Saratoga & MORE! August 5, 2017: The Value & The Vulnerable, By Paul Hundley

Hello everyone and welcome to this special edition of the V & V, where we’re going to preview The Stakes from Saratoga, plus a couple from Mountaineer and a couple of Virginia Bred/Sired Stakes from Laurel Park. So far , our VULNERABLE FAVORITE ALERT horses we’ve identified have been 0 for 7 and just 1 managed to finish 2nd.


RACE 3: The Grade 3 Waya Stakes. Suffused is the 7/5 morning line favorite, but has been a beaten favorite last 2 times, though vs tougher than today. Just missed in this race last year, her 2 best speed figures are at today’s distance. So I can’t list her as vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean she’s a good bet either. 1-Apple Betty won last out gate to wire, but was an extremely slow tempo she set that won’t happen far more often than it will. 8-GUILTY TWELVE has won last 2 and 3 of last 4. Her only off the board start in the U.S. was at Kentucky Downs, which is nothing like Saratoga. Has won chasing down a fast pace and a slow one. Speed figures are on the low side,, but is in as good of form as any in here. This is the toughest field she’s ever faced. $5 Win, $10 Place

RACE 7: The Lure Stakes. This is for horses who have not won a GRADED Stakes in 2017. 1-Projected, whose main claim to fame is a victory over 2 time Woodford Reserve victor Divisidero, is 9/5 morning line favorite. So, as in r3, while he could win, will be a terrible price to play in here with Castellano and Brown. Not to mention, for a restricted Stakes, there’s 4 former Graded Stakes winners in this field. That being said, the horse I think offers the most value is the import, 6-AUBENAS(15/1). While he’s not been facing this quality of competition either, may appreciate the former turf here that’s difficult to get in Europe. Is first time Lasix for Al Stall Jr, who so far at Saratoga is 5-2-2-0. Perhaps the most ridiculous stat is he is an astounding 41% with horses making their 1st start with him! It’s very possible this one won’t measure up, but anything near his m/l is hard to pass up. Playing $5 Win, $10 Place and Show, plus $1 exacta key box; 6/1,2,3,8,11

RACE 8: The Grade 1 Test Stakes for 3 year old fillies. The big story here is American Gal, formerly trained by Bob Baffert and now with Simon Callaghan, facing one of Baffert’s newer stars, Faypien. These are the 2 morning line choices, but to me this race is much more than those two. 5-VERTICAL OAK(8/1) has actually ran the two highest BRIS Speed figures of anyone in the field. Yes, did get beat by American Gal last out, but was giving 6 lbs that day, they are equal weights today. Plus, Oak likes to stalk, last out in Victory Ride was only a field of 5 so was gunning from the gate opening. With the extra 1/2 furlong and more speed in here, should set up for her well. Plus she broke her maiden here last year in dominant fashion. $5 Win $10 Place.. Also, playing a Pick 4 here. Races 8-11: 2,5,8,10/6/ALL/7 $24 ticket

RACE 9: As you probably just gathered from my Pick 4 ticket, I like 6-GUN RUNNER to win. With it coming up a probable fast track today, I think his one major concern should be alleviated. Now, there’s also the pace scenario, but GR has won stalking before, so I see him sitting 3rd behind Cautious Giant and Tu Brutus early before taking over. Keen Ice ran great last time vs Shaman Ghost, but he rarely gives 2 big efforts in a row. If it were an off track I’d say War Story, but on fast I think he’s a cut or two below GR. Use GR on top in horizontal and vertical bets

RACE 10: VULNERABLE FAVORITE ALERT! 2-Sassy Lil Lila(5/2) Yes she just missed in a Grade 1, yes she has ran well at Saratoga. But there’s no shortage of early speed in here, and she’s never won not going gate to wire. I don’t really have a value horse in here, which is why I went all(I included S.L.L. because I wanna get knocked out in case she can win, plus it’s only 2 extra dollars!)



RACE 7: West Virginia Governor’s Stakes. Matt King Coal is the tepid favorite here, with Iron Fist and Made from lucky(2015 West Virginia Derby Winner) not far behind. I don’t think MKC gets the easy lead his connections are hoping for, which I think sets it up well for my value horse, 9-PAGE MCKENNEY (9/2). While it’s true the m/l favorite beat him when they faced in Mountainview, was basically a Merry-go-round affair, with more pace, Page should be in a nice stalking position. Plus, the 8.5 furlong distance is right up his alley. He’s 8 for 10 at the distance with a pair of 2nds! Playing 9/4,7/1,4,6,7,8 $10 Trifecta

RACE 8: The West Virginia Derby. This race doesn’t have a ton of pace to it, I think McCormick possibly gets early lead, though the outside post could hinder that. The lack of a strong pace also probably hinders Kentucky Derby Runner up Lookin at Lee, who is making his first appearance since running all 3 legs of the Triple Crown. 7-Colonelsdarktemper has ran 2nd last 2 outings to McCraken and Irap, should definitely be viewed as a contender here. While I’m a big fan of Patch and he certainly has a shot to win, I like the Southern California invader 4-B SQUARED. Was probably moved too early in Los Alamitos Derby last out, taking lead at top of stretch before being caught by two very good 3 year olds in West Coast and Klimt. Should be sitting 2nd or 3rd early . Gutierrez/O’Neill 25% their last 32 starters together. $1 Trifecta; 4/1,3,7/1,2,3,5,7,8,11



RACE 8: The Meadow Stable Stakes. Named after the stable that lodged SECRETARIAT and RIVA RIDGE(which is located where Virginia has their State Fair every year now, right near King’s Dominion in Roswell) This is a 5 1/2 furlong event on turf. And guess what else it has? A VULNERABLE FAVORITE ALERT! 4-Homespun Hero(9/5), now if this were on dirt, I would not say this, however, has only been on turf one other time. An off the board finish. Mark Shaman claimed him last out, but is 0/13 first off the claim. Unfortunately, I can’t find anyone in here to trust, maybe 2nd choice 9-Tiz Our Time, but not enough to bet. PASS.

RACE 10: William M. Backer Stakes. This is a rematch between the 2 morning line favorites in here, Queen Caroline and Armoire. In fact, 7 of the 9 entrants here ran in that race, the Nellie Mae Cox Stakes, also for Virginia Breds. Arnaud Delacour has 2 in here, but seems to me the 1-Well Blessed is in here to ensure a pace for the 6-ARMOIRE. This one seems to run a big effort every other race, and if that pattern holds true, should run huge today. Delacour/Centeno 47% together! Put on top in your horizontal/vertical bets, as won’t offer any value in the W/P or exacta department.

Well that does it for our special Eastern/ Mid Atlantic Stakes preview, back tomorrow looking at Saratoga.


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