6- PERSONAL ENSIGN, 9f, 1:23
1- I’M A CHATTERBOX (4-1): We are not sure what the oddsmaker is seeing here to make her the fourth choice in this highly competitive five horse field; to our eyes she looms the horse to beat off two straight wins. She gets a cutback from her last, where she won the 10f Delaware Handicap and posted field high and career high speed figures (98 Beyer, 105 BRIS). Her back form shows three wins over today’s foe and morning line favorite Curalina and four over Forever Unbridled from last season. Appears the clear horse to beat here going third off the lay with Flourent Geroux aboard; we will see if that morning line holds for BRIS Prime Power selection (+4.3).
2- CURALINA (9-5): Favored here presumably off her romp in the 8.5f La Troienne three starts back on Derby day (100 Beyer, 103 BRIS), but she lost to two of these foes two back at the same distance in the Ogden Phipps, finishing a disappointing 4th. Still, her Saratoga form (4-2-1-1) looks strong, and her 3rd place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff makes her a strong contender at this distance. We prefer the horses that have beaten her head to head at double the odds, however.
3- FOREVER UNBRIDLED (7-2): The feeling with her is that this is a filly that is due after her rough trip in the Ogden Phipps, and she deserves a long look at these odds. She had won three straight before that race, and we like that she has several sharp workouts over the local track leading up to this. She lost four straight to the top choice last year, so it is hard to see how she will turn the tables on that one while the other is in top form, but the price may be right to find out, as she could be overlooked off a tough luck 2nd last out.
4- PAID UP SUBSCRIBER (10-1): Somewhat of an outsider among these but not impossible to make a case for, finishing just 2.25 lengths off the top selection at 10f in her last among Grade 1 company. She cuts back for this and does show a Grade 2 win at this distance two back in the Fleur de Lis. In a short field, we can’t use everyone, but don’t see a lot to dislike either.
5- CAVORTING (2-1): A perfect 3/3 at Saratoga, but one has to wonder if she is in the wrong race today, as she was undefeated at 7f heading into the BC Filly & Mare Sprint last year. She impressed when winning the 8f Ruffian at Belmont two starts back in somewhat of a shocking effort (97 Beyer, 98 BRIS), and got the best of the trip when victorious in the 8.5f Ogden Phipps last out (102 Beyer,103 BRIS). Still, this is a filly seems a one turn type and has never been this distance before and given that, 2-1 seems a bit short.
- I’m A Chatterbox 4-1
- Forever Unbridled 7-2
- Curalina 9-5
- Cavorting 2-1
7- BALLERINA, 7f, 1:59
1- BIRDATTHEWIRE (15-1): Looks a cut below the best here, having tried this distance three times this year and hitting the board just once. Does show a Grade 1 win over this distance from last year at Santa Anita but mid-pack runner lands a tough post.
2- BY THE MOON (6-1): Was impressive in winning her last start, which came over this distance and over today’s foe and Breeders’ Cup champion Wavell Avenue (96 Beyer, 97 BRIS). She enters of a layoff of nine weeks and gets Javier Castellano aboard, but looks light on figures and may have caught today’s favorite on an off day last time.
3- PAULASSILVERLINING (4-1): Front-running type stretches out here from her last, where she was nosed at the wire by today’s foe Haveyougoneaway at 6f, but put up impressive figures in defeat (96 Beyer, 105 BRIS). She actually holds the field high Beyer from an optional claiming race back in February (107), but that came at 6f as well, and she may again struggle to carry her speed the extra panel, although she does have a Grade 3 win at this distance over the highly regarded Cavorting; consistent type has been no worse than 2nd in all five starts this year and may not face a lot of pressure up front.
4- SHEER DRAMA (5-1): Accomplished Distaffer knocked off two Breeders’ Cup winners in one race when she surprised three back in the 7f Madison (100 Beyer, 102 BRIS). She must be respected off that effort, but now cuts back from two sub-par 8.5f outings after an eleven week layoff, and we wonder if she isn’t entered in the wrong race today.
5- SARAH SIS (20-1): Inconsistent type has shown speed at times but has been well off the board in all of her four 2016 graded dirt starts, and her only graded win came over synthetic against lesser quality foes. Pass.
6- LINDA LINDA (30-1): Chilean runner goes second off the lay here following a well-beaten 3rd in her first US start over this track and distance. Would need a massive figure improvement to factor.
7- SPELLING AGAIN (12-1): Finally earned a graded win in her last, a career best effort at this distance in the Princess Rooney at Gulfstream (97 Beyer, 102 BRIS). Offers some value off that race, but meets tougher here.
