08/03/2013 11:05AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis August 4, 2013

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Dave Litfin’s Analysis [BEST BET: Road Agent (3rd race)]

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1 If the Sunday opener lands on dirt at seven furlongs, SNEAKY BLOWOUT would find this an easier assignment than last outing chasing Moreno, who returned to win the Grade 2 Dwyer; handles any footing. At a mile on turf, DEFIANT is a "double fig" whose first two grass races are faster than anything else showing; beaten choice had some trouble dead-heating for second in last. METRO closed like a freight train when unveiled in a synthetic sprint last summer, before meeting stakes winners Noble Tune and Rydilluc on turf; dangerous first time back. Closer Looks >>
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2 KETEL TWIST chased a loose 6-5 shot first out and held her ground nicely through a quick last furlong in 11.53 seconds; zipped a bullet half-mile the other day for Bill Mott, whose second-time starters routinely improve. ACQUANT comes out of the same July 4 sprint as the choice, in which she middle moved three wide and flattened out a bit late; bred to stretch out, first-time Lasix. FIERCE BOOTS is a half-sister to 3-year-old Power Broker, a stakes winner on dirt and synthetic; four local grass works for top debut barn. Closer Looks >>
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3 ROAD AGENT set a pressured pace and was tough as nails through the stretch opening weekend, repelling a stretch-long challenge from 8-5 favorite Velvet Cap; Jamie Ness won a multi-way "shake" and got the claim. RISK MANAGEMENT has been on a fast track only once, when a punctual 2-5 choice vs. maidens the last day of Aqueduct's inner-track meet; shortens up a quarter-mile after leading to stretch at 7 1/2 furlongs in the slop. MEET THE METS looks erratic at first glance, but has actually been quite consistent on fast tracks, logging figures of 71-72-75, beginning with debut victory at the Spa; runs against claimers for the first time, as does last-out beaten fave MR RODRIGUEZ. Closer Looks >>
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4 CONSORTIUM was just under 2-5 in a spot like this May 1, but something went awry, as he stopped badly, and went to the sidelines; he has won twice off workouts, and was pretty competitive in graded stakes earlier this year. EASTWOOD won both starts at Belmont, improving a few lengths to win his first-level allowance despite being carried out late, and was then purchased and transferred to Todd Pletcher; has done everything asked so far. MAJESTIC HUSSAR has been away since setting the pace vs. Ky. Derby winner Orb in the Fountain of Youth; Spa debut winner moves up considerably on wet tracks. Closer Looks >>
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5 ENQUETE is by a the good first-out sire Indian Charlie, out of a dam who has produced two winners, and has been readied by terrific win-early connections; likely to go well. JULIA TUTWILER isn't from a barn generally known to crack with first-time starters, but Bill Mott-trained Quilt, another Pulpit newcomer, just missed here Wednesday at 7-1, also with Joel Rosario; rates good long look paddock & post parade. GUILTY VERDICT is out of a Mother Goose and CCA Oaks winner, and sire was a Travers/Whitney winner; bears watching. Closer Looks >>
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6 In a wide open start to the pick 6, ZIVO, who was last seen finishing second in the Albany behind King's Bishop repeater Willy Beamin, is taken to return running for a strong layoff trainer; pace could be favorable if BAKE SHOP hooks up with ITSAGOODTENDOLLARS. The latter has been making his living against open company since sloppy NYB stake Apr. 2012; 7-year-old bulldog doesn't mind mixing it up early and often. DEHERE OF THE CAT was up the track vs. JUNIOR OFFICER second time back from a layoff, but seems to have turned a corner since then with two bang-up performances, the latest earning best figure to date; stretch runner flashed surprising speed blowing out in 35 seconds Tuesday. Closer Looks >>
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7 SATIN SHEEKS ran a couple races on firm and yielding turf last year that would play well against these, and she will be third off the bench after being eased back following an alert break and racing in traffic turning for home June 29; wake-up call. MOONLIT SONNET ran into a nice one in Palace Dreams opening weekend, and saved the place; has shown consistency on grass, as well as versatility in terms of where she can be placed in the early going. HURRICANE JACKIE got off to a promising start at Belmont, pairing up similar figures on firm and good turf; may give Moonlit Sonnet more of a fight this time. Closer Looks >>
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8 If the late pick 4 begins with an off-the-turf situation, BOBBY JO ran three sharp sprints off the claim, and would be back sprinting after unsuitable spot going two turns at Parx.. Otherwise, GIULIO'S JEWEL will be a handful based on initial turf sprint, in which she tracked the early leader and drew off, recording a layover figure; interesting, however, that Javier Castellano is on probable pacesetter INDIAN SPLENDOR today. STRATEGIC MISSILE is easily the top money earner on grass, a winner over the course, and likely to benefit from the turnback after being outfinished at seven furlongs repeatedly. Closer Looks >>
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9 JUSTIN PHILLIP just missed in last year's A.G. Vanderbilt, and gets a rematch with BAHAMIAN SQUALL after meeting that rival on his home grounds in the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder; extra credit for any moisture in the track. GENTLEMEN'S BET took a hard-fought decision from heavily favored DELAUNAY in the Iowa Sprint 'Cap; may be susceptible to a regression after paired 107 Beyers several lengths faster than previous best. Meanwhile, Delaunay is an erstwhile claimer who turned in three monster efforts to begin his 6-year-old season, and downward dip last out suggests he may be "over the top." Closer Looks >>
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10 If switched to dirt at 1 1/8 miles, SUNS OUT GUNS OUT and SPEIGHTSCITY would be tough to separate as they return to the scene of their maiden route wins. At 1 3/16 miles on turf, TRICKY HAT has lost four straight in this condition since taking first U.S. grass start, but one was on soft ground, and the latest was a good try while wide throughout behind the in-form favorite Star Channel; little margin for error. FILM MAKING turned in one of his better efforts this course & distance last year behind multiple stakes winner Optimizer; off slow, rallied late behind BELL BY THE RIDGE two back, before both turned in clunkers in shorter route June 29. Closer Looks >>
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11 In a difficult nightcap, ELEVEN BRAVO is lightly raced and may be set for a forward move after Beyer pair-up going short and long to start off; call in scramble. SUNNYSIDER has the benefit of a race over the course, when she faded to fourth after making the lead opening day; eligible to improve second try at the distance. For practical purposes KEY DECISION might be considered a first-time starter in return for new barn, as he showed nothing in a dirt sprint last summer; half-brother Key Event was a four-time winner of $170K on grass. Closer Looks >>
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