A pair of New York bred stakes highlight Wednesday’s ten-race card at the Spa, with a field of eight fillies and mares going seven furlongs in the $100,000 Fleet Indian, and the following race is the $100,000 John Morrissey, which drew nine older males who will go 6 ½ furlongs on the main track.
Through Sunday we are nine days into the 40-day Saratoga meeting, and we have seen a few surprises along the way.
One of the biggest happened on Sunday afternoon when Lady Utopia lit up the toteboard in a $20,000 maiden claiming race, returning $142.50 for the win.
The filly was the biggest price in the field, and the second longest price was Thirty Minutes, who was up on the pace and held on for second at odds of 44-1.
The $2 exacta paid a hefty $2,152.00, and the $2 trifecta with 2-1 second choice Anchovy returned $18,910.00.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won a record 38 races at last summer’s meet got off to a slow start but is showing signs of life, and is now second in the trainer standings with five wins from 35 starters.
Four of his five winners have come in juvenile maiden special weight races. The trainer is now 4 for 10 with two-year-old first time starters at the meet.
Chad Brown, who finished second in the trainer standings last year is sitting on top of the list this year so far with seven winners from his 25 starters. A total of 17 of his runners have finished in the money.
Only one of Brown’s winners has been a maiden, while three of his winners have been in first level allowance races, another in a starter optional claimer, and he won with one straight claimer.
His other winner was with Street Life in the Curlin Stakes.
Ramon Dominguez is leading all jockeys with 18 winners from his 64 mounts, opening up a eight win lead over Jose Lezcano who has booted home ten winners.
Javier Castellano, who started off the meeting slow including being winless with the first 14 mounts he rode for Pletcher, is starting to heat up and is tied for third with Joel Rosario, each of the jockeys having eight winners.
Lezcano has been a favorite among longshot players, his 10 winners having an average mutual payoff of $20.63.
A very interesting stat is among the top trainers. Pletcher has an average win payoff of $12.48, nearly double his average for the entire meeting last year, which was $6.39.
By comparison, Brown’s average win payoff through Sunday is $5.79. Brown’s average at last year’s meeting where he won at a 29% clip overall was $8.72.
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 Wednesday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 8 The Fleet Indian Post time 4:55 ET
3 Opus A 3-1
7 Risky Rachel 8-5
1 Lady On the Run 6-1
8 Miss Valentine 8-1
Opus A is back with New York breds here after a game runner up finish last out in the Endear going long on the main track at Belmont Park. Two back this mare took the field gate to wire to win the state bred Key Cents over three foes she faces again today. The runner up in that race was our third choice Lady On the Run, who came out of the race to win the state bred Arctic Queen in her next outing on July 21 at Finger Lakes. Our top pick has won her last three starts versus state breds and looks as if she is ready to fire a top effort here in her third start of her current form cycle.
Risky Rachel was the beaten favorite last out in the Chaldea behind the loose on the lead gate to wire winner Roman Treasure. Two back she was not much of a threat in her turf debut. Three and four back she won a pair of state breds sakes for fun, the combined margin of victory 11 ¼ lengths. She seldom runs a bad one and won here last summer in her lone trip over the Spa main track, beating state bred Alw-2 optional claimers by ten lengths. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and fits well here although the price is going to be on the light side.
Lady On the Run came off a two month break with a smart looking win in the Arctic Queen and has now landed in the exacta in six straight starts. This gal just does not run a bad one, landing in the exacta in 11 of her 15 career starts. The extra furlong here suits and she should get some pace in front other and will be running late.
WIN: Opus A to win at 2-1 or better.
EXACTA: 3,7 / 1,3,7,8
TRIIFECTA: 3,7 / 1,3,7,8 / 1,3,6,7,8