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Saratoga Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for Friday, August 16

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, 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.

Race 2

#7 Johny’s Bobby

Considering he chased a fast pace over a one-turn mile last time out, this late runner actually laid a lot closer to the early fractions than expected. Hung six-wide on the turn, he was bumped at the top of the stretch, but carried on to score a solid victory. That was the best performance of his career.

Comment: The arrow is pointing up and he fits well under the conditions. Needs pace to chase, but not sure he’s going to get it. If you’re against Walkoff, I can see using this guy for multi-race purposes, but he seems like more of an underneath type to me.

Race 3

#2 Hellorhighwater

Off slowly losing some five lengths in his May 19 start on the Churchill turf, he found himself in the clear at the back of the pack behind an honest pace. He moved closer on the turn while still in hand and closed strongly, finishing just behind a talented winner. On June 22 in an “off the turf” assignment, he was in the clear behind an even pace. He was closer on the turn, was hard ridden five-wide, sustained the bid, and just missed. On July 26 at Ellis over a turf course that favored forward types, he sat near the back of the back, advanced steadily and found his best stride too late.

Comment: Better than he looks on paper and bred to handle the added distance on the dam’s side of the pedigree. Will surely fly under the radar and likely to offer value intra-race and in the multi-race wagers. Worth a play.

Race 5

#3 Cove Blue

In what was a very deep, full and talented field for this level, this guy made a solo lead through fast fractions last time out. In hand off the turn, the race would eventually fall apart around him, but he continued on strongly to the wire, losing a narrow decision.

Comment: A talented underachiever most of his career, he fired a big shot off the bench last time out and he’s trained like a bear. Romans’ barn has returned to form the last couple months, but somewhat surprisingly, he’s barely been represented at the current Saratoga stand. He’s a must use in the multi-race wagers and is worth a play at odds of 5-1 or better.

#6 Fuel the Bern

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 racetrack that slightly favored speed.

Comment: Danny Gargan is good off the bench and this horse will likely be somewhat overlooked in the wagering. I like Cove Blue slightly better, but this guy is worth using for multi-race purposes and his intra-race odds are worth monitoring.

 

(c) Coglianese Photography

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