Saratoga Free Picks: Charming Kitten in With Anticipation at Spa

Trainer Todd Pletcher saddles the 3-1 morning line favorite in Thursday’s feature, the $200,000 With Anticipation (G2), a 1 1/16 mile turf event for two-year-olds.

Pletcher is the leading trainer at the Spa meeting with 30 wins, and 20 of those have come with his juveniles, and he is looking to win a few more two-year-old races on Thursday.

Charming Kitten was a good looking maiden winner in his debut on July 28 over a turf course labeled as good , and the son of Kitten’s Joy looks more than capable of moving forward off his debut effort.

Jockey Javier Castellano rides the colt, who will break from the five post and carries 120 pounds.

The co-feature on Thursday’s 11-race card is the $100,000 Equalize, a one mile race on the inner turf for three-year-olds that drew a full field of ten along with a couple of also-eligibles.

Pletcher saddles Finale, the 5-2 morning line favorite. The colt makes his first start since running second to Summer Front in the Dania Beach last December at Gulfstream Park.

The opening two races on today’s card are steeplechase events, and then Pletcher will try to pad his win total with juveniles when he sends out the highly regarded first timer Archwarrior in the third race.

The word has been out on this guy, who was a $275,000 purchase by Arch (11% winners with debut runners) out of the stakes placed Winner’s Edge ($145,000) who has dropped nine foals to race, six winners including a pair of stakes winners, top earner Capac ($192,000). The works are solid and the colt debuts with lasix.

The colt was originally entered on Aug. 11 but was scratched due to a wet track. Don’t expect to see much of a price, as the colt is the 4-5 morning line favorite, coupled in the betting with Tizracer, who was fourth in his debut on July 28.

Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Saratoga each racing day.  Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.

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

SAR Race 10 The With Anticipation G2 (6:01 ET)

6 Charming Kitten   3-1

2 He’s So Fine / 2b Sonofasamurai   5-1

7 Joha   7-2

1 Almost an Angel   8-1

Analysis: Charming Kitten was a good looking maiden winner in his debut for the Pletcher barn. The colt stalked the early pace and took over heading for him to win by 1 3/4 widening lengths. The sixth place finisher Bernie the Jet exited the race to graduate in his next start and is also going here. The colt has an appealing pedigree, by Grade 1 turf winner Kitten’s Joy out of a Wild Again mare that has dropped a couple of other turf winners including stakes winner Queen’splatekitten ($332K). The barn has won 30 races at the meeting to top the trainer’s standings and 20 of those winners are with juveniles.

He’s So Fine broke his maiden for a $50K tag two back, then came back with a good effort in the Saratoga Special (G2) last out in a  runner up finish behind Spurious Precision. The colt looks like he will appreciate the extra ground here and he is out of a Quiet American mare that has dropped two other winner and they both have won on grass. The McPeek barn is 15% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from dirt to turf. His entrymate Sonofasamurai was a smart looking maiden winner in his second career start going two turns on the grass here on Aug. 18. He complete  strong entry here and the 5-1 morning line looks fair enough to give the duo a look here.

Joha tries two turns for the first time and turf for the second time here for the Maker barn. Last out the colt won the Colin at Woodbine going six panels on the polytrack. Two have come out of that race to win next out, although they were both next out maiden winners, so we have to question just how strong that field really was. The colt has plenty of pedigree to handle the stretch out, by Johar out of Mjadil mare that has dropped two other turf winners The Maker barn is 22% winners moving runners form sprint to route.  The 7-2 morning line looks about right but I have a feeling he is going to take some action here and go off shorter.


WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.

EX: 2,6 / 1,2,6,7

TRI: 2,6 / 1,2,6,7 / 1,2,5,6,7

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