Saratoga Picks & Betting Overview for Friday’s Races


Saratoga … known affectionately as “The Spa” … is positioned among the trees in Upstate New York. The celebrated track is poised to continue its 4th week of racing. The town north of Albany is bustling with activity and has what many consider the best competition of the entire year!

NYRA will continue to put forward another major stakes schedule, and with full fields, it should be another exciting go! As we point towards the weekend, there are a bevy of Grade 1 races coming … like the Test Stakes, the Saratoga Derby, and of course, the Whitney Handicap … what a group of races!

At Horseracing.net/us we have you covered, including all of the action! It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned! If you’re looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Friday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!

Late Pick 4 … Races 7-10

Race 7: Dirt, 1 Mile, Clm16k, 3+

The Late Pick 4 begins on the Main Track at The Spa, and even though it is a “claiming” contest, that doesn’t mean it is an easy beginning. I do have a pair of runners that I like very much, and either of them could score. My top pick is Jeffrey Englehart’s Ragtime Blues #5. A horse by Union Rags, he has some game efforts at Aqueduct, Laurel, and in May at Pimlico. In 21 career starts, he has proven that he can handle a crowd like this one, and I like the addition of Luis Saez. If his mount can break well, then the team has a chance to visit the winner’s circle. One other entry that caught my eye was a claim made by trainer Gustavo Rodriguez. Direct Order #4 always seems to get dealt in the NYRA Racing Office, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable. His new child has made a shrewd decision, and is sticking with regular rider Manny Franco. I think that is very important once a mount gets transferred, and it can make a major difference. The son of New Year’s Day might have 40 starts under him, but he is not done yet. Neither are we … time to move on to the next race!

Leg 1: 4/5 (2-Deep)

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS # ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

Race 8: Turf, 1 Mile, National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. (G2), $200k, 3

One of the many turf highlights of the Saratoga Summer is this race—the HOF Stakes. A G2, it regularly brings together a nice field. I am not sure if moisture will play a factor in the running of this race, so be sure to check the track conditions before heading to the windows. The Inner Turf will be the spot, and I believe that Tiz the Bomb #9 has my vote when it comes to the top spot. Kenny McPeek’s colt by Hit It a Bomb appears full of class, and not just because he ran in KYD148. His last race, the Belmont Derby (G1), was just terrible, as he got the worst trip possible. It is time for some redemption… Owned by the conditioner’s Magdalena Racing, he really enjoys the grass, much more so than the dirt. I remember walking by him at the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, and his long and lean body speaks “turf.” Julien Leparoux is as tough as they come, and he really understands how to get the best out of his mount, especially on the lawn. You might recall that he was Tepin’s jockey … fitting that she will be inducted into the HOF at Saratoga this week … This race is a clear “Single,” and McPeek’s charge gets it done. Sit back and watch that devastating leg kick this colt has… it is something to keep.

Leg 2: 9 (Single)

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #9

Race 9: Turf, 5½F, Troy S. (G3), $300k, 4+

There are short prices on the M/L … and then there is Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal #5. The colt by celebrated stallion Uncle Mo, is back stateside after last seen at Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand (G1). Irad Ortiz tried hard aboard Ward’s ace, but the straight got him, and so did Nature Strip. He was the legitimate “chalk” on the card that sunny afternoon, and it still didn’t work out. That’s horse racing … Coming into this turf speed duel, you have to think that he is a “deserving favorite.” His resume speaks to his early foot, and with 2 wins at Saratoga the past 2 summers, he will be the one to catch. I tried valiantly to beat Jackie’s Warrior last weekend, but to no avail. Sometimes in betting you cannot take on the impossible… it just doesn’t work. The “great” horses always seem to rise to the top. Of course, they don’t always score, but when they are on… they are on… The “Pal” is one of those great runners from a child that does things properly. Here is another “Single.”

Wagering Recommendation: None

Leg 3: 5 (Singles)

Race 10: Dirt, 7F, MC25k, F&M 3+

Rolling into the finale, it is time for the NY breds to get their due. Despite the condition being for older females, these 9 are all 3-year-olds. Of the 16 races at this class level that have already been run during the Meet, horses under 5/1 on the tote have won 63% of the time. When it comes to picking a long shot, those that are over 10/1 have come in 25% of the time. In other words, there is room for boxcar prices. I am staying away from any 1st time starters, and instead want to find an entry that has at least raced a couple of times. Trainer Mike Miceli is an experienced conditioner when it comes to horses, and when he and Dylan Davis get together, they can form a strong combination. Rose #5 is a filly by Fed Biz with some major ability, even though her finishing doesn’t always pan out. She is still looking to break her maiden, and the time might have arrived. Miceli adds “Blinkers,” which is always an equipment change that is welcome. If you can get double-digits on this horse, then that will qualify as an overlay. Let’s use this one, plus Kenny McPeek’s Wicked Lady #6 and Chad Brown’s Skyward Princess #7. This triad should round out the ticket, and keep the cost down… a cheap ticket equates to more profit, especially when you consider that one of the races in the sequence appears to be a slam dunk. Here’s hoping…

Leg 4: 5/6/7 (3-Deep)

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 5 w 6/7

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Ticket: 4-5 / 9 / 5 / 5-6-7

.50 Cost LP4: $3.00

Enjoy some action from the SPA! The tradition at Saratoga Race Course marches on … Be sure to follow us on Twitter … @Horseracing_USA !!!

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