The days on the porch sipping ice tea are fading slowly into the setting summer sun. But not to fear. This weekend is one we have waited for, as the 144th Running of the “Mid-Summer Derby” is in full effect. Saratoga oozes history and tradition, and this Saturday will not disappoint. There is a stakes filled card, and a guaranteed $1 million dollar pick-four to take aim. So find a cool place, and let’s get handicapping!
The weather forecast calls for 77 degrees and clear.
Race #9 – The G-1 Test Stakes – 7f – 4:05 p.m. ET ***** BEGINS MILLION DOLLAR PICK FOUR *****
#5 – Sweet Lulu (5-2) = Leparoux in the irons for Jerry Hollendorfer. This filly is 3/3, and has done nothing wrong. the works are hot and my only question is how she will make the poly-dirt move. If this daughter of Mr. Greeley takes to the dirt, it could be a romp.
#8 – My Happy Face (3-1) = Joel Rosario gets the nod for Chad Brown. She has faced tough customers, and cuts back in distance from 1 1/8 to 7 panels, and has been working lights out !
#9 – Wildcat Lily (6-1) = John Velasquez between the ears on this daughter of D’Wildcat. She ran a big race in the G-1 Prioress, and worked a smoking bullet for Manny Azpurua.
Race #10 – The G-2 Ballston Spa – 1 1/16 on the turf – 4:38 p.m. ET
#3 – Miz Ida (8-1) = Shaun Bridgmohan up for Steve Margolis. Has not raced for 53 days, and the barn wins 25% with well rested runners. She comes from off the pace, and will be making a step or two up the class ladder.
#4 – Centre Court (3-1) = Johnny V and Rusty Arnold bring this game turf runner to post. She is 10/12 on the green ITM, and makes her second start off the layoff. Add in she was a beaten favorite, and is 2/3 ITM at the Spa. She brings the heat every time, and can’t be overlooked.
#5 – Hungry Island (5-2) = J.J. Castellano in the saddle for Shug McGaughey. Castellano is batting a 22% win clip on the green, and this gal is 3/4 ITM at Saratoga and worked a bullet to prepare. She likes the ground firm, and the weather looks to what the doctor ordered.
Race #11 – The G-1 King’s Bishop – 7f – 5:10 p.m. ET
#10 – Let Em Shine (6-1) = Mike Smith in town for Adam Kitchingman. He is a stone cold speed demon, and the only question is the final furlong. He will have the lead barring any mishaps, and if left alone could present trouble for the down town closers.
#12- Central Banker (20-1) = Robby Albarado in the saddle for Al Stall. They are winning 75% in the last month together, and make the turf-dirt move and second off the shelf attempt. He’ll toss his hat in the ring in the final 16th of the race.
#2 – Forty Tales (5-2) = Joel Rosario gets the ride for Todd Pletcher. Second time off the shelf, and this dude has beaten some of the major players in here. 2/3 ITM at the Spa, and this son of Tale of the Cat comes rocking way late in the lane.
#8 – Declan’s Warrior (5-1) = Johnny V takes over for Jose Lezcano, and Nick Zito can spring a winner at any time. Second off the layoff, and worked a bullet to get ready.
Race #12 – The G-1 Travers Stakes – 1 1/4 – 5:46 p.m. ET
#2 – Orb (4-1) = Joel Rosario brings the Derby winner to post for Shug McGaughey. He has failed as the chalk his last two, and has been working lights out these past two months. Distance should be no problem, and is in very capable hands.
#3 -Verrazano (2-1) = John Velasquez up for Todd Pletcher. He is a super beast, but my only question is his only start going this far. But, that was the Derby and it was an off track. I am tossing out that race and looking for a top effort in here.
#8 – Palace Malace (5-2) = Mike Smith up for Todd Pletcher, and if you think I will leave out “Money Man Mike,” you are badly mistaken. He doesn’t come to the Spa for nothing, and always has to be respected. This son of Curlin is 2/2 at Saratoga, and will be placed right behind the leaders.
Ticket cost = 3 X 3 X 4 X 3 = $108 for a $1 ticket, and $54 for a 50-cent version.
This is a start to finding the pot of gold. Before making your first move, be sure to have your E-Z Win Forms in hand. Winning Ponies has been on fire all meet long at Saratoga, and this day always brings value. The complete undercard is good, and you don’t want to come into the day unprepared. So enjoy the big day, and best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!