Spa selections 2019: Saratoga August 24

by | Aug 23, 2019 | Breaking, Handicapping

Pret Say Eye

Pret Say Eye was antsy early, strong late for trainer Lacey Gaudet (left) at Saratoga in 2016. Photo by Teresa Genaro.

by Joseph Aiello  

In Spa Selections, Saratoga on-site correspondent Joseph Aiello provides picks for a handful of key races at Saratoga, including all of the exciting stakes action!

Race 5 – Grade I Forego Stakes

1. #1 Promises Fulfilled (5-2) – Loves Saratoga, and will win this if he separates from Mitole early, but even with a few closers here, this one looks to be a duel to the wire

2. #3 Mitole (4-5) – Was a bit compromised by Strike Power last time and could have similar issues with Promises Fulfilled, but ran into a buzzsaw in Imperial Hint and should improve here

3. #6 Firenze Fire (7-2) – This race may set up for Bon Raison who is in top form, but this colt should have the best chance to take over one of the front runners, and was close last year

Race 6 – Grade I Ketel One Ballerina Stakes

1. #4 Separationofpowers (9-5) – Perfect distance for this filly who has a bit more versatility than the others and has run her best at the Spa

2. #2 Come Dancing (6-5) – Has been great off the layoff and showing top notch workouts, but it might be tough to stave off Minit to Stardom early

3. #5 Mia Mischief (5-1) – Special Relativity is a nice filly who has never lost at Saratoga, but don’t forget this filly who should sit in third and wait for the speed to collapse

Race 7 – Grade I H. Allen Jerkens Stakes

1. #8 Rowayton (6-1) – Finally gets back to a distance and dry surface that he prefers, with his allowance win at Belmont in early June good enough to win here if Shancelot collapses

2. #1 Shancelot (1-2) – Clearly with a repeat of his last race he will win this even at seven furlongs, but if Call Paul is sent with him early, it could lead to an unsustainable pace

3. #9 Hog Creek Hustle (8-1) – Has won both tries at seven furlongs, and will be making a big move late with Nitrous from the back of the pack

Race 8 – Grade II Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa Stakes

1. #4 Significant Form (6-1) – Goes back to a distance she likes, and should get an ideal stalking trip on a turf course that has been holding speed

2. #9 Mascha (9-2) – Very tough group here with Secret Message and Starship Jubilee real players here, but Irad Ortiz Jr. stays here and has plenty of upside with this filly

3. #2 Fifty Five (5-1) – Indian Blessing could come in the money, but this mare scratched out of the Yaddo yesterday to run here with Javier Castellano and Chad Brown, and is always game

Race 9 – Grade I Personal Ensign Stakes

1. #4 Elate (7-5) – This is her race to lose, and even with Midnight Bisou showing serious improvement, Elate is ready to avenge what should have been a win in this race last year

2. #1 Midnight Bisou (6-5) – As is the theme of many of these races, there are two clear favorites who should be fighting to the end, and this is no different

3. #6 Golden Award (8-1) – Holding off Coach Rocks and She’s a Julie early will be key, but with Wow Cat struggling to put it all together, this filly should be the top longshot play

Race 10 – Grade I Sword Dancer Stakes

1. #6 Ya Primo (7-2) – Second time in North America and at Saratoga, and was making a good run in the Bowling Green plus might be a fair price for Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz

2. #8 Channel Maker (3-1) – Has had trouble winning and appeared to be moving towards Channel Cat in the Bowling Green, so this should be where he puts it all together

3. #7 Annals of Time (5-2) – Don’t sleep on Pillar Mountain, and Sadler’s Joy showed signs of life last time, but this Brown trainee draws Castellano and could be one of his most talented

Race 11 – Grade I Runhappy Travers Stakes

1. #1 Owendale (6-1) – This big colt by Into Mischief has shown improvement this year, and should run his best race at this distance similar to the strong closing effort he showed in the Preakness three months ago

2. #6 Tacitus (5-2) – Has been somewhat unlucky in a few trips this year and should be ready to breakthrough with a strong effort here after battling back and nearly catching up to Tax in the Jim Dandy where he stumbled at the break

3. #2 Code of Honor (4-1) – Play the three from the Curlin in exotics, but this likely second choice just seems a tad better, broke his maiden here last summer, and very easily could have won the Kentucky Derby if not for a sloppy track and a bump with Maximum Security

4. #4 Tax (6-1) – This distance could be a tad too far for him and the post isn’t ideal, but if one thing is for sure, this former maiden claimer is always game, and as long as he isn’t tied up in a hot pace, he should be there at the end and can’t be ignored