Saratoga Stakes Spot Plays for Sunday, August 4

Sunday rounds out a remarkable weekend of racing and wagering at Saratoga with another high-quality 11-race card. Sunday’s races at The Spa are headlined by four stakes races including two graded stakes plus another race worth $1 million. Here are some spot plays for the quartet of stakes races to be run Sunday at Saratoga.

RACE 3 – John Morrissey Stakes

Sunday’s Saratoga stakes action starts early in Race 3 with the running of the John Morrissey Stakes for New York-breds sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs.

The horse to beat is the Chad Brown-trained Build to Suit (#4) (3-1), who is somewhat of a curiosity after returning from more than a 1 1/2-year layoff last out to crush open allowance horses this January at Aqueduct with a blazing BRIS Speed figure at this distance. Since then he’s taken another six months off but won’t be beat if able to repeat that last effort. He’s two-for-two in his career at The Spa.

If you are looking for a horse who is more time-tested and proven in stakes competition, the likely favorite is Gold for the King (#6) (2-1), who certainly is a contender, but no standout. If the track is wet, all bets are off on everyone else except Eye Luv Lulu (#7) (5-2), a monster all throughout his career on off tracks.

RACE 5 – Waya Stakes (G3)

The 1 1/2-mile Waya Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares on the grass drew only a six-horse field and therefore gets placed early on the card in Race 5 to round out Saratoga’s early Pick 5 on Sunday. No major surprises expected here, with the favorite, Santa Monica (#4) (1-1) looking very tough for leading trainer Chad Brown coming off of back-to-back 1 3/8-mile wins in Gulfstream Park’s Orchid Stakes (G3) and Belmont Park’s Sheepshead Bay (G2).

The best upset chance belongs to Gentle Ruler (#6) (5-2), who comes into this race riding high on a four-race win streak beginning with her maiden win at Gulfstream Park in March, followed by a meteoric rise with allowance, stakes and graded victories at Keeneland, Churchill Downs and Delaware Park, respectively. The 1 1/2-mile distance in this one is right in her wheelhouse for trainer Ian Wilkes.

Race 9 – Saratoga Derby Invitational

This new race has been staked with a $1 million purse and is meant to keep the best three-year-old turf horses home in New York instead of shipping to the Secretariat Stakes (G1) at Arlington, which now has been cut back in distance to one mile. This race is run at 1 3/16 miles and has successfully drawn a field of 11, including two invaders for trainer Aidan O’Brien and the top five finishers from the corresponding Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) –Henley’s Joy (#1) (4-1), Social Paranoia (#2) (6-1), Rockemperor (#4) (7-2), Digital Age (#8) (9-2) and Seismic Wave (#9) (6-1).

Of that quintet, Digital Age and Rockemperor had the disadvantage of posts 13 and 14, respectively, and were closing fast from way too far back off the pace. Both should threaten from better posts this time around.

The distance of the Saratoga Derby is slightly shorter than the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Derby. That could help pacepresser Henley’s Joy score a repeat win, or enable likely front runner A Thread of Blue a chance to go wire-to-wire. Focus your betting on those four horses – Henley’s Joy, A Thread of Blue, Rockemperor and Digital Age – in the exotics, such as trifectas.

RACE 10 – Adirondack Stakes (G2)

Two-year-old fillies take center stage in the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (G2) going 6 1/2 furlongs as a prep for Saratoga’s Spinaway Stakes (G1) later in the meet. These horses are still developing and mostly are coming in off their maiden wins.

The two notable exceptions are favored Magic Dance (#8) (7-5), trained by Steve Asmussen, who has begun her career two-for-two at Churchill Downs including a win at 1-5 odds in the Debutante Stakes on June 29; and the Mark Casse-trained Perfect Alibi (#3) (9-2), who destroyed Churchill Downs maidens and then ran a close second in Belmont Park’s Astoria Stakes last out in her second race.

The horse to beat, however, might very well turn out to be impressive Churchill Downs maiden winner Frank’s Rockette (#2) (2-1), who pressed the pace and crushed the field at five furlongs at first asking for trainer Bill Mott, who usually doesn’t even fully crank up his first-time starters. You can bet she’ll be ready for this stakes debut with first-time Lasix.

