There are four stakes races scheduled at Saratoga Race Course from July 19-21. The second week of the meet gets underway with a pair of New York Stallion Series events on July 19 and 20. On Friday, Blazing Sevens is using the restricted Curlin Stakes as a prep for the Grade 1 Travers. Also on Friday, Chad Brown saddles half of the field in the Grade 3 Lake George for sophomore fillies. I will return later in the week to preview the weekend stakes action including the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks.
New York Stallion Statue of Liberty – July 19
This New York Stallion Series event is for 3-year-old fillies traveling one mile on the inner turf course.
Red Moon breaks from the rail and is the deserving 2-1 morning line favorite with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle. She switched to turf and closed nicely for the show in a similar seven panel turf sprint on June 18. She added blinkers last time and might like the added ground of this race. Her stablemate Orange Freeze was nabbed out of her last for $40k by William Morey. She really turned the corner in her last two maiden claiming turf routes and will try to get involved late under Joel Rosario.
Mz Big Bucks is the second choice at 5-2. The daughter of War Dancer wired the field in her last two sprint wins and might be the one to reel in under Jose Gomez.
The 9-horse field is completed by Bernt Again, Camp Akeela, Clover Street, Little Linzee, Bea Bea Kaz, and Queens Over Threes.
New York Stallion Cab Calloway – July 20
This New York Stallion Series event is for 3-year-olds traveling one mile on the inner turf course.
Gem Mint Ten turned the corner when switched to turf in the spring. He stalked and graduated in a turf sprint on April 7, and stretched out and finished a solid second on May 14. He turned back in the New York Stallion Spectacular Bid on June 18 and he never got seriously involved. Dylan Davis has good stats with Raymond Handal and he figures to save ground stalking the pace.
Itsallcomintogetha is clearly a faster horse in 2023. He dueled and finished a close third in a turf sprint on April 7, and stretched out and wired the field in a state bred special weight affair on May 6. He pressed outside and held third in the Spectacular Bid last time. He should be all over the pace under his winning pilot Jose Gomez.
Twenty Six Black might be the one to beat. He won back-to-back turf starts at six panels in the spring and stalked, led, and settled for the place in the common New York Stallion Spectacular Bid last time. He projects an outside stalking trip and his trainer Horacio De Paz shows a profit with his first route starters.
Ramblin’ Wreck won the aforementioned Spectacular Bid from off the pace under Irad Ortiz Jr. in his first start of the year. He is an obvious late threat again if he duplicates that last run.
Mike Maker maiden Laurel Valley, Paradise Creek show finisher Vacation Dance, recent claim Mama Banned Me, and pace player Willintoriskitall round out the turf entrants. The lone main track only entrant is Jackson Heights.
Curlin Stakes – Race 4 – July 21
This local prep for the Travers at 1 1/8 miles is restricted to 3-year-olds which have not won a graded route sweepstakes in 2023. Preakness runner-up Blazing Sevens seems to stand out in this spot. He won the Grade 1 Champagne last year and stubbed his toe in his first sophomore start in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in March. He added blinkers and finished a solid third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass, and stalked wide and ran lone speed National Treasure to a head in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. He reconnects with his Champagne pilot Flavien Prat and he stands out on class.
Lost Ark is probably the main danger to the favorite. He looked like he was going places after back-to-back facile wins to begin his career last summer. He stubbed his toe in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and BC Juvenile, and was shelved for more than half a year. He resurfaced in an optional claiming dirt route at Monmouth Park on June 9, and he was much the best from off the pace as the 1-2 favorite. Irad Ortiz Jr. hops aboard Todd Pletcher’s Violence colt, and he should attend slow splits.
Scotland fired in all three starts around one turn for Bill Mott. The Good Magic gelding is versatile and Junior Alvarado is 2-for-2 with him. He will probably try to get involved early.
Perform improved over a route of ground in March and April. He overcame a troubled trip in a visually impressive score in the Federico Tesio at Laurel Park, and was outclassed when supplemented to the Preakness Stakes. He probably won’t get enough pace help to set up his late charge.
Il Miracolo rounds out the field and he is probably overmatched. He competed in six stakes races and was no threat in any of those races. He was last seen finishing up the track in the Belmont Stakes.
Grade 3 Lake George – Race 9 – July 21
This race for sophomore fillies is scheduled for one mile on the inner turf course. Which Chad Brown runner do you like? He saddles half of the 10-horse field. Revalita (FR) might be his highest ranked filly in this spot. She rallied for minor awards in the Edgewood (G2) and Wonder Again (G2) in her last pair, and might not get enough pace help to set up her late charge. Tyler Gaffalione rides her for the first time.
Utilization Rate might be the one to catch for Irad Ortiz Jr. and Chad Brown. She easily went all the way in her turf route maiden win on May 27, and I can see her scooting to the front in this event. I would definitely consider backing the theft candidate.
Liguria and Tax Implications finished first and second for Chad Brown in the Wild Applause on June 24. The former reconnects with Flavien Prat, and he rode her to victory twice in 2022 including the Jimmy Durante (G3). The latter has every right to move forward in her second start of the year.
Surge Capacity attended below par fractions and scored by a length and a half in her turf route bow at Monmouth on June 10. This Chad Brown filly clearly has upside and gets tested for class.
Jose Ortiz rode Revalita in her last three starts but he chose Queen Picasso (GB) in this spot. He guided Christophe Clement’s filly to back-to-back victories including the Soaring Softly (G3) on May 27. She has tactical speed and the inside post.
Lil Miss Moonlight, Tryinmyheartout, China Doll winner Princess Bettina, and Secret Money round out the field.
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