07/18/2013 11:11AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis July 19, 2013

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Dave Litfin’s Analysis [BEST BET: Hessonite (4th race)]

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1 HARDEST CORE has made good progress since returned from a break and put on Lasix, running 10th furlong rapidly in a maiden win, followed by wide rally behind Stormy Len, subsequently beaten a head in recent American Derby; ample run to first turn to secure position. I'LL CALL, a full brother to $1 million turfer Smart Bid, ran to pedigree in debut, prior to tough trip at Churchill stumbling at break and being cautiously handled when loose horse veered inward stretch; turf at Parx June 17 closer to yielding/soft judging from time nearly 10 seconds off course record. MINISTER COLIN ran a lifetime Beyer top edging Grade 3 winner Finale and graded stakes-placed Film Shot in more advaned optional race second off the claim; Saturday's bullet work indicates 28-start veteran retains sharp form. Closer Looks >>
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2 As shown again most recently vs. Group 3 winner Speaking of Which, VOLCANO RUN can be difficult to ride, but the headstrong gelding settled nicely for Rosie Napravnik for a late-rallying win here last year, which is also the last time he's been risked for a tag; impossible wide trip two back, overcame post 13 last fall. NINEINTHENINE was second in monster key race Feb. 10 behind Dark Cove, who has since won three graded stakes; claimed and given some recovery time after good try over yielding turf on short rest Belmont Stakes day. UNACCOUNTABLE, a career 30% winner on grass, had potentially useful conditioner July 4 return; 8YO is hard to gauge at this point. YANKEE FOURTUNE is third back from a layoff and first off a claim by Jason Servis, after flattening out vs. Nineinthenine; dual Spa winner. DRF Picks >>
3 OUR AMAZING ROSE and STOPCHARGINGMARIA (only one will start) are OBS sales graduates who respectively fetched $325K & $220K after swift under-tack trials of 9.80 & 10.20 seconds; for the most part, they appear to have been training in tandem for Todd Pletcher, who saddled 23 juvenile winners at Saratoga last year. IRELAND is a full sister to Dublin, the 2009 Hopeful winner for D. Wayne Lukas; sire Afleet Alex won that race as well five years earlier. PREDICATE is the lone experienced runner; how she fares might make clearer the abilities of True Blue Nation in the Schuylerville later on. Closer Looks >>
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Spa Babies >>
Pick 3 analysis>>
4 On her way to a divisional title in 2012, HESSONITE was the only New York-bred filly capable of manhandling the uber-consistentSHAKEIRA, who otherwise either won or finished close-up; after coming back to win the Grade 3 Beaugay explosively on rock-hard turf, she caught boggy courses back to back in the Sheepshead Bay & Dr. Penny Memorial. Like Hessonite, Shakeira also started her 5YO campaign winning with a lifetime top Beyer, and then fired a last quarter in under 23 seconds to run down INIMITABLE ROMANEE in the Mount Vernon; Ticonderoga placing to Hessonite was her lone race on yielding turf. Closer Looks >>
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5 Unveiled against males a month ago, IRISH SWEEPSTAKES raced wide from the outside post chasing a wire-to-wire winner's sizzling fractions and remained clear of the rest; two nice interim workouts. TALK TO ME also chased a front-end winner to start off at Delaware Park vs. open fillies; local jock along for the ride.MICHONNE and HANGINGWITHSONNY are new shooters by 2005 Hopeful winner First Samurai that rate consideration pending a look at the toteboard and pre-race physical evaluations; the former is a half-sister to six winners, notably I'm a Numbers Guy, who won the B.F. Bongard Stakes at 2. Closer Looks >>
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Spa Babies >>
Vulnerable Favorites >>
6 Among the four Saratoga 2012 maiden winners, let's go with NECK OF THE MOON, who was pounded to even money for her debut and won with speed to spare; unraced since then, but that isn't usually a concern with Chad Brown's layoff horses, which have won at 34% after being away at least six months. INVADING HUMOR improved leaps and bounds first time turf, chasing a loose front-runner's soft early fractions and outkicking 8-5 favorite for the runner-up spot; better pace setup today if SUBTLE and UNCLE SOUTHERN knock heads early. HEADING TO TOGA should be glad to get back to the Spa, where she toyed with maidens 11 months ago; takes beneficial turnback after yielding late at a mile. Closer Looks >>
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7 In about as tough a first-level allowance as you'll find, lightly raced 4-year-old STRIKE ONE has been on the improve since put back on dirt to start the season, wiring maidens at this distance, and moving ahead several lengths in hard-fought placing to Mico Margarita, who then won Grade 3 Carry Back by 4 1/2 lengths; nicely situated outside of COIN FLIP and GOOGLEADO, who project as early-pace targets. Coin Flip could be any kind after Beyer pair-up to begin career (initial allowance under the lights); second work over the track was an improvement. Googleado showed good speed on synthetic & dirt in the spring; No Distinction, who ran him down at Churchill, is now 3 for 4 lifetime after taking N2X allowance by five lengths. Closer Looks >>
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8 SAGE VALLEY equaled his 105 Beyer top taking the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint first out in over six months, and was then a textbook "bounce" over a quirky drying-out track in the True North, finishing behind LAURIE'S ROCKET, a rival he had just demolished; rebound threat. SOUPER SPEEDY might now be expected to react from paired 105 tops, the latest earned in a stretch slugfest with stablemate Big Screen in off-the-turf Jaipur; right there if he can hold that form, though. HELLO LOVER was claimed for $7,500 Jan. 3, 2012 and earned nearly $300,000 winning nine of his next 16 at five distances, along with a third in a Grade 3 at 1 1/2 miles; rounding back to form, herded out late and missed in photo here last summer (his only loss from three starts with Irad Ortiz). Closer Looks >>
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Vulnerable Favorites >>
9 After being overhauled late at 5 1/2 furlongs first out, BRAZEN PERSUASION was placed under stalking tactics a month later and drew away after catching 6-5 Whomping Willow to become one of Steve Asmussen's 11 juvenile winners at Churchill Downs; experience edge at six furlongs her ace in the hole against fellow Kentuckian BAHNAH. The latter won under wraps first out, earning back nearly half her yearling sticker price; big-figure debut performances at 4 1/2 furlongs don't transfer reliably enough in six-furlong stakes to warrant a short price. YES LIZ is back in just 16 days for Pletcher, who did very much the same thing winning 2011 Schuylerville with Georgie's Angel off 18-day turnaround so as to position her for the Spinaway (she ran fourth); entrymate ELENA STRIKES continues to train forwardly after taking Monmouth bow as a poorly kept secret. Closer Looks >>
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Spa Babies >>
Spot Plays >>
10 Two months after their initial confrontation downstate, HUDSON MIRACLE and A BETTER TOMORROW look like the right ones in Saratoga's opening-day finale. Hudson Miracle has shown the better finishing kick, and Chad Brown wins about twice as often as Mike Maker with layoff horses in this time frame. That being said, it's wise to postpone any final decisions until observing how the day's two earlier races on the inner course unfold, as thrice-beaten favorite A Better Tomorrow might control the pace from a cozy post and forget to stop if speed is carrying. SUNBIO found his best stride belatedly twice recently, the latest try in a stakes against NYB Futurity winner and Gotham runner-up West Hills Giant; it's largely guesswork when closing sprinters attempt to stretch out, so demand a square price if so inclined. Closer Looks >>
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Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
Off to the races! Hope I can bring my cooler in with it going to be 98*. SHANE!!!!!!!!!