09/04/2015 7:25PM

Fornatale: Shurman looks at two Saratoga races


Bill Shurman said this week that I write about him and his brother Paul too much in my column. My feeling is that when the Shurmans stop being so interesting, I'll stop writing about them. Paul, the 14-time qualifier for the National Handicapping Championship who earned his second seat for 2016 last weekend at Monmouth, was kind enough to share a couple of thoughts on Saturday’s contest sequence on BCQualify.com and DRFQualify.com. Take it away, Paul!

Late in the BCQualify card is the Grade 3 Glens Falls for fillies and mares at 1 3/8 miles on the turf. Of course, for this contest, you have to finish in the top 10 percent to move on, and what you play in this race could depend on your position in this contest. If you are solidly in or close to the top 10 percent, you might want to play who you feel is the most likely winner in the race. But if you are on the fringes, you are probably better off looking for the best value. Here I think the best value is Lady of Gold, listed at 15-1 morning line.

It looks like Goldy Espony will be on the lead as far as she can go. She wired the field at a mile and a half her last two times out, so 1 3/8 miles shouldn't be a problem. If no one challenges her, she will probably waltz around the track (and in that case, she is your most likely winner). I am hoping a different scenario develops, however. Maybe she'll be challenged up top, most likely by Ceisteach, who battled on the lead and won a Grade 3 at Delaware last out, actually finishing ahead of Lady of Gold by a couple of lengths. But that race was Lady of Gold's second off a three-month layoff, and prior to that, she hadn't run since January, so she probably wasn't in the healthiest state at the beginning of the year. Her last race was where she was probably best ready to fire, but it came off the turf, and she ran poorly in the mud against a five-horse field as the favorite.

Now she is back on the turf and apparently healthy for her fourth race in a row, back on her favorite surface. She likes Saratoga. The reason you are getting 15-1 is because although she has run well in Grade 3 stakes, she hasn't actually won in a while. But I have her races as good as or even better than the rest in the field. If Goldy Espony isn't allowed to walk around the track, I am hoping Lady of Gold will close for a win at big odds. 

I also like a horse in the 12th at Saratoga if he draws in off the also-eligible list. That horse is Tetradrachm at 20-1 on the morning line. It could just be an inflated morning line, but if he gets in and is anywhere close to those odds, he'll be a definite play for me. Strong connections with Jacobson and Castellano. He's as fast, if not faster, than everyone else in the field. You can toss his last two races, one in the slop and the other where he was taken up while sprinting on the turf. He's 3 for 5 in the money at Saratoga and 7 for 9 at the distance on turf. As with Lady of Gold, you are probably getting high odds because the horse hasn't won in a while, but there is no reason he can't win. I hope he makes it into the race.