Saratoga: August 26, 2017, Travers Day Analysis & Selections, By Jeff O’Reilly

Happy Travers Day! What a card Saratoga put together. Here are my selections for the entire card:

Race1:

Early Pick 5 looks extremely tough on paper

(5) Road to Meath and (8) Good Magic worked in tandem twice a few works back. Putting my faith in Chad here in the opener that he has both of these ready to run first time out. Jose has been hot so I will make the 5 my top pick. (4) Glass Bridge has been working well and Kelly Breen’s numbers first out with 2 year olds are impressive. If you are playing the pick 5 I would recommend spreading heavily in the first leg here.

Selections: 5-8-4

Race 2:

(8) Holiday Bonus Gets a bit of class relief in this spot. Should sit a perfect stalking trip just in behind the speed. (3) Surprise Twist was wide throughout his last at Saratoga and still finished full of run. The added ground should work to his benefit. (2) Memories of Peter should be forwardly placed if not on the outright lead early. In turf races in New York it’s never bad to be on the engine early.

Selections: 8-3-2

Race 3:

(10) Neepwa was a little wide and finished on well from a good stalking position first time out. Should improve in his second start for Casse. (4) Magnanimus Man should find himself alone on the lead and I think it should carry him far. Should appreciate the stretch out from 6f last out. (9) Another just missed at first asking last out at Saratoga. Mott’s numbers aren’t great second out but this horse should get a good stalking trip in here.

Selections: 10-4-9

Race 4:

(4) Threefiveindia always runs his race every time out. Has a bit of seconditis but seems to be a bit too classy for this field. Might find himself on the early lead but if not just in behind the (6) Shaft of Light. The 6 should appreciate the slight cutback from 7f and will be on the engine early for Navarro. If he clears early he will be tough to catch. My longshot play in this race is the (8) Candid Desire. If the pace gets hot early he has good late pace figures and should be rolling late. If you get anywhere near the 20-1 I would recommend a wager across the board.

Selections: 4-8-6

Race 5:

(10) Cerise’s Prince should find himself loose on the lead in here. Takes a bit of a class drop from his last stakes effort vs Disco Partner last out. Gets Irad back in the irons. (4) Cloontia should be just in behind the 10 the whole way. These two seem to be the class of the race. If the top two hook each other into a speed duel the (11) Toughest ‘Ombre will be rolling late and could pick up the pieces late. He’s a bit of a plodder but hasn’t had much pace to run at lately.

Selections: 10-4-11

Race 6:

(2) Songbird looks loose as she wants. Only horse I see with an upset chance is (4) Forever Unbridled. The bridge jumpers will be out on Songbird.  Maybe one day we will see SB face some legitimate pace pressure in a race. She couldn’t have looked less impressive in the Del Cap last out but should still be tough in this spot.

Race 7:

(4) By The Moon loves 7f that she will get Saturday. Should get the perfect trip for Rajiv in this spot. Narrowly missed the win in the same race last year. I think she gets the job done this time. (3) Paulassilverlining is as consistent as they come. She will be forwardly placed and will stay on till the end. At the price she’s likely to go off at I’ll pass on her. (7) Highway Star should relish the cutback to 7f here. She’s undefeated at the distance and will get first jump on the deep closers. Wasn’t far off Songbird last out in the Ogden Phipps.

Selections: 4-3-7

Race 8:

Start of the 1 Million dollar guaranteed pick 4. (1) Practical Joke is a monster around 1 turn. Nearly won the Haskell last out despite being distance comprised. Was full of fun two back in the Dwyer and had to wait a while to unleash his run and still won in hand. (9) American Anthem ran off the screen at Belmont in the Woody Stephens. The pace in here is likely to be extremely hot with at least 4 horses going to send hard out of the gate. AA should get a good trip in behind the speed. (2) Takaful has raced around one turn twice and won both starts by a combined 13.5 lengths. Will be forwardly placed early which could comprise him late but he might just be that good to hang on for a piece.

Selections: 1-9-2

Race 9:

There is NO speed in this race besides (10) Drefong. This is my BEST BET of the card. Drefong should be as loose as he wants early here. Took a bad step and throw his jockey last out but I am confident that won’t happen again and Baffert will have this one ready to roll. (6) Mind Your Biscuits has been in tremendous form for over a year now. Ran by horses last out in the Belmont Sprint like it was nothing despite coming off a minor layoff from Dubai. If Drefong does something quirky again or doesn’t fire this horse will roll by them all late. (4) Diving Rod wheels back in two weeks after being off for 9 months. Delacour is 40% 2nd off the layoff of over 180 days. That can’t be ignored.

Selections: 10-6-4

Race 10:

(7) Idaho has raced against tougher with the likes of Enable and Ulysses. They both came back to win easily next out. Moore makes the trip for O’Brien and should be very tough in here. (6) Erupt prefers firm ground and should get that Saturday. Last out was soft ground and didn’t run well. Draw a line through that race. He should sit a good trip and get first run on the deep closers. (4) Hunter O’Riley might be a sentimental pick but if the big two don’t fire he will be absolutely rolling late. Closed rapidly from last despite a very slow pace last out in the Bowling Green.

Selections: 7-6-4

Race 11:

(10) Irap has looked like a different horse since his Derby run. He Beat Girvin and Colonelsdarktemper who came back to win the Haskell and West Virginia Derby respectively. Irap should get a good stalking trip. There isn’t a ton of early foot in here which should help him. He might be up against distance wise but if there’s a trainer who knows how to get a horse ready for a distance challenge it is O’Neill. (5) Good Samaritan rolled past Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing despite relatively slow fractions last out. It was his first try on dirt and it was an impressive score. (7) Always Dreaming might find himself loose on the lead in here. I am willing to bet he was just a bit short in his last effort in the Jim Dandy. He looked done at the top of the lane but battled on well. Should be more fit and might get a walking lead. This race is very very tough and I will be spreading quite a lot in all multi race wagers.

Selections: 10-5-4

Race 12:

This looks like a two horse race between the (1) Lady Eli and the (5) Antonoe. The 5 had a tough trip in the stretch last out as she steadied deep in the lane. If the 5 gets clear run this time she could turn the tables on Lady Eli this time out.

Selections 5-1

Race 13:

Race is very wide open. No opinion in race. Pass.

Small budget P4 Races 8-11:

1,9/10/6,7/1,3,4,5,6,7,10. $14 (Don’t be scared of the repeat button on this one)

Big Budget P4 Races 8-11:

1,2,7,9/6,10/4,5,6,7/1,3,4,5,6,7,10,12  $128

Good Luck!

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