8- WAVELL AVENUE (3-1): Defending Breeders’ Cup champion and morning line favorite appears to have lost a step this year amongst graded company, although she did finally get a win on the board in her last when taking a step down in class (96 Beyer, 101 BRIS). This distance fits her like a glove, but she’s always done her best running with some pace to run into, and we don’t see that today. Likely to be battling for the minor awards and an underlay at the windows.
9- CARINA MIA (7-2): Best career race came at this distance when winning the Eight Belles three back (93 Beyer, 104 BRIS), and cuts back from 9f where she was 2nd in her last to the unbeatable Songbird. Joel Rosario jumps off Morning Line Favorite and Breeders’ Cup winner Wavell Avenue to ride her here, which is a large statement to make, and makes her worthy of consideration as a single as she starts against elders for the first time. Rosario should work out a great stalking trip just behind the limited speed here.
10-HAVEYOUGONEAWAY (10-1): Five year old mare looms an intriguing prospect as she stretches out an extra furlong here following her win in the Honorable Miss, closing forcefully after a trip just off the pace and earning a field best BRIS Last Race figure (105). One could logically conclude she will benefit from the added ground here, and as she doesn’t come from the clouds should be able to stay in touch with the leaders throughout what would appear to be a moderate to slow pace up front; could be the biggest threat to the top selection, and at a price.
- Carina Mia 7-2
- Haveyougoneaway 10-1
- Paulassilverlining 4-1
- Sheer Drama 5-1
8- KINGS’ BISHOP, 7f, 2:35
1- ECONOMIC MODEL (6-1): Chad Brown runner cuts back to a shorter distance and while he could get a decent setup to close into from the rail, there are other closers who pack a bit more punch, and considering he gets blinkers here (why?), may be closer to the pace anyway. It is difficult to elevate him over the top selection having just lost to him by over a length in his last, although he does receive an exchange of 6 pounds from that race. His best effort to date came at 8.5f (101 Beyer, 101 BRIS) but it is worth wondering whether this cutback is too severe, and this post isn’t ideal with so much speed drawn outside. It is worth mention that for all his success, Brown does not have a graded stakes winner at Saratoga in 28 tries.
2- FISH TRAPPE ROAD (8-1): Cuts back in distance off his 8f Dwyer win (97 Beyer, 98 BRIS) and has been working sharply during his seven week layoff since then, posting two best of 75 works at 4f over this track on 8/12 and 8/19. Looks primed to move forward for a career best effort from an advantageous post and appears the speed to stick around longest based on his BRIS Late Pace figures. May have been best in the 7f Woody Stephens two back, when hanging on for 2nd while running just off a wicked hot pace (:21.3/ :44.2). The pick.
3- SUMMER REVOLUTION (6-1): Enters lightly raced off of just two career starts, both wins at 7f, the most recent over this dirt track. Shows field high speed figures at the distance (105 Beyer, 104 BRIS) and gets a jockey switch to Javier Castellano. Takes a class leap here, but dangerous as the fastest colt in the race and without any real distance questions. A bounce candidate, but still a must use on top.
4- TALE OF S’AVALL (30-1): Finished 3rd to the top selection in his last and now cuts back a furlong. The last time he ran at this distance, he finished 6th beaten by several of these, so he would need to improve quite a bit to hit the board here.
5- BIRD SONG (30-1): Has shown four consecutive ascending speed figures but takes a big class leap coming off a maiden win and an allowance win in his last two, both at 6f. His workout patterns don’t suggest that he will be competitive in this bunch.
6- MOHAYMEN (5-1): A big question mark at this distance. The feeling here is that this is a colt who simply can’t find the right race. Winless since February at 8.5f, he really is better suited to races longer than this one but wouldn’t have found a good spot in the Travers either, although isn’t changing course after a respectable 4th at the distance in the Kentucky Derby akin to waving a white flag? He doesn’t appear to have the pure speed of the top contenders here, although did he post a bullet move over the Saratoga track, the fastest of 75 at the 4f distance, which is worth consideration. There are prices in here we like better relative to their chances, however, and as we have played against him all year, will continue to do so until he proves us wrong.
7- STAR HILL (20-1): Broke his maiden at this distance but hasn’t won since then. This is probably his ideal spot as he is well-suited to one turn races and cuts back from 8.5f, but picks a tough group here as he doesn’t stack up with the best of these on figures. He did turn in a solid effort when 3rd in the Woody Stephens two back at this distance in a similar cutback spot (97 BRIS, 91 Beyer) behind two colts we like here, but he can’t be elevated above them. He does get blinkers which should help him stay in contact with the field, but we wonder if that takes him out of his game a bit, as he would need to improve to hit the board anyway and seems best making one run late.
