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Jeff Siegel: Saratoga Picks & Analysis | Saturday, August 14

by Jeff Siegel

August 14, 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: 5-King Angelo; 7-War Smoke

Forecast: King Angelo was well-clear of the rest when a good runner-up in a dirt sprint at Belmont Park last month while earning by far a career top speed figure. If can repeat that type of race on grass, the son of Lemon Drop Kid should finally be able to earn his maiden diploma. The barn is 1-for-44 this year, so the confidence factor is low, but we’ll put this front-running colt on top over the second-time starter War Smoke, a troubled runner-up in his debut over this course and distance last month. Off slowly and very wide into the lane, the War Dancer colt loomed a strong threat but then may have lost a bit of his punch in the closing stages to miss by a neck. Hopefully, he’ll break better today and earn a ground-saving trip. These are the two we’ll prefer in our rolling exotics, but in something of a grass grab bag you should use as many as your budget allows.

RACE 2: Post: 1:41 ET Grade: X
Use: 3-Sticky Issue; 7-Askin for a Baskin

Forecast: Here’s another maiden race for older sprinters, this one an extended dash on the main track. Askin for a Baskin is very fast on speed figures and probably will beat this field with a repeat of either one of his last two starts. Listed at 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, the son off Distorted Humor can be the controlling speed in a field without much of it, or at worst find himself in a comfortable stalking position outside. Sticky Issue, a second-time starter from the P. Walder barn, displayed some ability when a decent runner-up vs. straight maidens in early July at Gulfstream Park after a less-than-ideal start. He shows a solid series of local drills, including a team drill Aug. 7 in which he stalked a stable mate and then drew clear under mild urging late in :1:00 1/5, sixth fastest of 35 for the five furlong distance. You can use him as a back-up or a saver, but the main push should go to Askin for a Baskin, unless the price in simply too short.

RACE 3: Post: 2:15 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1x-Atone; 5-Klickitat; 8-St. Joe Louis

Forecast: This first-level allowance inner turf middle distance event appears fairly wide open, so we’ll spread the race in our rolling exotics. St. Joe Louis was visually impressive breaking his maiden two races back but was something less than that when unplaced at this level last time out. He was wide early and failed to secure a comfortable early position, then moved within range at the head of the lane before flattening out. The blinkers come off today (like that angle) and I. Ortiz, Jr. takes the call, so we’re counting on an improved performance, one that makes him dangerous off the number he earned at Belmont Park. We’d love to see some aggression leaving the gate to ensure a good stalking spot. Atone, coupled as an entry with Absam, ships in from Arlington Park where he finished a distant third in a tougher race last time out. He joins the M. Maker barn, so improvement certainly is possible after a two month freshening. The son of Into Mischief shows consistent speed figures and projects to settle in the second flight and have his chance from there. Klickitat returned to winning from at Belmont Park last month and shows two victories over the Saratoga lawn with numbers that are better than par for this level. He’ll be especially tough if he can make the running without pressure.

RACE 4: Post: 2:49 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Investment Income; 3-Palamos

Forecast: Investment Income may have surprised her connections when she was nosed out at 12-1 while more than five clear of the rest in her debut at Monmouth Park in early June, performing well enough to be given a chance today in the Bigs. The daughter of Candy Ride lands the rail for this 9.5F maiden grass event for older fillies and mares and projects to settle in the second flight while saving ground and then have every chance when the pressure is turned on. Based on speed figures, she absolutely belongs here, and she if improves as expected the C. Brown-trained filly should be capable of earning her diploma. Palamos is faster on figs that out to pick but has had four chances so she may have a bit less room to improve. The G. Motion-trained daughter of Blame is a one-paced grinder but with some help up front she should be heard from late. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Investment Income.

RACE 5: Post: 3:21 ET Grade: C+
Use: 3-Win With Pride; 7-Inscom

Forecast: We won’t get too involved in this $16,000 claiming extended sprint for older horses other than to use two in rolling exotic play. Win With Pride drops to a proper level after being pitched too high in his last pair, and the veteran gelding, an 11-time career winner, should find this group within his current capabilities. In a field without much early speed, the O. Noda-trained gelding seems likely to enjoy a comfortable trip on or near the front end without having to be used much. With the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr., we’ll make him a solid top pick. Inscom, away since February and returning at his lowest level ever, is another that should be happy with the projected pace scenario and if cranked up and relatively healthy could make a serious run for it.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 ET Grade: B
Single: 2-Power Agenda

Forecast: We’ve really been looking forward to the debut of Power Agenda and expect T. Pletcher-trained son of Nyquist to graduate at first asking, assuming he breaks well from the gate, something he’s done quite well in his morning preparations. An August 8 half mile gate breeze in :47 2/5 while much best of the team could not have been more impressive, and with a good foundation of drills prior to that he’s certain to be plenty fit and ready for a major effort first crack out of the box. At 9/5 on the morning line he’ll offer value in both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he goes lower than that.

