How to bet the 2023 Saratoga Derby

August 3rd, 2023

A fantastic field of nine will travel 1 3/16 miles on the turf in Saturday’s wildly competitive $600,000 Saratoga Derby (G1). The cast features a nice combination of domestic and international contenders in a deep field, in what promises to be an exciting grassy tilt.

Chad Brown’s #2 Program Trading (7-2) has looked like the real deal from a pair of easy wins to kick-start his career. By Lope de Vega, the $356,700 purchase debuted at Monmouth Park in May and decimated his foes by five lengths under light urging, prior to romping in an allowance tilt against overmatched foes at Belmont Park last time out. The bay ridgling shows a solid half-mile drill over the turf on the Oklahoma in preparation for Saturday and could be special. Flavien Prat retains the ride.

#1 Mondego (5-1), also by Lope de Vega, is the likely speed of the field and comes off of a solid third-place effort in the Belmont Derby for conditioner Christophe Clement. The $329,000 yearling purchase gets a perfect draw on the rail to match his running style and has shown fine progression as of late for a top turf outfit. The Cheyenne Stable color bearer is a natural at the distance and will be tough to reel in if he is left alone for too long up top with Joel Rosario in the stirrups.

Euro import #8 Lion of War (8-1) has been facing arguably lesser in advance of this contest, but I do like both the progression that he is showing, as well as the fact that Oisin Murphy will ride. The Roaring Lion colt has easily outrun his bargain yearling purchase price, and the bay is getting back to his best form leading up to this endeavor. The win threat will track the tempo from near midpack early on.

Todd Pletcher’s #5 Far Bridge (2-1) defeated a fine field in the Belmont Derby (G1) and comes into the contest with five top-two finishes from as many tries in his lifetime. The English Channel colt is the sure one to beat in the event and will undoubtedly have no distance limitations in the race with Jose Ortiz retaining the mount. The bay colt is a top-three must-use.

Saratoga Derby Wagers

$1 superfecta: 2 with 1,5,8 with 1,5,8 with all ($36)

$1 trifecta: 2 with 1,5,8 with all ($21)

$.50-cent trifecta: 1,5,8 with 2 with all ($10.50)