8- MIND YOUR BISCUITS (15-1): Closing type has won two straight at shorter distances, including the Grade 2 Amsterdam at 6.5f (94 Beyer, 94 BRIS). He should benefit from the added distance, but there are other closers in here that show higher Average BRIS Late Pace numbers.
9- JAZZY TIMES (8-1): The lesser regarded Baffert entry stretches out to 7f for the first time off an impressive win in optional claiming company in his last at 6.5f (101 Beyer, 102 Beyer). Speedy runner goes blinkers off here and meets graded company for the first time; looking elsewhere as a pace duel seems imminent.
10- RATED R SUPERSTAR (20-1): Has benefited from a change in tactics in winning his last two races from off the pace, and that style should suit well here. He won at this distance last out in the Grade 3 Carry Back (97 Beyer, 103 BRIS), posting a field high BRIS Late Pace Figure (110). Recent works have left something to be desired off the eight week layoff but at these odds he is certainly worth including in case the race falls apart up front, as he would be a logical candidate to pick up the pieces.
11- NOHOLDINGBACKBEAR (10-1): Need-the-lead type has put up eye-catching speed figures on synthetic at Woodbine at shorter distances (101 Beyer, 105 BRIS) but has not duplicated that form on dirt. Combined with the pace duel that is likely to unfold, he seems a rather obvious play against.
12- TOM’S READY (12-1): Starts off a field high eleven week layoff but turned in a career best race in his last, closing into a manic pace to defeat the top selection at this distance in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens (95 Beyer, 100 BRIS). Has been working forwardly enough to be right there at the end again and should see plenty of pace to close into with his field high BRIS Average Late Pace figure (108), but freshness and back form remain questions.
13- DREFONG (4-1): Speedster from the Baffert barn takes a class leap off a 6.5f win in optional claiming company out west (103 Beyer, 103 BRIS). The speed figures are competitive, but he will be involved in the early pace from the widest post of all and although he has shown extension in his wins, has never run beyond 6.5f. Baffert hasn’t won in graded company at Saratoga in a while (four years) and without any works over the local track, we wonder whether Del Mar shipper will take to the deeper dirt here.
- Fish Trappe Road 8-1
- Summer Revolution 6-1
- Tom’s Ready 12-1
- Rated R Superstar 20-1
9- FOREGO- 7f, 3:12
1- CATALINA RED (8-1): Competitive at a price here from the rail stretching back out to his ideal distance where he is 3/3 lifetime after two straight 6f races. Figures to drop back, save ground and make a late move into a pace that should be lively so the post isn’t a huge concern; stacks up well on figures (105 Beyer, 105 BRIS). The price is right for a horse that has yet to lose at 7f, and since the favorite boasts the same accolade, something will have to give.
2-CHIEF LION (10-1): Speed type has on the board finishes in his last two races at shorter (6f), finishing behind two different foes here, Stallwalkin’ Duke and Limousine Liberal. He’s done his better running at shorter distances but does stack up on figures, holding a field high BRIS Speed Figure (106). That came at 6f of course, and given the likely pace scenario here, asking him to stretch out beyond that is asking a lot.
3- LIMOUSINE LIBERAL (15-1): Second in this race to the world-beater Runhappy a year ago, he is a speed type that seems to have a lot of bettors on his bandwagon off that single effort, a mentality that has never resonated with us. He’s still not won beyond the 6.5f distance and was no match for the second choice at this distance the last time he attempted it. He does get a good post and a jockey switch to Javier Castellano here.
4- THE TRUTH OR ELSE (30-1): Finished well behind two of today’s foes in his last, and neither will be in our plays. Two back, he did post a career high BRIS Speed Figure (102) at 6f, but that came over a muddy track, which he is unlikely to see today. Pass.
5- ANCHOR DOWN (10-1): Toss his last, where he was bumped at the break and taken completely out of his game, which is to go straight to the lead. Still, his best effort when winning the Grade 3 Westchester (105 Beyer, 107 BRIS) came at a longer distance and over a sloppy track. This distance looks a bit more to his liking, but it is hard to overlook that his only win in his last 10 starts came over the off-going.
6- TAMARKUZ (15-1): Off the board in all four starts since returning from Dubai, where he had actually won four straight races. That dates back to July of last year, and he only has one 2016 start, beaten 26 lengths in the Met Mile. Hard to support off that effort.
7- SCHIVARELLI (20-1): Enters off a win at this distance in optional claiming company (98 BRIS) but takes a decisive step up in class here; speed figures are a cut below the best and do not appear to be ascending.
