There are a total of six Grade I stakes on the Saturday card at Saratoga, which is headlined by the Travers Stakes for three-year-olds. The Travers will be covered in a different article; this is a preview of three of the races on Saturday that will have major implications in the division standings, as well as the jockey standings. Speaking of jockeys, be sure to get involved in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game in addition to watching and wagering on the action!
Saratoga Race 7
The Grade I Ballerina Stakes
Post Time: 2:59 p.m. EST
#8 WAVELL AVENUE is the 3-1 morning-line favorite, but it took a very weak field in the Shine Again Stakes earlier this month for her to secure her first win since the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last autumn. I think it makes a great deal of sense to play against her, especially since Joel Rosario decided to jump off her in favor of #9 CARINA MIA (7-2).
CARINA MIA was last seen here running behind Songbird in the Grade I CCA Oaks in July. Prior to that, she was a dominant winner of the Grade I Acorn as well as the Grade II Eight Belles (which was run at seven furlongs, the distance of the Ballerina). She has been firing some scintillating workouts for this, and figures to work out a nice trip stalking a modest pace.
#10 HAVEYOUGONEAWAY (10-1) has longshot appeal as she lures John Velazquez as her new rider. Her Saratoga debut was sharp, as she scored in the Grade II Honorable Miss earlier in the meet over #3 PAULASSILVERLINING at six furlongs. She’s never gone seven furlongs but seems well-suited to the distance.
PAULASSILVERLINING (4-1) and Jose Ortiz also have a legitimate case in here. She hasn’t been worse than second in five tries this year, including two decisive wins in the Grade III Distaff and Grade III Vagrancy. However, she will have to try and hold off the aforementioned HAVEYOUGONEAWAY while going another furlong.
The play: $2 exacta box 3/9/10, $2 exacta 9/3,8,10 ($18)
DFJ analysis: CARINA MIA is one of Rosario’s better mounts on the day, but he also has a shot in the Grade I Personal Ensign with Forever Unbridled (7-2), and in the Grade I Forego with Marking (3-1). Should he hit the board in all three races he’ll have been a good buy at $9,000.
Saratoga Race 8
The Grade I King’s Bishop Stakes
Post Time: 3:35 p.m. EST
This is a good race to try to catch a longshot, as there are quite a few horses in here with solid credentials.
#1 ECONOMIC MODEL (6-1) will be my top choice as he cuts back from his unlucky Dwyer loss (in which he chased FISH TRAPPE ROAD on a dead rail) with Irad Ortiz aboard. He showed enough talent in the Easy Goer to merit consideration in this spot, and trainer Chad Brown has been pushing all the right buttons this meet. He should work out a good trip in-behind the speeds.
#2 FISH TRAPPE ROAD figures to have company up front in the form of #9 JAZZY TIMES and #13 DREFONG, both invading from the west coast for Bob Baffert, as well as Canadian shipper #11 NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR. Should they all go hell-for-leather early, that could open the door for a deep closer like #10 RATED R SUPERSTAR (20-1) to pick up the pieces. ‘SUPERSTAR doesn’t possess the back class that some of his opponents do, but that’s because he was mainly competing at route distances. Since cutting back to sprints, RATED R SUPERSTAR is two-for-two, with a win in the Grade III Carry Back at Gulfstream under Cornelio Velasquez, who will make the trip solely to ride this horse.
The play: $6 win 1,10 ($12)
DFJ analysis: Irad Ortiz Jr. ($11,500) is among the leaders in the Saratoga jockey standings, and his partnership with Chad Brown is a big reason why. He’ll ride a total of nine horses, all of which are live, for Brown on Saturday including Lady Eli (even-money) in the Ballston Spa. Spend the extra money to get this guy in your stable.
Saratoga Race 10
The Grade I Sword Dancer Stakes
Post Time: 4:49 p.m. EST
#6 FLINTSHIRE will likely go off in the 1-9 range (his morning line is 1-5), and while he did win the Grade II Bowling Green at Saratoga last month to prep for this, it’s hard to believe he got much out of it. He chased a glacial pace and galloped home while running an incredibly slow time. He won this race in a canter last year and might do so again under Javier Castellano, but just in case he doesn’t fire his best shot today, I’ll take a swing with #2 MONEY MULTIPLIER (8-1).
Irad Ortiz picks up the mount on this live longshot for Chad Brown, who’s also the conditioner of FLINTSHIRE, and this horse has really rounded into a solid turfer since stretching out to 1 3/8 miles in his last three starts. 1 1/2 miles should be no problem for him.
The play: $5 exacta box 2/6 ($10)
DFJ analysis: Javier Castellano ($11,000) frequently commands one of the top salaries in this game, and deservedly so. But for the most part I am very bearish on his stakes mounts, with the exception of FLINTSHIRE. Try to find a more cost-effective jockey this Saturday.
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