SaratogaBets Handicapping - Kevin Cox's Saratoga Selections & Analysis - 9/7 - Labor Day - Closing Day - Steeplechase Day !


While closing days are traditionally melancholy up here, it's a bit different this year. While there have been some highlights ( Tiz the Law, for example ), the lowlights ( Five Points closing down, fans being unable to attend ) seem to outweigh the former. While we'll shed a tear or two after the finale ( because it's pretty much rote by this point ), a part of us will be willing to put this summer in the rear view mirror and hope for better times ahead.

God bless you all, thank you for your unfettered loyalty, and we'll see you on Elmont time in eleven days.

Today's Beatable Favorite(s): None


I'd like to leave this bit of info here for y'all. When we're using the DRF Formulator platform while writing our columns, if we say "Sprints", for the most part we mean any one turn race, and when we say "Routes", we mean any TWO turn race. ( For example, we consider a 1 1/8th mile race at Belmont an elongated sprint, and a 6 1/2 furlong race at a Charles Town a route. ) We feel this way, because in our eyes, it's the number of turns that necessitate more energy than being relaxed on a straightaway. Sometimes the sample size for our study can be too large to manually break down, so there may be a few from one category in another, but usually the end result is pretty much the same. Additionally, when it comes to layoffs, we consider more than 50 days in a dirt to dirt scenario a layoff, more than 58 days in D to T or T to D a layoff, and more than 67 days in a turf to turf deal a L/O.


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Saratoga - 9/7 - Labor Day - Closing Day - Steeplechase Day


Race  1


2.Cracker Factory (GB)


#4 MUTASAAWY hasn't shown much in the two comeback attempts, but we feel this 10 year old has a puncher's chance for his 10th win in the day's opener. Looking at the past history ( is there any other kind of history? ), this elder statesman has done quite well in "3rd off the L/O" spots, as he's 7:2-4-1 in that regards, compared to a lesser 42:7-5-6 record otherwise. What we really like about that stat is that in FIVE of the prior races, he finished off the board. Hmmmm..... #1 CRACKER FACTORY (GB) is one for four off of this type of L/O scenario and is backed by some potent connections. #2 IRANISTAN won in a nearly identical spot right here on Bijou's birthday, and is logical once again.   NOTE: AS OF 11:11 THE #5 WILL BE OUR 3RD SELECTION.


Race  2

1.The Caretaker

2.Build to Suit

3.Celtic Chaos

#1A THE CARETAKER is a very popular item at the claim box, having been snagged from five of her last six events when eligible. Six year old "horse" ( You hang in there, Big Daddy ! ) has fared well at this trip ( 3 fer 8 ) and over this strip ( 5:2-2-0 ), and completed the exacta in his lone "3rd off the layoff" try on the sand. Sensible selection. #2 BUILD TO SUIT is a nose shy of a two for two mark off the bench, and is 5:3-2-0 when first to load ( with the lone defeats coming by a nose & a DQ ). Just may sit the perfect trip. #4 CELTIC CHAOS finally gets some much needed class relief, and got the job done in his sole start with a "For Sale" sticker attached to his butt. NOTE: AS OF 11:14, DUE TO A LATE SCRATCH THE #3 WILL BE OUR 3RD SELECTION.


Race  3

1.Miss Morgantown


3.Mrs. O'Connell

#1 MISS MORGANTOWN had some issues both before -- and during -- the debut about five weeks ago, but we like that there's no scary drop for this gal who went for more than 8X the stud fee at auction, and we'll bite at a price in a wide open affair. #3 THREATLEVELMIDNITE showed a touch of early hoof when going short in the bow, but we like fading sprinters on the initial stretchout, and this one is wonderfully bred for the gramma. #6 MRS. OCONNELL hasn't shown much in the morning for today's initial foray, but American Pharoah's get have been doing quite well on the verde, and we'll slide beneath.  OFF TURF: 2-1-3-6-4  NOTE: AS OF 11:17, DUE TO A LATE SCRATCH THE #8 WILL BE OUR 3RD SELECTION.


Race  4 

1.Dull Knife


3.Liam's Fire

#3 DULL KNIFE hasn't been in action since the first of December ( or as some people like to say, "last" December ), but improved by about 12.1% in the adjusted speed figure department in his only start off the shelf, and if that were to occur here, then an 85.9 would be the end result. Is a number like that feasible? We're not sure. But we will swing away at a square numero despite a rider who has one more win as a jockey this meet than I do. #1 LARCENY outran his odds when completing the triple in this race 23 days in the rear, and gets a major jockey upgrade from that day. #8 LIAM'S FIRE finds himself at an all time low, and has eye cups added. 


