07/28/2013 10:22AM

Saratoga: Dave Litfin's Analysis July 29, 2013

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Dave Litfin's Analysis [BEST BET: Madris, Race 1 )]

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1 MADRIS dropped into a restricted claimer for the first time at Churchill Downs, steadied briefly rallying from last to finish third, and was claimed by an outfit with designs on the Spa owners' title; most of his grass routes this year are a cut or two above today's rivals. PYRO CITY makes third start of the year after Beyer pair-up very close to his peak figures of 2012; overcame post 10 for a front-end score on this course last summer. CHARDSEY is just 1 for 20, but that victory came on yielding inner turf here in 2011; met repeaters first two starts for this barn in May. Closer Looks >>
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2 By Kentucky Derby and Travers winner Street Sense, and out of an unraced half-sister to 10-time graded stakes winner Congaree, WEDDING TOAST certainly has the pedigree to handle today's distance; off slowest from the rail, rallied to be clearly second best in sprint bow, followed with a big work over the track. FLORES ISLAND, a beaten favorite in her last four on turf and synthetic, goes back to dirt for the first time since debut against multiple stakes winner Unlimited Budget; she is the first of Bill Mott's five birthday starters. PROUD VIXEN turned in an improved effort when brought back from a three-month break with blinkers on; stretches out projecting as a forward factor in matchup without much early speed. Closer Looks >>
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3 MAHNA has improved considerably in each of two starts with Lasix; pedigree is versatile enough to suggest she can handle turf, in difficult race with limited turf form. KISS ME LOLA pressed a strong pace, poked a head in front a furlong from home and weakened late in a promising seasonal debut; that's easily the best grass sprint showing in the lineup. WILD ONE has been beaten as the choice on dirt and synthetic, but might find her niche on turf, as War Front is among the top grass sires, and the dam has produced two multiple turf winners. FEVERED KISS showed speed in dirt debut for Bill Mott; solid turf Tomlinson (362), sire Smart Strike capable of getting classy runners on any surface. Closer Looks >>
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4 CEASE's form at age 6 has been suspect so far, but the Saratoga horse for course returns to his favorite stomping grounds, where he won off similar freshenings the past two years on fast, sloppy and muddy tracks; wake-up call. BIG SCREEN popped a couple big-figure performances downstate, beginning with a 110 Beyer the last time he went two turns at Aqueduct; looks to be in control of the pace after giving futile chase to King Kreesa in the Poker. TECH FALL has been absent 13 months, but Bill Mott is aces ($2.83 R.O.I.) with long layoffs in 2012-13, and the gelding is perfect from three starts off workouts; tough trip lone start at 1 1/8 miles. Closer Looks >>
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5 RIVER BOSS has been a photogenic sort this year, coming from off the pace to win a couple tight decisions, the latest at Churchill in a four-way blanket finish; he's an allowance winner dropping to a restricted claimer, and the inner turf has played to his running style of late. ONE GOLDEN ROAD is one of two in the field never to have run in a claiming race; versatile Florida invader becomes the one to beat in the event of a switch to dirt (at 1 1/8 miles). BOLD FOREST has posted competitive Beyers in the 70-75 range all turf starts; consistent gelding is a logical inclusion in exotic wagers. Closer Looks >>
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6 If this allowance dash switches to dirt, MARRIEDTOTHEMUSIC ran a hole in the wind over the track just eight days ago, earning a 98 Beyer for his third win in four starts; would be hard to go past at a short price. Otherwise, the key question may be whether DR FIGAWI reprises Dec. 6 dirt debut, in which he grabbed the early lead and widened at every call; the George Weaver-trained New York-bred Fiddlers Patriot did something similar a few years back, returning from the same kind of layoff to set the Saratoga course record for 5 1/2 furlongs first time on grass. BIZARROWORLD has been rejuvenated since moving to the grass for his last pair at Monmouth; looms part of what could be a hotly contested pace. Closer Looks >>
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7 ULTIMATE EMPIRE has made seven starts on dirt and has finished in the money without fail, and he also exits the two fastest races of his life on fast and muddy tracks; unproven at the distance, but the same goes for everyone else. PISCESBYMOONLIGHT is third back from an extended layoff after an improved effort to finish three lengths behind the top pick; the lightly raced 5-year-old's two best figures came on wet tracks. SEA TO SKY is another who might benefit from any moisture in the surface, as was the case when he rode a gold rail bias to victory in the mud last Dec. 27. Closer Looks >>
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8 DANCE TO BRISTOL has won five in a row since paired with "The X-Man," who has engineered carbon-copy stalking trips at four tracks with an ultra-consistent filly who has won or placed in 15 of 16 starts; sterner test today after taking soft Grade 3 at Belmont. LIVI MAKENZIE was far back in the Prioress here last year, but has made great strides as a 4-year-old under a variety of circumstances in progressively tougher spots; getting faster with every race recently. BURBAN was never headed en route to new top figure at her home track most recently; shipped to Aqueduct to beat PROMISE ME A CAT prior to runner-up finish in subpar renewal of the Humana Distaff. Closer Looks >>
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9 Bill Mott's best shot for yet another birthday score may come with REVENUE, who is okay on fast or wet dirt but probably itching to get back on Saratoga turf, where she was a bang-up second last year in a key race behind Madam Giry, who won two stakes right after that; wide in last vs. Slew's Exchange, who returned to take the Klassy Briefcase. NICE STUFF also showed an affinity for this layout in 2012, rallying from last to finish second despite a brutal trip; couldn't overtake 20-1 GRANBY GIRL when solidly backed recently. DELIGHTFUL DAWN has run well in both starts for her current connections; might trip out nicely stalking SHE'S GOSPHEL and Spa mud lark ELUSIVE JOZI if race is switched to dirt. Closer Looks >>
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10 Draw a line through TYPHOON TERI's turf race last out, and she's capable of winning Monday's finale based on any of her three dirt starts this year, the last one against allowance repeater Alpha J; among a handful moving down from the special-weight ranks. GLASSY ALY has been away since last fall, when she passed six opponents to finish fifth while against a speed-favoring bias; deep closer needs a pace duel between LIGHT WEIGHT and MONONOKE to set the table. SCIENZIATO also makes her first start of the year while dropping in class; need only transfer her grass figures to the main track to contend. Closer Looks >>
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