Off his WOW performance in the Aristides S. at Churchill, Volatile steps up to Grade 1 company in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. He’s squarely the horse to beat, but Lexitonian is sneaky off his recent win in Louisville, and he’s likely the longest shot on the board.
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.
#4 Another Broad 6-5 ML (MTO)
In the Fleur de Lis (G2) on June 27 at Churchill, Another Broad was out the back early while in the clear, chasing a hot pace. She was no match for the top two, but surged late for show. The chances of this race coming off the grass are less than zero, so look for her to return down the line.
#4 Gone Glimmering 7-2 ML
Off a six-months layoff on May 16 at Churchill, Gone Glimmering broke last from an outside post and was hung four-wide the entire journey, calling it a day on the turn. Five weeks later, with a drop in class, she ran much better. Flashing natural speed away from the gate against six rivals, she was challenged by her chalky stablemate Magine on the turn, dug in, but proved to be no match, finishing a clear second. Amoss once again sends out a formidable foe in Lady C to face her, and chances are the results will be similar.
#9 Sir Alfred Jones 3-1 ML
In his career debut against 11 rivals on June 13 at Churchill, Sir Alfred James broke alertly, stalked from just off a moderate pace, made a bold move on the turn, had aim in the stretch and proved best late, but I wasn’t a big fan of the gallop out. It was a solid performance, but do note that he didn’t debut until the middle of his 4-year-old season. With Irad aboard, he’s likely to get bet down. He can win, but I wouldn’t put too much trust in him. 2,4,10 all look quite capable.
#7 Malpais 10-1 ML
Looked like a horse who might be stakes caliber early in his career, but he’s taken a big step back in the 4-year-old season. On May 25 at Churchill, he was hustled away from the rail to make the lead. He battled fast fractions and faded on the turn, finishing a distant third behind a pair of graded stakes caliber rivals. Inexplicably jumped up in class for a follow-up start four weeks later, he sat a pocket trip behind extremely hot splits, was all in on the turn and failed to respond. He takes the blinkers off and fits better here, but this is a solid race for the level and he appears to be up against it.
#8 Mojovation 5-2 ML
On May 24 at Churchill, Mojovation broke slowly at the start, losing four lengths. Near the back of the pack, he chased an honest pace, was hung six-wide on the turn, and stayed on well for third. Claimed for $40K that day, he takes a drop in class off a two-month break. He only shows two works on the local tab since raced. In a race with several other capable runners, I’d have a tough time trusting him as the favorite.
#8 Locally Owned 8-1 ML
A sprinter most of his career, Locally Owned has stepped up his game recently around two turns. On May 29 at Churchill, he was stuck in tight between horses while stalking an even pace. He had a clear run on the turn, and finished second best behind an average winner for the level. Four weeks later over 9 furlongs, he broke alertly from the starting gate, enjoyed an advantageous, pocket trip, was loaded on the turn, cut the rail, and responded to score a narrow victory. He looks like a secondary contender here.
#1 Lexitonian 20-1 ML
In what was his second race back off a 6 1/2-month layoff on May 29 at Churchill, Lexatonian sat the catbird’s seat trip behind a hot pace while three-wide. He took over in the stretch and held safe late in what has since turned out to be a key race. This is obviously a much tougher spot, but this 4-year-old might still have some upside and he’ll likely be overlooked in the gimmicks.
#4 Volatile 4-5 ML
Following a WOW performance off the bench on April 24 at Oaklawn, Volatile proved it was no fluke six weeks later in the ungraded Aristides at Churchill. Off alertly against five rivals, he sat chilly behind a fast pace while racing three-wide. He exploded off the turn, switched back to his left lead briefly in the stretch, and then won under wraps, stopping the timer just two-hundreds of a second off the track record over what was a very fast surface that day. It was a freakish performance, but this is a tougher race and he’s never run at Saratoga. I do like that he’s posted three local works. He can either go to the lead, or enjoy a perfect, pressing trip outside of Lexitonian.