For exactas, along with Magic Dance and Frank’s Rockette, one legit sleeper candidate is Miss Peppina (#6) (8-1), who won her career debut at 5 1/2 furlongs by rallying past rivals from far off the pace to win going away for trainer Gary Gullo. When a two-year-old first starter passes seven foes en route to victory at first asking, you should take notice, especially when the horse returns at a furlong farther in his/her next start.

Enjoy a loaded Sunday card of racing and wagering at The Spa! Best of luck and I hope you win big at Saratoga.

PHOTO: Saratoga scenic (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography

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How to Bet the 2019 Debutante Stakes

A field of nine will vie in Saturday’s $125,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs. The six-furlong affair for sophomore fillies is led by excellent maiden winners Magic Dance and Indy Take Charge, both of whom graduated beneath the Twin Spires.

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SECRETLY WICKED (#1) (8-1) — Wicked Strong filly won on debut but has been unplaced in two subsequent outings for Jack Hancock. Chestnut finished behind a few of these in a local allowance, and she will need a big step forward to make an impact in this field.

INDY TAKES CHARGE (#2) (3-1) — Dark bay filly was very sharp at first asking in posting a 3 1/4-length tally at Churchill Downs. April foal signaled her readiness for her stakes debut by zipping a bullet three-eighths locally. Chris Landeros has the return assignment.

MEGAN MARIE (#3) (10-1) — California-bred has improved with each lifetime start in preparation of her stakes bow. Jonathan Nance pupil rallied from off the pace to be runner-up in a local allowance against the boys most recently on this course. Filly could make the frame late at a price.

STREET FLYER (#4) (12-1) — Street Sense filly finished third after chasing the pace in a recent run on the oval. James Chapman charge has shown steady improvement and rates a top-three chance with another step forward. Tyler Baze will be in the silks.

MY GOOD GIRL (#5) (10-1) — Bay daughter of Danza was tons the best breaking her maiden at Indiana Grand but faces a tall task in her first with winners. Marco Castaneda pupil fired a bullet half-mile last out and could be a pace factor with a clean break.

CHOLULA LIPS (#6) (7-2) — Golden State invader led throughout in a convincing debut tally at Santa Anita. Empire Way filly adds blinkers off the score and could be any kind in a field with some question marks. Rafael Bejarano will be in the stirrups.

MAGIC DANCE (#7) (8-5) – Steve Asmussen pupil was super impressive in her maiden romp and is surely the one to beat second time out. Daughter of More Than Ready draws well and has trained forwardly following her first-out triumph. The Three Chimneys homebred gets a rider change to Ricardo Santana Jr.

LADY GEORGE (#8) (10-1) — Call Me George filly broke her maiden with claiming foes at Pimlico and lands in a demanding spot today. April foal is training well, however, and she entices Florent Geroux to take the assignment.

LADY GLAMOUR (#9) (15-1) — Discreet Cat filly rallied for a debut win on the oval against maiden claiming foes. Kentucky-bred comes in fresh with the addition of blinkers while taking a big class hike. James Graham has the call atop the second timer.


Cholula Lips brings her West Coast speed to the field and will clear them early on with a clean break. Secretly Wicked, Street Flyer and Magic Dance will likely take up the next flight, with Indy Takes Charge rating in behind that trio.


$1 Superfecta Part Wheel 7 with 1,2,4,6 with 1,2,4,6 with all = $72

PHOTO: Magic Dance (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

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Churchill Downs’ closing day mandatory Pick 6 payout creates a must-bet situation on Saturday

Churchill Downs’ closing day Saturday 12-race card will be a great send-off to a great meet, and will be highlighted by a mandatory payout of the entire carryover pool in the Single 6 Jackpot.

Click for FREE Brisnet PPs of all 12 races!

Churchill’s Single 6 Jackpot is a 20-cent denomination wager and, if it survives through Friday, the carryover in excess of $300,000 makes it a must-bet situation this Saturday. Including what figures to be a massive amount of money bet into the pool for the mandatory payout day, the pool should hit the $1 million mark.

Even if you haven’t bet into the pool all season long, Saturday will be a tremendous betting opportunity at carryover money. Plus, at 20-cents a ticket, even small or average players can cover a wide range of combinations for an affordable investment.

