08/16/2013 3:25PM

All Star Stakes Analysis For Saratoga, August 17


All-Star Stakes Analysis by Dave Litfin


Course conditions are key for TWILIGHT ECLIPSE, who has won four of six on firm turf, including the Pan American in world-record time for 1 1/2 miles, which is also the last time he caught such footing. On the other hand, BOISTEROUS relishes some cut in the ground, so Tuesday’s rain probably came a little too early. The Man o'War was his tenth win on turf rated good or yielding, but he is just one for eight when it's firm, including a fifth as the favorite in the 2011 Sword Dancer. Be that as it may, he is classy and consistent, and has never been better. BIG BLUE KITTEN closed nicely behind Boisterous in the Monmouth Stakes, before a perfect ground-saving score in the United Nations over 2011 winner TEAKS NORTH; his entrymate, STORMY LORD, ensures honest pace. If Twilight Eclipse is offered at anything close to his 5-1 morning-line quote, he merits a win wager. For multi-race exotics, let’s designate Twilight Eclipse and Boisterous as A types. Big Blue Kitten is a B.


With the exception of the Gazelle, when forced to chase Close Hatches in a two-horse race off a 63-day layoff, PRINCESS OF SYLMAR has been unbeatable in routes. She has enough tactical speed to secure position, and is hard to get past at a short price. FIFTYSHADESOFHAY has won graded stakes at three tracks, shipping to win Black Eyed Susan and Iowa Oaks, the latter over Seaneen Girl, recent six-length winner of the Monmouth Oaks. Indeed, she is the only other graded stakes winner in the field, and is well rested with seven weeks between starts. MONTANA NATIVE edged forward to a new Beyer top taking the restricted Broom Dance overnight stake earlier at the meet. She followed with another sharp work 10 days later; and can pick up a share in her current form. The prohibitive favorite looks like a free bingo square in multi-race exotics. Montana Native figures close with Fiftyshadesofhay, but has the advantage of a race over the track, and might provide some value as a cold exacta punch in the second slot.

All-Star Stakes Analysis by Mike Watchmaker


Princess of Sylmar
Carnival Court

Princess of Sylmar will be odds on in this spot, and deserves to be. Her victory in the CCA Oaks over the track earlier in the meet was tremendous, and coming after her upset win in the 3-year-old filly division's biggest race, the Kentucky Oaks, it put her in commanding position for a divisional championship. Tell a Great Story doesn't look nearly good enough. Montana Native also won going nine furlongs on Saratoga's main track last time out, but in a much easier restricted stakes, and I didn't care for the way she drifted through the stretch that day. Galloping Giraffe isn't nearly fast enough on Beyers to contend, nor is Carnival Court, but at least the latter is first time Lasix and might improve because of that. The only one who remotely classes up to Princess of Sylmar is Fiftyshadesofhay, winner of the Iowa Oaks and Black Eyed Susan in her last two starts, and even she would have to improve to really contend. If it weren't for multi-race exotics, this would be a race to watch only because there's not much to be made of it pari-mutuelly on its own. In multi-race exotics, you could treat Princess of Sylmar as a bingo free square, or you could take her and Fiftyshadesofhay and pretty much lock the race up. Your call.


Big Blue Kitten

Boisterous, impressive winner of the Man o' War last time out, and Big Blue Kitten, winner of the United Nations most recently, are the two main players here, and I prefer Big Blue Kitten. These two met two starts back in the Monmouth Stakes and though Boisterous won by a little more than a length over Big Blue Kitten, Big Blue Kitten had the much, much tougher trip and was the best horse. You have to use both for defensive reasons, but a press on Big Blue Kitten is warranted. I'm against Optimizer as I sense his form is going the wrong way, but I'm interested in Nutello. Nutello's Euro-lines are not good enough to compete, which is why I find it intriguing that trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias sent him here for this anyway. According to Formulator, Laffon-Parais has sent only one other horse here from Europe in the last five years, and that was Chinchon, who became a U.S. Grade 1 stakes winner. Now, Chinchon had much better Euro-lines than Nutello. But just on trainer faith, Nutello is a price horse worth throwing in.