A field of eight older runners will line up in Wednesday’s feature, the $100,000 Birdstone, a 1 ¾ mile marathon on the main track.
The defending champion Micromanage is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The Todd Pletcher trainee won last year’s edition of the Birdstone by 8 ½ lengths.
Through 16 days of the 40-day meeting Pletcher leads all trainers with 19 winners from 62 starters, with earnings of $1,936,818. Pletcher is seeking his sixth consecutive Spa training title and 12th overall.
His closer pursuer is Chad Brown, with 14 winners from 58 starters. Brown has starters in two races this afternoon while Pletcher will start runners in four races on the 10-race card.
Bill Mott has been sending out live runners at the meeting, winning with eight of 44 starters with another dozen landing in the bottom half of the exacta.
There are some high profile barn’s still looking for the first win at the meeting including Michelle Nevin (0 for 21), Bruce Brown (0 for 19), Ken McPeek (0 for 15) and Nick Zito (0 for 14).
Irad Ortiz, Jr has taken over the jockey standings with 25 winners from his 112 mounts. John Velazquez has 22 winners from 92 mounts and Javier Castellano has been the busiest jockey on the grounds with 122 mounts and has won 21 races.
Among the struggling jockeys are Julien Leparoux (1 for 53), Corey Lanerie (0 for 35) Fernando Jara (0 for 31) and Manuel Franco (2 for 45).
Let’s head out to the Spa for Wednesday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 8 The Birdstone (4:52 ET)
7 Tacticus 10-1
2 Micromanage 5-2
4 Turco Bravo 3-1
5 Cary Street 6-1
Analysis: Tacticus adds lasix here for his second start since coming to the U.S. and landing with the Graham Motion barn. The colt stalked a slow early pace and made a mild late run to finish fourth last out against Alw-1 foes in his U.S. debut which was off a three-month layoff. The colt won back-to-back races at Southwell on the all-weather going 1 1/2 miles and has enough pedigree to handle the added ground here. He is by A.P. Indy out of a Sadler’s Wells mare. Motion is 27% winners (with a +ROI) when adding lasix.
Micromanage is the defending champion of the race, winning by 8 1/2 lengths last summer as the short priced chalk in a field of six. The five-year-old comes into this year’s race off a third at Delaware Park in the Carl Hanford Memorial in a four-horse field. He bounced back after a really dull effort two back in the Brooklyn (G2) at Belmont Park going 1 1/2 miles. He is perfect in his two trips over the main track at the Spa and is reunited with Javier Castellano who was aboard for his win here last summer. The 5-2 morning line looks fair enough but his price is likely going to head south.
Turco Bravo stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a third place finish last out at Laurel Park a giant $40,000 optional claimers. The winner Souper Lucky came back to finish sixth in the Alydar here on Aug. 9 while the fourth and sixth place finishers each came back to beat optional claimers in their next starts. He won at 1 ¼ miles in his native Chile.
WIN: #7 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 2,4,5,7
TRI: 2,7 / 2,4,5,7 / 1,2,4,5,7
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.