8- STALLWALKIN’ DUDE (8-1): Looking over his last five starts, he has won two of them, and the other three were all on muddy tracks, so he should see a surface to his liking here. Six-year old gelding turned in a career best effort in his last when winning a 6f stakes over a fast track and extending through the stretch (103 BRIS). He does have some back form with a win at this distance from last December, but has generally been more of a 6f runner. Seems logical underneath in exotics but hard to endorse on top.
9- READY FOR RYE (10-1): Colt has been switched back and forth so often between surfaces that he seems to have lost the edge he had as a three-year-old, when he was ferocious as pure speed. These days, he has taken to laying further back off the pace, possibly due to sheer confusion, which plays against his greatest asset. He turned in a respectable 3rd, beaten 4.25 lengths by the top selection in his last, but poor management of his talent has rendered him a confused horse that we won’t support in this spot despite his undeniable talent.
10- DANNIE’S DECEIVER (30-1): Has raced well enough in his last three against optional claimers, averaging a BRIS Speed Figure of 100 and delivering two places and one win over that span. In deeper here, though.
11- A.P. INDIAN (5-2): Undefeated on the year and at this distance over his career, having defeated four of these foes in his last two races. Was gritty in winning an scintillating stretch duel last out against today’s foe Marking, and also showed ability to rate in that effort, which could be beneficial as he draws wide here. Shows the highest speed figures in the field (107 Beyer, 106 BRIS) and tops the east coast sprinting division by a mile coming into this; will take a lot of beating.
12- MARKING (3-1): Was just a head from beating the top selection at this distance at Belmont in his last (102 Beyer, 101 BRIS), so he merits inclusion logically off that effort in his third start since shipping back from Dubai, especially receiving six pounds from that one and losing by just a head. We are willing to overlook his Met Mile, where he finished a distant 4th while playing rabbit for Frosted, who turned in arguably the performance of the year that day.
- A.P. Indian 5-2
- Catalina Red 8-1
- Marking 3-1
- Anchor Down 10-1
10- SWORD DANCER, 12f, 3:49
6- FLINTSHIRE (1-5): Simply towers over this field, and there is no need to waste time discussing the other six runners, as there are no attractive outright wagers here. Nearly all Pick 6 and Pick 4 wagers will have him singled, and if he somehow loses the payoff will be astronomical, but there are no angles to play here aside from him falling down. This essentially turns both pools into Pick 5 and Pick 3 wagers, but there are enough prices on the board to be content to take the free square here.
11- TRAVERS, 10f, 4:44
1- ARROGATE (10-1): Baffert runner ships east and takes a big class leap here off optional claiming win where he put up a big figure two starts back in a wire to wire win (103 Beyer, 100 BRIS). Baffert hasn’t won a Grade I race at Saratoga in a long while and this is not the spot to side with that trend being broken with the combination of his post and running style on the stretchout.
2- AMERICAN FREEDOM (6-1): Goes blinkers off here, which is somewhat puzzling given that his best races have come near the lead, but perhaps Baffert wants to conserve energy as he stretches out to 10f. For all the talk about Exaggerator being a slop specialist, it bears mention that his best races have also come on muddy tracks, which he won’t get here, and he’s also yet to win beyond 8.5f. While he ran a solid 2nd in the 9f Haskell, it is concerning that he led through the stretch and then faded; is this really a colt that wants a furlong longer here? He stacks up on figures for his win in the 8.5f Iowa Derby, where he showed extension, (96 Beyer, 103 BRIS) but meets tougher in this spot.
3- MY MAN SAM (20-1): Was a longshot play of ours in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished a middling 11th in his fifth career race. He came back to disappoint after a layoff in a 9f allowance, and doesn’t stack up on figures here. He will be one that will be coming from the clouds in a race that should set up with plenty of pace, but it is hard to be too inspired to support him any further than the bottom of exotics.
4- GOVERNOR MALIBU (12-1): There seems to be a great deal of wise guy support for this Christophe Clement trainee, who comes off a 4th place finish in the 12f Belmont Stakes (94 Beyer, 100 BRIS) and a 2nd place finish last out in the 9f Jim Dandy (99 Beyer, 99 BRIS), where he turned the tables on today’s foe Destin and was at a disadvantage due to sitting back off a crawling pace. Joel Rosario retains the mount and figures to place him in the second flight of horses, but he is still unplaced beyond 9f and his speed figures look middling in this group. Still, the feeling here is that this is a colt that has been pointing to this race and may have the most room for improvement of the price horses; useable on top, but needs a step forward figure-wise.
