SARATOGA – 7/29/2020
Nick Tammaro ~ @NTamm1215

Race 1-1st #4 CRITICAL DATA 2ND #1 SIXTY FIVE3RD #7 WHITMAN’S POETRY

#4 CRITICAL DATA is the best horse on the flat in the field and the elongated run from the final fence to the wire often helps these types.  #1 SIXTY FIVE returns to the jumps and is one of the few multiple multiple winners in the field.  #7 WHITMAN’S POETRY goes 2nd off a layoff and has good back form that makes him competitive here.

Race 2-1st #4 BELLEZA2ND #7 CROSS KEYS3RD #2 WHISTLINGINTHEDARK

#4 BELLEZA was within range of a white hot pace last time out and was overwhelmed inside the ¼ pole by a debuting longshot.  This filly has improved with each passing start and figures to be in ideal stalk and pounce territory from the outset.  #7 CROSS KEYS drops in for a tag and cuts back in distance for trainer Tony Dutrow.  The mystery of why this barn no longer wins races, or starts horses, is amazing.  This filly, however, is a definite win candidate.  #2 WHISTLINGINTHEDARK nearly took a spin on the Cross Island Parkway last time out when she rallied from well off the pace.  She should benefit from having that race behind her and figures to be a decent price.

Race 3-1st #1 SKY KITTEN2ND #9 POSITIVE SKEW3RD #4 FIVE ALARM ROBIN

#1 SKY KITTEN drops in class back into the claiming ranks after a dull effort here on opening day.  This is the right level class-wise and her best turf races in June at Belmont make her a win candidate.  The price here will certainly be appealing.  #9 POSITIVE SKEW rallied gamely last time out to snag the place dough behind a heavy favorite.  This daughter of City Zip got all the best of it that day, rating along the strong inside paths on the turf before angling out to make a final bid.  This gal will be over bet today for connections that have struggled since racing returned in early June.  #4 FIVE ALARM ROBIN drops in for a tag and returns to turf, which appears to be her preferred surface.  This gal fared well on the weeds in the past and meets softer competition than she did when a competitive 5th last fall at the Big A.

Race 4-1st #2 HOMETOWN2ND #1-1A PLETCHER ENTRY3RD #3 FIRST LINE

#2 HOMETOWN did plenty of running on debut when he rallied around the turn after getting steadied at the start.  He should benefit from having that race behind him and now gets more ground for trainer Rodolphe Brisset.  This barn is 32% with maidens stretching out on dirt over the last 5 years ($2.57 ROI) and this inside post should help him save ground during that short run to the first turn.  #1 AJHAR and #1A ASHIHAM are both capable of winning this race, but they are going to be horribly over bet.  The former was a distant third last time out at Belmont when he made two moves in his 2nd start for Todd Pletcher.  The latter failed as the favorite twice at Churchill and the winner of his last start was drilled here on Sunday in a N1X.  #3 FIRST LINE was highly regarded coming into his debut and has not panned out, but the extra distance will not hurt and he can be forwardly placed on the stretchout.

Race 5-1ST #4 CLASSIC LADY2ND #2 WEGETSDAMUNNYS3RD #1 WAR CANOE

It appears to be time for #4 CLASSIC LADY to shine as she exits a narrow miss in the Mount Vernon.  These connections have been on fire at this meet, and this gal had room to move forward after joining this barn.  She showed more tactical speed last time out and can be within range from the outset today.  #2 WEGETSDAMUNNYSgoes 3rd off a layoff and shortens up in distance.  She’s a stablemate of the top pick and has more of a deep closing style than that rival.  Her best races make her competitive and she’ll offer far more value than ‘Lady.  #1 WAR CANOE was a good 3rd in the aforementioned Mount Vernon and now drew a cozy inside post position.  Her trainer struggled mightily at Saratoga in Week 2 but those doldrums won’t last much longer.  You’ll want to have this gal on your Pick 5 tickets.

