Friday’s card at Saratoga gets off to a late start with a first post of 2:30 ET, with the featured race being the $100,000 Curlin which drew a field of eight three-year-olds who will go 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
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Following the running of the Curlin, Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet, will announce the name of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra’s first foal, a colt by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin born on January 22.
Curlin (the race) drew a competitive field led by Belmont Stakes (G1) fourth place finisher Street Life and Pegasus (G3) runner up Easter Gift.
Street Life is the lone stakes winner in the field, taking the Broad Brush at the Big A back in March.
There are several promising runners seeking their first stakes win that figure to be in the mix including my top pick Ever So Lucky as well as Reload, who will be making his stakes debut after a game second in allowance company.
We have a really good betting card coming up on Saturday at the Spa that features a couple of graded stakes.
The $600,000 Diana (G1) drew a field of six fillies and mares that will go 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course.
Winter Memories is the 9-5 morning line favorite and is making her first start since getting upset in a runner up finish in the Just A Game (G1) at Belmont Park on June 9.
The $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) is a useful prep for the $1 million Travers next month, and drew a field of eight three-year-olds led by Godolphin’s Alpha, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
Winner of the Count Fleet and Withers (G3) earlier this year, the son of Bernardini makes his first start since a 12th place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
I’ll have more on Saturday’s stakes tomorrow.
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 Friday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 8 The Curlin (Post time 6:22 ET)
2 Ever So Lucky 3-1
4 Reload 5-1
3 Street Life 5-2
5 Easter Gift 7-2
Ever So Lucky is coming off a visually impressive victory against Alw-2L foes at Delaware Park, drawing clear to win by 7 ½ lengths. His lone poor outing came two back where he was a well beaten tenth in the Blue Grass (G1) in his first start on polytrack. The colt showed promise form the beginning, breaking his maiden in his debut, and then the hall of fame Jonathan Sheppard barn put him right into stakes company where he ran a good second in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) behind Gemologist, who went on to win his next two starts including the Wood Memorial (G1). Our top pick then went to the bench until March where he returned off the layoff and ran a decent third behind Trinniberg, who came back to win a couple of stakes since, the Bay Shore (G3) and the Carry Back (G3). The colt has some early zip and there is not a ton of pace in here. He also has the pedigree to handle nine furlongs, by Indian Charlie out of a Summer Squall mare.
Reload steps up into stakes company for the first time in his career here for the Shug McGaughey barn. Last out the colt was checked and off to a tardy start and made a good late rally to come up just a neck short of beating Alw-1 foes in his first go against winners. The colt still appears to have a ton of upside and he looks more than capable of handling the stretch out to nine furlongs. He is out of the stakes winner Hidden Reserve ($204K) who has dropped a couple of talented runners in Philanthropist ($266K) and Defer ($260K).
Street Life is making his first start since coming with a mild wide rally to finish fourth in the Belmont (G1), beaten 7 ½ lengths. The late running colt is the lone stakes winner in the field, taking the Broad Brush back in March at Aqueduct on the inner track in his first start against winners. Two back he made a good late run to finish third in the Peter Pan (G3). He may appreciate the two turns here but the Spa main track tends to be kinder to runners closer to the front that this guy will be. The colt has been working well and is in good hands with the Chad Brown barn, which is using this race as a prep for the Travers (G1) next month.
WIN: Ever So Lucky to win at 2-1 or better.
EXACTA: 2,4 / 2,3,4,5
TRIFECTA: 2,4 / 2,3,4,5 / 1,2,3,4,5