08/21/2013 10:35AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis August 22, 2013

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Dave Litfin's Analysis [BEST BET: Easter Gift (3rd race)]

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1 DIVINE FORTUNE has some unfinished business in the Turf Writers, a race he was leading at the 10th fence when he fell last year; entrymate ITALIAN WEDDING is repeating a stretch-out pattern he used to win at 2 3/8 miles here in 2011 at the expense of DEMONSTRATIVE. The latter has won four of last five, the lone defeat during that stretch on soft turf; defending titlist carries 12 additional pounds this time. MR. HOT STUFF handled the Jon Sheppard-trained entry in A.P. Smithwick; only 'chase this far was off a lengthy layoff. Closer Looks >>
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2 FOXBEAU, by a good debut sire, and a half-sister to three winners, is in for her May purchase price; Steve Asmussen's 2-year-olds 5 for 11 heading into the last two weeks. MY JIMMY CHEW GIRL has a route-oriented pedigree, but Todd Pletcher had a dozen juvenile winners through Aug. 19, to go along with 23 last year, so it would be foolhardy to dismiss her chances; been at Monmouth for a while. SARATOGA KARAOKE was off slow and bumped as the 8-5 choice first time out at Churchill Downs; drops for Eddie Kenneally, who has won at 32% with second-out maidens 2012-13. Closer Looks >>
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3 EASTER GIFT has been in raging form for Chad Brown this year, beginning with runner-up finish in a salty optional claimer behind Swagger Jack, who subsequently won Grade 1 Carter Handicap; since then, his Beyers have risen steadily through three straight wins at three tracks. CSABA wouldn't mind some rain, as he just missed in sloppy Hall Of Fame here a year ago; multiple stakes winner gets some class relief after chasing Cross Traffic in Whitney. PERCUSSION was gutsy winning three photos soon after changing hands in the spring; freshened after setting the pace in a pair of Grade 2 stakes. Closer Looks >>
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4 At $145,000, SANDCAT fetched better than 32 times D'wildcat's stud fee at the OBS March Sale; best guess in all-firster start to pick 6. POLECAT is by Hopeful winner First Samurai and out of a dam who has produced six winners; five-furlong gate work last week for profitable debut barn. GEAUX METS is from same connections - Gold Square LLC and Bruce Brown - who unveiled Meet the Mets ($9.60) in a 5 1/2-furlong New York-bred maiden race a year ago to the day; half-brother to two winners. SPEED READ is a full to Cribnote, a precocious 2-year-old who was second in the 2008 Hopeful for Rick Violette. Closer Looks >>
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5 SAM'S BUCK was set up for a good race and delivered it third back from a layoff, but was in a tougher $20,000 "beaten" claimer that had a date clause and thereby admitted allowance dropdown Quantity and some other hard-knocking types; horse for course rates another shot. HORVAT CLAN won only start for the Ramseys and Mike Maker (on polytrack), and they reclaimed him from even try at 1 1/2 miles two starts later; deep closer will have better stretch punch shortening up in distance. The erstwhile steeplechasers MANACOR and EL SEASON were close together when 2nd & 3rd behind allowance repeater Umbraggio at Delaware Park last month; either/both may contend in wide open conclusion to early pick 4. Closer Looks >>
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6 Z DAGER made up considerable ground when beaten a length for second behind front-end winner Plainview in local bow; consistent colt has never been risked previously for a tag. CHEYENNE NATION. one of five last-out claims in the lineup, is in for same price as opening day, but that was an optional claimer with a much richer purse of $87,000; 1 1/16 miles may be a bit short for the lightly raced 7-year-old, but it's encouraging he's now racing on a regular basis. ATTRACTIVE RIDE will have inside position on rival early speed STREET FIGHT in the run to the first turn; becomes the one to beat in the event of a switch to wet dirt. Closer Looks >>
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7 SUPER SKY leapt at the break, trailed through the first two calls and finished well to get the show spot in a photo over a filly that came back to win (an off-the-turfer) Aug. 9; terrific second-out stats for barn. SUMBA SUNSET was a $385,000 yearling buy; daughter of Street Cry is a half-sister to three turf winners. REIGN is top-ranked for grass on the Tomlinson numbers, and tops as well for wet dirt should this maiden dash undergo a surface switch. Closer Looks >>
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8 If switched to dirt, SKYFALL has been lurking on main-track-only lists ever since pace-pressing try at Monmouth vs. Street Gem, who came right back to win the Desert Vixen; 2 for 2 in slop beginning with maiden win at Saratoga. Otherwise, MOONWALK couldn't catch FREE AS A BIRD when the latter was loose on the lead Aug. 1, but gets a better setup due to the presence of MARIEL N KATHY, and figures to be peaking third out since BC Juvenile Fillies Turf (without Lasix). PUZZLING didn't get much pace to run at June 26 chasing a loose Assateague, who then won the De La Rose; last won this course & distance 2011. Closer Looks >>
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9 NOTMYFIRSTIME ran into a buzzsaw behind Console's wickedly fast fractions when switched to turf most recently; 2012 Spa allowance winner would remain a solid contender in the event of a surface change, as would WEE FREUDIAN. The latter met some tough customers in three starts at Belmont - the win machine Big Business, repeater Night Maneuver, and Longhunter, who was winning third straight; New York-bred has been in open company the past 12 months. QUICK MONEY is yet another dual-surface threat; freshened gelding ran big when last on firm turf chasing Pa. Governor's Cup winner Tightend Touchdown. Closer Looks >>
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