Race  5

1.Hunt the Front

2.Heirloom Kitten 

3.Per Capita

#2 HUNT THE FRONT down the lane to get Zito off the duck on closing day. #3 HEIRLOOM KITTEN went all the way versus what we would consider a tougher field on "Bijou Day", for his second consecutive wire job, and although this is just his second time going long on a fast track, the pedigree tells us that the most recent result was likely not an aberration. #4 PER CAPITA has been transferred from Brown to Pletcher since last in action, and wouldn't that be a kick in the head if this fella ( shooting for the hat trick ) turned out to be the deciding factor. 


Race  6 

1.Win With Pride 



#2 WIN WITH PRIDE ( cross entered Saturday, so be sure to check the changes ) has hit the board in eight straight, 11 of 12, and seems to like going this distance, as attested by the 9:3-1-4 mark at 3/4's. #3 CHATEAU drops a touch off a solid placing right here in mid August, owns a 4:2-1-1 record when breaking from the wood, and has done decent work going this distance of ground; Junior takes the call as Irad lands elsewhere. #4 SHAMROCKED takes the obligatory step up the ladder after changing hands for 20 large on the 14th of August, and has enough speed to grab a piece.  NOTE: AS OF 11:20, DUE TO TWO LATE SCRATCHES, #'s 7 & 8 WILL BE OUR SECOND & 3RD CHOICES RESPECTIVELY.


Race  7

1.No Ordinary Time


3.My Little Minx

We're seeing this race as easy as 1-2-3 !  #1 NO ORDINARY TIME hasn't displayed a whole heck of a lot in the A.M.'s for today's first call to the post, but $40,000 bred animal went for 600 large at KEE last year, so is obviously well meant. Tough to ignore with Storm Cat in the second generation. Employing the "Diamond in the Rough" theory with the #2 LOVESTRUCK, as there'a a bullet breeze interspersed with a bunch of ordinary morning moves, and although we feel this one may be destined for dirt down the road, the turf bloodlines ain't half bad. #3 MY LITTLE MINX ( one half of the uncoupled Pletcher entry ) is well bred top & bottom.  OFF TURF: 9-7-6-1-3


Race  8 

1.Breaking the Rules


3.Devamani ( GB )

#5 BREAKING THE RULES has gotten the job done in both of his starts since returning from a one year & four day hibernation, has a splendid "declining" career mark of 13:6-2-1, and is a poyfect two of two going this distance of ground. Looking good at what should end up being an honest offering. #2 LARGENT has been in the exacta in all six lifetime efforts, and I wouldn't read too much into the lowish number from the most recent at Colonial Downs, as they don't really have a great sample size from there' Looie with a nice day here on Friday. #1 DEVAMANI (GB) has blinks added and saves all the ground.  OFF TURF: 1-2-3-4-5


Race  9 

1.Team Merchants



#6 TEAM MERCHANTS merely split the field at 6-1 first time out, but was a touch wide that afternoon, has fired off a bullet breeze since, and is bred to do better. #4 DEMON ( spotted in the 7th race on Saturday, so take a peek at the scratches ) is a January foal with a couple of nice woks on the docket for today's overture, and being an Into Mischief by a Medaglia d'Oro mare, it's no surprise this one has a healthy 400 Tomlinson figure for the distance. #1 GREATHEART is a $400,000 purchase who may need a race, or else why would they utilize a 1% rider? Using in the lower rungs.   NOTE: AS OF 3:33, DUE TO A GATE SCRATCH THE #3 WILL BE OUR 3RD SELECTION.


Race  10

1.Dudley Square

2.The Big S


#7 DUDLEY SQUARE got his photo taken right outta the box down in Oldsmar, and although the BSF was a bit on the light side, we always give a horse two opportunities to prove what he can do under a particular set of conditions, and the 389 Tommy permits some room for improvement. #9 THE BIG S hasn't seen the scene since Turkey time, but lone score came after a respite, and this one is reacquainted with eye cups this afternoon. #5 MAXIMILIANO got waffled in the stakes try after the maiden breaker back in December, but has been given some time to regroup from that, and the eye cups are now removed. 


