Spa selections 2020: Saratoga picks August 8
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 6 – Mdn 72k
1. #8 Incitatus (8-1) – This grey colt closed well last time out at a shorter distance, and should like the distance stretch here plus will be good value
2. #1 Secret Potion (5-2) – May be over-bet due to the connections, but this colt by Into Mischief can’t be ignored
3. #3 American Monarch (5-1) – Pivotal Mission will likely take more money and has a better chance of winning, but this colt can finish in the money coming off of two strong works
Race 7 – Grade I Ballerina Stakes
1. #4 Bellafina (9-5) – This race sets up perfectly for this filly who should show a mid-pack closing style and picks up Jose Ortiz for the first time
2. #7 Come Dancing (3-1) – Maybe not as sharp as she was last year, but will sit off of what should be a torrid pace and have every opportunity to pass the leaders in the stretch
3. #6 Pink Sands (10-1) – Serengeti Empress might end up with too much early pressure from Cookie Dough and especially Letruska, leaving this deep closer to pick up the pieces at a price
Race 8 – Grade III Troy Stakes
1. #4 Shekky Shebaz (5-2) – Hasn’t had a great effort since December, but Irad Ortiz should have this gelding closer to the leaders, and has won both tries at Saratoga
2. #2 American Sailor (12-1) – This distance specialist may have trouble holding on late, but will finish in the money if the turf is firm and Pure Sensation doesn’t take the lead early
3. #7 Chewing Gum (9-2) – Takes a step up in class and should be a longer price than this, but can’t ignore Joel Rosario riding a closer in turf sprints
Race 9 – Grade III Waya Stakes
1. #5 Olympic Games (5-1) – Was bet to favorite last time and still ran a strong second, so keeping Irad Ortiz here with Clement may provide good value
2. #4 My Sister Nat (2-1) – Seems to want more distance and might improve after finishing a distance second to Mean Mary last time with no pace to close into
3. #1 Mrs. Sippy (6-5) – Hasn’t raced since an underwhelming showing in the Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf, but is still a top contender here and winner if she returns to form
Race 10 – Grade I Longines Test Stakes
1. #5 Gamine (3-5) – Won’t be great value and might get pressured by Venetian Harbor, but still the most likely winner after showing immense talent last race
2. #6 Venetian Harbor (8-5) – Can beat Gamine either by outbreaking her or getting some help from another potential speed like Wicked Whisper, but certainly has enough class to win
3. #3 Mrs. Danvers (8-1) – This grey filly will need the two favorites to cancel each other out early, but should be sitting off of them and will be best suited for this distance
Race 11 – Grade I Runhappy Travers Stakes
1. #6 Tiz the Law (1-1) – Probably a bit more vulnerable here than in the Belmont, but Uncle Chuck and others are still largely unproven, and still a slight cut below this colt
2. #3 Uncle Chuck (5-2) – Will likely be aggressive early, and may have control of what could be an average pace, leaving the added distance in between this colt and the winner’s circle
3. #4 Max Player (6-1) – Others with upside like Caracaro may be distance limited, so use this colt in exotics with Rosario who may find a way to close into the money here
Race 12 – Mdn 62k
1. #3 Blichton Lady (4-1) – Finished a distant second to Jewel of Arabia last time who came back to win again last week, and can improve if the track stays dry
2. #7 Tiny Magoo (8-1) – Carmouche will try and put this filly on the lead who steps up in class but nearly won first time out on a dry track
3. #9 Bankers Beast (9-2) – May improve sitting off of the leaders here, having been close to the leaders in a quick race last time out
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