08/14/2013 10:40AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis August 15, 2013

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Dave Litfin's Analysis [BEST BET: Much Stronger (6th race)]

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1 Granted, it was well over a year ago, but TOTAL COMMAND was an easy winner of his first U.S. start, and that was accomplished with eight months between races; assumed fit & ready after two six-furlong breezes at Fair Hill. KINGDOM went evenly in the Kiser Memorial three weeks ago behind Martini Brother, who was winning his third in a row; maiden win by wide margin start prior. Of several that raced at Fair Hill May 25, CALL ME SONNY posted what was easily the fastest time, for whatever that's worth in jump-up races. EASY REACH will be in front early for Jack Fisher, who has already won three 'chases at the meet; that running style is against the current profile, though, as all four jump winners came from well off the pace. Closer Looks >>
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2 BLACK QUARTZ has been freshened since failing to fire on a soft course in the Ferguson Memorial, and prior to that was a clear second behind Mr. Hot Stuff, who recently won the A.P. Smithwick Memorial (they run a lot of memorials over jumps); entrymate SACRED SOUL won last two 'chases by open lengths. POWEROFONE is the only horse to beat Sacret Soul over fences; wore new front bandages when pulled up May 11, observe pre-race appearance. CAT FEATHERS tackles the boys in return to the Spa, where she posted a 23-1 upset in the Mrs. Ogden Phipps last summer; beat the choice at Colonial last out. Closer Looks >>
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3 PURE SENSATION tracked a fast pace in debut and narrowly missed to Corfu, who returned to capture the Saratoga Special the other day; quite obviously the one to beat. PECORINO need only improve a few lengths based on solid debut opening weekend; moves from the rail to the outside. DIVINE ENERGY is from the leading 2YO barn, and the $390,000 yearling buy is a half-brother to two winners; Aug. 3 gate breeze ranked 2/49. Closer Looks >>
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4 BRABBHAM comes back for the second start of a form cycle for the first time, which is a positive sign; $1.2 million colt is likely to improve with Lasix added, as so many runners from this stable have. ALL THAT was a close fourth behind the top pick and DYKER BEACH in lone dirt route, which was in the slop; back to the main track after being bumped hard at the break while Rapscallion cleared off to an easy lead on grass. SNEAKY BLOWOUT has been freshened since chasing Dwyer repeater Moreno; may try to play "catch me if you can" from the rail. Closer Looks >>
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5 FLOWING MANE improved leaps and bounds for maiden win first-time Lasix, then was back on short rest when he engaged in prolonged pace duel and was claimed; may opt to reprise rate-and-finish tactics given presence of several speeds. SMOKE TOWN moved forward to graduate at six furlongs first time turf, and made further progress when stretched out most recently vs. 9-5 Coach Royal; solid threat in wide open event. REQUEST A PUCK is a 50% exacta finisher with consistent figures under variety of circumstances; drop-and-stretch angle in play after slow start from rail at 5 1/2 furlongs in local bow. Closer Looks >>
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6 MUCH STRONGER has run three times on fast tracks since coming to New York and is a nose away from three wins, with figures of 89-88-91; boosted several rungs up the ladder after dismantling $35K stock early at the meet. THE TRUTH AND K G is the only other rival fast enough to run with the choice, and that's only if his connections opt to come right back after ding-dong stretch battle to win Monday; owner did something similar last year with Albany-King's Bishop winner Willy Beamin. RATION raced wide chasing a screaming pace 12 days ago; lone winner at today's 6 1/2 furlongs could make the top in this matchup. Closer Looks >>
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7 FLYING K C chased to the stretch when unveiled on dirt opening day; she is a half-sister to two recent grass winners at Belmont: the router Mobridge, and two-time 7F winner Mississippi Duel. HANGINGWITHSONNY rallied belatedly to catch the top one for third July 19; dam has produced three turf winners including Hangingbyathread, who won eight races and $277K on grass. LIL' ZILLA and uncoupled stablemate MAY SHARES were purchased earlier this year after breeze-show blowouts in :10.40 seconds; the former is a half-sis to multiple turf winner Blue Angel. Closer Looks >>
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8 KHARAFA really came into his own through the second half of 2012, and was put away after Gulfstream stakes placing Dec. 22 with a big 4-year-old campaign in mind; arrives in peaking form after three starts at Belmont with steadily faster final fractions. Defending West Point titlist LUBASH was compromised (along with Kharafa) when King Kreesa set an easy pace in the Kingston, and the Poker unfolded much the same way; what you see is what you get from hard-knocking veteran who handles any course condition. STREET GAME is an on-again, off-again type at this stage of his career, but beat Lubash in their respective seasonal bows at Aqueduct; his "A" race can put him in the picture, and a fast Aug. 5 work begs attention. Closer Looks >>
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9 SLUMBER has been in hibernation since winning U.S. debut this course & distance as if set for return to graded-stakes company; won first out in 2011, too, so he is presumed ready to fire for peerless layoff trainer. TEAKS NORTH is in for the $100,000 optional claim price immediately after runner-up finish in the Grade 1 United Nations, a race he won two years ago before trying the Sword Dancer here; career bankroll is a tad higher than the rest combined. SKY BLAZER has been freshened after decent try for second in off-the-turf overnight stake; tough trip behind Teaks North two back, third in Grade 2 Bernard Baruch on this course last year despite missing the break and getting no pace up front. Closer Looks >>
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10 NINE O WONDERFUL had a promising tune-up midway through Belmont's spring-summer meet, finishing a close third behind Strong Impact, who subsequently won the Fiddlers Patriot opening weekend and was entered in Wednesday's Troy; unleashed huge late kick to overcame slow pace in Spa's 2012 meet opener. MONUMENT HILL has run in tougher races since winning in this condition Jan. 22 of last year, including two renewals of the Grade 3 Red Bank; has won previously when fresh, connections can do no wrong lately. BEER GARDEN switched to turf with blinkers added and won with a new Beyer top first off the claim; too keen early when stretched out in 1 1/4-mile graded stake after that. Closer Looks >>
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11 SHOW SOME LOVIN led to the final strides vs. odds-on Grateful Nation when switched to turf second time back from a layoff, before racing against repeat winners on yielding turf and in an off-the-grass dash, the latest a tough trip here; first grass race against claimers. HOBOKEN JOE has been in the money all four turf sprints; beaten chalk in special-weight Aug. 5 has stagnant line of turf figures, but all are competitive. FREIGHT tries again after overtaking DAPPER DRAPER but having number taken down for coming out late Aug. 2; good pace setup if Dapper Draper dukes it out early with the top pick, HARRIER HILL, MEL'S DREAM and/or SAYAPRAYERFORME. Closer Looks >>
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