07/27/2013 12:00AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis July 28, 2013

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Dave Litfin's Analysis [BEST BET: Midnight Taboo, Race 9 )]

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1 PLAY IT LOUD was sharp in return at Belmont, engaging in prolonged stretch drive and coming up just short to Notacatbutallama, who returned to notch his fourth stakes win at the expense of JOHA; big local turf work for this. Joha just missed in the With Anticipation here at 2, before a front-running upset of the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland; edged forward to new Beyer top second out this year. WINNING CAUSE returns to turf for first time since two starts to begin career here last August; Grade 3 winner picked up the tempo last two drills, looks to rebound after lugging in through stretch at Woodbine. Closer Looks >>
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2 GRANNY MC'S KITTEN is a full sister to Kitten's Dumplings, who followed up recent wins in the Edgewood and Regret by taking Wednesday's Lake George here; must work out a trip from the far outside. MURMURE is a half-sister to Medolina, who won her first three starts (all turf routes) for these connections including the Tweedside Stakes; four grass works in a row. OCEAN BOULEVARD was a rallying third when unveiled at 4 1/2 furlongs; she would be first-time Lasix if the early pick 4's opening leg is switched to dirt (at 7 furlongs). Closer Looks >>
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3 RIOLAMA was a Saratoga maiden winner under confident handling last July; she didn't get much pace to run at in her lone outing this year, and still finished well for second behind Kibosh, who was subsequently second to Grade 1 winner Dayatthespa. ENCHANTING LISA was an easy winner first out at Presque Isle; half-sister to reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan adds Lasix and figures to handle the grass just fine. SUSTAINED returns to the scene of her maiden win at 2; Miss Grillo runner-up showed surprising early speed in seasonal bow. Closer Looks >>
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4 SO OUTSPOKEN was caught five wide around the first turn when returned from a layoff at Monmouth Park; his pedigree is much stronger for dirt than turf, so he may appreciate today's surface switch. TAPULOUS takes a 50% price drop first out since good try dueling for the lead May 17; met allowance repeaters both two-turn starts on dirt earlier this year. GREAT CALL looms a pace factor with Tapulous and BARRISTER JIM in return from a short layoff; improved in blinkers last pair. Closer Looks >>
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5 GRAHAMANDWITHERS exhibits a potential "bounce-rebound" pattern, after posting new top Beyer first time out this year followed by slight regression while wide from post 12; should be well positioned toward the front in race without much early speed. POST PATTERN has been a beaten favorite five times beginning with two tries in the span of 11 days here last summer; had useful effort from tough post first time back. IRISH JADE met multiple stakes winners Notacatbutallama and West Hills Giant in two Saratoga turf starts as a juvenile; put in a middle move as the favorite lone outing in 2013. Closer Looks >>
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6 Ken Ramsey and Mike Maker are prepared for any eventuality with THE SIXTIES and SKY LOVER. The Sixties is a European import who took to dirt like a duck to water first time off a claim, and he would be tough right back in the event of a surface change. On turf, Sky Lover has won two of three over firm ground, and the newly-claimed gelding should handle the slight turnback from six furlongs, as he was within range of fast splits last out, and there isn't much pace in this dash. TURN UP THE MUSIC had one turf sprint at the Spa in 2011, and the result was a blowout maiden win in what was easily his best career performance; potential horse for course rates a look if somewhere near 12-1 morning-line quote. Closer Looks >>
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7 AUGUST OSAGE has turned in two respectable efforts since coming back from a long absence, and now reunites with Cornelio Velasquez, who was aboard for a placing at odds of 62-1 first time off a claim back in Apr. 2012; figures close with HEY LEROY. The latter was closer to the early pace when claimed from maiden win off a freshening, and then matched his previous Beyer top soon afterward; well-meant dropdown. SNEAKY FREUD repeats a turf-to-dirt switch that produced determined maiden victory, prior to pressing the pace in $100K N.Y. Stallion race vs. multiple stakes winner West Hills Giant; one of two in the field to have won at today's distance, along with LAST RUN. Closer Looks >>
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8 TOP TIER LASS chased Normandy through moderate fractions in June 23 return, and was likely claimed with Saratoga in mind, as she won big sprinting on this course as a first-time starter last year; should get a clear stalking trip, but must avoid getting strung out too wide into the turn from post 12. RODINIA makes first start off a barn change and has been idle since early June, as was Thursday's 10th race winner Decisive Move in a turf sprint for Jason Servis; went well on the main track here when fresh last August. MAID FOR JOE has won her last three vs. claimers by a combined 9 3/4 lengths, albeit on the synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs; drawn outside several rival early-pace types in turf bow. Closer Looks >>
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9 After a maiden win to start the year, MIDNIGHT TABOO (scratched from Friday's Curlin Stakes) was in traffic on the rail through midstretch and finished strongly after getting outside late in muddy allowance; Belmont Stakes was too much, too soon, and he has since held his own working with Whitney-bound stablemate Cross Traffic. CARY STREET has been a new horse since putting blinkers on, beating $10K claimers at Calder and following that with two allowance placings at Churchill Downs, the first vs. Easy Goer Stakes winner and Haskell entrant Power Broker; freshened up. NORUMBEGA was outkicked by Midnight Taboo at Belmont, but he will be first-time Lasix for a rematch back at Saratoga, where he was a maiden route winner at 2. Closer Looks >>
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10 FORTY TALES and DECLAN'S WARRIOR have had a break since their one-two finish in the Woody Stephens, when they were set up by a hotly contested pace. They have a bit less real estate to work with in the 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam, which serves as a bridge to the King's Bishop, but project to get fast fractions in front of them once again, and either or both may come flying late. RAINBOW HEIR has gone wire to wire in four well-spaced starts with steadily rising Beyers capped by a 101 with the aid of a speed bias in the Jersey Shore; picks up weight and faces his first real acid test drawn outside rival speeds MENTOR CANE, SALUTOS AMIGOS and CAT FIVE HURRICANE. Closer Looks >>
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11 MAGNIFCENTMILLION never picked up his feet when brought back in the slop at Finger Lakes a few weeks ago, but his only race on fast footing last fall was against graded stakes-placed Giant Finish and allowance winner Glowing Ember; he is the lone entrant never to have run against maiden claimers. THINGAMAJIGGER drops 50% in price after an improved show of early speed with blinkers on; best figure came in the slop. WITHOUT REGARD rallied mildly behind the 0-for-26 PURPLE PICO when favored for second try back from a long layoff; claimed out of that race by a sharp outfit. Closer Looks >>
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