07/19/2013 11:53AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis July 20, 2013

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Dave Litfin’s Analysis [BEST BET: Authenticity (9th race)]

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1 ABSOLUTE BEAUTY led to stretch when unveiled on grass last fall vs. eventual Grade 3 Appalachian winner Unbelievable Dream; sire Big Brown a smashing debut winner on Spa turf, versatile enough to remain wire-to-wire threat on main track, too. HEART OF NEW YORK showed high promise at 2 vs. Grade 2 winner Discreet Marq, but two recent losses trading decisions with 1-for-24 EUROKAY BY ME as the favorite indicate little developement at 3; deep closer was outkicked in last by MOONLIT SONNET. The latter has tactical speed, but found herself far back after being bumped soundly at the break, and narrowly missed to repeater Pure Amour in first allowance try; top fig maiden win two back. Closer Looks >>
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2 If the early pick 4 begins with an off-the-turf situation, ESCAPE TO THE MOON is a full brother to Towering Moon, a six-length debut winner for these connections last fall; bred to relish off-going. Otherwise, INSIGHTING finished gamely (beating 10) when a close second in 2YO bow vs. Sunlover, who returned to run third to multiple stakes winner Notacatbutallama; been back to the drawing board since bumped and shut off as the favorite in second try late last fall. ASSET INFLATION was head and head for the lead at the pace call but outfinished on fast & wet dirt in the spring; twice-beaten chalk tries to get on grass again for solid dirt-to-turf barn. Closer Looks >>
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3 If rain forces this restricted overnight stake to the main track (at 1 1/8 miles), conditions would favor SKYFALL, who has won both of her off-the-turf starts in the slop, beginning with Saratoga debut; little margin for error against the other dirt-only entrants. On turf, WAVE THEORY came off the rail late and finished gamely in the Sands Point, but Discreet Marq was able to hold her off after having things all her own way early; valuable experience over this course. CAROLINE THOMAS and WITH SUGAR ON TOP exit longer Bit Of Whimsy that featured slow early pace and blazing final fraction; the former (whose dam, oddly enough, was Bit Of Whimsy) was a maiden winner in her only start on non-firm ground. Closer Looks >>
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4 In the event of a switch to dirt, HOT STONES was bet like a good thing on a wet track first time out and just missed while clear of the remainder by open lengths; would be shortening up a furlong. Otherwise, ROSALIE'S PLEASURE had gate issues both starts late last summer, beginning with a placing under these conditions; new trainer puts blinkers on the homebred filly. AMBER MORNING is out of Bellanique, a mare who was an allowance winner on Saratoga turf for Phil Serpe; new shooter rates a long look in a field where no one has run to the Beyer par (73). By the same token, UTOPIAN WIFE, stabled here since late April, can be expected to attract support off Monday's sharp grass work. Closer Looks >>
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5 If a summer squall arrives before the day's final grass race in the books, ULTIMATE EMPIRE comes off a pair of improved races on fast and wet tracks with different running styles, beating two of the other dirt-only entrants in the process; Spa debut at 2 was sans Lasix. On turf, POLIZIOTTO hasn't been out since last Nov. 3, which is par for the course for the sparingly raced 5-year-old; on the plus side, Chad Brown is a 34 percent winner with layoffs like this in 2012-13, including this ridging's Spa maiden win off a longer absence. MR COWBOY unleashed a good finishing kick to graduate on this course last year; his only subsequent chance on firm turf came two weeks ago, when he got absolutely no pace to run at and finished evenly. NOOSH'S TALE has raised his game several notches on Lasix, twice outfinishing the consistent TOY CANNON. Closer Looks >>
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6 Chad Brown will get an inkling as to whether INTEGRITY might be King's Bishop material, as the field's lone 3-year-old steps up a notch after already exceeding the Beyer par for this condition while geared down in the mud Belmont Stakes day; can set or stalk pace as the situation warrants while in receipt of five pounds from all. LEAVE OF ABSENCE had virtually no chance trying to rally from next-to-last as Strapping Groom set snail's pace in overnight stake June 26; moves from rail to the outside, yet to win past 6 1/2 furlongs. COZZETTI returns to dirt for the first time since wide trip in last year's Preakness; third start of form cycle after improved show of early speed with blinkers added. Closer Looks >>
