Thursday’s card at Saratoga is headlined by the $100,000 New York Stallion Series S. run at 1 1/16 miles over the lawn. The featured event makes up the third leg of a late Pick 4 sequence that begins with a non-winners of two claimer over the main track and concludes with a similar event at two turns over the Inner Turf.

Race 6:

#2 Gesture drops out of an open $25,000 claiming event for 3-year-olds where she ran a well beaten second to 5-time winner Don’t Get Khozy. The $240,000 OBS March 2019 purchase has been a major disappointment for the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trainer Jonathan Thomas, but she meets the weakest group of her career in this bottom level conditional claimer at 7-furlongs. She is the deserving favorite, but difficult to fully trust.

I will use Gesture, but also include #4 Wicked Title and #7 Heartstrings. Wicked Title makes her first try off the claim for Linda Rice. Rice has great numbers in spots like this hitting at a 26% clip in her last 221 starts off the claim, including an eye-popping 36% in her last 55 tries when dropping right off the rip. The daughter of Wicked Strong has a win in two starts at the Spa and should be running on late. Heartstrings cuts back a furlong after chasing wire-to-wire winner Desbordes last month at Belmont Park. The daughter of Line of David should get a great trip under Reylu Gutierrez and offers great value at anything near her 10-1 morning line.

Race 7:

The pace should be honest in this high-level optional claiming event at 1 3/8 miles over the Inner Turf course given the presence of #7 Tass and #2 Tizahra who stretches out to the marathon type distance after a pair of victories versus lesser in Kentucky. This should set things up for a runner from off the pace.

#6 Eliade is likely to get over bet after doing virtually no running in her first try in the States for Chad Brown. Perhaps the added distance and the experience in North America will help, but I will let her beat me. #3 Dyna Passer and #8 Mighty Scarlett are obvious and tough to toss while #5 Pallas Athene is a solid value play after a fifth-place finish in the River Memories on July 12 for John Terranova.

Race 8: New York Stallion Series S.

#6 Jolting Joe ships into upstate New York without a victory, but took on open company foes in his first four starts for trainer Mike Maker. The Mission Impazible colt encountered high quality opposition as a 2-year-old in all three tries and then missed by just a head in a 12-horse field at Ellis Park in his first start of 2020. Look for the Skychai Racing runner to sit a stalking trip under Tyler Gaffalione and visit the winner’s circle for the initial time in the Thursday feature.

Race 9:

#5 Elusive Ruler is listed as the even-money favorite after a fifth-place finish against a much better field at Keeneland in early July. The son of Empire Maker makes a ton of sense, but will be an underlay on the class drop, so I will also use a couple of longshots that are not without a chance.

#3 Kid Chocolate took 12 starts to break his maiden, but finally got to the wire first last time out for trainer Gary Sciacca. The light bulb may have come on for this 4-year-old gelding. At 20-1 he is worth including as is #8 King’s Honor. The son of Kingman shook off the rust versus starter allowance company in late June. He should be ready for a big step forward in his second start of the form cycle for trainer Brittany Russell.

Suggested Wager: (50-cent Pick 4)

  • 2,4,7 with 3,5,8 with 6 with 3,5,8

Ticket Cost: $13.50