A field of eight led by Holiday Stone will head to the gate in the $120,000 Lucky Coin at Saratoga on Friday.
The race Is for four-year-olds and upward that are non-winners of a stakes race in 2021. The Wesley Ward trained Maven is the 5-2 morning line favorite and his price may end up lower.
The gelding makes his first start since an 11th place finish in the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot in June. He had run huge beating allowance company at Keeneland in his previous outing off a seven-month layoff.
“We brought him back in the spring and he was a little short going into his first race. He really amazed me how he just exploded that day to the front like he does,” Ward said. “Turning for home I was expecting him to stop and he just kind of re-broke, and he really wasn’t ready. So, that’s what inspired me to take him over to Royal Ascot at a distance that I thought would be just awesome for him, five-eighths, off the big numbers he got off his Keeneland run.”
2021 King’s Stand Stakes Replay
Holiday Stone may end up offering some value if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line. The George Weaver trainee is an eight-time winner on turf and was third in the Da Hoss at Colonial Downs in his last outing on Aug. 2.
Pulsate (4-1) ran second in this race last year and makes just his third start since that effort. He was fourth against third level optional claimers in his last outing for trainer Robert Ribaudo.
Let’s head out to Saratoga for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 9 The Lucky Coin 5:39 ET
7 Holiday Stone 6-1
4 Pulsate 4-1
8 Maven 5-2
5 Maxwell Esquire 7-2
This seven-year-old looked as if he lost a step last year but since landing with the Weaver barn he seems to be headed in the right direction. Last out at Colonial Downs he stalked the early pace and finished up well in a third-place finish in the Da Hoss at 5 ½ furlongs on the grass. The winner Just Might returned to win the Chesapeake at Colonial Downs in his next start on Aug. 23. The runner up Francatelli was beaten just a nose and a head when third in the Parx Dash in his next start. Our top pick was a sharp winner two back beating Alw-2 optional claimers at Belmont Park going six furlongs on turf in his second start after landing with Weaver. The trainer is having a tough meet with just 2 winners from his first 40 starters with 10 seconds and five thirds. I like the jock switch here to Gaffalione who is riding as well as any jock. He should get some pace in front of him and is going to end up a decent price in this spot.
This guy stalked the early pace, came with a four wide move and could not make up any ground in the stretch in a fourth-place finish last out on the main track against Alw-3 optional claimers. He caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed that day. Two back on turf off a 10-month layoff he tracked the early pace and finished gamely to miss by just a head against Alw-3 optional claimers. He had three starts last year and capped off his season by running second in this race. He looks primed for a top effort in his third start off the bench and the switch back to turf suits him.
The Ward trainee is going to be the favorite in here. He set the early fractions and weakened to finish 11th in the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot going five furlongs over good to firm turf. Two back he came back off a seven-month layoff and popped a 104 Beyer beating allowance foes at Keeneland over good ground. He is going to get bet here off that fig, which seems a bit suspect. The runner up and third place finisher produced figs of 8 and 10 points lighter in their next starts. He did win a Group 3 at Chantilly in his second career start and first on turf back in 2019. The son of American Pharoah is 3 for 6 at the distance but just has the look of a contender that is going to get way too much attention in the betting here.
WIN: Holiday Stone to win at 4-1 or better.
EXACTA: 7 / 4,5,8 and 4,7 / 4,7,8