Race  11

1.Bail Out

2.Alley Oop Johnny

3.Mr. Kringle

#4 BAIL OUT has run decently if not spectacularly in all three starts this year, and although this is a maiden facing winners, the speed figures actually match up with most others signed on. Just for the fact alone that this one is winless ( as well as the jock having not won in quite some time ), you'll be getting exponentially higher odds here than the others. #8 ALLEY OOP JOHNNY almost shocked the joint when finishing a lively runner up @ 33-1 in July, and while a bounce is always possible, we see no reason to exclude. #6 MR. KRINGLE has hit the board in four straight, six of seven, and the 1/2/4 finishers from the most recent ran 1-2-3 next time out, improving in the speed figure dept. by an avg. of 2.7 points.  OFF TURF: 9-6-3-5-4


Race  12 

1.African Heritage

2.Lonesome Fugitive ( Ire )

3.The Great Dansky 

#2 AFRICAN HERITAGE displayed little in the comeback attempt, but the triad of outings in the winter were just fine ( from an adjusted Speed # standpoint ), and this one ain't hopeless at a decent offering. #3 LONESOME FUGITIVE (IRE) has yet to miss the exacta, and after a slightly troubled sojourn 43 days in the rear, blinkers are now a part of the package. Likely favorite. #4 THE GREAT DANSKY goes over the blades for the first time in this spot, and his bloodlines for such are just a tad below that of the dirt -- over which he's performed admirably.  OFF TURF: 10-2-8-1-9


Race  13 


2.Jackie's Warrior 


#4 NUTSIE overcame some things ( rail, awkward start, smacked around a bit ) to procure the sheepskin in his initial trip to the races, and although the figure earned that day is far below the rest signed on, there's an asterisk next to the Tomlinson figure, which means the pedigree is still unproven. That being stated, sometimes these babies can improve by leaps and bounds, and we like the quick move after the tally, followed by a maintenance breeze. #6 JACKIE'S WARRIOR handled the hike into graded stakes company with aplomb, registering an easy score right here on the 7th, and we feel the race goes through him. #3 MUTASAABEQ scorched some fellow babies right here a month ago, and we're thinking that it was no fluke as The Toddster seems to have a goodie here.


Race  14 

1.Seize the Hay ( AE )

2.Sir Chubby

3.Bold Gem

#13 SEIZE THE HAY (AE) needs one to declare in order to face the starter, but should that come to bear, would be toting along a decent troika of speed #'s, along w/ the meet's leading rider. #8 SIR CHUBBY has cashed minor checks in more than half of his lifetime outings, and  while we'l be using, it's not with the utmost of confidence. #5 BOLD GEM closes out our race, day, week & meet. We want to thank y'all for your loyalty now and throughout the years, and in taking our longest break ever here ( due to a scheduling change ), we will see you for Belmont's action in eleven days !!  OFF TURF 7-2-1-9-4  NOTE: AS OF 5:29, WE ARE NOW CHANGING OUR SELECTIONS TO 5-8-13(AE).



Saratoga             ( Final ):     71-396     ( $570.30 ) Beatable   Favorites   5-21 ( 23.8% )   Favorites Win %     143-396 ( 36.1% )

Belmont               ( Final ):     30-249     ( $278.60 ) Beatable  Favorites  7-19  ( 36.8% )    Favorites Win %      92-249 ( 36.9% )

Gulfstream           ( Final ):     58-468    ( $865.50 )  Beatable  Favorites  2-22  ( 9.1% )      Favorites Win %    161-468 ( 34.4% )

Aqueduct Winter  ( Final ):     65-427    ( $615.10 )  Beatable  Favorites  8-18  ( 44.4% )    Favorites Win %:   174-427 ( 40.8% ) 

Graded Stakes ( Current ):       6-31       ( $55.40 )  Beatable Favorites    N/A   (  N/A )      Favorites Win %:     12-31   ( 37.5% )

All Triple Crown, Breeders' Cup, Selected Grade 1's and Travers full days  ( These are also counted in the "Dirt Tracks" category ):

( 2013-2020 Final ) 64-411  ( $581.30 ) Beatable Favorites: 18-56 ( 32.1% ) Favorite's Win %: 139-411 (33.8%)  +/-: -29.2% against a 16.8% takeout  

Poly Tracks2013-16  (All Final): 85-568          ( $819.20 )  Beatable Favorites : 15-68      ( 22.1% )Favorite's Win %: 163-587      ( 27.7% ) +/-: -27.6%  against a 15.6% takeout

Dirt Tracks  2013-20 (All Final):2670-13563 ($22,847.70) Beatable Favorites : 357-1284( 27.8% )Favorite's Win %: 5149-13646 ( 37.7% ) +/-: -16.3%  against a 16.8% takeout

Cumulative Stats    (All Final): 2755-14131 ($23,666.60)  Beatable Favorites : 372-1352( 27.5% )Favorite's Win %: 5331-14233 ( 37.6% ) +/-: -16.2%  against a 16.7% takeout