How to bet the 2023 Ballerina Handicap

August 24th, 2023

A sensational field of eight fillies and mares will travel seven furlongs on the Saratoga dirt in Saturday’s $500,000 Ballerina H. (G1) at Saratoga.

The top three finishers from the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Keeneland lead the fantastic field in what looks to be one of the more entertaining races on the star-studded card.

Ballerina Wagers

  • $20 Trifecta: 6 with 7 with 2,8 ($40)
  • $10 Trifecta: 6 with 2,8 with 7 ($20)
    Total: $60

As much respect as I have for champion #7 Goodnight Olive, I simply can’t go against the brilliant #6 Echo Zulu for conditioner Steve Asmussen. The four-year-old, who finished runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup last fall, has registered a pair of massive wins to commence 2023. She toyed with her foes en route to a 5 3/4-length triumph in the Winning Colors (G3) at Churchill Downs, which preceded a magnificent romp in the Honorable Miss H. (G2) over this track last time out.

Echo Zulu is a sterling 3-for-3 at Saratoga by a combined 17 3/4 lengths and looks to be coming into this affair in fine fashion. The fleet filly will not face a lot of pace pressure in this heat with a clean break, and she will be incredibly tough to defeat with Florent Geroux back in the irons.

Goodnight Olive is a superb daughter of Ghostzapper who sports eight victories from 10 lifetime tries. The dark bay got really good around this time of year in 2022, and the mare earned a hefty 107 Brisnet Speed rating when easily taking the Ballerina last season. She has run some of her best races coming off of layoffs, so a prime performance off a 10-week break wouldn’t be of any surprise with Irad Ortiz Jr. retaining the mount.

#8 Caramel Swirl, a fine runner-up in the 2022 Ballerina, makes her first appearance since finishing a close third in the Bed o’ Roses (G2) at Belmont Park. Trained by Bill Mott, the Godolphin homebred likes this surface and the distance. Caramel Swirl boasts a fine turn-of-foot and I expect her to run her best race on Saturday with regular rider Junior Alvarado in the saddle.

Grade 1 heroine #2 Matareya ran a subpar race at Ellis Park in her latest venture but is much better than she displayed on that occasion. The Brad Cox pupil has some speed from a post near the rail, and she gave a solid account of herself when third in the 2022 Test (G1) at Saratoga, her lone start over this track. Godolphin homebred is a viable top-three player at a fair number.