Race 6-1st #5 AMERICAN POWER2ND #1-1A ENTRY3RD #6 THEBIGFUNDAMENTAL

#5 AMERICAN POWER attempted to rally last time out over a surface that played kindly to forwardly placed types.  This veteran is 2-2 at Saratoga and will get some pace to run at in this affair.  He is in top form since returning from a layoff for trainer Linda Rice and figures to be a square price in a super competitive affair.  #1 REED KAN is in top form at the moment having won two in a row against lesser downstate at Belmont.  He is a pace player from the inside and should be involved from the start this afternoon.  Coupled with #1A TOPPER T, this pairing offers complementary running styles that help make an entry more appealing.  #6 THEBIGFUNDAMENTAL returns from a lengthy layoff today for trainer Todd Pletcher as he also drops in for a tag.  This son of Uncle Mo is owned by Pletcher and his father, so the class drop is hardly problematic.  Whether he’ll be set for his best is unclear, but this barn is 33% with claimers on dirt off of 180+ day breaks ($2.11 ROI).

Race 7-1st #5 SECRETARY AT WAR2ND #8 VICI3RD #4 SAYYAAF

#5 SECRETARY AT WAR goes 2nd off a layoff for trainer Norm Casse after surging late to narrowly miss against a comparable field at Churchill Downs.  The extra sixteenth of a mile will only help his chances, and there’s plenty of pace signed up in this field.  Look for him late as a live longshot.  #8 VICI has the potential to be the speed of the speed in this bunch.  He was involved in super fast paces the last two times he went to the post and he makes the third start of his form cycle today.  Look for jockey Manny Franco to get him to the front as quickly as possible.  #4 SAYYAAF feels like a horse who is likely to be ridden less aggressively last time out given the fact he was collared late after setting fast fractions last time.  Even if not, he might not be quick enough to get clear of Vici.  Things would set up perfectly for the top pick if they battle early.

Race 8-1ST #6 BLACKJACK DAVEY2ND #2 BEBE BANKER3RD #8 DANNY CALIFORNIA

#6 BLACKJACK DAVEY was an impressive maiden winner at 2nd asking for trainer Linda Rice and now faces winners for the first time.  Since that win he has worked sharply and retains Irad Ortiz, Jr. for this engagement.  The distance should be no issue given the way he finished last time, with only the second turn being of concern.  #2 BEBE BANKER is the one to catch from the inside but exits a win which looks on paper far better than it was in actuality.  The field he faced that day was putrid, but he handled them the way he was supposed to and trainer Rudy Rodriguez has chosen a realistic spot for his move back into N1X company.  #8 DANNY CALIFORNIA is a winner at 9 furlongs and should be moving late under the best off the pace rider in the colony.  He seems to be rounding back into form and should be a fair price in a highly competitive field.

Race 9-1ST #1 WISSAHICKON2ND #3 GIDU3RD #7 BREAKING THE RULES

#1 WISSAHICKON was a very accomplished horse overseas, winning a Group 3 at Lingfield in addition to a 33 horse race to end his 3YO campaign in 2018.  He may have been in need of anti-bleeding medication and that’s why he has surfaced here.  New trainer Jonathan Thomas has chosen a terrific spot for his North American debut and he has the tactical speed to stay within range early.  #3 GIDU is the one to catch as he tries to negotiate an a sixteenth of a mile farther than he ever has before.  He has had a very difficult time harnessing his speed, but this son of Frankel is crazy fast and has a major pace edge on paper.  #7 BREAKING THE RULES enjoyed a perfect trip to win last time out on Belmont Stakes day and now takes a logical step up in class.  This son of War Front looked to be Grade I caliber early in 2019 and may now be fulfilling that potential for his ultra patient trainer.

Race 10-1st #2 ZACCAPA2ND #4 SEQUIN3RD #2 LET THEM EAT CAKE

#1 ZACCAPA ran a bang-up race in her North American debut for Brad Cox and will be nearly impossible to beat if she moves forward off that performance.  The pace she was involved in was very hot, and she stayed on well to snag the place dough.  This barn scored two wins on Sunday and is breaking out of a slump.  #4 SEQUIN ran races as a 2YO that were fast enough to win this heat and now returns for a barn that is 22% with a nearly breakeven ROI with turf sprinters off 180+ day breaks.  Look for her to be in position from the start under the rider who nearly led her to victory on debut going this very trip.  #2 LET THEM EAT CAKE finally gets a chance to sprint on the turf for a barn that is 24% with maiden turf sprinters over the last five years ($3.53 ROI).  The inside post will enable her to save ground from the start and this barn has started the meet strongly with a couple of wins.  The recent quick workouts are also encouraging.

SARATOGA MEET STATS: 82-18-15-18         $124.70