08/30/2013 12:16PM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis August 31, 2013

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Dave Litfin's Analysis [BEST BET: Paynter (10th race)]

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1 Coming off a tough trip June 29, SATIN SHEEKS awaited room briefly upper stretch and finished gamely to just miss first out at the meet, matching best figures from 2012; drew a more favorable post this time. THE LADY SAYS YES finished with good energy when second to MELA DRAMATICALLY in seasonal bow; field's only 1 1/8-mile winner edged forward to another Beyer top graduating on this course in last. JOHN'S MARIAH had rider lose whip midstretch and was bumped soon afterward in N.Y. Stallion event most recently; controlling speed on what has lately been a speed-favoring inner turf course. Closer Looks >>
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2 SHADOW BANKING was a $250K purchase in March; he is a full brother to Stormy Len (second in last week's Grade 1 Secretariat), and the dam has produced two other turf winners. ROMANS PARADISE is a half-brother to three winners, two on grass; live outfit has unveiled two recent debut winners at the meet. SMOOTH DADDY gets Lasix after a rallying fourth, beaten less than two lengths, in a live heat July 27; third finisher won big the other day. Closer Looks >>
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3 MISCONNECT was a $180K buy in April after breezing a furlong in 21.40 seconds; full brother Winslow Homer won both starts at Saratoga, a 7F maiden win at 2 and a romp by nine lengths in the Curlin Stakes at 3. TIZNOWFORAMERICA would be first-time Lasix and stretching out after pressing the early fractions at 5 1/2 furlongs in debut; outside pace factor if able to draw in. HONOR CODE is a half-brother to Noble Tune, a debut winner on turf as a 2YO here in 2012 and a dual graded stakes winner; bears watching. Closer Looks >>
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4 Horses with inside speed have ridden a virtual conveyor belt to the winner's circle on the inner turf course recently, so TAHOE LAKE may be in position to take advantage of the situation from the rail; Grade 1-placed gelding has never run previously for a tag. CHEYENNE NATION gutted out a win first off the claim after bumping in tight quarters upper stretch; course-and-distance winner (2011) rounding back to form since return from long layoff. STATE FLAG went well first out for record-breaking owner June 27 vs. Secretariat runner-up Stormy Len and Hardest Core, who then won Spa's meet opener; bullet work and switch to leading rider after even try vs. Cheyenne Nation. Closer Looks >>
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5 VILLAGE WARRIOR has kept a similar training schedule as stablemate Misconnect, so things may come into sharper focus depending on how the latter fares in the earlier division (see 3rd race); half-sibling Magical Cat a dual sprint winner. GOOD RESPONSE is unveiled by Kiaran McLaughlin, whose recent 6-for-7 tear included two debut sprint winners (on turf) for Darley Stable; kin to several winners topped by $221K earner Distorted Love. GRAND ARRIVAL was off slowest and very wide into the stretch in July 22 bow behind Hopeful-bound Big Sugar Soda; ample room for improvement. Closer Looks >>
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6 LIVE LIFE FAST was favored for both runner-up finishes as a 2-year-old, beginning with Spa debut vs. Disicreet Marq, who is now a multiple stakes winner after taking the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks earlier this month; Phil Serpe is 2 for 6 with +180 day layoffs in 2012-13. ROSALIE'S PLEASURE missed second in three-way photo with perennial bridesmaid STOCK FUND and the improved early pace factor COURAGEOUS KAREN in their Aug. 2 clash; lightly raced filly has upside second time back from 11-month absence. Closer Looks >>
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7 JUSTA RUNNER matched the Beyer par (92) for this first-level allowance condition when he went wire to wire vs. maidens second out on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track; the dam was a synthetic specialist, but her half-sibs Time Limit and Miss Indy Anna were both multiple sprint stakes winners on dirt. TENANGO has won or placed seven of nine outings this year, from six furlongs to a mile on fast, good and muddy tracks; consistent closer may get good setup if top one can't put away early rivals GOOGLEADO and ODEA without too much fuss. GOMBEY DANCER wore down Googleado off a freshening and barn change; sharp work last week ranked 2/56. Closer Looks >>
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8 SILVER MAX hasn't been as reliable this year as he was at 3, but comes off the fastest race of his life wiring the Oceanport, has since trained swiftly, and will be able to dictate the pace; never got near the lead when beaten in Appleton by ZA APPROVAL. The latter was scratched from Fourstardave due to unsuitable course conditions; firm turf-loving closer won Grade 3s back to back before chasing 3-10 Obviously in Shoemaker Mile. TETRADRACHM was purchased after running second to Lea (see today's Forego), and got through N3X ranks as much best four weeks ago; money chances coming right back over the same course and distance. Closer Looks >>
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9 JUSTIN PHILLIP got his first Grade 1 and went over the $1 million mark with a good setup in the A.G. Vanderbilt, a race he lost by a neck last year; must sidestep a "bounce" coming off that 109 Beyer as he chases entrymate FAST BULLET. The latter is a sparingly raced but talented 5-year-old whose only loss was BC Sprint when outsprinted early on speed-biased track; sire equaled Saratoga's 6F track record in 2004 Vandy. SARATOGA SNACKS was hemmed in throughout John Morrissey while 21-time winner Saginaw was free and clear outside; fast New York-bred is on a bounce-rebound pattern third time back, and another 105 or so as in return would put him in the running. Closer Looks >>
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10 Speaking of the bounce-rebound angle, you can't find a more textbook example than PAYNTER, who battled back from life-threatening illness to win his comeback with a 114 Beyer, and regressed several lengths in a game try vs. Kettle Corn (2nd in last week's Pacific Classic); sitting on go in return to preferred surface. FLAT OUT's favorite surface is Belmont's "Big Sandy," but he was good enough to run second in 2011 Woodward to eventual Horse of the Year Havre de Grace; two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner has had a breather since winning his second Suburban. SUCCESSFUL DAN fell while en route from paddock to the track, dusted himself off and came rolling late to overhaul MUCHO MACHO MAN in Whitney; unlike the top two, he has never won carrying today's weight. Closer Looks >>
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11 BILL OF RIGHTS stumbled at the start first off a claim and freshening with blinkers on, but has since won two in a row on or near the early lead, which is the place to be on the inner turf these days; key may be whether he can clear to the inside from MASTEREL and/or the stretching-out BROWN INDIAN. A contested pace could benefit ANNAWON, who raced wide from post 10 in good try over the same real estate two weeks ago; trainer has had a big meet. EAST OF DANZIG can pretty much be penciled in for a fig of 80, give or take, based on any of his races since Dec. 2011; half-empty view is that's when he last won. Closer Looks >>
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12 WHISKEY ROMEO has won four of five starts when able to get the early lead, the loss coming on an intense anti-speed track while on a dead rail in the Capossela; drops after chasing 6-5 Rainbow Heir on speed-biased track in the Jersey Shore. MUCH STRONGER has run figs in 88-91 range all four starts on fast tracks in New York for David Jacobson; sitting pretty if the choice has his hands full early with CONFRONTATION, a big-fig maiden winner with things all his own way in the mud Aug. 1. ISLAND SUNSET turned in best performance since Feb. 1 bursting through to prevail in softer spot Aug. 2; can avoid a lot of traffic from post 13, but may be caught wide. Closer Looks >>
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