Trainer Chad Brown will be the busiest guy at Saratoga on Friday, saddling five runners in the feature, the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) including my top two picks in the race.
Night Prowler was installed as the 3-1 favorite, and Brown will give a leg up to jockey Javier Castellano on the son of Giant’s Causeway, who was beaten a head in the Penn Mile in his last outing.
Startup Nation (6-1) gets the call as my second choice off a third place finish in the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) on July 4. The colt is perfect in two trips over the Spa turf including winning the With Anticipation (G2) here last summer.
Takeover Target (5-1) was fifth in the Belmont Derby for Brown after missing winning the Pennine Ridge by a head two back in his stakes debut. Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the return call.
Croninthebarbarian (15-1) has lost eight races in a row since taking the Kentucky Downs Juvenile last September, but has landed in the money in five stakes in those eight outings.
Completing the quintet is the European invader Winter Springs (15-1), who makes his first start since a runner up finish in an allowance race in France in March. His best effort was a runner up in the Prix Delahante in France over soft ground going 1 ¼ miles last November.
Through Wednesday, Brown has won seven races from 34 starters (21%) and is second in the trainer standings behind Todd Pletcher, who is off to a fast start with 16 winners from 46 starters, hitting at a 35% clip. Pletcher is seeking his sixth straight training title at the Spa and 12th overall.
Let’s head out to the Spa for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 9 The National Museum of Racing Hall of fame (G2) Post time 5:29 ET
4 Night Prowler 3-1
3 Startup Nation 6-1
1 World Approval 4-1
9 A Lot 6-1
Night Prowler is one of five in here that will be saddled by the Chad Brown barn. The gelding makes his first start since the Penn Mile on May 30 where the gelding grabbed the lead in the stretch and was caught late, settling for the runner up spot. The winner was Force the Pass, who returned to win the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) in his next outing on July 4. The fifth place finisher My Point Exactly also won next out, taking the King Cugat on June 20 at Gulfstream Park.
Our top pick won the Transylvania (G3) at Keeneland two back and started his three-year-old campaign by taking the Dania Beach (G3) on Jan. 3 at Gulfstream Park. It looks if this guy will get a good pace to track.
Startup Nation is also sent out by Brown and this colt checked in third in the Belmont Derby in his last outing and now cuts back from 1 ¼ miles. The colt won the With Anticipation (G2) over the turf here at the Spa last year in his second career start which was at today’s distance. The colt makes his third start of his current form cycle and looks as if he is sitting on a top effort here.
World Approval pressed the early pace and held on gamely to win the American Derby (G3) last out at Arlington Park going nine furlongs as the 6-5 chalk. The Mark Casse trainee was winning his second stake, taking the Florida bred Sophomore Turf at Tampa Bay Downs back in April.
The gelding will not be as close to the pace in this spot and the cut back will suit as he has won two of his three starts at the distance. This guy has a nice pedigree, three of hi sibs are also stakes winners including Revved Up ($1.5 million) and Miesque’s Approval ($2.6 million).
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 3,4 / 1,3,4,9
TRIFECTA: 3,4 / 1,3,4,9 / 1,3,4,,9,11
Michael Dempsey’s Saratoga Special:
Get Michael’s full card reports for Saratoga includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations. Get reports for the entire meeting between July 24 and Sept. 1. Michael’s Saratoga Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations. Mike has been handicapping the New York Racing circuit on a daily basis for nearly three decades. Saratoga runs six days a week, Wednesday through Monday.