish a solid runner-up in a similar first-level allowance sprint at Belmont Park six weeks ago and shows a healthy series of sharp works since to indicate a forward move is likely. The four-year-old colt has a good stalking style and in a race that figures to produce a soft opening quarter the J. Englehart-trained colt projects to be just where she wants to be during the early stages. With I. Ortiz, Jr. riding him back and with a significant edge in the speed figure department, the son of Point of colt looks like a logical rolling exotic single and what likely will be a short pr ice.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-Sportini; 9-Shutters; 10-Hot Doctor

Forecast: The known element doesn’t impress, so let’s try a pair of newcomers in this state-bred maiden turf miler for older horses. Sportini, a son of Elusive Quality from the M. Stidham barn (solid stats with debut runners), shows a healthy, steady series of workouts at Fair Hill and before that at Delaware; in fact, four of his last five recorded drills earned bullet status. If he can run, this would be a good place to show it. Shutters has done some good work in the a.m. for C. Brown and with I. Ortiz, Jr. taking the call for C. Brown the son of Get Stormy is sure to receive his share of wagering action. Hot Doctor may be the most dangerous of those that have raced and is worth including on your ticket as well. A $40,000 claim by L. Rice when finishing a close fourth at Belmont Park in late June, the son of Freud shows rising speed figures, two bullet workouts since raced, and is protected today in a sign of confidence. The outside draw is no bargain but if he can drop over, save some ground and get cover he should make his presence felt from the quarter pole home.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B+
Single: Brigadier General

Forecast: Brigadier General displayed promise in his debut when a willing runner-up to the more experienced Gunite in a strong maiden sprint at Churchill Downs in late June. Three nice works since arriving at Spa makes improvement almost certain for the son of Street Sense, who should use his experience to good use in a field compromised mostly of debut runners. The D. Stewart-trained colt is certain to display good speed at this seven furlong trip and then have his fitness carry him through under Johnny V., who got to know him in Kentucky and rides him back. Let’s make him a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Value Proposition; 5-Flavius

Forecast: Value Proposition allowed Rinaldi an easy trip up front and then simply couldn’t catch him when second in the Forbidden Apple S.-G3 last month but earned a triple-digit Beyer speed when going down by a half-length and not much more will be needed today to regain his winning form. The C. Brown-trained son of Dansili is assured a ground-saving, stalking trip from where he’s drawn and should have every chance to grind out a win in this listed turf stakes. Flavius likely be on his heels throughout but needs to quicken a bit better than what he’s been able to do in recent races. In fact, his only U.S. victory in eight starts since being imported from Ireland was achieved last September at Kentucky Downs, so while we expect him to hit the board we’ll use him only as a saver in rolling exotic play with the main punch going to Value Proposition.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B+
Use: 3-War Like Goddess; 6-Dalika

Forecast: War Like Goddess has rapidly developed into a top class marathoner with just five career outings on her resume, four of which have resulted in wins, most recently in the Bewitch S.-G3 at Keeneland with complete authority that produced a career top speed figure. She switches off beautifully while just galloping along and the accelerates on dime when called up. Away since April but training locally like she’s fit and ready, the daughter of English Channel should pick up where she left off in this year’s renewal of the Glens Falls S/-G2 over 12 furlongs. The W. Mott-trained filly will get most of our play, but for protection you may want to save with Dalika, easily the controlling speed at this distance and coming off a brave win with a career top number over soft ground in a Grade-3 marathon at Delaware Park.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B+
Use: 4-Obligatory; 7-Search Results; 8-Bella Sofia

Forecast: Bella Sofia returns to stakes competition after eating a first-level allowance field for breakfast last month at Belmont Park. The number equaled her career top, and the margin of victory (six and one-half lengths) would have been greater had she not been taken in hand in allowed to coast in the finals sixteenth of a mile. Lightly-raced (just three starts) with plenty more to give as develops and matures, the R. Rodriguez-trained daughter of Awesome Patriot lands the cozy outside post which allows her to pop and go or stalk and pounce. This is an outstanding renewal of the Test S.-G1, and we believe she’ll be up to the task, though we’ll protect with a couple of others in our rolling exotics. Search Results has done little wrong in five starts (four wins and a runner-up effort in the Kentucky Oaks-G1) and has trained superbly for her first outing since her Acorn S.-G1 win more than two months ago. She’ll have to spot weight to the entire field (including six pounds to our top pick) but it may not make much difference to her. Obligatory is a progressive daughter of Curlin that seems likely to be the most dangerous of the closers. If a fast pace develops, she will be rolling late.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B
Use: 4-Cadillac; 6-Bolshoi Ballet; 11-King Fury

