SARATOGA – 8/1/2020
Nick Tammaro ~ @NTamm1215

Race 1-1st #1A OUTLIER 2ND #8 TEAM MERCHANTS3RD #3 REINVESTMENT RISK

#1A OUTLIER is a 375k son of Not This Time, whose stud fee is a paltry 12.5k.  This colt has worked swiftly and there are 3 debut winners from this freshman sire’s first crop.  The dam here was a stake winner and this barn is among the best in the nation with debuting 2YOs.  #8 TEAM MERCHANTS is a home bred son of Nyquist out of a winless mare who has already produced a juvenile winner.  It’s curious to see this colt in NY and he drew well for a first timer.  #3 REINVESTMENT RISK appears to be training well and went for a pretty penny given he is by a new stallion.  This guy’s dam was a 4x winner and she has dropped a juvenile winner.

Race 2-1st #5 HIDDEN SCROLL2ND #1 FOG OF WAR3RD #3 DREAM FRIEND

#5 HIDDEN SCROLL had a legitimate excuse last time out as he battled through very fast fractions after a less than stellar start.  Most of his backers have long ago made it to the poor house, but he is deserving of one more try being re-united with Joel Rosario.  #1 FOG OF WAR is more sizzle than steak given that he has not run back to the promise he showed as a 2YO.  The best news here is that trainer Chad Brown is working him with accomplished veterans and he appears to be set for a big effort off the bench.  #3 DREAM FRIEND is taking a massive drop in class having faced graded stake foes last time out.  He makes the third start of his form cycle today and had no chance last time out given the field was so bunched up at the quarter pole.

Race 3-1st #9 REGAL SPEAKER2ND #5 K.K. ICHIKAWA3RD #4 NO SALT

In a race that’s a tad out of place on Whitney day #9 REGAL SPEAKER gets the nod.  He faced much tougher on debut at Delaware and now gets blinkers and Lasix for start number two.  He realistically doesn’t have to improve at all to win this thing and is a deserving favorite.  #5 K.K. ICHIKAWA is a second timer who showed some life on debut running in spots before snagging the show dough.  He will benefit from having that race behind him and is another getting Lasix for the first time here.  #4 NO SALT threw the rider at the start last time and now drops in for a tag.  That’s not a great sign given his 200k price tag, but he is still deserving of a shot on turf and should be a distant second choice in here.

Race 4-1st #2 SEARING CHASE2ND #3 DREAMS OF TOMORROW3RD #1 PARDSY

#2 SEARING CHASE ran very well on debut in a loaded field at Keeneland.  This son of Uncle Mo was close to a scorching pace, made a big move around the far turn to reach command then tired late.  He should gain a ton from that effort and figures to be in range early this afternoon.  #3 DREAMS OF TOMORROW is the horse to beat given his speed figure advantage and that he almost overcame a very soft pace last time out.  He gets blinkers today and that just might sharpen him up early, which would do no harm to his chances.  #1 PARDSY was bet down to 3-1 on debut at Belmont and tired badly after stalking a soft pace.  He has trained forwardly since and will be committed to the front end breaking from the inside.

Race 5-1ST #3 MIDNIGHT BISOU2ND #4 VEXATIOUS3RD #6 POINT OF HONOR

#3 MIDNIGHT BISOU returns to the Spa in arguably the best form of her career given her facile dismissal of her rivals in the Fleur de Lis.  She is facing a soft bunch compared to past runnings of this race and figures to get a decent pace to run at late.  Barring something unforeseen, this should be her 4th Grade I in the last two years.  #4 VEXATIOUS is a versatie daughter of Giant’s Causeway who can get the jump on the top pick with a forwardly placed trip.  She was a good second to Monomoy Girl last time out and figures to offer some value as an exacta alternative to #6 POINT OF HONOR.  That daughter of Curlin narrowly missed last time out in the Ogden Phipps and appears to have no killer instinct.  She is a late runner who is always at the mercy of the pace and will offer no value relative to her win chances.

Race 6-1st #2 MISTER WINSTON2ND #7 EVERFAST3RD #3 COOL BOBBY

#2 MISTER WINSTON ran a hole in the wind last time out tracking a fast pace before coming up just short late.  He now cuts back in distance to a trip that’s likely to be his best and has drawn favorably towards the inside.  An aggressive ride is just what this son of Lookin at Lucky needs.  #7 EVERFAST has run his two best races with Joel Rosario on board and he is back in the saddle today.  This colt was a game 2nd in the Blame two back when positioned more forwardly than he had been in a while.  The 7 furlong trip is ideal in that he can settle and make one run as the likely favorite.  #3 COOL BOBBY was sent to the lead last time out and improved his position with each passing stride.  He had not been much of a frontrunning type prior to that, but could once again find himself in an advantageous spot leading this field early.  There’s still upside here given the promise he showed out west.

