07/31/2013 9:53AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis August 1, 2013

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Dave Litfin’s Analysis [BEST BET: Fiddlers Afleet (8th race)]

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1 BLUEGRASS SUMMER makes first start in nearly three months for the same owner-trainer-jockey combination that won last week's Jonathan Kiser Memorial with Martini Brother, who had also been idle since May; nearly lost rider early in May 4 allowance. ALL TOGETHER, the 2011 Kiser winner, and third in last year's A.P. Smithwick, is the most accomplished jumper in the field; favorably weighted. ALBANY ROAD, LABONTE and NETWORK NEWS all showed early speed in their recent maiden victories. Closer Looks >>
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2 DIVINE FORTUNE was a convincing winner of his 10-year-old debut, and although he was subsequently worn down by DEMONSTRATIVE in the 3-mile Iroquois, this is a more manageable distance for the two-time A.P. Smithwick winner, and he drops a dozen pounds for the rematch. Demonstrative usually runs well over this course, including wins in the Kiser and N.Y. Turf Writers at nice prices last year. SPY IN THE SKY won over the course at 6-1 in 2008, swiped the 2009 Turf Writers at 20-1, and took last year's Smithwick by a nose at 25-1; speed sharpened at Belmont last month. Closer Looks >>
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3 APEX faded behind DEADICATED DEAL opening weekend on a wet track, but any three placings on fast dirt look good enough to handle maiden claimers, notably his debut against Palace Malice; taken to rebound if conditions suit. POLITICAL FARCE chased a loose-on-the-lead 8-5 shot throughout his initial start for Rudy Rodriguez; two races at today's distance have resulted in his two best figures. PERFECT DANGER was quick enough to outrun the speedy Mentor Cane for the lead in last; has improved in two starts for current trainer. Closer Looks >>
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4 NATIVE SINGER was solidly backed for both starts at Belmont, and after an even try in the mud, he improved several lengths to be clearly second best; beaten choice rates another try. THNXTOMYUNCLE emerges from his seventh runner-up finish, in which he was all out to get past first-time starter ONE MORE CHIEF, who was involved in a prolonged battle for the lead; handles any footing. ESCAPE TO THE MOON is a full brother to Towering Moon, a six-length debut winner (at odds-on) for these connections at Belmont last fall; watch the board. Closer Looks >>
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5 RAPID BURN makes his third start of the year, and drops to a new low level after showing some improvement with blinkers added; barn came out firing through the first 10 days. SMART POWER had a useful conditioning race at Colonial Downs first time out in nearly 11 months, and turned in a fast turf workout here soon afterward; good final fraction here last Aug. 23 suggests he'll be closing late. TAPULOUS has been freshened since a pair of second-place finishes in May with different pace tactics; becomes the logical choice in the event of a switch to dirt at seven furlongs. Closer Looks >>
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6 SARATOGA SNACKS beat SAGINAW with something left in the Alex M. Robb last Dec.. 26, and returned better than ever when he outkicked MINE OVER MATTER and B SHANNY in a similar spot at Belmont; only loss since debut was gutsy Empire Classic placing to favored Lunar Victory. Defending John Morrissey titlist Saginaw was at the end of arduous 14-race campaign when he faced the top pick at 1 1/16 miles in the A.M. Robb; he has been given more time between races this year, winning all four starts, and overcame adversity to prevail while giving weight most recently. Mine Over Matter rates extra credit for any moisture in the track. B Shanny and NIGHT MANEUVER arrive in career-best form. Closer Looks >>
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7 In the event of a switch to dirt at seven furlongs, leather-tough ITSAGOODTENDOLLARS would rate the edge returning to the Spa for the first time since facing Saginaw (see 6th race) last year; has held good form since the winter. Otherwise, LIQUIDITY TRAP was sidelined nearly 1 1/2 years, and then raced twice in 11 days for different outfits recently; compromised by lack of pace July 7. VINDICATION NOW drew off as much the best when dropped to a claimer on turf the first time; wants it firm judging from debacle on this course last year. Closer Looks >>
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8 After tangling with the likes of Morrissey starters Saratoga Snacks, Saginaw and Mine Over Matter at Belmont, this will be an easier assignment for FIDDLERS AFLEET, whose last seven-furlong start at Saratoga was a $100K stakes win; improved workout last week. ATTRACTIVE RIDE won in the Spa slop at 9-1 with Robby Albarado in 2009, just missed at 10-1 here last summer, and has been reclaimed by Merrill Scherer repeatedly throughout a 55-race career; last win came a few days before the cutoff date of this "beaten" claimer. WILD TARGET and SAM SPARKLE rate consideration as they drop to a new low level. Closer Looks >>
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9 If this optional claimer is switched to the main track at seven furlongs, ROMAN INVADER has run well in her last two turf-to-dirt situations, and produced a lifetime Beyer top out of the Big A chute in first New York start. On turf, SCENARIO ANALYSIS will be second time back from a freshening, as she was last year for a stretch-running win this course & trip; pace scenario becomes more favorable for her if FORMATIVE stays in and tussles with MOONWALK early. FREE AS A BIRD has put up competitive figures in the 84-89 range four of five starts on grass; back to N2X ranks after tough spot vs. Grade 1 winner Samitar Closer Looks >>
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10 After racing at a mile in her first four starts with Lasix, LITTLE GABBY GIRL cut back to sprints on fast and muddy tracks at Belmont; she won them both, and comes up to this as the lone dual winner in the lineup. MIDNIGHTINPOSITANO turned in a vastly improved effort to light up the toteboard at 20-1 off a turf-to-dirt turnback most recently; six of her rivals are New York-breds including the top one. CRAFTY PUSH could try to wire these from the rail judging from maiden win over the track last year; her form has nosedived since then, however, and DIXIE SPARKLE doesn't figure to let her get away to an easy lead. Closer Looks >>
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11 JESS NOT JESSE has been sidelined 10 months, but has a history of running well fresh, including 2008 debut win at Saratoga and back-to-back wins here off a similar hiatus last year; from the outside he has options to set or stalk the pace depending on what BEER IS GOOD does, and his main late challenge will likely come from former stablemate AWAKINO CAT. The latter's four wins over the course were all stakes, and he was claimed from a useful return run in late June; prefers firm footing. RESERVED QUALITY, 2 for 2 on the main track including a lifetime top Beyer last summer, becomes the one to beat in the event of a switch to dirt. Closer Looks >>
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