08/10/2013 2:46PM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: Saratoga Special


Sunday’s two graded stakes at Saratoga are the Grade 2, 6 1/2-furlong middle legs of the graded series for 2-year-old males and fillies: the Adirondack, which falls between the Schuylerville and Spinaway, and the Saratoga Special, which follows the Sanford and precedes the Hopeful.

There’s a standout favorite in the Adirondack who’s going to be very hard to beat: Fiftyshadesofgold, who has won her two starts by 8 and 10 lengths, earning the two top Beyers in the field. The Special, however, is a much trickier proposition.

I’m against the Sanford winner, Wired Bryan, a quick colt but one who strikes me as an underlay because his races may look better on paper than they really were. He trounced a statebred filly in his debut and then won a Sanford where it seemed no one else did much running. This is a much tougher field.

Instead, I’ll go in order with Candy Dandy, an off-the-pace winner of a June 30 Churchill race from which the second and third finishers have already returned to win; Corfu, a heavily-bet debut winner from Pletcher who might have run faster had he not faced severe pace pressure; and Lunarwarfare, a very fast debut winner at Gulfstream, albeit it at 4 1/2 furlongs.