The Jury: Bets and Fades for Aug. 19

August 18th, 2023

James Scully and Vance Hanson tackle the major stakes action at Saratoga, Del Mar, and Woodbine in this week's jury.

The Saratoga $10 Money Back promotion has been extended from a few select races on Friday and Saturday, to instead feature ALL ELIGIBLE RACES on Friday and Saturday. Opt in and get up to $10 back on your first single horse win bet if your horse runs 2nd or 3rd; more details can be found on the promotion page. TwinSpires will also offer 10x reward points at Ellis Park and Colonial Downs on Friday, Aug. 18, and Saturday, Aug. 19, when you opt in on the app or website.

What is Your Best Bet?

James Scully: Randomized (9-2) in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga. After leading all the way in a convincing maiden win, the Nyquist filly wasn’t ridden aggressively and finished an even sixth in the Acorn (G1). Speed is her best asset presently, and Randomized rebounded with a frontrunning victory in the restricted Wilton S. last month, generating a field-best 103 Brisnet Speed rating for the 1 1/2-length decision. The Chad Brown-trained filly projects to receive a favorable set-up in the Alabama — none of her nine rivals have set the pace in recent starts — and I’ll tab Randomized on the front end with Joel Rosario.

Vance Hanson: #2 Window Shopping (6-1) is worth giving another shot on the turf in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) for Richard Mandella. Last-out winner of the Summertime Oaks (G2) on dirt in early June, the daughter of American Pharoah debuted over the Del Mar infield last November and endured a very difficult trip, ultimately finishing sixth of 11. She suffered another bad journey when third in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) two back, so she's a filly capable of good things when circumstances are ideal.

Who is the Horse to Fade?

JS: Chad Brown has four of the eight runners entered for turf in Saturday’s Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga, and Prerequisite (9-2) will take plenty of action after recording a win in the Wonder Again (G2) and a runner-up in the Belmont Oaks (G1). The outside draw and projected pace scenario appear against her, and Surge Capacity (3-1) also will be faded after showing speed in her first two outings. I will incorporate the other two Browns, #2 Aspray (7-2) and #4 Tax Implications (5-1), in multi-race wagers.

VH: Shirl's Speight (3-1) is the class of the King Edward (G2) field at Woodbine, but his inconsistency gives me cause for pause in what will be his first start in nearly five months. Although victorious in the Maker's Mark Mile (G1) and a shock second in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) last season, both at Keeneland, Shirl's Speight was found wanting during the summer, including two runs over this course.

What Else Is Worth Noting?

JS:  Two-year-old maidens will square off in Saturday’s first race at Saratoga, and #3 Hunt Ball will make his career debut for Bill Mott. A half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Cody’s Wish, the Into Mischief colt is listed as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the six-furlong race, but Hunt Ball shows three gate works from his last six workouts. And Cody’s Wish lost twice at odds-on in Saratoga maiden races. I like his stablemate, #7 Special Element (7-2), who rallied for third after breaking slowly in his career debut on July 15. That looks like a hot maiden race. Well-regarded Pirate, a son of Omaha Beach who was bet down to odds-on for Todd Pletcher, won sharply, and runner-up Just Steel came back to win a salty maiden race for D. Wayne Lukas.

VH: The multiple stakes-placed #1 My Sweet Affair (7-2) ran below par only a week ago in the Galway S. at Saratoga, but that has not deterred trainer George Weaver from wheeling her back into action on Saturday in Saratoga's third race, an entry-level allowance for fillies and mares over 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. The Weaver barn has generally been hot this summer in Saratoga Springs, and My Sweet Affair is seemingly capable of better in this spot.