Spa selections 2020: Saratoga picks August 1
Ginger N Rye won the 2017 Smart N Fancy Stakes at Saratoga. Photo by Chelsea Durand/NYRA.
by Joseph Aiello
In Spa Selections, Saratoga on-site correspondent Joseph Aiello provides Saratoga picks for a handful of key races at Saratoga, including all of the exciting stakes action!
Race 5 – Grade I Personal Ensign Stakes
1. #3 Midnight Bisou (2-5) – Just seems better than this group, and will win here as long as she sits in third or fourth early without dropping too far back
2. #1 Abounding Joy (20-1) – A good price to play in exotics or to upset Midnight Bisou, and gets a top rider in Jose Ortiz who will have this mare stalking plus should love this distance
3. #6 Point of Honor (5-2) – Vexatious can be played to come in the money after a terrific effort running second to Monomoy Girl, but this filly may win if the pace falls apart early
Race 9 – Grade I Whitney Stakes
1. #3 Code of Honor (5-2) – Returns to the Spa for the first time since his Travers victory last summer, and may get enough pace and distance to close into here to pass them in the stretch
2. #5 Tom’s d’Etat (6-5) – Ever since his only loss at Saratoga in the Woodward last year, this seven year old horse has been one of the best in the country, and can’t be passed up here
3. #1 By My Standards (9-2) – Should be sitting off of Mr. Buff early and has been good at this distance, plus might be solid value in this small field
Race 10 – Grade I H. Allen Jerkins Stakes
1. #4 Echo Town (9-2) – A bit more pace pressure on No Parole might be enough for this stalking type to run by him in the stretch
2. #5 Mischevious Alex (8-1) – Can’t ignore the other Ortiz brother on Three Technique, but this colt will look to get a good stalking trip and has two Grade III wins under his belt
3. #6 No Parole (9-5) – Proved himself last time in the Grade I Woody Stephen, but with a larger field here and more early pressure it will be difficult to hold on late
Race 11 – Grade II Bowling Green Stakes
1. #2 Cross Border (5-2) – Jose Ortiz may try to control this three turn race with this ridgling who easily in a stakes here just ten days ago and has won all four tries at Saratoga
2. #4 Dot Matrix (9-2) – This seven year old gelding by Freud will be best suited closing from mid pack and has won nearly a third of his races on the turf lifetime
3. #6 Sadler’s Joy (2-1) – May not be great value and has had winning troubles, but is a good bet to find his way into the money
Race 12 – Caress Stakes
1. #5 Jakarta (10-1) – Drops from two Grade III races, and will look to take them wire to wire, showing she has the speed and ability to do so in her only turf sprint try back in March
2. #7 Dalika (3-1) – Rosario has been deadly with turf closers, and it is telling that he chose this Stall trainee over his usual partner in Clement who he won two races with yesterday
3. #3 Sweet Bye and Bye (6-1) – If the pace is slower than expected, deep closers like Dalika may have too much work to do, so stalkers like Cariba and this mare will be more likely winners
We’ve got Charles Town picks and preview today as the track presents its Friday card!
John Piassek shares his thoughts on today’s 8-race Pimlico card here.
Our Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook — featuring races and horses to watch, track bias info, jock/trainer of the week, and more – returns for 2021.