07/29/2006 11:00PM

Saratoga stakes plays for Sunday, July 30


Take D'Tour is an admirable filly who has quickly risen from the allowance to stakes to Grade 1 level while winning her last four starts. She's the pro tem leader of New York's older fillies. Off back-to-back victories in the Shuvee and Phipps at Belmont, she has a growing fan club and is the choice of many a public handicapper in today's Go For Wand at Saratoga.

If she wins, I lose. I'm strongly against her today.

Take D'Tour's two victories at Belmont were loose-on-the-lead romps where her expected competition ran dismally. In the Shuvee, both Smuggler and Indian Vale tanked behind her and in the Phipps it was Spun Sugar who failed to run a representative race. Take D'Tour ran okay both times but faced neither early pace pressure nor a rival who ran her best race.

All that should change today in the Go For Wand. Todd Pletcher trains half the field of six and while all three of his fillies are good enough to win it on their best day, it looks as if Pool Land and Spun Sugar are there to keep Take d'Tour from getting another easy lead. Pletcher's third entrant, Oonagh Maccool, is the one that John Velazquez ends up on and should get a perfect stalking trip behind a contested pace.

Add in that Take d'Tour is going two turns here, having accomplished all her recent victories in one-turn races, and that she drew the outside post, and there's a good chance she will have a difficult and unsuccessful trip.

So the play is going to be exactas keying Oonagh Maccool with everyone except Take D'Tour, pressing with the longshots Balletto and Nothing But Fun, who might clunk up late past Pletcher's pacesetters. The play, for each $30 unit invested, is:

$6 exactas: 5/3,4 = $12

$4 exactas: 5/1,6 = $ 8

$3 exactas: 3,4/5 = $ 6

$2 exactas: 1,6/5 = $ 4