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, but on the flipside, some of the Kentucky invaders might not be as good as they look on paper. 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. Wednesday, August 7 Race 6 #1 Uncle Benny After breaking six lengths slow from an inside post, he seemingly lost all chance at the start of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). He settled nicely thereafter and advanced steadily before running into a traffic jam off the turn for home. He steadied, rallied off heels through traffic, and surged late while on the wrong lead to finish an unlikely second. Comment: The connections pointed to the Mucho Macho Man on dirt back in January, but the colt obviously suffered a setback. He’s already won sprinting on turf, but he’s likely a two-turn horse moving forward. Servis has fantastic stats off the layoff, but this guy has the look of a horse who likely needs the race. He’s likely to be over-bet and might be worth taking a stand against. #10 Pyron Off a trio of promising starts to begin his career, this son of Candy Ride took a small step backward last time out. Off slowly losing two lengths, he was steadied early and covered up at the rail before finishing evenly. Comment: Has some turf in the pedigree and might be a little sneaky good here. Worth using if you feel this is a spread race. Race 8 #6 Replete Ran off on the lead two starts back over 1 1/16 miles and tired in the final furlong. Looked like a horse who needed a cutback, and that’s exactly what he got in his next start. He lost three lengths at the start of that six furlong contest and rushed up to the pocket and then a perfect stalking trip from the catbird’s seat. Still in hand off the turn, he finished strongly, won going away, and galloped out best. Comment: He’s never been better and is likely to fly way under the radar in what is a wide-open race. Worth spreading deep and including him. #1 I’m Busy Hung four-wide then three-wide behind a controlled pace before fading off the scene on May 25. Dropped into a much softer spot for his follow up start, he was allowed to set a slow pace over a main track that slightly favored speed and won going away. It was a dream run. Comment: Appears to be up against it here. Tough to give him any real consideration. Race 10 #8 Sweet Gisel Battled the pace and dug in gamely over a track that slightly favored outside closers on April 30, only to lose a narrow decision. Ran a similar race in her follow-up start in the slop, flashing good speed through honest fractions before settling for second behind a much the best winner. Likely deserves a mulligan for her most recent clunker. She broke through the gate pre-start, was reloaded, broke alertly, was hustled and then called it a day early. Comment: She’s seemingly trained well since and now moves over to the turf, which she’s bred for. Her form is darkened, but in reality, she fits very well with these. Worth using. Thursday, August 8 Race 3 #5 Sargeant Drive Hung three then four-wide over a severely inside, speed favoring track, he didn’t get a fair shot in his May 30 assignment. Comment: He hasn’t been seen in nine weeks, but the return works are sneaky good. Winless from six lifetime turf starts, but he’s run some creditable races over the surface and fits well here. On or off the grass, he should be viewed as a major player. Race 4 #4 California Night Urged to lead right out of the gate, he pressed a scorching hot pace and tired badly in the June 29 Kelly’s Landing. Comment: His previous runs were quite good and now he drops in class with darkened form. Posted three works since started and could go either way. Worth using if you decide to spread more than a couple horses deep. #1A Conqueror A creditable fourth in a $25,000 claiming dirt route on April 27, he stepped up slightly on May 17 and failed to make any sort of impact behind a runaway, gate-to-wire winner. Claimed again, he returns off a spotty work tab. Comment: Looks like a horse who is headed in the wrong direction and needs the race, but his stablemate Shut the Box is capable at this level.   (c) Horsephotos.com