07/27/2013 3:08PM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: Amsterdam


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Sunday’s Saratoga feature is the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes for 3-year-old males at 6 1/2 furlongs, which leads to the seven-furlong, Grade 1 King’s Bishop on the Travers undercard Aug. 24, one of the few Grade 1 opportunities for 3-year-old sprinters.

This year’s edition drew a field of seven with three key players: Forty Tales and Declan’s Warrior, who ran 1-2 in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens going seven furlongs on Belmont Stakes Day, and the unbeaten speedball Rainbow Heir, a five-length winner of the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth last time out in his stakes debut.

Rainbow Heir is a danger to get loose, but might face early pressure from Mentor Cane and Black Cat Hurricane, both of whom have set sub-45-second paces. So I will hope for some early heat and stick with the two emerging from the Woody Stephens, with a slight preference for Declan’s Warrior off an arguably tougher tougher trip that day.

Forty Tales lost more ground rallying wide on the far outside, but Declan’s Warrior had to navigate traffic twice in the stretch, moving around in search of a seam and altering course without breaking stride. With a cleaner trip in a smaller field, it might be his turn.

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