5- FOREVER D’ORO (30-1): Easily beaten by four of today’s foes and difficult to support unless the race completely falls apart, as he is one who will drop far back early and make one late run. Bombs away for the bottom of your superfecta, but not ours.
6- ANAXIMANDROS (50-1): Closed well to get 4th in a pretty weak West Virginia Derby last out, and looks way in over his head in terms of figures. Pass.
7- EXAGGERATOR (3-1): Perhaps we missed something, but the Kentucky Derby was run at 10f on a dry track, correct? Well, this race will be run under identical conditions and should play out into a similar pace scenario, and this son of Curlin closed well for 2nd that day, and still owns the fastest speed figures at the distance in the field (101 Beyer, 103 BRIS). Experts will be jumping off of the classiest, most accomplished colt in the field on a dry track, and we expect to get better than 3-1 on him in this spot, and for him make it two in a row for sons of Curlin in this race regardless of track condition.
8-DESTIN (10-1): Todd Pletcher trainee enters off a somewhat flat effort when 3rd last out in the 9f Jim Dandy (99 Beyer, 99 BRIS). His running style should allow him to work out a somewhat ideal trip behind the speed from the middle of the field, but the feeling here is that he simply hasn’t shown that much improvement since the winter compared to some of these and may have leveled off. He did turn in a respectable effort when 6th in the Kentucky Derby (93 Beyer, 97 BRIS), so does technically own the third best speed figure at the distance, but it is difficult to elevate him above the two foes that defeated him last out and seem to be improving more rapidly, especially as he ran closer to the slow pace that day and therefore had less of an excuse to not overcome it.
9- GIFT BOX (12-1): Turned in a decent effort when beaten a length as favorite in the 9f Curlin Stakes last out (99 Beyer, 96 BRIS). He takes a step up in class here, and pedigree wise, looks more like a 9f horse than a 10f one; looking elsewhere.
10- CONNECT (4-1): Son of Curlin won his sire’s namesake 9f race in his last, showing a half length extension from the field through the stretch (101 Beyer, 97 BRIS). On paper, it wouldn’t appear that 10f would be a stretch for him, being out of a Holy Bull mare. However, he does take a step up in class here as he attempts to run longer than he ever has before, and it’s worrisome that he appears likely to get locked up early in a speed duel. He has potential, but as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line, is not for us against more experienced runners.
11- MAJESTO (30-1): Adds blinkers today to re-focus after finishing off the board and beaten a combined 46 lengths in his last two races by nearly half of this field. Would require a great leap of faith; not usable.
12- CREATOR (15-1): Turned in a horrendous performance in his last, where he didn’t run a lick when finishing 6th in the 9f Jim Dandy. He closed like a freight train to win the 12f Belmont before that though, and didn’t really get any pace to run into in his last; he should here. Looking over his form line, he appears to alternate between really bad races and really good ones, and would be in line for the latter in this spot. In any case, we expect an improved effort as the added distance should only help for the strongest closer in the field.
13- LAOBAN (15-1): Front-running type turned in a career best effort in his last when wiring the 9f Jim Dandy and posting field high last out speed figures (101 Beyer, 101 BRIS). He got a perfect setup that day as he was allowed to lop along on the lead through easy fractions (:49.0) and we don’t anticipate a similar scenario here, especially as he will be forced to clear the entire field to make the lead from his wide post. He did post a bullet 5f work leading up to this, the fastest of 32 workers that day, but it is difficult to see him carrying his speed the extra furlong in this spot.
14- GUN RUNNER (10-1): The bronze medalist in the Kentucky Derby turned in a sub-par effort in his last when 5th over a sloppy track in the Haskell. We’ll draw a line through that race, as his only two career off the board finishes have come on sloppy tracks. The wide post does him no favors, but he has proved rateable and professional in the past, and still does have the second fastest speed figures at this distance off his Derby effort (96 Beyer, 99 BRIS), where he was the only runner near that blazing pace besides the winner to stick around for awards. The distance is probably a touch beyond his best but he should be able to put himself in position to make an impact late; we’ll go with the same three on top that we did on the first Saturday in May, and in the same order.
- Exaggerator 3-1
- Gun Runner 10-1
- Creator 15-1
- Governor Malibu 12-1
I’m A Chatterbox/
Fish Trappe Road, Summer Revolution/
A.P. Indian, Catalina Red
Exaggerator, Gun Runner
Fish Trappe Road, Summer Revolution, Tom’s Ready, Rated R Superstar/
A.P. Indian, Catalina Red, Marking
Exaggerator, Gun Runner, Creator, Governor Malibu