Saratoga

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

It’s the start of a new racing week at Saratoga, with several New York-bred races on the docket, including the featured Lubash S., scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on grass.

As the racing analyst at Churchill Downs, it’s my job to provide information you can’t necessarily read in the past performances. I keep detailed track bias, pace and trip notes for every race, every day, and that information can prove to be quite valuable, particularly when horses travel from one circuit to another.

For the entirety of the Saratoga meet, I will provide “scouting reports” for the horses who raced in Kentucky in their most recent start.

Race 2

#3 Box of Chocolates — 2-1 ML

Bet down to 3-1 favoritism against 10 rivals on May 16 at Churchill, Box of Chocolates was stuck in tight between horses while in a stalking position behind a fast pace early, made a bold move on the turn while hung six-wide and led in the deep stretch, only to be run over by a deep closing foe late. He didn’t return to the worktab until a month later, and now resurfaces as the favorite for a slightly lesser price tag. He looks as good as any on paper, but I would proceed with caution.

Race 4

#3 Kickin’ Kirby — 15-1 ML

Dropped in for a claiming tag to compete over a wet-fast track on May 28 at Churchill, Kickin’ Kirby made the lead through tepid fractions, but gave way once headed off the turn, finishing fourth of 12. He cuts back to a sprint for the third start off a three-month layoff. Not likely to be a serious win candidate, but he could outperform his odds and perhaps spice up the gimmicks at a price.

#7 Tenderfoot — 4-1 ML

Trained very well heading into his career debut on November 2 at Churchill, and ran deceivingly well at odds of 13-1, stalking a fast pace while in the clear before rallying off heels to finish fourth of 12. Off 6 1/2 months, he resurfaced on June 20. Off alertly, Tenderfoot failed to show speed and was hung four wide on the backstretch, eventually closing some into a fast pace to split the field of 12. His stablemate Savvy, who finished third that day off the bench, returned to win his next start against special weight company at Keeneland. This guy returns as a newly-turned gelding and drops in for a claiming tag for the first time.  Homebred by Graydar, the placement certainly makes sense. Must be considered a top contender.

Race 5

#10 Luna’s in Charge — 6-1 ML

Over a sloppy racetrack on October 30 at Churchill, Luna’s in Charge lost two lengths at the start and sat at the back of the pack while chasing a fast pace early. Moving three wide on the turn, he sustained his bid and got up in time to score. Off 7 1/2 months, he resurfaced on July 10 at Keeneland. After stalking a fast pace early, he tired at the top of the stretch and proved to be no threat. He ran like a horse who needed the race, and now returns to face fellow New York-breds at Saratoga, where he spent the summer last year. It appears logical that this race was the target the entire time. He’s never run on turf and isn’t really bred for it. Mixed signals, but I would lean towards using him for multi-race wagering purposes.

Race 7

#1 Madison Parc — 7-2 ML

On June 20 at Churchill, Madison Parc got a perfect pressing trip through hotly contested fractions over a one-turn mile. She threatened off the turn, but was outkicked late. She held well considering in a performance that was likely better than it appears on paper. Off a pair of solid works, she returns to the turf for career start number four to face fellow New York-breds for the first time. She’s well drawn on the rail with speed and must be considered armed and dangerous.