The Thursday Saratoga feature is the John Morrissey Handicap for New York-breds, where Funny Guy and Bankit are the deserving favorites.
Not much in the way of Kentucky influence on today’s card, but some worthwhile information nonetheless.
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.
#2 Foxtail 9-5 ML
Off almost a nine-month layoff, Foxtail sat a clear, stalking trip behind a controlled pace and he failed to make any real impact behind a 13-1 upsetter in what turned out to be a very average race for the level. Drops off the claim, and this 6-year-old mare didn’t show a ton of interest in her return run. As one of the favorites, I’d be willing to take a stand against.
#3 Flashing Red 6-1 ML
Off a 10-week break on May 21 at Churchill, Flashing Red stumbled at the start losing five lengths. In the clear three wide while chasing an honest pace, she made a threatening middle move before being hung seven wide on the turn for home. She sustained her bid to the wire, only to get outfinished by a 21-1 longshot. Six weeks later over a sloppy track at Keeneland, she raced up close to an even pace while stuck in tight between foes before calling it a day on the turn. It’s tough to hold that race against her. Should this race be taken off the turf, I’d consider her to be a B-type contender.
#10 Malibu Anthem 5-1 ML
In her career debut on June 19 over a one-turn mile at Churchill, Malibu Anthem broke out from the outside post, losing five lengths. She rushed up thereafter to sit an advantageous, catbird’s seat trip behind controlled fractions and was hung four wide on the turn. She put a head in front of the longshot frontrunner at the top of the stretch while racing on the wrong and was outfinished late by the foe. Three weeks later over a sloppy track at the short-stretched 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland, she sat a pocket trip behind an even pace, was all in the turn, swished her tail noticeably while under pressure, and caught a tired foe for second while on the wrong lead again over a track that slightly favored outside closing types. She doesn’t seem like the kind of “turn of foot” horse that would transfer well to the turf, and she’s only moderately well-bred for it. She’s a bit of a fraud on dirt, so I wouldn’t trust her too much if the race gets rained off either.
#11 Kitten’s Romance 9-2 ML
Bet down to odds of 3-1 in a field of 10 in her debut, Kitten’s Romance raced in the clear while well off the pace behind honest fractions in a strung-out field, and then ran along late for third while racing on the wrong lead. The 7-5 favorite who won that day has since returned to win an allowance race on the Indiana Grand turf. She probably looks better on paper than she actually is and I prefer several others here. For multi-race purposes, I’d be more than willing to fade her.
#5 My Man Flintstone 9-5 ML
Off a two-month break on My 17 at Churchill, My Man Flintstone broke alertly, pressed a sizzling hot pace and gave way mid-stretch. Three weeks later on June 6, he once again broke alertly, checked for no apparent reason on the turn and was not persevered with thereafter. I thought he got hurt. Dropped in for a claiming tag for the first time five weeks later on July 10 at Keeneland, he once again broke alertly and made the lead from the inside while pressed hard through fast fractions by the eventual winner. Overtaken off the turn for home, he came again gamely late and finished clearly second best. Outside of the #8 Mister Bobby, this appears to be a weak race for the level. Using 5 and 8 for multi-race purposes should lock it up.