Here is one example of a recommended Saturday Single 6 Jackpot ticket at Churchill, worth $76.80. Best of luck!


Several horses have shots to win race 7 – the first leg of the Single 6 sequence – and it just so happens all of them on this ticket are drawn on the far outside. Those posts are not enough of a deterrent to keep the best horses off the ticket. BATTLE OF MEMPHIS (#8) (4-1) looks like the horse to beat based on a solid allowance second here last out with a good BRIS Speed figure. There are, however, three possible upsetters at double-digit odds who also should be on your tickets, including SALVATOR MUNDI (#10) (10-1), who will improve back on the grass in his second race off a layoff. The other double-digit contenders are SPEED GUN (#12) (12-1), who is two-for-two on the turf in his career, and DASHING DAN (#9) (20-1), who makes his sophomore debut in this spot off a break but showed promise on the turf last season after getting the maiden win at Saratoga.


In the Kelly’s Landing overnight stakes at seven furlongs on the main track, go ahead and spread three ways to cover the main contenders. UNCONTESTED (#1) (7-2) drops from the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) last time and won the General George (G3) at Laurel Park as recently as three races ago. Fellow WARRIOR’S CLUB (#8) (5-2) also drops from an unplaced effort in the Churchill Downs Stakes and was second two races ago at Keeneland in the Commonwealth (G3), a race he won in 2018. PETROV (#7) (6-1) has been just missing behind a good opponent here in two recent six-furlong outings, including a runner-up finish in the Aristides Stakes last out.

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OM (#12) (2-1), who exits a very good second-place finish behind division-leading monster World of Trouble in the Jaipur (G1) at Belmont Park, is certainly the horse to beat in this 5 1/2-furlong turf allowance, but he’s still not the only serious contender. UNDRAFTED (#2) (7-2) and BATTLE STATION (#4) (8-1) are two very realistic Wesley Ward trainees who are both sitting on second-off-the-layoff improvement. TOTALLY BOSS (#8) (6-1) steps up in company versus these but has reeled off nice-looking back-to-back turf sprint wins, including a course and distance victory here last out.


If you are trying to put together an economical ticket for smaller and mid-range players, you need to look for a single somewhere in the sequence, and this race presents itself as the best possible single of the six races with MAGIC DANCE (#7) (8-5) for trainer Steve Asmussen. The filly crushed maidens at first asking and earned a far superior BRIS Speed figure in the process. She should take care of business versus these with a similar effort. When there is a giant carryover like there is on Saturday, it’s more about simply surviving than it is about fishing out big prices in any given race.

FREE Debutante PPs courtesy of!


The penultimate leg of Saturday’s Single 6 Jackpot mandatory payout sequence is the Bashford Manor (G3) at six furlongs on the main track. The horse to beat is PHANTOM BOSS (#1) (9-5), who has been impressive in two starts so far at Santa Anita, including a career debut second behind eventual stakes winner Fore Left, followed by the maiden win, which was another impressive outing to finish easily ahead of next-out winner Pas de Panique. Tough to see him getting beat, but if he does it will probably be by ROWDY YATES (#10) (7-2), a Steve Asmussen first-out winner last time who was geared down in the stretch. There’s no telling how good it could be.

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If you are fortunate enough to still be alive into the final leg of the Single 6 Jackpot, you should plan on covering a lot of horses in the finale. Four horses should do it starting with ALFONS WALDE (#5) (4-1), who stalked the pace and held on well for second last out in a 10-horse field at 1 1/8 miles. He tired late in the race so the one-mile distance of this contest should be just perfect. If not, ICON (#9) (8-1) looks like a live Steve Asmussen first starter by Tapit with some good workouts. BIG BEAUTIFUL WALL (#11) (9-2) has established turf form that makes him a legit contender. Finally, ZIP YOUR LIP (#4) (6-1) is an x-factor in the race who stretches out and tries turf for the second time after appearing to handle this surface in a turf sprint. He’s shown enough to date where you’d kick yourself if he won and you didn’t have him on your ticket.

The SINGLE 6 JACKPOT ticket ($76.80) for Saturday, June 29:

8, 9, 10, 12  /  1, 7, 8  /  2, 4, 8, 12  /  7  /  1, 10  /  4, 5, 9, 11

Good Luck!