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7 A stretch-running Saratoga debut winner last July over multiple stakes winner Weekend Hideaway, SOUL HOUSE has been freshened since a Beyer pair-up during the first half of Belmont's spring meet, and might be expected to make further progress dropping from the Mike Lee to a preliminary allowance; ample speed to set the table. CRACKERJACK JONES came up short at 4-5 first out, but made amends several weeks later - at this distance - moving ahead by about three lengths; could improve again after a sharp five-furlong breeze last week. CAPTAIN DAVRICK had little trouble when pitted vs. fellow statebred for the first time in local bow; wet track could be a potential plus. Closer Looks >>
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8 CHARLIE'S PICNIC chased recent allowance winner Bad Hombre in the slop first out, and moved forward a bit a few weeks later when a clear second behind Catron, a "Todd Squad" newcomer who was bet to even money; trio off works since then capped by 1/49 bullet. DEL MAR SUNSET is the only entrant to have hit the Beyer par (82), although half-empty view is he was outfinished all three starts at Santa Anita, one of them at 3-10; encouraging work tab for new trainer. APEX ran into stakes winners Palace Malice and Micromanage here last summer...before going on Lasix; it may be wise to forgive his Polytrack pratfall in early spring. CELEBRATED TALENT has six lengths or so to make up on the top pick, but first-time Lasix has been a very productive move ($3.73 R.O.I.) for this barn lately. Closer Looks >>
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9 The first two morning-line choices were cross-entered in today's Delaware Handicap, but it is reportedly AUTHENTICITY who will bypass a tussle with Royal Delta in favor of the repositioned Shuvee, where, in the anticipated absence of SUMMER APPLAUSE, she would be the only graded stakes winner; freshened since paired of gutsy triple-digit Beyers in May, climaxed by Ogden Phipps dueling even-money Joyful Victory into defeat. SEA ISLAND won a Spa 1 1/8-mile allowance impressively enough last July to earn a berth in the Alabama; Grade 1-placed filly rebounded with some sharp works after spinning her wheels in the slop behind ROYAL LAHAINA in off-the-turfer June 7. EBLOUISSANTE, a half-sister to Zenyatta, is ambitiously raised several notches after a mid-winter N1X win over Pink Blossom and Folk Dancer, both currently running in $25K claimers; impressed in a.m. trials downstate. Closer Looks >>
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10 Strung out six wide on the first turn of the Belmont Stakes, UNLIMITED BUDGET remained well out in the track and ran on evenly through the late stages in a credible effort; back with fillies, where her only loss was a Kentucky Oaks won by stablematePRINCESS OF SYLMAR. Freshened since then, the latter is using this edition of the CCA Oaks as a bridge to the coveted Alabama, in much the same way the Gazelle served as her springboard to the Ky. Oaks; the only filly to beat her going long, Close Hatches, had a tactical edge in the Gazelle that day, and recently pulverized her foes in the Mother Goose. MY HAPPY FACE may be ready for her close-up after edging away late with a good finish off a 4 1/2-month layoff for new barn; displayed gritty in-fighting abilities in both the Frizette and the Tempted last fall. Closer Looks >>
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11 VELVET CAP, claimed from maiden win first time on dirt, takes steep class drop after racing over a speed-favoring track at Churchill Downs behind Take It Like a Man, who was winning for a third straight time; leading owner at Keeneland & Churchill has sights set on the Spa. ROAD AGENT looks like the main danger based on Belmont form, although he didn't contribute to David Jacobson's record win total for a spring-summer meet; capable of setting/forcing rapid fractions, At this point, the only thing to do with the reluctant warrior VEE'S ACCOLADE (1-9-9 from 30 starts) is to use him underneath in exotic wagers. SIERO looks a bit "light" numbers-wise, but shows up every time and just missed a fourth consecutive win in return. Closer Looks >>
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