08/14/2011 6:26PM

Saratoga Spa Babies for August 15, Race 8


Welcome to Spa Babies! I'll break down the statistics for every juvenile contest at the meet and hope for a tidy profit.

In past years, I would list the stats for each horse before writing up my analysis, selections and wagering strategy.  In order to streamline the content, this year's Spa Babies will showcase written analyses of each juvenile race.  Each analysis will include relevant statistical information.  Following the analysis, top three selections and wagering strategy will be provided.


Sunday's results:
Race 2: Remarkable Moon finished seventh
Race 3: Lenders Way finished fourth
Race 7: Delightful Magic finished third
Race 9: My Miss Aurelia finished first




Race 8
6 1/2 Furlongs
Three Chimneys Saratoga Special Stakes (G2)
Purse $150,000



3. BANNER BILL, a perfect three-for-three over the polytrack surface at Woodbine, may have moved a bit prematurely when splitting horses leaving the backstretch of the $150,000 Colin Stakes on July 16. He poked a head in front on the turn, but was passed in upper stretch. Still, Banner Bill gamely dug in to recapture the lead near the inside during the final furlong. The Colin didn't boast the strongest field in the world as the runner-up is still a maiden and the fifth-finisher returned to graduate in a $75,000 maiden claimer at Monmouth with only a 48 Beyer Speed Figure. An Illinois-bred gelding by Rockport Harbor (won the Remsen at nine furlongs at two), Banner Bill is a half-brother to juvenile stakes-winning sprinter Third Chance (won the Showtime Deb Stakes going six furlongs on dirt at Hawthorne with an 89 Beyer) and juvenile stakes-placed sprinter Stormy Afternoon (second in the Sun Power Stakes at six furlongs on dirt at Hawthorne with a 75 Beyer). He must prove his mettle on dirt in the Saratoga Special, but we've seen several synthetic runners move way up in their initial starts on the real stuff. Banner Bill may work out a good pace-tracking trip and could get first run on the late-kickers at a solid mutuel.

6. TRINNIBERG made a nice debut at Calder, going gate-to-wire in solid time over a pair of next-out winners (the runner-up returned to graduate with a 63 Beyer while the last-place finisher came back to score in the slop with a 66). A $1,500 yearling that resold for $21,000 earlier this year, Trinniberg is by the Grade 2 sprint winner Teuflesberg out of Bella Dorato, the third-place finisher of the Finger Lakes Juvenile Filly Stakes at six furlongs with a 39 Beyer (note that Bella Dorato earned her career-best Beyer - an 87 - here at Saratoga). Expect Trinniberg to show good speed, but Italo may attempt to make life unhappy for her on the front end.

2. STAT took all the money for Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez and did not disappoint in the career debut at Belmont Park on July 9. A $260,000 yearling that resold for $400,000 earlier this season, Stat is by the very good stallion Unbridled's Song out of stakes-winner Di's Time, the winner of the six-furlong Correction Handicap over the Aqueduct inner track with a 93 Beyer. Stat is a half-brother to multiple stakes-placed sprinter Charlotte's Di (5-18, 182K) and Grade 3-placed juvenile sprinter Lenaro (second in the Grade 3 Debutante Stakes going six furlongs at Churchill Downs with a 64 Beyer). Stat owns the field's best Beyer and should go favored considering the connections, but three of the horses he beat at Belmont returned to bomb at Saratoga (two sixth-place finishers, one ninth-place finish, best Beyer of 66).

4. INDIAN EVENING was bet to favoritism for his career debut over the Woodbine polytrack and he looked good rallying from off the pace to post a 70-Beyer win. The runner-up from that race, Buongiorno Johnny, returned to upset the restricted Vandal Stakes with a 72 Beyer. An $110,000 yearling by Santa Anita Derby winner Indian Charlie, Indian Evening is the first starter out of a winning half-sister to Favorite Trick, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner that earned Horse of the Year honors as a 2-year-old of 1997. Trainer Josie Carroll won the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga in 2009 with Careless Jewel. Indian Evening shouldn't be discounted in what is shaping up to be a contentious Saratoga Special.

1. UNION RAGS rallied from off the pace to win his career debut at Delaware Park for Michael Matz, a trainer that has sent out several live babies at the Saratoga meet. Union Rags defeated a pair of next-out winners in that race (best next-out Beyer of 59), but he's stuck in a difficult inside post position and may be shuffled back in the early part of the Special. A $145,000 yearling that resold for $390,000 earlier this year, Union Rags is by the versatile Dixie Union out of a winning half-sister to multiple stakes-winner Marry Me Do (19-74, 368K). Union Rags, himself, is a full brother to Geefour, a stakes-placed sprinter with a 92 Beyer top.

5. ITALO was one of several promising juveniles that trainer Wesley Ward sent to Europe earlier in the year. After winning his debut at Longchamp, Italo tired badly in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at six furlongs during the Royal Ascot meet. Ward does very well with juveniles and Italo will get Lasix for his first start on dirt. A $42,000 yearling purchase, Italo is by Grade 3 sprint winner With Distinction out of an unraced half-sister to Italiano (third in the nine-furlong Victoria Park Stakes with an 86 Beyer) and Salty Lady (second in the Grade 3 Honey Bee at 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Meadowlands). Italo showed high speed in both starts overseas and is expected to be part of the pace picture in the Saratoga Special.


1. Banner Bill
2. Trinniberg
3. Stat

The Play:
Banner Bill to Win and Place at 4-1 odds or greater.


*Meet record based on starts, wins, top pick (after scratches) in the money, and profit/loss of that day's play ($2 wager, scheduled surface only): 42-11-20 (-$1.40)