It is closing day at Saratoga on Monday with a pair of stakes to wrap up the betting action. A field of seven goes in the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) while a field of eight juveniles will go to the post in the $350,000 Hopeful (G1).
The Hopeful will be televised live on the Jockey Club Tour on Fox at 5:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.
The top two finishers from the Sanford (G3) which featured a disqualification are back to contest the Hopeful. Magna Light crossed the wire first but was moved to second by the stewards for causing interference in the stretch, with Uncle Vinny promoted to the victory.
Those two will run into west coast invader Ralis, who ships in for the Doug O’Neill barn off a runner up finish in the Cal-bred Graduation in his last outing on Aug. 5 at Del Mar.
Bullet Gone Astray comes into the race off an eight-length romp in the Mountaineer Juvenile, while three others are coming off maidens wins. The Tony Dutrow trained Set the Trappe comes in off a good second in his debut.
The Bernard Baruch drew seven including Donn Handicap (G1) winner Constitution, who makes his turf debut for trainer Todd Pletcher, who is battling Chad Brown for the training title. His main foe figures to be Fourstardave (G2) runner up Ironicus and Poker (G3) runner up and Forbidden Apple third place finisher Vyjack.
Racing in New York starts back up on Friday with Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meeting.
Let’s head out to the Spa for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 9 The Bernard Baruch Hcp G2 Post time 5:11 ET
2 Constitution 2-1
3 Vyjack 6-1
1 Ironicus 9-5
5 Charming Kitten 10-1
Analysis: Constitution makes his first start since winning the Donn Handicap (G1) back in February at Gulfstream Park and this will be his turf debut. The pedigree leans toward dirt, but this guy has dangerous early zip and there is not much other speed in here. The turf has been kind to speed the past couple of weeks here and this guy looks capable of taking their group gate to wire. The Pletcher barn is 32% winners with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff.
Vyjack has put in two decent efforts on turf since landing with the Bill Mott barn, a game second in the Poker (G3) followed by a third in the Forbidden Apple last out, both efforts running into the solid turf veteran King Kreesa. It looks as if Mott has this guy going in the right direction and he does have a couple of sibs that have won on grass.
Ironicus came with a good six wide rally to just miss winning the Fourstardave Handicap (G2) last out, beaten just a neck. The colt has landed in the exacta in eight of his nine career starts on turf including winning the Dixie (G3) three back at Pimlico. The late running colt may be at a tactical disadvantage here as there is not going to be much pace in front of him, making him have the look of an underlay in this spot.
WIN: #2 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 1,2,3,5
TRI: 2,3 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,5,7
Michael Dempsey’s full card reports for the entire Belmont Park Fall Championship meeting from September 11 until Nov 1! SPECIAL BONUS: Includes the final day of the Saratoga meeting AND the two-day Breeders’ Cup Report!