08/09/2013 11:28AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis August 10, 2013

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Dave Litfin’s Analysis [BEST BET: Roman Invader (2nd race)]

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1 ITHASTOBEGEORGE and MOONLIGHT SONG have similar looks, as they both come off consecutive Beyer tops in their first two starts of the year, while using different running-style tactics. Statistically, Ithastobegeorge, a 3-year-old colt, is less likely to react negatively than the 6-year-old gelding Moonlight Song. TUG OF WAR rates a look at a square price, as he has won previously at the Spa when fresh, has competitive back figures and has trained swiftly of late. Closer Looks >>
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2 From five previous turf-to-dirt situations, ROMAN INVADER has never been worse than second, and she earned a career best Beyer the only time she's been on dirt this year; had a useful sprint sharpener first off the claim. EXPRESSION returned from 10-week respite to just miss in overnight stake while matching peak figure of Feb. 18; she regressed after that race against ANN'S SMART DANCER, but was on short rest that day, and has been given more recovery time by astute owner-trainer. Ann's Smart Dancer, freshened since six straight in-the-money finishes January through June, must overcome post #1, which was just 1 for 30 at six furlongs through Thursday. Closer Looks >>
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3 Close call between European imports THE SIXTIES and WHERE'S DANNY, who figure right together off their initial dirt races. The Sixties blew away stablemate Restricted List first off the claim, and is doubled in price for his New York debut. Where's Danny has been bumped hard at the break twice in the U.S., but got a favorably fast pace July 24, and was along in time in an off-the-turf maiden dash. Things didn't pan out for EL CUADRO over the jumps in the spring, so the New York-bred is back to flat racing, which may be a good thing since his lone victory came on this track; extra credit for any moisture in the surface. Closer Looks >>
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4 If switched to dirt at 1 1/8 miles, LUNAR SURGE would rate slight edge over fellow MTO SHEER DRAMA by virtue of a race over the course, at the distance. CAN'T CATCH KATE might remain a threat on dirt, as half-sister Kid Kate was a multiple stakes winner who loved Saratoga, but she also ran one of this group's better turf races as a first-time starter with rate-and-finish tactics; probably too close to the early pace when last seen as the 3-2 favorite Mar. 8. WINNER'S LEGACY isn't far off Can't Catch Kate judging from first division of Mar. 8 race at Gulfstream; she has since gained experience on non-firm ground for a barn that has been loaded for bear. WEAVE, a half-sis to three-time graded turf stakes winner Wend, rates long look after some promising works at Fair Hill. Closer Looks >>
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5 If switched to dirt at seven furlongs, DIGHTON showed little when returned from 47-day absence, but "needed one" when brought back from similar break in April before winning close decisions back to back, one at the expense of HARLEY. Otherwise, LOGAN STREET has run very competitive figures in the mid-70s all four starts this year for Lisa Lewis, who sent out Kiss Me Lola (5-2) to win off a similar layoff early at the meet; met repeaters last pair. HE'S SO FINE posted good late fractions in first two blinkered turf starts at Gulfstream; hard to fathom what he was doing on the lead when back to grass opening weekend, but like Logan Street, he may sit a good trip if FLOWING MANE and PRUDENT INVESTOR reprise their July 5 pace duel. Closer Looks >>
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6 You know the drill. Todd Pletcher's 2-year-old first-time starters usually go well, so SOUND OF FREEDOM, a $365,000 purchase in March, is likely to come out running after a gate drill ranked 3/69; first runner out of unraced half-sister to several multiple winners in Japan. If MOSLER looks like a million bucks on the track, that's still a bit less than what he sold for as a yearling; half-sister Contested won Grade 1 Acorn & Test last year. PECORINO was a clear second when unveiled by Pletcher opening week; experience edge if able to draw in. POINT HOPE is a homebred from Darley Stable (five wins through Thursday include two winning firsters); works over the track getting progressively quicker. Closer Looks >>
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7 Given seven weeks off after an even try behind New York Derby repeater Amberjack in the Mike Lee, SOUL HOUSE dropped to this level and clearly bested three of these despite being floated wide and angling back inside Crackerjack Jones, who is now 2 for 3; gets an additional 1/16th of a mile to work with today. EVEN GOT QUIET rallied mildly behind the top pick second time back from a year in mothballs; in the mix if he rebounds to June 27 return figure. The 6-year-old AMBASSADOR BRIDGE remains eligible for this preliminary condition, and toiled in lower-graded restricted claimers for a long while; nevertheless, the July 4 placing to odds-on Escapefromreality stamps him a late threat to land somewhere on the board. Closer Looks >>
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8 He needs a couple scratches from the main body of the race, but also-eligible AMPERSAND has put up several final fractions that point him out as the strongest finisher (twice on this course); nicely suited to matchup with plenty of speed. If Ampersand fails to get in, GHOST HUNTER switches to turf off a noteworthy trainer change after meeting stakes winners Code West, Up With the Birds (2nd in Queen's Plate) and Five Iron on dirt and synthetic; obvious threat if race goes to the main track at seven furlongs. LEADEM IN KEN added blinkers and withstood race-long pace pressure to win first turf start at nearly 10-1; would be surrounded by potential early challengers PONTUS, TWO SEVENTEEN, WILLY ELLIOT and PEACE AND JUSTICE. Closer Looks >>
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9 With the exception of the Natalma on yielding ground, SUMMER OF FUN has been a consistent performer on turf, beginning with maiden win on this course and near-misses in the Jessamine & BC Juvenile Fillies Turf; sharp both spring starts, training forwardly for hot outfit. BARBIE WIRE stretches out after defeating next-out winners on turf and dirt at seven furlongs; versatile filly remains a contender if this overnight stake lands on main track at 1 1/8 miles. HEDONEMEWRONGSONG exhibits nice development line after improving a few lengths second out this year in Virginia Oaks behind PRAIA; homebred was a 21-1 winner on this layout last summer. Closer Looks >>
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10 WISE DAN has no qualms about running on yielding turf or being in tight quarters inside, as shown by hedge-brushing triumph in rain-soaked Firecracker under similar impost and in the Fourstardave last year; only knock on reigning Horse of the Year, if there is one, is his figures as a 6-year-old are several lengths below those of last year. The late-blooming ZA APPROVAL beat probable pacesetter KING KREESA for his first Grade 3 score, backed it up winning the Red Bank right after that, and exits solid finish in the Shoemaker behind 3-10 shot Obviously, the nation's second-ranking turf miler; wants it firm. LEA comes off paired 97s to start 4-year-old season that are slightly above last year's top and foreshadow an impending forward move; 2 for 2 this course. Closer Looks >>
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11 If the nightcap is transferred to the main track at 1 1/8 miles, KID SIDNEY has found trouble this year seemingly at every turn, capped by a race on the track two weeks ago when herded, brushed and nosed for second at 30-1; would face three other MTOs in sharp current form. Otherwise, it's simply a matter of whether ADIRONDACK DANCER can put up something similar to the stratospheric last-out Beyer of 101, which was about nine lengths faster than anything he had ever run; only Spa turf try was against Hobbs, now a multiple allowance and minor stake winner. NORTH STAR BOY didn't get much pace to run at in U.S. debut, but unleashed good late run that fell just short; all turf races overseas were sprints. Closer Looks >>
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