Saratoga Horse Racing Picks for Friday 7/30/21
As always, check the program for scratches and changes and monitor the weather and track conditions.
(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure in selected races, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions.)
Winter Pool and Beachwalker, Race 7
FanDuel Racing Odds: 9/2 and 8/1
Race 7 is a Starter Allowance at 1 1/8 miles, and numberFire’s model projects Parade Field (8/1) to upset Runnin’ Ray (3/1) with Southern Passage (6/1) also to hit the board. Runnin’ Ray is a son of Street Sense, and he won last month against a weaker field off a long layoff. He is making his Saratoga debut in his 12th career start with three wins.
Parade Field is winless in six starts this year but has hit the board five times and finished second by a neck last month going 1 mile.
Hombrazo (5/1) ran his fastest race last month to win going two turns and has some appeal at a better price with leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. riding.
Beachwalker (8/1) is also by Street Sense and has some appeal at a price. He’s a best bet of Guaranteed Tip Sheet. Johnny V rides, and he was hindered by a slow pace last race but has handled this distance in the past and also posted a 101 speed figure in a race this spring.
Winter Pool (9-2) is a gelding who ran a strong race to finish second last month after a poor start. He made a sweeping move and improved his speed in just his third start, and this son of Curlin can move forward again with a boost from EPO trainer Chad Brown.
Mud Pie and Compliant, Race 8
FanDuel Racing Odds: 8/1 and 3/1
Race 8 is an Allowance race at 1 3/8 mile on the inner turf. numberFire likes Claytnlionheart (1/2) to win if the race gets moved to the main track, which is unlikely. Longshots Rhythm Section (12/1) and Exult (10/1) are projected to hit the board.
Compliant (3/1) and Box N Score (4/1) are both contenders after they finished a head apart just behind the classy Shamrocket in a 10-furlong race at this level at Belmont. Compliant should be considered to improve off his fastest race second off a layoff for EPO trainer Chad Brown.
Mud Pie (8/1) offers value and should run better in his second start off a layoff. Luis Saez takes the reins after Julien Leparoux rode him to a distant second place finish a month ago at a shorter distance. He was tugging at the bit throughout and should relax better. He ran well last fall going longer and coming from way off the pace to finish third. He can kick home to hit the board at a price.
Harvard and Beren, Race 9
FanDuel Racing Odds: 6/1 and 5/1
Race 9 is the $120K Curlin Stakes for three-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles. There are seven entries, and it should be a highly-competitive race. The numberFire algorithm projects Dynamic One (4/1) to win ahead of Beren (5-1) and favorite First Captain (7/5) with leading jockey Jose Ortiz riding.
Dynamic One (4/1) has top jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons for EPO trainer Todd Pletcher. He finished second in the Wood Memorial but has not raced since May, when he finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby.
First Captain is undefeated in three starts and drops in class, trying two turns for the first time. He’s a son of the great Curlin and won the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at 1 mile earlier this month as the heavy favorite. Guaranteed Tip Sheet likes First Captain to keep his perfect streak alive, but Horse Racing Radar notes that Beren ran the top last-race speed figure and has won three straight races. He has a bullet work in the mornings at Saratoga since.
Harvard (6-1) has top jockey Luis Saez riding, and he has a pair of wins and two second-place finishes in four starts. This is his stakes debut. He set an honest pace last race at this distance and can continue to improve and possibly outstay others through the stretch.