Saratoga: The Value & The Vulnerable, August 19, 2017, By Paul Hundley

Welcome once again to the Saturday edition of the Double V. Last I was with you I got my butt kicked last Sunday. Perhaps I should stop doing Sunday’s because i don’t have good luck that day. However, this is a Saturday, so let’s get to it!

RACE 1: I handicapped today assuming FAST and LESS than Firm. This 8.5 furlong turf event for $40K claimers is somewhat tough to figure because of the lack of experience and/or success anyone has had on softer turf. The Aussie born Turbo Street is the 9/5 favorite, and certainly is a contender to win. Is one of only a couple in here that has raced on softer turf, and has won before when in Australia. In for a tag for first time in career. But Trainer Brian Lynch as of Thursday, was 15-0-2-1 at the meet. 6-River Date is trying grass for 1st time for Brad Cox (32%) and is first off the claim for him(31%). Also has very good early speed, and his pedigree definitely suggests he should take to turf, but at 3/1 morning line, that’s too low of a price to take with such an unknown. Taking a shot with 12-1 RUM THE TUGGER, who has been running much longer vs tougher than today for quite some time, now cuts back to a distance he’s not ran in a while, but is 2 for 3 at. Also did win the $50K Secretariat at Great Meadows in 2016 on soft turf and ran well at Kentucky Downs on less than firm. $5 WIN, $10 PLACE UPDATE: Race 1 OFF THE TURF, so PASS

RACE 2: PASS. My only comment on this race is the BUZZ horse from what I’ve been reading is FTS 7-BLOCKADE, so his 5/1 morning line may not hold up. UPDATE: OFF THE TURF

RACE 3: VULNERABLE FAVORITE ALERT! 5-Hexameter(9/5) has had 3 tries at this level, though 2 have been on turf, but has only managed a 3rd in an off the turf event 2 back. Does have decent early speed, Trainer John Terranova is 18% turf to dirt, but still, not enough to be confident about. Not even sure she will be the betting favorite. Unless you’re getting a good price, stay away. 4 of the 7 in here come come out of the same July 29 race at the same level; the 2,3,6, and 7. None inspire confidence, and neither does the 1. That leaves us w4-WILDCAT BELLE(5/2), which doesn’t seem like a ton of value, but whom I believe will be on or right up near the lead today, and I think should pull away under Jose Ortiz. Just missed at level 2 back. Single in horizontal wagers. Going to play a $.50 Tri here 4/2,5,6/ALL $7.50 total

RACE 4: 8-MARENGO ROAD has ran well on softer ground in the past and just missed last out at a mile. Has never been today’s distance but should appreciate the added distance. At 6-1 morning line, Irad up for Trombetta. $5 WIN, $10 PLACE.

RACE 5: I don’t know if we get 4/1 on 7-ALLURED, but anything over 7/2 is value to me. Was just purchased in March for $700K, the top seller from Sire Flatter at that sale and for 4 times the average that sale. Chad Brown 21% FTS, he and Irad 31% together last 35 together. His Dam has produced 4 winners in 5 starters. $5 WIN, $10 PLACE

RACE 6: Not entirely sure Meantime can be beaten here, so will pass this one.

RACE 7: VULNERABLE FAVORITE ALERT! 4-Mom’s on Strike (3/1) was 2nd last out at today’s level at 9/5, comes in 2 nd off the layoff for Joe Sharp, who’s only 1/21 at the meet. A repeat of 2 back wins this, but am figuring will be less than morning line. 5-CHASTISE(12/1) has been off for 9 months for Pletcher. Now I’m not stupid in thinking we’re getting 12/1 here, but anything in the high single digits is fine by me. Not much separated her and the Chad Brown import Ellery Lane, except the price. Chastise doesn’t have the speed figures others in here have, but Pletcher hits 30% off longer layoffs so thinking he has ready to run first off the bench. $5 WIN, $10 PLACE. $1 Exacta Key Box 5/1,4,6,8,9 $10 ticket.

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