by Joe Kristufek With Churchill Downs coming off perhaps their strongest spring meet in history, the horses based in Kentucky should perform even better than they have in years past. Chances are, in many cases, they won’t get the respect they deserve. There is value to be had. That’s what I’m here for. For the entirety of the Saratoga meet, I will provide “scouting reports” for the Kentucky-based horses – good, bad and indifferent. Horses are listed in order of preference, with a short comment playability notation in the wrap. Race 4 #10 Devamani Bet down to odds of 2-1 against a solid field of foes last out, he was caught tugging while in tight between horses early on. Stuck stalking slow fractions, he finished strongly against the flow to finish second behind a rival that simply got the jump on him. Comment: He’s a proven commodity on turf and over distance and there’s no reason to think he won’t run another big race today. #8 King Zachary Finished a distant third behind a legit winner over a one-turn mile in his seasonal debut and then he was thrown to the wolves in the Stephen Foster (G2). He lost four lengths at the start of that that tough tilt, blew the first turn while five-wide, raced three-wide thereafter and then called it a day. He’s trained forwardly since and the pedigree suggests he may like the grass. Comment: Faces some accomplished turfers in his grass debut and is certainly a wild card. He has some talent and the form is darkened. If you want to take a swing, the price will be right. #3 Sassy Lil Lila This 6-year-old mare has seen much better days. On May 16 at Churchill, she battled the lead through honest fractions and was forced to check at the top of the stretch, but she was a beaten horse anyway. Comment: She hasn’t raced in two months and now resurfaces at 1 3/16 miles against the boys? No thanks. Race 5 #2 Indigo Yankee His route effort on May 18 left much to be desired, but off a nine-month layoff, perhaps he needed the race. The follow-up performance over seven furlongs on June 28 was much better. Adding blinkers, he made a middle move to the pocket into an honest pace and finished willingly in a solid race for the $40,000 (beaten) level. Comment: He fits in what looks to be a wide-open race. Likely to outperform his odds. Race 7 #2 Dashing Dan Finished a tired 10th of 12 with no real visible excuse off the bench at Churchill. Comment: Posted a sharp work since raced, should be tighter for this and the move to New York-bred company certainly helps. Several others look better on paper, so this guy looks like more of an underneath option. Race 8 #4 Mia Mischief Battled an honest pace and ran her eyeballs out to the wire to post an 11-1 upset in the Humana Distaff (G1), but somehow, she wasn’t favored against the younger upstart Cofeve in the Roxelana. Taking it to her speedy understudy from the word go, she battled her into submission, led late and held safe in what was a very game performance. Comment: Speed and versatility will allow her to go to the lead if she inherits it or press the pace if another horse goes. She’s the horse to beat her, but Ours to Run, who defeated her in Arkansas, is super legit. I’d use both of those for multi-race purposes and perhaps box them hard and key them in an exacta. #3 Honey Bunny Took advantage of a hot pace to win the Winning Colors (G3) two starts back. Chilly near the back of the pack while racing four-wide, she advanced steadily into the turn, shot-gunned seven-wide and rolled home. Racing behind even hotter splits after breaking awkwardly at the start of the ungraded Roxelana, which was actually a tougher race, she once again closed well, but it wasn’t nearly enough to catch the classy Mia Mischief. Comment: This is a tough spot. She’d do well to nab a placing. Race 9 #1 Pastime Hasn’t won in ages. She is talented but she does hang a lot. Her effort two starts back was surprisingly on the dull side, but she bounced back with a solid performance last time out. She broke alertly and sat an advantageous pocket trip behind a moderate pace, popped out in the stretch and had every opportunity to run by, but instead she hung. Comment: She’s a proven commodity in grassy dashes and is well drawn on the rail. She fits well and should offer value. Race 10 #3 Risky Mandate Bet down to odds of 5-2 against a full field of rivals on debut, she put on an absolute show. Racing three-wide while in hand, she moved up confidently while six-wide on the turn. She drew off on her own, was geared down and still galloped out strongly. It was a WOW performance. Comment: This is obviously a much tougher task, but she might be up to it. The debut win looks good on paper and it was actually a lot better than that. Must use and may be worth a play at favorable odds. #4 Diamond Crazy To the delight of the Nexus Racing Club, Dallas Stewart had this gal ready to fire off the bench. Sitting the pocket trip behind a contested pace, she moved to threaten on the turn while still in hand. With clear aim and her sights set on the leaders, she extended her stride nicely and won going away. Comment: This is a big step up and she’s going to have to run a lot faster. That being said, she has improved with every start. More of an underneath player and a stretch in the multi-race wagers, but I wouldn’t talk you off using her.   PHOTO: Saratoga Race Course (c) Adam Coglianese Photography