Saratoga Wagering Picks: Forego, Woodward Highlight Final Saturday of Spa Meeting

Shackleford is the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday's Forego (G1) at Saratoga © Cheryl Quigley |

The final Saturday of the Saratoga meeting will be one of the best, with three graded stakes on the 12-race card including the $500,000 Forego (G1) and $750,000 Woodward (G1).

The Woodward drew a field of seven including Suburban (G2) winner Mucho Macho Man, who comes into the race having won four of his last five starts.

The Kathy Ritvo trainee will get tested by a couple of runners that did not fire their best in the Suburban and will be seeking to turn the tables.

Stay Thirsty (5-1)faded to finish a well beaten fifth, but now returns to one of his favorite surfaces here at the Spa. The Todd Pletcher trainee won the Jim Dandy (G2) and the Travers (G1) here last summer.

To Honor and Serve (2-1) was the beaten favorite in the Suburban, tracking the early pace from the outside and having no punch left late in a fourth place finish.

The Bill Mott trainee capped off his 2011 campaign with a win in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Belmont Park and won the Westchester (G3) in his first start of 2012, but has come up short in his two outings since that victory.

Completing the field in the Woodward are Rule (12-1), Gourmet Dinner (30-1), Trickmeister (6-1), and Cease (10-1).

The Saturday stakes action at the Spa kicks off with the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) for three-year-olds and upward on the turf.

The Shug McGaughey trained Data Link, winner of the Monmouth (G2) in his last start is the 7-5 morning line favorite.

The Forego drew a field of eight, with four exiting the A.G. Vanderbilt (G1) on August 5 which was won by longshot Poseidon’s Warrior, who returned $74.50 over a muddy track.

Dale Romans sends out the 2-1 morning line favorite Shackleford, who was a disappointing eighth in the Vanderbilt, but should bounce back catching a fast track.

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 Saturday’s featured race of the day:

Saratoga Race 9 The Forego (G1) Post time 5:12 ET

6 Emcee   9-2

2 Shackleford   2-1

7 Caixa Eletronica   8-1

4 Jackson Bend   7-2

Emcee came off a three month layoff last out with a game effort in the A.G. Vanderbilt (G2), beaten just a half-length for the top spot. The colt dueled for the early lead while down along a dull rail and a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers and held on until late. The colt has earned triple digit Beyer Speed Figures in four of his last five starts and owns solid early and mid pace numbers in a race with plenty of early zip[ signed up. The colt looks quick enough that if he clears early he could be tough over a Spa main track that for the most part has been fairly kind to speed at today’s seven furlong distance.

Shackleford also exits the Vanderbilt where he was sent off as the 6-5 chalk. He was hard used early to gain a spot along the inside and faded to finish sixth, traveling down along that deep rail over a the muddy track, ending up nine lengths back of the winner. The colt has never really liked the off going and he will catch footing more to his liking here. The extra furlong suits and he has enough early speed to be close to our top pick. His other trip over the Spa main track came in last year’s Travers (G1) where he set the early fractions and faded to finish a well beaten eighth. The barn has been on a roll in graded stakes, winning seven over the past three months. The colt figures to bounce back with a better effort here but the 2-1 morning line seems light.

Caixa Electronica cuts back to a sprint after tiring to finish eighth in the Whitney Handicap (G1) going nine furlongs last out. He was no match for Pacific Ocean two back in the James Marvin, regressing off a near career top three back where he won the True North (G2) at six furlongs. The seven year old will benefit from a fast pace in front of him and he likely goes off at a decent price in this spot. His two wins over the Spa main track both came last summer when he won back to back starter handicap races.


WIN: Emcee to win at 3-1 or better.

EXACTA: 2,6 / 2,4,6,7

TRIFECTA: 2,6 / 2,4,6,7 / 1,2,4,6,7

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