SARATOGA – 7/25/2020
Nick Tammaro ~ @NTamm1215
|Race 1-||1st #5 THE IMPORTANT ONE||2ND #1 SPEIGHTSTOWN GAL||3RD #4 JC’S SHOOTING STAR|
#5 THE IMPORTANT ONE just might land in the best spot pace-wise as she exits a N1X win where jockey Joel Rosario astutely took her well off a hot pace. There’s no confirmed speed in here to force the issue early and she looks to be holding her form based on a quick drill here July 10. #1 SPEIGHTSTOWN GAL was game in victory last time out given that she moved early and had to hold off the back markers. The 2-3 finishers from that race came back to run 1-2 in a N1X here last Sunday and this gal is another who can show early interest from her inside post. If the class prevails then #4 JC’S SHOOTING STAR will be victorious. She is in for the tag today for the first time since last September, but trainer Dave Donk surely is unconcerned whether anyone will take an 8 year-old mare with no conditions. Look for her in the waning stages.
|Race 2-||1st #7 MIDNIGHT SURPRISE||2ND #5 MUNNINGS MUSE||3RD #2 VIVAZANO|
#7 MIDNIGHT SURPRISE is a home bred daughter of Giant Surprise, whose progeny win on debut at a 17% clip. This filly is out of an unraced dam who has dropped one winner from two to race and trainer Todd Pletcher is a solid 28% with 3YO and up first time starters in New York dirt sprints over the last 5 years ($2.24 ROI). That’s enough to land here in a race where there are knocks on the experienced runners. Clearly the best of the experienced horses is #5 MUNNINGS MUSE. This second timer ran well in debut to snag the place dough behind subsequent stake winner Fierce Lady and now comes back off a lengthy break. While trainer Gary Gullo shows respectable numbers off 180+ day breaks, he is winless from six starters off 365+ day breaks over the last 5 years. #2 VIVAZANO was hurt by a poor break last time out and now returns 15 days later. She showed ability on debut when battling through strong fractions before being outfinished late and now looms a major pace player on a surface that has played kindly to speed.
|Race 3-||1st #5 SISTERCHARLIE||2ND #6 STARSHIP JUBILEE||3RD #2 BRAMBLE QUEEN|
#5 SISTERCHARLIE will be heavily favored in her seasonal debut given her wealth of accomplishments for trainer Chad Brown. She will benefit from having her partner #3 NORTH BROADWAY in the field to ensure a strong pace, as this Irish-bred does her best running late. Her final two races of 2019 were her weakest since she made her first start for Chad Brown in 2018, so there has to be some concern over whether her best days are behind her. If that’s the case then #6 STARSHIP JUBILEE will better her in this spot. That daughter of Indy Wind has been remarkably consistent throughout her career and was in very strong form before going to the sidelines when racing was abandoned in March. She’s had plenty of time to prepare and holds a tactical edge on the favorite. #2 BRAMBLE QUEEN is a versatile daughter of Silent Name who is in good form herself and will likely be ridden for third. She will not threaten the top two but has performed well here in the past and could be the right horse for third in the trifecta.
|Race 4-||1st #7 SPANISH POINT||2ND #5 WEDONTBELIEVEHER||3RD #4 GONE GLIMMERING|
#7 SPANISH POINT obviously had things go wrong last time when she was pulled up and she’s now back a month later in for a tag. That’s not a great surprise given she began her career in the claiming ranks, and she appears to have trained well since for the underrated Jorge Abreu. #5 WEDONTBELIEVEHER got a phenomenal setup last time out when victorious against weaker and now goes first off a claim by Linda Rice. That stable scored two wins on Friday and is quietly having a tremendous meet. This gal is versatile and has room to move forward. #4 GONE GLIMMERING set a soft pace last time out before being overhauled in upper stretch. She will likely be more of a pace stalker today as she makes the third start of her form cycle, and dirt shippers from Churchill over the last couple of years have done quite well at the Spa.
|Race 5-||1ST #10 STANDUP||2ND #2 BIG WONDER||3RD #9 SIR ALFRED JAMES|
#10 STANDUP has a lot to offer in this spot as he exits a 3rd place finish where he made the only off the pace move whatsoever. He’s also getting a positive rider change today in a race packed with speed. Should things heat up on the front end, he is liable to make a big late move at a square price. #2 BIG WONDER is among the speedsters in this field and he held his form amazingly well despite a rigorous schedule at the recently concluded Belmont spring meet. He is in light once again with Luis Cardenas aboard and this is the right spot for him class-wise. Expect him to be prominent throughout. #9 SIR ALFRED JAMES is going to take a great deal of money because of IRad Ortiz, Jr. and his impressive debut victory. This Al Stall trainee is kin to 2019 BC Mile runner-up Got Stormy, so there’s reason to believe he’ll take to the grass.
