Shapiro's Saturday bankroll builder at Saratoga

July 17th, 2020

The first Saturday of the 2020 Saratoga summer meeting is upon us.

The 11-race card is headlined by the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), which is slated as Race 10. I am looking forward to the 9-furlong event for 3-year-old fillies, but there are also plenty of opportunities early on that pique my interest, including an early Pick 4 sequence that commences with Race 2.

Race 2

#1 Mr. Kringle takes a massive drop in class after a non-threatening, third-place finish in the Pennine Ridge (G2) last month. The son of Shakin It Up is the likeliest winner and a justified heavy favorite on oddsmaker David Aragona’s morning line, but I do not fully trust him.

Therefore, I will also include #6 Catch That Party. The son of More Than Ready battled throughout in his debut going 6 furlongs at Belmont Park on June 13 and showed some tenacity to come away with a nose victory. If jockey Javier Castellano can make the lead on the stretch out to two turns, he can spring the upset to start the sequence.

Race 3

I have no desire to try to beat #7 Decorated Invader in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. (G2).

The $200,000 Keeneland September purchase in 2018 has done little wrong over his first six starts for trainer Christophe Clement. His only defeat since a narrow miss on debut was when he raced wide during his fourth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

The son of Declaration of War has proven he can win from just off the pace, like he did last time out in the Pennine Ridge, or come from well out of it, like he did in his initial try this season, in the Cutler Bay S. His proven form over this course makes him a deserving even-money favorite and a single on my ticket.

Race 4

There looks to be a lot of early zip signed in this open $32,000 claimer at 6 furlongs, so I will play against 6-5-favorite #1 Baby Boss.

Not only is the 5-year-old mare likely to be on the inside of an early tussle, but she is taking a suspicious drop in class off the layoff, after she faced stakes foes when last seen at Laurel Park to end 2019.

I will use several, with hopes to catch a price in this dash over the main track.

Race 5

The sequence concludes with a maiden special weight event over the inner turf, and I am all in on #6 Oak Hill. The Distorted Humor colt was well meant on debut June 14 at Churchill Downs, but he ran into a buzz saw — the speedy Duplicity — who got the jump and had too much left late.

The Al Stall-trained Oak Hill put in a strong middle move in that sprint and should appreciate the stretch out to two turns. At the 3-1-morning-line price or higher, I will also be wagering on this Dixiana Farms homebred to win.

Suggested wager: $1 Pick 4

R2: 1+6

R3: 7

R4: 2+3+4+6+7

R5: 6

Ticket cost: $10