Log In

Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Sunday, August 8

by Jeff Siegel

August 8, 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
Single: 2-Shaker Shack

Forecast: Shaker Shack is listed as the 8/5 morning line favorite in this $32,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies, but we wouldn’t be surprised if she goes lower than that. You have to wonder why she’s being dropped into a mid-grade claimer after winning a $200,000 New York-bred stakes in April and then finishing a reasonable third in another valuable state-bred affair in her most recent appearance in mid-June. Obviously, this isn’t a healthy pattern and assuming she isn’t scratched isn’t the type of short-priced favorite that you can depend on. We suggest you tread lightly, or pass the race, altogether.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: X
Use: 1-Consumer Spending/1a-McKulick; 2-Penny Saver; 3-Love to Run; 5-Skylerville

Forecast: We’ll spread in rolling exotic play but otherwise pass this challenging maiden juvenile filly affair that is filled with highly regarded and expensive prospects. The C. Brown entry (Consumer Spending, McKulick) looks formidable in no small part due to getting two beautifully-bred fillies on your ticket for the price of one. ‘Spending is a quick-actioned daughter of More Than Ready that has done everything asked of her in the a.m. despite the slow final times of her drills, while stable mate McKulick, a daughter of Frankel, also has been impressive in the a.m. and may even be the better of the two. Penny Saver has the benefit of a prior run - a willing runner-up effort sprinting on dirt at Churchill Downs in a hot race in mid-June - and seems likely to be on or near the lead from her inside draw. She’s bred more for dirt than turf but if she gets loose on the lead and then relaxes she’ll take this field a very long way. Love to Run is an athletic filly with flawless action and brought $640,000 at the OBS April sale. Her breeze time during the preview session (:10 2/5) wasn’t noteworthy but she moves like a route type and half-brother Thanks Mr. Eidson is an excellent turf performer in California. Skylerville hails from a barn that has superior stats with debut runners (26% with a massive ROI) and this daughter of Air Force Blue shows a :59 1/5 breeze over a wet training track last month that tells us she can run.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: C+
Use: 2-Kreesa La Wrote; 4-U Should B Dancing

Forecast: State-bred older maiden fillies and mares sprint five and one-half furlongs on turf in a race in which many of these know each other pretty well. The two listed above finished second and third, respectively, in a similar affair here last month and both should run well again today. U Should Be Dancing already has had eight chances and probably isn’t one to totally trust but she’s been in the frame in her last two and has a bit more tactical speed than her main rival to give her a slight edge. The daughter of War Dancer hasn’t left cleanly in her last two starts but with a smooth break today should be in the fray throughout. Kreesa La Wrote will be running on late and won’t need to improve much to win. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that we won’t otherwise get too involved in.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: B
Single: 3-Harper’s in Charge

Forecast: Harper’s in Charge was very impressive breaking her maiden at first asking last November at Aqueduct but then disappeared. She returned in a hot allowance race last month and showed excellent speed for half while dueling with subsequent Test S.-G1 winner Bella Sofia (good luck with that) before fading readily in what at the time was a disappointing comeback. Today, it doesn’t look so bad. The daughter of Malibu Moon has had two nice drills since that race, so we’re going to give the C. Clement-trained filly another chance, especially in a race in which her early speed should allow separation from the others during the early stages. With the switch to J. Rosario, we’ll make her a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Majestic Tiger; 3-Sonic Speed; 10-Masked Marauder

Forecast: This sprint for older maiden claimers has the look of a grass grab bag, so we’ll spread hoping to get a nice price home. Masked Marauder, listed at 8-1 on the morning line, makes his first start since being claimed for $40,000 by W. Potts (solid stats with this angle) and the barn also does very well with the route-to-sprint maneuver so we’re expecting the 3-year-old gelding to step forward in this modest affair. Perhaps most effective if held up early and allowed to run late, the son of Palace Malice has numbers that fit and a projected race flow that should compliment his style. Majestic Tiger, at 5-1 on the morning line, was beaten a nose in his only prior outing at this level (his debut), and after chasing much stronger straight maiden company in his last pair the S. Asmussen-trained gelding seems likely to return to good form against this group. The son of Majestic City lacks tactical speed, so from the rail he’ll require some luck to secure clear sailing when launching his bid. Sonic Speed offers long shot value at 10-1 on the morning. He has a race to go back to last year when second in straight maiden company that would win this, and though he’s been disappointing since then the Maclean’s Music gelding shows a recent healthy work tab that could signal a return to form.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Free Chickens; 7-Fabulous Fanny; 10-Mommasgottarun

