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 1 – WEEKEND FUN (#7) (3-1) Stalking a fast pace from the two-path in her career debut, she was nudged to give more on the turn, had aim late, tried the leader, was thwarted, and then tired in the final sixteenth. The winner that day was 4-5 shot Josie, who has since returned to finish a distant second as the overwhelming chalk in an Ellis Park allowance race. Comment: Probably not as good as she may appear on paper. I’d be willing to take a stand against her. Race 2 – DATA DRIVEN (#2) (8-5) Two back he enjoyed an advantageous rail trip and gamely won the place battle behind a razor sharp winner. Dropped in class, he was bet down to the 9-5 second choice in what was a very average race for the $25,000 claiming level last out. He sat a cozy, pocket trip behind a controlled pace over a racetrack that slightly favored speed, was three-wide on the turn, had aim on the eventual front-running winner and was slowly getting to that rival late. Comment: Continues his slide down the class ladder, cutting his tag in half off the Danny Gargan claim. He obviously fits at this level, but I wouldn’t lean on him. GETOFFMYBACK (#4) (9-2) Form has tailed off noticeably since the $25,000 claim in late March at Oaklawn Park. Last out at Churchill Downs, the short comment says “troubled beginnings.” Don’t be fooled. If anything he was only marginally compromised, had a clear stalking trip from the rail thereafter and had nothing left to give on the turn in what was a very average race for the $25,000 claiming level. Comment: Appears to be headed in the wrong direction, but he’s capable of better and the barn is having a nice meet with claiming types. If inclined to spread deep, you may as well use him. If you plan on narrowing here, no thanks. Race 7 – BATTLE STATION (#9) (6-1) In a graded-caliber money allowance last out, he enjoyed a perfect pressing trip over a turf course that slightly favored speed and simply couldn’t kick with the top pair late. Comment: Prefer others, but this guy should get the trip he wants from the outside gate. Tough to leave out, but even tougher to lean on. FUEL THE BERN (#3) (7-2) (main track only) Haven’t seen this speedy horse since Kentucky Derby weekend, when he got discouraged chasing the quick pace of the longshot winner Cummings before tiring over a racetrack that slightly favored speed. Comment: Trainer Danny Gargan is good off the bench, and should this race come off the turf, this guy should be viewed as a major player. Race 10 – FRANK’S ROCKETTE (#2) (2-1) Visually the most impressive two-year-old I saw all spring at Churchill Downs. Bet down to lukewarm 5-2 favoritism on debut, she was three-wide early before settling into a perfect, pressing position. Still in hand off the turn, she was never asked. It was basically a public workout and certainly a “WOW” performance. Comment: She won that first race so easy, but we don’t know how she’s going to respond to adversity or to a battle. It’s going to be fun to find out. Must use, obviously. MAGIC DANCE (#8) (7-5) Reluctant to load the starting gate in her career debut, she raced three-wide, drew even on the turn, took over under a hand ride and drew away with lots left, leaving the favorite and next out winner Josie in her wake. Bet down to odds of 1-5 in the Debutante Stakes, she was surely tested. Three-wide early, she had aim while four-wide off the turn and wore down a stubborn foe late. That race was three-fifths of a second faster than the final time of the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) for the boys. Comment: Unlike Frank’s Rockette, this gal has proven she can win a battle. She’s well drawn outside and is a must use. You should be able to get away with using just her and Frank’s Rockette, or get bold and choose one of the two. Race 11 – ALFONS WALDE (#13) (12-1) (AE) Outperformed his 21-1 odds on May 25. After losing two lengths at the start, he sat an advantageous, pocket trip, came out and lead late, but was outfinished by a rival who took advantage of hot splits and a turf course that favored off-the-pace types. He proved the big effort was no fluke last out. Hung three-wide throughout, he moved four-wide on the turn for home, drew even late, but was outkicked by a more forwardly placed rival. Comment: Would be a bit of a stretch in the multi-race wagers and appears to be more of an underneath type in the intra-race gimmicks, particularly from an extreme, outside gate. PHOTO: Saratoga (c) Horsephotos.com