Saratoga Betting: Balance the Books Looks to Turn Tables in Hall of Fame

A field of six line up in Friday's $200,000 Hall of Fame at Saratoga © Cheryl Quigley |

A field of six will line up in Friday’s featured race of the day, the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2), a 1 1/6 mile test on the inner turf course at Saratoga that figures to be less than firm with more rain in the weather forecast.

The 29th running of the Hall of Fame will be contested several hours after the latest class of Hall of Fame inductees will be honored.  Jockey Calvin Borel and horses Housebuster, Invasor, Lure, McDynamo, and Tuscalee will be inducted. In addition, August Belmont II and Paul Mellon also will be inducted as the inaugural “Pillars of the Turf.”

The Gary Contessa trained Rydillic is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the race. The colt won his first four career starts on turf, and then last out came up short over ground labeled as good in the Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs where he faded to finish eighth as the beaten favorite.

With footing that likely will be less than firm and Contessa struggling with just one winner with 33 starters, the colt sure has the look of an underlay and we will try to beat him today.

Also on the card today is the $100,000 Alada for fillies and mares which drew a field of eight that will go nine furlongs on the main track.

Flashy American is the 5-2 morning line favorite off her runner up finish in the Shuvee Handicap (G3) on July 20. Her biggest threats figures to be Sea Island (3-1), who was third in the Shuvee and Street Secret (4-1) who is coming off a win in the restricted Open Mind at Belmont Park on June 23.

Let’s head out to Saratoga for Friday’s featured race of the day:

Saratoga Race 8 The Hall of Fame G2 (Post time 4:47 ET)

5 Balance the Books   7-2

1 Get in Line / 1a Charming Kitten   9-5

2 Notacatbutallama   4-1

3 Rydilluc   2-1

Analysis: Balance the Books is coming off a good effort in a third place finish in the Solar Splendor, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Notacatbutallama. The Chad Brown trainee raced at the back of the pack while saving ground early, came with a four wide run and finished with a good late rally over ground labeled as good. It was his first start off a three month layoff for the colt. He won two of his four starts last year including taking the With Anticipation over the Spa turf in his second career start and was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). The pace should be honest here and this colt should be tighter for his second start off the break for a barn that is 24% winners with runners making their second start off a 61-180 day layoff.

Charming Kitten was beaten just a head last out in a tough beat in the Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs. The Todd Pletcher trainee saved ground throughout, came up the inside on the far turn had to steady when caught in tight quarters midstretch, got clear along the inside and just missed. Two back over firm footing in the Penn Mile he ran a game second to Rydilluc, who was winning for the fourth time in four starts on turf before not handling the off going in the Virginia Derby. This guy broke his maiden over the Spa turf and then was third behind our top pick in the With Anticipation last year.

Notacatbutallama stalked the early pace and finished strongly, drawing away late to win the Solar Splendor over ground labeled as good, his fifth turf win in nine outings. The colt has shown he can handle ground with some give to it which likely will be the case here as there is rain in the forecast for Thursday and Friday.


WIN: #5 to win at 5-2 or better.

EX: 5 /1,2

TRI: no play


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