Forecast: Fabulous Fanny turned in the most impressive breeze of the entire Timonium 2-year-old in training sale when smoking a quarter mile around the bullring in 21 2/5 seconds without undue pressure and then galloping out full of run and taking the tight turns with ease. The daughter of Union Rags hasn’t been asked for speed since joining the S. Asmussen barn (no need to), but she does show a 47 2/5 breezing gate drill at Keeneland last month that was the fourth fastest of 60 for the distance. She’s 4-1 on the morning line and will offer plenty of wagering value at or near that price. For protection, we’ll include on our ticket two others that have caught our eye. Mommasgottarun, comfortably drawn outside, is a first-timer bred for intense speed (Maclean’s Music) and has looked good in the a.m. without being asked for her best. The T. Amoss barn is strong with debut runners, so we’re expecting a major effort. Free Chickens look good breezing a furlong in :10 flat at the OBS April sale and goes for trainer J. Abreu, who has a remarkable record with first-time starters (28% with a huge ROI). As a daughter of Blame, she’s not likely to display the early speed that some of the others have but could make some noise from off the pace in the closing stages.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: X
Use: 3-Viadera; 7-Regal Glory

Forecast: Viadera knows how to win the close ones – she’s taken her last three outings by margins of a neck, a neck, and a nose – an though she hasn’t been out since her victory in the Matriarch S.-G1 last November at Del Mar, the C. Brown-trained mare has trained well enough on the comeback trail to be fit and ready for this year’s renewal of the De La Rose S. Her stable mate Regal Glory is the one to fear most. Freshened since early June, she was in company with our top pick in a July 31 grass workout (5f, 1:00.3b TC TT) and more than held her own, though Viadera was going a tad easier and appeared best. We’ll include both in our rolling exotic play and then press with Viadera on top.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B+
Use: 7-Wicked Halo; 9-Microbiome

Forecast: Wicked Halo was highly impressive winning her debut at Lone Star Park in a fast, highly-rated affair (beating two next out winners) and then lost nothing in defeat when setting sizzling fractions from the rail before understandably weakening close home when third in the Debutante S. at Churchill Downs. Drawn towards the outside in today’s Adirondack S.-G2, the daughter of Gun Runner looks clearly the quickest in the field and if she’s not forced to go the opening quarter in :21 flat like last time the daughter of Gun Runner should be hard to catch. b>Microbiome, ideally drawn just outside our top pick, was a visually pleasing winner of her first start over the local main track last month when setting soft splits and then quickening when asked. She’ll have to stalk and pounce today, but if so she’ll have dead aim and every chance to catch ‘Halo. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Wicked Halo.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B-
Use: 5-Con Lima; 6-Rockey Sky; 7-Creative Flair

Forecast: Half the field in this year’s edition of the Saratoga Oaks Invitational-G1 has a genuine chance to win, and the other half isn’t far behind. Trips will tell the tale. Con Lima projects to be the controlling speed again, just as she was in the recent Belmont Oaks-G1, though Euro shipper Creative Flair may have to be dealt with. In that race, she may have gone too slow on the front end, reducing the race to a quarter of amile sprint to the wire which played into the hands of the eventual winner, Santa Barbara. Today’s affair is a sixteenth of a mile shorter, so the T. Pletcher-trained filly could be hard to catch if not guzzled early. Creative Flair is a quality filly from France who was most recently third in a photo in the Prix Chloe-G3 at Chantilly. She’s been on the front end in her recent races but certainly should be capable of winning with a stalk and pounce trip if required. Rocky Sky, in from Ireland where she romped in her only grass outing after beginning her career with three starts on the all-weather, has been here for a while and has trained very well for C. Brown. She could easily be this good. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play, but you may find the need to spread even deeper.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Albie; 10-Chrome Dixie

Forecast: Albie was more than four lengths clear of the rest (including a next-out winner) when runner-up in a restricted $35,000 claimer in late June last time out and today is protected in a sign of confidence in this first-level state-bred affair over a mile on the inner course. His numbers have improved since joining the D. Gargan barn three races back and with another forward move today the son of Alpha should be hard to beat. Chrome Dixie shows a steadily improving pattern for C. Clement and may be the one to fear most, his extreme outside post notwithstanding. His one prior two-turn attempt was filled with trouble, so toss that race out. Based on pedigree there’s no reason this son of California Chrome shouldn’t enjoy today’s extra distance.