Forecast: Bolshoi Ballet was a two-time group stakes winner in Ireland prior to his failure (with excuses) as the favorite in the Epsom Derby-G1 but returned to winning form with an impressive display of acceleration through the lane to win the 10F Belmont Derby-G1 last month. The son of Galileo is back for more in this year’s renewal of the Saratoga Derby Invitational-G1 at a slightly shorter trip (9.5F) that should not be an inconvenience to him at all. The A. O’Brien-trained colt will settle off the pace and then blast home, and with good racing luck regular rider R. Moore will have him along in time. There are two others to consider, at least on a back-up or a saver ticket. Cadillac made his seasonal debut when facing older horses for the first time in the 10F International S.-G3 at The Curragh in late June was best in a four-horse photo while packing 130 lbs., actually getting 10 lbs. from the older runner-up. Back with his own age group today, the son of Lope de Vega has a bit more tactical speed than Bolshoi Ballet and has to be considered the one the favorite will have to worry about the most. The other price chance in the field is King Fury, the winner of the Lexington S.-G3 in April and an unlucky second when arguably best in the Ohio Derby-G3 last time out. Drawn poorly outside and trying grass for the first time, the son of Curlin has trained superbly at the Spa in recent weeks and could produce significant forward move today if he can transfer her dirt form on the sod.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B+
Single: 4-Knicks Go

Forecast: Knicks Go traveled to Prairie Meadows for a confidence boosting win in the Cornhusker H.-G3, doing everything his connections were hoping he’d be able to do, win a nice race for fun and, as a bonus, earn a career top Beyer speed figure (113) in the process. Of course, today he faces a tougher in the 2021 Whitney S.-G1, but his trip will be similar to the one he just enjoyed, and in a field in which the four other entrants can’t match his front-running style the son of Paynter will have every chance to dominate from gate to wire, just like he did earlier this year in the Pegasus World Cup-G1. The recent work tab at his home base at Ellis Park looks impressive, so we’re expecting the B. Cox-trained horse to dominate on the front end as a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 11: Post: 6:45 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Danny California/1a-Musical Heart; 2-Superfecto

Forecast: Superfecto missed as the 9/5 favorite when he was burned up in a speed duel vs. similar at Belmont Park in late June but this stretch-out to nine furlongs around two turns will produce softer early fractions, so we’re expecting the R. Nicks-trained colt to have every chance to make amends from his favorable inside draw. The lightly-raced son of Constitution may be quick enough to acquire the role as the controlling speed, though there are others in the field (most notably Lost in Rome) that could provide more early pressure he’d care to see. Musical Heart likes the front end as well, but he’s exiting a series of main track marathon races so he’s more likely to prompt or stalk and have his best chance from there. A winner (in gate-to-wire fashion) over this track and distance last year, the son of Maclean’s Music has been freshened for a couple of months and has run well following similar breathers in the past. His coupled stable mate Danny California has been below his best form of late on wet tracks that he may not have cared for but could snap back to life over his preferred strip. A winner of three races from four career starts at the Spa, the veteran Afleet Alex gelding probably will be asked to produce the last run.

RACE 12: Post: 6:19 PT Grade: B
Use: 6-Risky Mischief; 7-Time Limit

Forecast: The finale is a grass event for entry-level allowance fillies and mares sprinting five and one-half furlongs. Risky Mischief has been away since last November but she was a debut winner by more than seven lengths, so if nothing else we know she can fire fresh. The work tab is relatively brief, and the barn has below average stats with layoff runners but this daughter of Into Mischief is fast on figures and is a perfect one-for-one over the Saratoga turf course. We’re expecting her to be along in time. Time Limit was sharp winning a state-bred optional claimer over this course and distance last month, changing her tactics to one a second flight stalker and then displaying good late speed to win going away while earning a career top speed figure. This is a tougher open group, but the daughter of Bustin Stones seems to have found her niche as a grass sprinter, though I. Ortiz, Jr., who rode Time Limit in that victory, jumps off to ride our top pick. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Risky Mischief.