Friday’s featured Saratoga Special (G2) includes a trio of colts I’m very familiar with from their runs in the Blue Grass State – Bashford Manor (G3) winner Cazadero and maiden breakers Therideofalifetime and Jackie’s Warrior. I like the longest shot of the three best.

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 4

#8 Carefree Highway     8-1 ML

Off a three-month break over a one-turn mile on June 19 at Churchill, Carefree Highway raced in the clear while stalking a slow pace, was hung 4-wide on the turn and failed to make an impact. The best effort of his career came at this level on turf, and that’s the surface he’s bred for. He looks like a second-tier contender, but at the expected price, I wouldn’t argue with using him.

Race 5

#7 Skamania      6-1 ML

Off a 4 1/2 month layoff on June 28 at Churchill, Skamania pressed hot fractions and held well to be third over a drying out racetrack that favored wide and off the pace types. Has been remarkably consistent throughout her young career and she should find clear sailing from the outside post. Chances are she’ll fly slightly under the radar here, and I like her chances to run well at a square price. Use and consider wagering on.

Race 9

#6 Cazadero       5-2 ML

In his career debut on May 29 at Churchill, Cazadero was somewhat ignored on the toteboard at 5-1. He battled a fast pace in hand, responded with asked, and drew off convincingly. In his follow-up start four weeks later in the Bashford Manor (G3), he had to work a little harder than the 2-5 off odds and the running line might indicate. He stalked a fast pace while in the clear, was hung 4-wide on the turn, had aim in the stretch, and outfinished the pacesetter. This is a much, much, much, much, MUCH tougher race than that. He can win it, but I prefer others, and would be willing to fade him, especially as the likely favorite.

#9 Therideofalifetime   4-1 ML

In his career debut on June 19 at Churchill, Therideofalifetime sat a pocket trip behind a hot pace, stayed on while not pushed on while finishing second behind a sharp winner, and then galloped out best. In his follow-up start three weeks later at Keeneland, he was very live on the toteboard. Off alertly, he made a clear led through even fractions, was in hand off the turn, responded when asked, was straight as a string and was under a hand ride late. Sure, Jackie’s Warrior beat him at Churchill but the added furlong in his second start really helped this guy. I like him quite a bit here. I might single him on a ticket, and will play him individually.

#10 Jackie’s Warrior       7-2 ML

In his career debut on June 19 at Churchill, Jackie’s Warrior spied a fast pace while in the clear, was 4-wide on the turn and darted away like a good thing. I thought he was the most impressive 2-year-old winner of the spring meet, but do note that Asmussen’s first call rider Ricardo Santana Jr. has been named to ride the more accomplished Cazadero. Rosario picks up the call here, and I actually prefer this guy to his stablemate. On one ticket I’m using 9, 10 and on the other, I’m singling the 9.

Race 10

#4 Tesorina        5-1 ML

In her second career start on May 23, 2019 at Churchill, Tesorina was bet down to 6-5 favoritism in a field of seven. She pressed the pace briefly, and then absolutely stopped. She returns off a 14 1/2 month layoff and drops in for a tag here. Ward has good numbers with Irad and she takes the blinkers off. Tough call, but at 5-1 in the morning line, might be worth at second look.