RACE 7: Post: 4:29 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Assiduously; 4-Restored Order; 6-Extreme Force

Forecast: This grass grab bag for restricted (nw-2) $40,000 older claimers is a challenging affair requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough. Restored Order was a gate-to-wire winner on grass at Saratoga last year while earning a career top number and we suspect similar tactics will be employed today in his first try in a seller. He switches to “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr. and if not policed early could roll all the way to the wire. Extreme Force, a first-off-the-claim play for M. Maker, makes his first start on turf, and while his pedigree for grass doesn’t exactly jump off the page, who knows, maybe he’ll like it. Listed at 8-1 on the morning line, he exits a series of sprints and should be forwardly placed in a field without any strong late punchers. Restored Order was a gate-to-wire winner on grass at Saratoga and similar tactics seem certain to be employed today. He’s reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr., and if not policed early could roll all the way to the wire. Assiduously, one of several class droppers during the current meeting being culled from the Klaravich Stables, may have found his friends in his first start for a tag, though at 5/2 on the morning line he won’t be offering much wagering value. His Monmouth Park form is okay but has numbers that aren’t even quite par for this level, so we’ll toss him on a ticket or two but that’s all.

RACE 8: Post: 5:05 ET Grade: B+
Use: 1-Mahaamel; 5-Ducale; 6-Defeater

Forecast: Ducale earned a giant speed figure – a stakes-quality number for a 3-year-old – when breaking his maiden last month over this track and distance and we anticipate he’ll continue to step forward with experience and maturity. If he’s going to be a really good colt for B. Cox, this is the type of race he’s supposed to win. However, it came up a very salty affair with others that have designs for bigger and better things as well. Mahaamel broke his maiden impressively two races back but then hooked a monster in Beau Liam and had to settle for third in a similar affair at this trip in mid-July. The son of Into Mischief should fire another huge shot today and it’ll be interesting to see how he stacks up with Ducale, as both have similar numbers. Defeater is worth tossing in on a ticket or two, though we suspect he’s using this race as a prep for a stretch-out. The son of Union Rags won his debut in smart fashion sprinting at Fair Grounds in January and then was fast finishing second in a first-level allowance router before being stopped on. He’ll be running on late and is worth watching closely for future reference.

RACE 9: Post: 5:39 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Gunite; 8-Doctor Jeff

Forecast: Doctor Jeff won his debut by just over two lengths, but the margin could have been triple that had he not been eased up and geared down in the final sixteenth of a mile. The son of Street Boss should have enough early speed to be on or near the lead again without having to be sent hard and based a sharp recent workout the R. Rodriguez-trained colt should move forward off the race and handle the extra distance without any issue. He’s 2-1 on the morning and we’ll be happy with that price if we can get it. Gunite has rising numbers with each start, most recently winning a maiden sprint at Churchill Downs with authority. As a son of Gun Runner he can be expected to improve with more distance, and with blinkers being added today he might display enough early speed to be on the front end. If for some reason Doctor Jeff doesn’t run up to expectations, this S. Asmussen-trained colt is the logical alternative.

RACE 10: Post: 6:13 ET Grade: B+
Use: 1-Raging Bull; 5-Set Piece

Forecast: Set Piece has never been better and in fact we may not have seen his best yet. A winner of nine of 16 career starts including his last three in strong stakes company, the English-bred gelding likes to lay back and blast home, and hopefully there will be enough early pace (and plenty of room to rally) to allow the B. Cox-trained gelding to produce another winning late kick. He’s 5/2 on the morning line and is worth every bit of that. Raging Bull lands the good rail, should enjoy an ideal ground-saving trip, and is dangerous in his present form. The winner of the Maker’s Mark S.-G1 two runs back at Keeneland, the veteran French-bred horse is particularly fond of the Saratoga lawn and like our top pick can really finish with he gets his trip. We’ll have a few extra tickets keying Set Piece on top but use both in rolling exotic play.

RACE 11: Post: 6:45 ET Grade: B-
Use: 4-Dr. Blute; 9-Dr. Duke; 10-Phantom Smoke

Forecast: State-bred first-level allowance sprinters collide in a competitive turf affair that offers a number of chances. Most of these have lower than par speed figures for the level, so a chaotic result would not be surprising. Phantom Smoke is a first-time Lasix user with just two career outings, so the Ghostzapper colt, away since December, could be much improved this time around. The C. Clement barn is strong (21%) with layoff runners, and if there’s a pace meltdown this colt, under J. Rosario, could easily pick up the pieces at 5-1 on the morning line. Dr. Blute earned his best number sprinting on grass at Aqueduct during the spring. A recent off-the-turf event fell far short of his best stuff but back on grass today the son of Not This Time projects to be on or near the lead throughout. The other Doctor in the field, Dr. Duke, may be the quickest in the field, though he’s always been suspect under pressure in the final stages. He exits the same race as Dr. Blute, and both will be happy to be back on the sod.