By Jarrod Horak
One of the great things about Saratoga is all of the stakes activity during the week. Hopefully the weather holds up because the weekday stakes action is confined to the turf course as we flip the calendar to August. Horses for the turf course Technical Analysis and War Like Goddess headline the Wednesday and Thursday features, and both are solid win contenders at low odds. The two Friday stakes races are wide open betting affairs.
De La Rose – August 2 – Race 8 – one mile inner turf
We start the week with this flat mile turf affair and of course Chad Brown has multiple contenders including morning line favorite Technical Analysis. The 5-year-old mare lost as the favorite in her Perfect Sting return but she only missed by a half-length. She always seems to elevate her game in the summer at the Spa. Her stablemate Haughty won two stakes races in 2022, the Penn Oaks and Lake Placid, and exits an okay show finish in the Perfect Sting. Eminent Victor is Brown’s final entrant in this race. She missed by a nose in the local Lake George (G3) last summer and has been off her game in five subsequent stakes starts.
If Chad Brown does not win this race, it will probably be White Frost for Bill Mott. She always fires trifecta shots on turf and does some of her best work in flat mile races.
Evvie Jets stole the Perfect Sting on the front end at 8-1. She can repeat if she is able to get out there and dictate terms again, but I don’t think that will happen in this spot. The aforementioned Haughty and Technical Analysis can be forward factors, and Regal Realm won her last three turf races and should impact the pace as well.
Runaway Rumour was part of the trifecta in her last six starts. The consistent New York-bred mare will give it her all and can be used underneath.
Chi Town Lady, Movie Moxy, and Sunset Louise are entered for main track only purposes.
Technical Analysis is the most likely winner and her stablemate Haughty is a tight fit as well, but don’t sleep on White Frost. She might work out a nice ground saving trip behind the speed.
Grade 2 Glens Falls – August 3 – Race 9 – 1 1/2 miles inner turf
War Like Goddess threw in a rare below par effort as the beaten favorite in the Grade 1 New York Stakes at Belmont Park June 9. She is 3-for-4 with a neck defeat at Saratoga, and 5-for-7 at 1 1/2 miles. Bill Mott’s classy mare will probably bounce back in this spot.
Virginia Joy and McKulick are a pair of Chad Brown trainees. The former is a multiple graded winner and might work out a decent inner tactical trip under her new rider Flavien Prat. The latter retains the services of Irad Ortiz Jr. and she captured the Jockey Club Oaks (G3) at 1 3/8 miles last year.
Graham Motion has a pair in this spot. Sopran Basilea (IRE) exits a victory in the Robert Dick Memorial (G3) on soft turf at Delaware Park. Vergara is the likely pacesetter in her longest career test. She battled on the pace and prevailed by a head in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at 1 5/16 miles on turf at Kentucky Downs last year.
Amazing Grace (GER) was a threatening presence in the Belmont Gold Cup (G2) at two miles on turf last time. She got to within a half-length of the lead before weakening late to finish fourth. This is probably her preferred trip. She won a Group 2 in Germany at this trip last September, and captured her stateside bow in the Orchid (G2) at this distance on April 1.
Elegant Taste rounds out the field. She was claimed out of her last start for $10,000 by Lawrence Smith. She won her last three claiming route starts and can impact the pace, but she has never raced on turf and looks hopelessly outclassed.
War Like Goddess could easily get back to her winning ways. Amazing Grace is back at her winning trip and is capable of making some noise in this spot.
Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks – August 4 – Race 7 – 1 3/16 miles turf
It almost seems impossible that this 11-horse turf route stakes affair does not have a Chad Brown runner. This race does have three overseas shippers and wide open does not even come close to covering it.
Caroline Street and American Sonja (GB) ship in for Joseph O’Brien. The former won a Group 3 in Ireland at a mile and a quarter on May 6. The latter won twice in Ireland this year at shorter distances, and was only a nose behind recent Belmont Oaks (G1) winner Aspen Grove in a Group 3 on May 7.
Elusive Princess (FR) invades from France for Jean-Philippe Dubois. She was a close second in a Group 3 at 1 5/16 miles on April 21, and was second again in a Group 1 at 1 1/4 miles on May 14.
Three entrants exit the Belmont Oaks (G1) including Aspen Grove (IRE), the 15-1 winner of that race. That was a slow early/fast late event, and this filly showed a nice late kick to score by a bit less than a length. She must avoid a regression in her second start in this country. Papilio (IRE) was beaten a length in the Belmont Oaks. She was competitive in all five turf route stakes starts in this country for Mark Casse. Strikingly Spun was no threat in the Belmont Oaks at 18-1. She needs to show more for Joe Sharp.
Selenaia scored in her last three turf routes for Jonathan Thomas. She looked good in the Grade 3 Honeymoon at Santa Anita last time but this group is better.
The field is completed by Selene (G3) winner Solo Album, Tepin winner Xigera, allowance winner Allamericanbeauty, and Honey Ryder winner Honor D Lady.
There are so many ways to go in this event and I would definitely demand value on your top contender.
Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame – August 4 – Race 8 – One mile inner turf
Chad Brown has won this race six times since 2011 and he has three runners in this spot. First up is Appraise (IRE). He ended 2022 with a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Summer at Woodbine, and dueled and scored by 3/4ths of a length in an entry level allowance affair at seven panels on turf on July 8. Mischievous Angel is his second entrant and he rallied to win his turf sprint bow at six panels on June 17. His final runner is Carl Spackler (IRE) and he was outstanding in his maiden win at one mile on the Gulfstream turf course on Feb 25. He lost lasix and disappointed as the favorite in the American Turf (G2) last time, and sports back-to-back local turf bullets for this.
Nagirroc is a gem of consistency for Graham Motion. The two-time turf stakes winner was part of the trifecta in all eight career starts. He usually settles into a nice stalking rhythm but ended up dueling with Talk of the Nation in the Manila (G3) on July 7. The early-pressing colt reconnects with Manny Franco, and this pilot booted him home twice last year. Look for him to revert to stalking tactics.
Mysterious Night (IRE) shipped to Woodbine and ran away in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes last year. He also won a Group 3 in France last summer but is seemingly off his game after back-to-back drubbings in Group 3 races in Great Britain. He adds blinkers for excellent conditioner Charles Appleby.
General Jim returns to turf for Shug McGaughey. He won two turf routes last year and was a solid third in the Central Park. He has had stakes success on dirt in 2023. He added blinkers and won the Swale (G3) at seven panels at Feb. 4, and returned from a layoff to take the Pat Day Mile (G2) on May 6. He could not keep pace in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens last time, and the surface switch is an interesting move.
More Than Looks rates a long look in the stretch if the pace heats up. He is a head away from four straight wins, and proved he could run without lasix in a sharp last-to-first victory in the Grade 3 Manila on July 7. He was helped by a speed duel last time.
Bat Flip won his final two starts as a juvenile including the Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct. Todd Pletcher’s returnee should impact the pace under Jose Ortiz.
The field is completed by overseas shipper Ocean Vision (IRE) and Penn Mile runner-up Behind Enemy Lines.
Just like the Saratoga Oaks, this is a great betting race. I can see 7 or 8 horses winning this one. Happy punting!
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