08/16/2013 1:09PM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis August 17, 2013

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Dave Litfin's Analysis [BEST BET: Princess of Slymar (10th race)]

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1 IDEAL PLACE was ambitiously spotted second out at Belmont against Frosty Bay, who returned last week to win another N.Y. Stallion event; debut win was for this price with Javier Castellano up. DISSENSION awaited room, burst through to beat similar field going away first time over the course; reprise of that effort makes her tough to beat. HEADING TO TOGA has been off the board in five starts since easy first-out score at the Spa a year ago today; wake-up threat dropping from allowance ranks. Closer Looks >>
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2 CRESCENT was well behind early, found best stride in the stretch and finished strongly behind Saratoga Special repeater Corfu in a promising debut; today's extra distance suits. REBRANDED sold for over four times Tiznow's stud fee at top-class March sale; promising workouts for leading 2-year-old barn. TAPITURE is a half-brother to three winners, two of which earned $257K & $230K; served notice in Monday's bullet work from the gate. Closer Looks >>
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3 Among the experienced starters, OCALA JIM is one of two that hasn't been risked previously for a claiming tag; turf to dirt after some improvement with blinkers on. JOHN SILVER is out of a dam who has produced a pair of six-figure earners; may make presence felt at first asking for barn enjoying fine meet. G W'S HAMMER returned from a freshening and fired best race to date first time over the track; pace factor with MY ITALIAN ICES, who was solidly backed but disappointed first out. Closer Looks >>
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4 After a pair of runner-up finishes at Belmont with different tactics, SLIVER AND ONIONS was an emphatic winner at two turns here despite being strung out widest around the first turn; lightly raced colt may keep improving. INDY'S ILLUSION met Orb in seasonal bow with blinkers on, and narrowly missed next time, earning a figure identical to the top pick's recent maiden win; opening-day sprint return may set him up nicely for this. MIDNIGHT TABOO was out of position after bobbling at the break, put in sustained run to challenge for command and weakened late at as the choice behind KID SIDNEY in last; outside now. Closer Looks >>
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5 LIVINGSTON STREET has run twice since claimed, the latest a salty starter handicap against Saintly Love, who has won six in a row; fits the date clause like a glove, as Feb. 17 was the day of his most recent win. WESTSIDE CORRAL was good enough last fall to rate a start in a Grade 2 stake, where he missed third in a photo; met Sword Dancer entrant Exclusive Strike (see 9th) first out this year, drops to new low off a claim & short layoff. ANNAWON recently returned to flat racing after trying jumps and just missed at 37-1; trainer picked up fifth meet winner when Mr. Starr's Report ($20.80), another one-time hurdler, went wire to wire Thursday. Closer Looks >>
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6 IRON POWER finished behind some of these July 29, but was squeezed back badly at the break and put in a long wide run on the turn before understandably feeling the effects late; right there with a cleaner getaway. COUNTKNICKERBOCKER has posted his four best figures (76-74-74-77) in Spa turf sprints, and just beat several of these when back on his favorite layout; must-use in exotics. DARK ROAST finished fastest of all to just miss second at a big price behind Countknickerbocker; much improved both sprints on firm turf.o. Closer Looks >>
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7 Back at Saratoga for the first time since 25-1 in a stake last year, GOLD MEGILLAH has been freshened since claimed at Keeneland and sent to Belmont, where he was beaten less than a length in two tries with blinkers on; drops to a spot with lower optional claim price. LIQUIDITY TRAP has been favored for last six starts dating back to 2011; he was probably best first out for this barn July 7, but ran out of ground behind a slow pace. LAWYER JIM has run on firm turf four times this year, and has come away with two hard-fought triumphs at nice prices after setting or prompting the pace; wide 12 days ago vs. Jonrah, who was entered back in Thursday's West Point. Closer Looks >>
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8 AMPERSAND has been capable of strong finishes repeatedly at 1 1/16 miles, and his only start beyond that distance was on a boggy course first time against winners; as with most of these, today's 1 3/16 miles is the big X-factor. NOW AND THEN is one of two 3-year-olds in the lineup, and while the pedigree doesn't scream "turf," he boasts 90+ figures in two of last three races, and might be able to set up shop on an easy lead; second-time Lasix, too. HAILSTONE was within a length after 1 1/2 miles in last year's Johns Call before beating a few in the Sword Dancer; been in more advanced optional races lately, reunited with Joe Rocco Jr. today. Closer Looks >>
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9 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 when he last caught such footing; taken to turn the tables on BOISTEROUS. The latter's Man o'War was his tenth win on turf rated good or yielding, but he is one for eight when it's firm, including a fifth as the favorite in the 2011 Sword Dancer; classy and consistent overall. BIG BLUE KITTEN closed nicely behind Boisterous in the Monmouth Stakes, before perfect rail-skimming trip to win the United Nations over 2011 winner TEAKS NORTH; entrymate STORMY LORD ensures honest pace. OPTIMIZER gave Point of Entry a good battle on preferred rain-softened ground in the Manhattan; won (easier races) here each of the past two years. Closer Looks >>
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10 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, overpowering her rivals in the stretch; she has rateable, tactical speed to secure position, as shown in blowout CCA Oaks, and gives every indication 1 1/4 miles is within her scope. 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; well rested with seven weeks between starts. MONTANA NATIVE edged forward to a new Beyer top taking restricted stake first time over the track, and followed with another sharp work 10 days later; can pick up a share in current form. Closer Looks >>
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11 TIU has run figures in the mid-60s in each of three turf starts, gaining ground through the late stages; may have enough late kick to overtake $25K maidens. SO OUTSPOKEN met multiple stakes winner Noble Tune, and today's Secretariat starter Draw Two, in Spa debut at 2; caught wide early when in for $35K first out this year, before wide trip when clearly second best on main track for this price. FULLCONTROL comes off best race since debut 14 months earlier; under-the-radar trainer has three wins at the meet, all ridden by A. Lezcano. Closer Looks >>
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12 NATIVE SINGER has been involved in head-to-head battles at the pace call in two straight starts at 3-2 & 6-5, settling for second each time; perhaps blinkers will make the difference. BOTTLEOFREDORWHITE is a half-brother to 1-for-14 Ludo Bagman (see 6th); high-percentage debut connections. SHOT TO WIN is the second runner out of 10-time winner Show Ready; bullet works locally and downstate for underrated first-out trainer. SUMMER PLACE TO BE another well-connected newcomer who bears watching pending race-day info such as betting action and appearance. Closer Looks >>
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