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PHOTO: Churchill Downs (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

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Debutante favorite the key in Saturday’s Single 6 Jackpot force out at Churchill Downs

There will be a mandatory force out of the Single 6 Jackpot on Churchill Downs‘ closing day Saturday, hopefully with a significant carryover and fresh money if there are no single winning tickets during Friday’s sequence. The scheduled post time for the first leg, Race 7, is 3:50 p.m. (EDT).

Enjoy FREE Brisnet Premium Past Performances for the entire Saturday card here.

Here’s a pre-scratch look at how I’ll play:

Race 7 — Allowance

#4 RY’S THE GUY (9-2) dominated maiden foes in the slop last time and seems to be on the upswing. His dam won the 1000 Guineas (G1) and has reared several grass stakes winners, so this surface switch might prove agreeable to him. #8 BATTLE OF MEMPHIS (4-1) rebounded with a better effort in late May, finishing a clear second at this level. Fade two back currently an outlier on his past performances. #10 SALVATOR MUNDI (10-1) narrowly missed winning the Bourbon (G3) last fall and was likely out of his element when his comeback run earlier this month was switched to a sloppy main track due to rain. Better expected here. #12 SPEED GUN (12-1) has captured both outings wire-to-wire, and connections held on to him after bringing him back in an N2L claimer off a 15+ month layoff. Fits against these.

Race 8 — $120,000 Kelly’s Landing

The two class horses in the field are #1 UNCONTESTED (7-2) and #8 WARRIOR’S CLUB (5-2). The former debuts for Tom Amoss here and won from slightly off the pace in his lone victory under the Spires, but in general is more of a need-the-lead type. Warrior’s Club only 1-for-13 at the Downs, but has generally faced more imposing fields and was a below-par sixth in the Churchill Downs (G1) last time.

Race 9 — Allowance

This might prove too short a trip for morning line favorite Om, so we’ll instead go with a longer-priced trio. #1 ANGASTON (12-1) has endured some troubled starts of late, but generally runs well over this course and should threaten if everything goes cleanly. #2 UNDRAFTED‘s (7-2) only “bad” run over this course was in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) last time when he finished fourth, but was only a head and neck from earning runner-up honors. Classy veteran has won here the last two times Lanerie was in the saddle. Stakes-winning #7 DONE DEAL (8-1) has fired very fresh over this course in the past and seemingly better then downturn in form last fall would suggest.

Race 10 — $125,000 Debutante

#7 MAGIC DANCE (8-5) will be a popular single in this sequence off a blowout debut win over next-out winner Josie. Figures more like an even-money or odds-on choice and will use accordingly.

Race 11 — Bashford Manor (G3)

In contrast, this juvenile male stakes race seems more wide open. #1 PHANTOM BOSS (9-5) beat Cal-breds to graduate last time, but before that was a neck behind eventual Tremont winner Fore Left in an open maiden special at Santa Anita. The maiden #2 SNELL YEAH (8-1) showed improvement second out and could get first run if the speed begins to crumble. #4 ROOKIE SALSA (5-1) won the $125,000 Kentucky Juvenile on Derby week, then ran against the grain of the track when a distant third in the Tremont to the aforementioned Fore Left. #10 ROWDY YATES (7-2) appeared to have more to give when graduating on debut geared down for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Race 12 — Maiden

#2 MY AMERICA (12-1) faded late in his turf debut last September after two scheduled grass appearances were washed out. This extremely well-bred colt is out of a half-sister to European star filly Peeping Fawn, and hails from the family of Broodmares of the Year Better Than Honour and Best in Show. Probably capable of better. First-time starter #3 MUSICIAN (12-1) has a strong trainer/jockey combo of Walsh/Gaffalione in his corner. Dam has produced grass stakes winners Euphony and Strike Again, as well as Grade 3-placed Tequila Joe. All won first time out. #5 ALFONS WALDE (4-1) showed noticeable improvement in his second stateside appearance and is a logical threat off that effort.

Here’s the 20-cent ticket:

4,8,10,12 with 1,8 with 1,2,7 with 7 with 1,2,4,10 with 2,3,5 = $57.60

Good luck!

PHOTO: Magic Dance (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

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