|Race 6-||1st #3 PREAMBLE||2ND #2 AUTOSTRADE||3RD #8 MOJOVATION|
#3 PREAMBLE is only 14 months removed from being a 17-10 favorite in a Grade 3 sprint stake on the Preakness undercard. The first time he’s resembled the horse that he was before that race came last time when he rallied for 3rdagainst slightly tougher foes at Belmont. There’s plenty of pace signed up here to set up his late run and this underrated barn has had a couple of runners perform very well this week. #2 AUTOSTRADE is another late runner who’ll rely on the pace to heat up this afternoon. He doesn’t have the back form the top pick does and will have to improve mightily to contend for top honors, but he can be an underneath candidate at a price. #8 MOJOVATION hails from a barn that is 1 for its last 26 in NY and drops in class first off a claim. This son of Quality Road is 3 years removed from breaking his maiden on debut over this strip and stamping himself a major contender for the Hopeful. He classes up well in this bunch, but the cold barn and expected short price are negatives.
|Race 7-||1st #8 LONESOME FUGITIVE||2ND #6 PERJURY TRAP||3RD #7 PROVEN STRATEGIES|
#8 LONESOME FUGITIVE was extremely impressive in victory last time out, overcoming early trouble and a slow pace to get up just in time. The third-place finisher from that event has since returned to win impressively and this son of Zoffany should have more pace to run at today. He has a world of upside. His stablemate, #6 PERJURY TRAP, was a very impressive winner in his turf debut last fall at Aqueduct and now returns off the bench. He beat a good field that day that included subsequent graded stake winner Gufo and he ran on the slower part of the Aqueduct lawn much of the way. He’s another with potential. #7 PROVEN STRATEGIES is a speedy son of Sky Mesa who will be forwardly placed this afternoon for trainer Mark Casse. He set the pace in the Pennine Ridge on Belmont day before being overwhelmed by Decorated Invader and now gets some class relief. He fits this race perfectly but his trainer is on a bad run to start this meet.
|Race 8-||1ST #4 BLUGRASCAT’S SMILE||2ND #6 PRIORITIZE||3RD #1-1A PLETCHER ENTRY|
#4 BLUGRASCAT’S SMILE will almost certainly be the longest shot on the board here and is hardly the least likely winner. He made up ground on a surface that was overwhelmingly tilted towards speed last time out and a two-turn configuration is likely a better fit for him. He fits this race class-wise given his open company tries over the winter and there should be enough pace to set up his late run. #6 PRIORITIZE is a late runner who is in good form, as he came back from a layoff to fare well at this level at Belmont in mid-June. Trainer Jimmy Bond’s barn has heated up of late with two wins this week and an in the money finish from a huge longshot. The Todd Pletcher-trained entry of #1 YOU’RE TO BLAME and #1A MONEY MOVES complement each other well from a running style perspective as the latter has tactical speed while the former will do his bet running late. They will offer no value, as is normally the case with coupled entries, but together they have an excellent chance of winning.
|Race 9-||1ST #9 JIMMY JAZZ||2ND #5 STEELERSFANFORLIFE||3RD #4 BARLEEWON|
#9 JIMMY JAZZ was probably a touch too close to a robust pace last time out at Belmont then got into some traffic trouble in upper stretch. He goes 3rd off a layoff and trainer Tom Bush’s barn has clearly woken up since racing shifted to Saratoga. This son of English Channel will also offer tremendous value in here. #5 STEELERSFANFORLIFE was involved in the brutally fast pace in the race that the top pick exits before tiring late. He has been caught up in pace battles in each of his last two starts and would benefit from a more patient ride today. The jockey change to Junior Alvarado is a good one, as he should have him within range early. #4 BARLEEWON was a smashing maiden winner last time out and ran fast enough in that race to be a major contender in this spot. He has improved since returning from a brief layoff and moving into NY bred company and has the versatility needed to stay close early if the pace is moderate.
|Race 10-||1st #4 VOLATILE||2ND #5 MIND CONTROL||3RD #2 WHITMORE|
#4 VOLATILE is ready for his shot at the primetime as this is his first Grade I objective after winning the Aristides in blowout fashion for trainer Steve Asmussen. He is the controlling speed in this affair and will be nearly impossible to beat if he establishes a moderate pace in the opening stages. All signs point to him winning barring something unforeseen. #5 MIND CONTROL was clearly hurt by the wet track last time out and is now in position to rebound 2nd off a layoff. He is 2-2 over this oval having earned a couple of Grade I wins and his tactical speed gives him a potential edge over #2 WHITMORE and #3 FIRENZE FIRE. Those two are more late running types and are capable of winning this on their best days, but they’re going to need Volatile to take a step backwards to do that.
|Race 11-||1st #7 BROVIA||2ND #5 TIMELESS JOURNEY||3RD #8 GO ZAPPEM|
#7 BROVIA hails from the barn of H. James Bond, who has gotten things rolling this week at the Spa. This daughter of Tizway was stuck in traffic throughout the stretch drive last time and now goes 2nd off a lengthy layoff. She will be a major win candidate, but you can forget about a decent price given the presence of Irad Ortiz, Jr. #5 TIMELESS JOURNEY faced a weak field last time out and didn’t do much running. She stands to benefit having that race behind her, and trainer Christophe Clement is giving her some needed class relief today. #8 GO ZAPPEM returns from a layoff here and has run a couple of turf races that would make her a player in this field. Whether she’ll be ready off the layoff is a concern, but it is hard to throw out any horse that has performed respectably on the turf in this field.
SARATOGA MEET STATS: 71-15-13-15 $108.30