Saratoga: July 23, 2017, The Value & The Vulnerable, By Paul Hundley

Hello and welcome to day 2 of our Saratoga analysis. So far what we know is that The Ortiz Brothers are hot, and Todd Pletcher so far isn’t. Let’s dig into today’s card.

RACE 1: Same as yesterday, pass on this. Not my line of expertise.

RACE 2: My big question in here is with Tiz Shea D, why is a former Grade 2 winner with all of his reproductive parts intact and by Tiznow out of an A.P. Indy mare be offered in a $25K claimer? Having said that, I have a liking to 4-TOP FORTITUDE (9/2), who drops to lowest level of career and switches to Irad Ortiz. Has shown good closing speed, hoping Irad keeps him closer early and he still has that late kick to blow by. $5 Win, $10 Place

RACE 3: VULNERABLE FAVORITE ALERT! Well conditional, because it’s not a given Mr. Classical will go off as the actual betting favorite, however at 8/5 morning line and it being Castellano/Brown he will be a short price. Makes only 2nd career start after debuting in a 7 furlong race at Belmont, rallying for 3rd. Now they’re stretching him out to 9 furlongs? Granted, Brown 26% 2nd race, 33% sprint to route, 31% first route, so certainly has the numbers indicating he has a good shot. But I rarely take a short price on a horse doing something they haven’t done before, and not doing it here. Not sure if 5-UNCLE MOJO (3/1) offers value, so I won’t play, just pointing out he made an early middle move last out, found trouble, then still made a late move. Pletcher 24% 2nd off layoff, 26% 2nd route.

RACE 4: Race is loaded with early speed, and I’m not not sure there is a reliable enough closer in here, however 10-RAPID RED (8/1) may fit the bill. Is making 1st start for Trainer Bart Hone, 27% first time with. Also gets strong closing Jockey Julian Leparoux. Playing Exacta Wheel Box 10/1,2,3,4,5,8,9 $14 ticket.

RACE 5: Will pass here because I have a hard time seeing THE BIG FUNDAMENTAL getting beat but won’t be any kind of a price to play around. Suggest keying on top in tri and super and multiple race tickets.

RACE 6: No play here as well. I think the 5-Thrice is somewhat vulnerable, has had a fast pace to run at in every start. Don’t see anyone else in here reliable enough to play or even suggest.

RACE 7: So Nisha is 2 for 2, winning a MSW and Alw N1X, albeit they were at Arlington and Mountaineer, and now they have this 3 year old filly in a $25K claimer? And the Pletcher filly Honor Way drops to her lowest level and had an excuse last out with the off track, Pletcher and Saez ZERO for last 11 together. Going with 5-COURTMEWITHCARATS (5/1) 6 1/2 length winner last out at 40K level. Trainer Danny Gargan 29% Claim Repeater, 25% with winners last out, he and Kendrick Cartouche (who is having a nice meet so far) 3 for last 7 together. $5 Win, $10 Place

RACE 8: VULNERABLE FAVORITE ALERT! 7-Sweet August Lady. Not sure she gets off as the favorite, but beware nonetheless. No doubt impressive last out but now facing winners for 1st time and will be an underlay for Rosario/Brown. Definite Value Play is 5-ALABAMA BOUND (12/1) has went out WAY too fast early in last 2, but does have a gate to wire win here nearly a year ago. Should be alone on front end early. Just hoping her speed is harnessed better today.$5Win $10 Place $1 Exacta Key Box 5/1,2,4,7,12

RACE 9: In this wide open event, going with the 10-RUMBLE DOLL (12/1) & 11-SUNNYSAMI (10/1). We’re almost inseparable last August here vs similar, so I figured, “why choose 1 when I can use both?” RUMBLE is taking Blinkers off, is 5/5 ITM at Saratoga and 7-2-0-3 at today’s distance. SUNNY had trouble after getting boxed in on the rail last out at Delaware and comes in 3rd off the layoff for George Weaver. $5 Win & $10 Place on both.

RACE 10: As we saw in the San Diego Handicap last night, nothing Is ever a given. Abel Tasman is the heavy favorite here, and deservedly so. Has won the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn Stakes last two starts, and is only getting better. My concern with her is all the travel. This is her 3rd trip east in less than 3 months. Also, remember Mike Smith just rode Arrogate last night after 9pm Saratoga time, which means the earliest Smith probably got to New York was early this morning. The back and forth with A.T. Will catch up with her sooner or later, and I’m betting on sooner. While not sure there’s much value in taking 2nd choice, SALTY is still improving and I will key on top of a straight $5 Trifecta with Abel Tasman 2nd and Daddy’s Lil Darling 3rd.

RACE 11: No play here

Yesterday we hit on ALEX THE TERROR at 7/2, we had a couple of others place and both of our Vulnerable Favorites lost. So not a bad day, but could’ve been a lot better.

Follow me on twitter @vapaul67.

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