Race 7-1st #8 MODERN SCIENCE2ND #10 HABITUS3RD #2 EXPLAIN

#8 MODERN SCIENCE gained valuable experience on debut at Ellis Park and is now strictly the one to beat at second asking for Ian Wilkes.  This barn has won 3 races at the meet from limited starters and all of the run-backs from this colt’s debut have improved. All signs point to him clearing the maiden ranks.  #10 HABITUS is a second timer who broke poorly on debut before making a big late move.  He now stretches out in distance, but this suddenly cold barn has bad numbers stretching out 2YO maidens (10%, $0.92 ROI 2nd timer 2YOs stretching out in MSW races on turf).  #2 EXPLAIN is a second timer who is out of a multiple turf winner.  The second family on his dam side is geared towards turf, and the inside post and addition of blinkers should ensure this colt is forwardly placed today.

Race 8-1ST #8 REIGNING SPIRIT2ND #7 AMANO3RD #3 BAIL OUT

#8 REIGNING SPIRIT is a late runner who narrowly missed last time out with a big pace setup.  He goes 3rd off a short layoff today and is seemingly crying out for more ground.  Look for him in the latter stages of this affair, especially if the pace is respectable.  #7 AMANO has been favored in both prior starts and is likely to be the public choice today.  He made a late move last time out with a big pace setup and is another who’ll likely appreciate the extra ground.  #3 BAIL OUT was a competitive 2nd two back when he finished ahead of Amano and he now gets the bug boy back aboard.  This gelding has performed well at this distance before and should offer value at the windows.

Race 9-1ST #2 IMPROBABLE2ND #5 TOM’S D’ETAT3RD #3 CODE OF HONOR

#2 IMPROBABLE might have the best upset chance given the forward move he made last time out in the Gold Cup.  He ran the best race two back when 2nd to Tom’s d’Etat and looks to have beaten the gate issues that dogged him in the past.  Trainer Bob Baffert is a staggering 52% in Grade Is on dirt in NY over the last 5 years ($3.82 ROI).  The aforementioned #5 TOM’S D’ETAT is the horse to beat given the way he asserted his dominance in this division in the Stephen Foster.  He has been very good at Saratoga in the past and seems to be at a new level as a 7 year-old.  The race flow in here should be in his favor and this is his shot to shine at the Spa.  #3 CODE OF HONOR is a late runner who was at a disadvantage in the Met Mile given the success the frontrunning types enjoyed.  He made the only meaningful off the pace move and now returns to the site of his greatest triumph, the 2019 Travers.  Look for him in the waning stages.

Race 10-1st #7 SHOPLIFTED2ND #8 THREE TECHNIQUE3RD #11 TAP IT TO WIN

#7 SHOPLIFTED made an early and aggressive move last time out before flattening out late.  He now goes 2nd off a brief layoff and should get a much stronger pace to run at in the late stages of this affair.  This son of Into Mischief has always hinted at having Grade I caliber ability going short and will be a square price in this ultra competitive affair.  #8 THREE TECHNIQUE made a wide move around the far turn of the Rebel last time out.  The rail became the place to be that afternoon as the day wore on and this son of Mr. Speaker had no trip.  He is a late threat on the cutback in distance today and is another who figures to be a decent price.  #11 TAP IT TO WIN was understandably tried in the Belmont last time out and now cuts back in distance.  He was no match for Travers favorite Tiz the Law but fits well in here.  Sprinting has likely always been his game.

Race 11-1st #4 DOT MATRIX2ND #6 SADLER’S JOY3RD #2 CROSS BORDER

#4 DOT MATRIX will be re-united with Joel Rosario tomorrow and has run his best races under his hands.  This son of Freud was in a poor spot early in the Manhattan last time out and never fired.  He figures to be forwardly placed today in a race devoid of early speed and is a logical player at a square price.  #6 SADLER’S JOY seems to manufacture ways to lose in every race as he looked like a sure winner at the eighth pole of his last start.  He came up wanting in the final furlong and now returns to the three-turn configuration he truly loves.  Look for him late today.  #2 CROSS BORDER returns on short rest having won the Lubash here 10 days ago.  He is the one to catch should he start, as there is precious little speed in here otherwise.  He was competitive in the aforementioned Manhattan and is a winner at 11 panels, so there is plenty to like.

Race 12-1st #7 DALIKA2ND #5 JAKARTA3RD #8 SARATOGA TREASURE

#7 DALIKA was clearly best last time out when beaten as the even money favorite in the License Fee.  She shortens up to the distance at which she was successful two starts back and should get a fair pace setup today.  There’s simply no better turf sprint rider in America than Joel Rosario and he will have her moving in the right direction late.  #5 JAKARTA hails from the red-hot barn of Mike Maker, who has won 8 races in the last 8 racing days.  This daughter of Bustin Stones is the one to catch and could prove a wire-to-wire threat if left alone on the front end.  She had no chance on the wrong part of the racetrack last time out and got mixed up in a white-hot pace two back against a future Hall of Famer.  This is her spot to get control from the start and never look back.  #8 SARATOGA TREASURE is a late threat who was badly pace compromised last time out when 3rd against NY breds in the Hessonite.  She has run well at the Spa in the past and will be moving late as a live longshot.

SARATOGA MEET STATS: 122-26-20-20    $172.20