09/01/2011 10:01AM

Saratoga: Spa Babies for Sept. 1, Race 3

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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.

Wednesday's results:
Race 2:  Fancy Farm finished seventh
Race 7:  Mr. Style finished second
Race 8:  My Due Process finished sixth
Race 11: In My Eyes finished sixth

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Race 3
6 Furlongs
Ann Clare Stakes
2-year-old fillies (New York Breds)
Purse $75,000

Analysis:
VICTORY ISLAND, a daughter of the fleet Friendly Island out of a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop, overpowered statebred maidens in the slop in her career debut here on August 7. For a Todd Pletcher-trained firster, Victory Island was a bit tepid on the tote that day as the 7-2 third-choice and she seemed a bit green, flipping back to her wrong lead in late stretch after overpowering the leader at the eighth pole.  That race hasn't come back strong thus far, but Victory Island earned a solid Beyer and figures to show normal second-out improvement.

The Flying Zee Stable runners have been live all meet and they'll send out the solid coupled entry of HARBOR MIST and PURE GOSSIP.  The former showed improved speed when stretched out over sloppy going on August 21 and the barn is showing some confidence by wheeling her right back for her third start of the meeting.  Harbor Mist figures to be tracking the early leader under Jose Lezcano and shouldn't be too far away when the field swings into the stretch.

Pure Gossip worked out a nice inside trip to pull off a 37-1 shocker and she was flattered when two horses returned from that race to graduate next-out (the runner-up received a 65 Beyer after winning by 7 3/4 lengths while the ninth-finisher scored by 6 1/2 lengths in a $50,000 statebred maiden claimer with a 72 Beyer).  She draws a comfortable outside post and would benefit from a hot pace up front.

WHY TAKE A CHANCE closed with a strong late rally to defeat Harbor Mist in her debut on August 4, but that race was for a $50,000 tag and the fourth-finisher needed a drop to $35,000 maiden claimers to graduate next-out (51 Beyer by a diminishing neck).  She figures to be charging late, but needs to take a step forward.

BELLACOURT looms the speed nearest the rail after outsprinting a salty bunch to the front in the Grade 2 Adirondack on August 14.  She was no match for the top two that day, but seems well-spotted at this level and could be dangerous if allowed to stroll clear entering the turn.
HOOK IT UP handled a weak field of maidens first-out at Belmont before being swamped in the Grade 2 Matron on July 3.  She has been working swiftly for Gary Contessa and should appreciate the class relief.

Selections:
1. Victory Island
2. Harbor Mist
3. Pure Gossip

The Play:
Victory Island - Harbor Mist (entry) Exacta
Victory Island - Why Take a Chance Exacta