08/22/2013 9:36AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis August 23, 2013

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Dave Litfin's Analysis [BEST BET: Ground Force (3rd race)]

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1 HAVANA commanded a small fortune after working a brisk furlong in 9.60 seconds at the Barretts March Sale; half-brother to three winners has been in town since late May for top 2-year-old outfit. KOWBOY KING is a half-bro to three winners including BC Turf Sprint winner Regally Ready; blew out from gate Monday. A TOUCH OF POETRY and FINANCIAL MOGUL showed early speed in their respective debuts early at the meet; either or both might improve several lengths today. Closer Looks >>
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2 THE LUMBER GUY is back with Mike Hushion and has been freshened after disappointing efforts in the Malibu and San Carlos; won Vosburgh off a 4 1/2-month layoff, and also won big as a first-time starter, so he is presumed ready to roll. NIGHT MANEUVER seeks third straight score after consecutive Beyer tops; should be well positioned on the outside stalking N. F.'S DESTINY. The latter has led at the pace call eight straight times; speedster has had two months off since nailed late by Night Maneuver in shorter sprint. Closer Looks >>
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3 GROUND FORCE has been away nearly seven weeks, which is seen as a positive sign given that both of his wins the past two years were delivered with similar time between starts; met tougher at Belmont twice following claim by current connections. DEHERE OF THE CAT cuts back to six furlongs, where he ran well in both Belmont starts including new top Beyer; deep closer rates extra credit for any moisture in the track. CRACKERJACK JONES steps to the next level after pair of good-looking wins over maiden and first-level allowance sprinters; lone 3-year-old gets four pounds from his elders. Closer Looks >>
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4 If switched to dirt at seven furlongs, DRUM ROLL won decisively with blinkers on Aug. 7, breaking through his best 2-year-old figures; could bounce and still win. Otherwise, YO BLUE won four hard-fought decisions from March through early July, and was right there in midstretch of an optional race with $80,000 purse first time over this course; class relief second out for Ramsey & Maker. UNBRIDLED LOGIC is a logical exotics inclusion no matter the surface, after four in-the-money finishes on turf and dirt for current barn. Closer Looks >>
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5 ZIGGY THE GREAT shows several workouts at Laurel that match up with stablemate So Lonesome ($6.50), who shipped in to win debut Monday for same owner; first runner out of stakes-placed mare. MAYBRYS CHALLENGE is unveiled by George Weaver, whose Saratoga summer of fun includes debut wins by Hot Squeeze ($14.40) last week and Court Dancer ($8.30) Wednesday; dam was a turf stakes winner. AINTEASYBEINGGREEN tries the boys again - but New York-breds this time - after breaking alertly and setting the pace vs. open company in Belmont bow. Closer Looks >>
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6 Todd Pletcher has good numbers with maiden special-weight dropdowns and turf-to-dirt runners, and LUTESIFER embodies both factors after stumbling at the start of Monmouth route and forcing pace for six furlongs; been training here since early June. SERIOUSLY SHARP showed improved positional speed in two recent starts off the bench; owner-trainer Amy Tarrant 4 for 7 going turf to dirt 2012-13. JOEY N rallied wide to be clearly second best in a spot like this two weeks ago; wet track a plus. Closer Looks >>
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7 If switched to the main track at 1 1/8 miles, ANOTHER PAGE never lifted a hoof when tried on grass last out, but won two straight on dirt in the spring before chasing Read the Research, who has won three of last five; bred for wet . BUSTLE could be okay either way, as she won nicely when last in to be claimed on good turf, and posted maiden win last fall on wet-fast track at Delaware; may benefit from recent race over the course vs. tougher. SANDS OF HUMOR was claimed from good-figure maiden win second time back from 10-month absence; might trip out nicely stalking ALWAYSINMYCIRCLE and QUEENIE'S GOLD. Closer Looks >>
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8 If switched to dirt, SENTIMENTAL LASS won with blinkers back on June 18, snapping two-year drought, then checked at break and made up ground behind a loose Sing Dixie Sing in sloppy renewal of the Arctic Queen. Otherwise, DOUBLE THE ENERGY returns to N2X statebred ranks first time since 14-1 win on yielding turf first off the claim last fall; tough trip in open stake three weeks ago. JITNEY returns to Saratoga turf, where she posted stretch-running wins back to back last summer at 7-1 & 13-1; gets plenty of pace with speedball SUBTLE in the mix. Closer Looks >>
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9 With the exception of a misfire in last year's Test as second choice, BOOK REVIEW has been perfect at seven furlongs on dirt and synthetic, and returned from five-month freshening with sharp score in the A Gleam; little margin for error in highly competitive edition of the Ballerina. DANCE TO BRISTOL must overcome the inside post as she looks for seventh straight win; came through between horses gamely to catch CLASSIC POINT in Honorable Miss, has won or placed 16 of 17. JUDY THE BEAUTY was nipped final stride of last year's Prioress; tough-trip second in Princess Rooney to STARSHIP TRUFFLES, a 14-time winner making first start outside Florida for a dangerous ship-in trainer. Closer Looks >>
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10 PARNELLI shortens up a bit after leading to deep stretch at 1 3/16 miles first-time Lasix; remains the one to catch on dirt judging from placing to Travers-bound stablemate Romansh in mud at Belmont. SECRETIVE was carried very wide early while Rapscallion scooted off to an easy lead opening weekend; should get better setup for second start of the year. INVINCIBLE ME was off slow, wide turning for home and bumped in stretch behind Secretive in an eventful debut; candidate to improve quickly for Tom Amoss, who has won at 35% with second-out maidens in 2012-13. Closer Looks >>
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