Saratoga Horse Racing Picks for Thursday 8/5/21
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).
Panster and Bar Fourteen, Race 4
FanDuel Racing Odds: 8/1 and 4/1
Race 4 is a Starter Allowance at 1-mile on the Inner Turf. numberFire's model projects Handy (6/1) and Montatham (12/1) to beat the favorite, Wicked Indeed (2/1), to the wire. Wicked Indeed has failed to finish first or second in two other Starter Allowance races, but won a claiming sprint race last month and now stretches out again against better runners.
Leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides Handy, a three-year-old son of Tiznow who makes his 10th start this year and shooting for his second win and eighth in-the-money finish. He finished a gamely third in his Saratoga debut less than three weeks ago and is right back likely pressing the pace.
Turn of Events (3/1) is a horse-to-beat breaking from the inside with Jose Ortiz riding. He’ll chase the horse to his outside, and Guaranteed Tip Sheet's top pick is Bar Fourteen (4/1), with top jockey Luis Saez. He won his last race the end of June with the highest recent speed figure in this field.
There is value on improving three-year-old Panster (8/1) from the rail, despite jockey Eric Cancel posting just 2 wins in 62 Saratoga starts. Panster broke his maiden impressively two races back for top trainer Christophe Clement, but he got shuffled back in a poor trip last race.
Irish Valor and Quick Return, Race 8
FanDuel Racing Odds: 4/1 and 8/1
Race 8 is an Allowance race for state-bred runners going 1 1/8 miles. numberFire's algorithm likes the two favorites to decide the race. Our Man Mike (5/2) breaks from the rail with jockey Jose Ortiz while Bingo John (5/2) for EPO trainer Brad Cox. Our Man Mike finished a very distant third at this distance in May but was still in front of co-favorite Bingo John.
Better options include Irish Valor (4/1) in this weaker field. He’s finished in the money in seven straight races and has gotten stronger this year after facing weaker runners. His 90 speed figure last race was his best this year and he ships off a bullet workout at Finger Lakes with a chance to win and hit the board again.
Quick Return (8/1) broke his maiden as the favorite here last month and is viable at a price, according to Horse Racing Radar and Guaranteed Tip Sheet.
Moretti and Lone Rock, Race 9
FanDuel Racing Odds: 5/2 and 1/1
Race 9 is the $120K Birdstone Stakes for older horses going a 1 ¾ mile marathon on the inner turf. numberFire's top pick, Moretti (5/2), won his only start at Saratoga, and Guaranteed Tip Sheet also likes his chances on top and notes he won at this distance.
Moretti finished fourth in the Grade 2 Suburban last month but ran the fastest race of his career with a 109 speed figure. Moretti had finished in-the-money in his previous eight races with three wins, including last year’s Birdstone Stakes. Top jockey/EPO trainer combo Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Todd Pletcher are a tough tandem too.
Lone Rock (1-1) is the even-money, morning-line favorite, and he’s a neck away from winning seven races in a row. He won the Grade 2 Brooklyn Stakes at 1 ½ miles by 11 lengths in June, and Moretti finished third. Two bullet works since suggests he’s ready to be best again after posting a strong 115 speed figure in that last race.
You’re to Blame (4/1) finished fifth in the Brooklyn Stakes, and came back with a strong nine-length Allowance win, and will be better against two top rivals. numberFire's data has him hitting the board along with Lone Rock.