At the Gate - Wednesday
August 9, 2016

Mother Nature has been pretty darn good to us so far at the Saratoga meeting, but that may change on Wednesday as there is rain in the forecast throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

If the forecast is correct we will likely see a wet track and be off the turf this afternoon. There are four races carded for the turf today along with the opener, which is a steeplechase event.

I am going to go with the forecast and today’s report is handicapped for an off track and off the turf.

The feature today is the $100,000 Birdstone which drew a field of six older runners that will go 1 3/4 miles on the main track. We do not see too many races at this distance.

I am going with the morning line favorite Turco Bravo who exits a couple of tries in graded stakes company, a sixth in the Suburban Handicap (G2) at 1 1/8 miles and two back a good effort in a runner up finish in the Brooklyn (G2) at 1 1/2 miles.

Through Monday’s card Chad Brown has the edge over Todd Pletcher in the trainer standings at the Spa 18-14. Brown has finished second to Pletcher in each of the past four years but could be on his way to his first training title. Pletcher is looking for his 13th at the Spa.

Brown has runners in two races today while Pletcher has starters in just one race.

Irad Ortiz Jr. is leading all jockeys with 28 winners, eight more than Hall of Famer John Velazquez with 20. Jose Ortiz is third with 18 while Javier Castellano is fourth with 16 winners.

Coming up this weekend at the Spa are the $200,000 Adirondack (G2) for juvenile fillies and the $500,000 Fourstardave (G1) for turf runners on Saturday.

The feature on Sunday is the $200,000 Saratoga Special (G2) for juveniles at 6 ½ furlongs on dirt.

I will head out to Arlington Park on Saturday and will analyze the big day that features the $1 million Arlington Million (G1) and $700,000 Beverly D. (G1), both Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races.

Here is today’s second race (the opener is a steeplechase) from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:

SAR Race 2 Clm $32,000 (1:33 ET)
#1 Making Havoc 9-5
#2 You Lie 2-1
#6 Miss Amalita 6-1
#5 Da Wildcat Girl 8-1

Analysis:
Making Havoc set the early fractions and weakened to finish third last out here off a two-month break against Alw-2 optional claimers. The mare wheels back quickly her for the Nevin barn that is 17% winners with runners coming back off a 1-7-day break and learned from the best as she previously worked for Dutrow. The mare drops into an easier spot her tagged for $32,000 and owns solid early and mid pace numbers. She has a win over a wet track in three tries.

You Lie is also exiting a Alw-2 optional claimer where she carved out the early fractions before packing it in and weakening to finish fourth. She makes her third start since the Englehart barn claimed her for $16,000 three back out of a win. She beat Alw-1 foes in her first start for the barn. She fits well in this spot and figures to be right in the mix early.

Wagering

WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,6
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The Birdstone (5:40 ET)
#5 Turco Bravo 8-5
#6 Indycott 6-1
#3 Kid Cruz 2-1
#1 Old Time Hockey 3-1

Analysis: Turco Bravo tracked the early pace and weakened to finish sixth last out in the Suburban Handicap (G2). He drops into an easier spot here and won the ungraded Flat Out three back at Belmont park going 1 3/8 miles. The gelding ran second in this race last year, beaten 2 1/2 lengths behind repeat winner Tacticus. He has not won on an off track in his career but has run well, landing in the bottom half of the exacta in five of those trips.

Indycott faded to finish sixth last out against Alw-2 optional claimers in his first start off the claim by the Jacobson barn and off a two-month break. By A.P. Indy out of a Seeking the Gold mare, he may have enough pedigree to handle this distance. He has a strong off track pedigree and has landed in the money in three of his four trips on off going in his career. He beat $50,000 claimers here last summer on the main track here going nine furlongs.

Wagering

WIN: #5 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 3,5,6
TRI: no play

Live Longshots:
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

Saratoga
R2: #5 Da Wildcat Girl 8-1
R3: #6 Frosty Appeal 8-1
R4: #6 Sherini 8-1
R5: #7 I’mbetterthangood 8-1
R6: #5 Carolina Courage 8-1
R8: #2 Second City 8-1
R10: #10 Rapt 8-1
R10: #6 Jacks Rocks 12-1

Good luck today!