Saratoga Picks: Pletcher Sends Out Duo in CCA Oaks

Princess of Sylmar is the 9-5 favorite for Saturday's CCA Oaks at Saratoga (photo credit Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer)

The first Grade 1 race of the Saratoga meeting drew a compact field of five, with the Todd Pletcher duo of Princess of Sylmar and Unlimited Budget the headliners in the $300,000 Coaching Club of American Oaks (G1) on Saturday afternoon.

The race is one of 11 races on a solid betting card that also features the $200,000 Shuvee Handicap (G3) and the $100,000 My Princess Jess.

Pletcher sends out Princess of Sylmar (9-5) who makes her first start since pulling off the upset in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) where she returned $79.60. Her uncoupled entrymate is Unlimited Budget (2-1), who makes her first start since her sixth place finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Pletcher has won the CCA Oaks four times in his career, with Devil May Care (2010), Octave (2007), Ashado (2004) and Tweedside (2001).

The biggest threat to the Pletcher duo will be My Happy Face (3-1), the speedy filly coming off a victory in the Lotka off the bench for the Chad Brown barn.

The Shuvee features the return of Zenyatta’s little sister Eblouissante, who has not been seen since her first level allowance score in her second career start back in January.

She faces six although the two main contenders Authenticity (7-5) and Summer Applause (2-1) are both cross-entered in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (G1).

The stakes action kicks off with the third race which is the My Princess Jess. A field of 12 was entered along with three main track only entrants. There is a 60% chance of showers on Saturday afternoon.

The Chad Brown trained Wave Theory is the 5-2 morning line favorite and is coming off a solid runner up finish in the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park on May 27.

Let’s head out to the Spa for Saturday’s featured race of the day:

 

Saratoga Race 10 Coaching Club of America Oaks G1 (5:45 ET)

1 My Happy Face   3-1

3 Unlimited Budget   2-1

4 Princess of Sylmar   9-5

2 Cue the Moon   10-1

Analysis: My Happy Face looks primed for a top effort here for the Chad Brown barn as she makes her second start off a 4 1/2 month layoff. Last out she tracked the early pace and drew away late to win the Lotka in the mud going a mile as the chalk. Two back in her first go this year she was second to Kauai Katie in the Forward Gal (G2) at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs. The winner came back to win the Road Princess in her next start and then was third in the Acorn (G1). As a juvenile she landed in the exacta in all four starts including a tough head loss in the Frizette (G1) behind Dreaming of Julia. The barn hits at a 25% clip with runners making their second start off a 61-180 day layoff. Among the top three she likely is going to offer the most value in this small field.

Unlimited Budget makes her first start since a sixth place finish against the boys in the Belmont Stakes (G1). She was bumped coming out of the gate and checked in third in the Kentucky Oaks behind her stablemate Princess of Sylmar, which was her first defeat. She started off her career winning her first four starts including the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and as a juvenile she won the Demoiselle (G2) at the Big A going nine furlongs. She is quick enough, owning solid early and mid pace numbers and should get a good trip sitting just off the pace.

Princess of Sylmar pulled off the shocker in the Kentucky Oaks at 39-1 where she was roughed up at the break when caught in between foes, came with a four wide run to get up and pull off the upset. She comes back here with a 11 week break and is using this race as a prep for the Alabama (G1) later in the meeting. After seeing 39-1 last out the 9-5 sure seems light today.

Wagering

WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.

EX: 1,3 / 1,3,4

TRI: no play

 

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