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 6 – HIGH CRIME (#11) (6-1) On May 4 traveling seven furlongs at Churchill Downs, he battled a fast pace over a racetrack that favored off-the-pace types and tired to fourth late. Nine weeks later at Ellis Park, he stretched out around two turns for his first ever try on turf. He made a comfortable lead, was challenged on the turn, shook off the bids to draw clear again before being nabbed late. Comment: May have needed that last start and enters this assignment off a bullet work. Sprints on turf for the first time and the pedigree suggests the trip may suit him to a tee. Will likely off some value in this spot. May be worth a play as well as an inclusion in multi-race wagers. I CAN DO ANYTHING (#5) (6-1) Two starts back in a turf sprint, he was hung three then four-wide while stalking an even pace. Hung six-wide on the turn, he maintained his momentum and proved best late. Stretched out to a mile in the follow-up start, he overcame an outside post to secure a perfect, spying trip over a turf course that slightly favored speed. He raced on the wrong lead in the stretch and proved third best behind a sharp winner. Comment: Cuts back to a sprint and fits well. Useable in a spread situation. COHETE ROJO (#12) (10-1) A maiden turf sprint winner, he crossed the line first dashing over the Churchill Downs grass on May 10, only to be disqualified. Hustled away from the gate, he settled in the catbird’s seat behind a hot pace, popped outside, bumped a foe off the turn, and won a tough battle late (DQ). In the follow-up start on June 7, he lost two lengths at the start, stalked a moderate pace, was held up a bit on the turn, but had no punch thereafter. Comment: Makes his first start back off a nine-week layoff and is marooned on the far outside. Would feel safe leaving him out. Race 9 – WILDLIFE (#7) (10-1) It was Rafael Bejarano’s only mount of the day, and this gal made it very much worth his while on June 28 at Churchill Downs. Sitting at the back of the pack on the rail behind a hot pace, she made a slingshot move five-wide on the turn and finished fastest of all while racing a bit greenly. In the follow-up start on July 26 at Ellis Park, she sat at the back of the pack behind super slow fractions, made a slingshot move on the turn, extended her stride, and blew past her overmatched rivals. Comment: She’s a one-dimensional deep closer who is still learning, but it’s tough to deny the natural talent. Faces a much, much tougher task here, but she may have more to give. Seems more like a value horse underneath, but in the multi-race wagers she’s worth using a spread situation. AMANDREA (#2) (15-1) May 31 at Churchill Downs, she stalked a slow pace under a tight hold, made a bold move four-wide on the turn while still in hand, swooped to the lead, and proved solidly best. On July 6 at Ellis Park, she stalked a hot pace over a turf course that favored speed, made what looked to be a winning move on the turn for home, but she could not kick late with the forwardly placed winner. Comment: Has been facing much, much softer competition. She hasn’t run fast enough to compete here and appears to be an easy toss. Race 10 – STREET BAND (#5) (10-1) In very tight early and shuffled back in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), she was hung five-wide behind and even pace over a track that slightly favored speed and failed to threaten thereafter. Nine weeks later in the Indiana Oaks (G3), she stalked a slow pace over a racetrack that favored speed, split rivals gamely on the turn for home, took over and drew off as much the best under a mild drive. Comment: Love the fact that trainer Larry Jones continues to stick with jockey Sophie Doyle. This filly has posted a pair of sharp works since raced, and she’s not likely to get the respect she deserves here. Must use in multi-race wagers and worth an intra-race play at an expected fair price. PHOTO: Saratoga starting gate (c) Harold Roth/Horsephotos.com