Saratoga and Woodbine Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, July 25, 2020

Race 7 at Saratoga – Post Time 4:32 PM Eastern

This is a very interesting allowance race worthy of our attention, and our wagering dollars. The two top contenders are Montauk Daddy (15/1 morning line) and Kingmeister (8/1 morning line). The reason they offer value is because the favorite Proven Strategies is not a strong win contender although he certainly can win, or finish second. His career record is 2-3-1 in nine turf races and he’s being bet off a second place finish in a pair of stakes BUT he’s only beaten Florida-breds for his two wins. On the other hand, Montauk Daddy makes his second start off a race he badly needed following more than seven months off last month. It was a great prep in which his running line was 6-6-5-4 and in which he was pretty much the same distance behind the leaders from start to finish. For a horse prepping to go long off a sprint, that’s a great running line. He’s bred to adore routing on turf as a son of Daddy Long Legs (by Scat Daddy) and Linda Race, who is already off to a big start (4 for 9) at the Saratoga meeting is using jockey Cardenas a lot, hence the long odds as he’s not known as her go-to rider (not yet). I expect big improvement second off the layoff and an odds-beating effort.

Kingmeister comes back from six months off and improved nicely in both starts off his debut, missing by three-quarters of a length in December then winning pretty smartly in January. Now in the McGaughey barn, this is another colt bred to love the turf and routing by Bodemeister (who is by Empire Maker) out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare. Lezcano rides and this colt may pick up where he left off in January, with a win.

Win: Bet BOTH Montauk Daddy and Kingmeister at odds of 7 to 2 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Box Montauk Daddy, Kingmeister and Proven Strategies.

Also, instead of a place bet my strategy will be exactas of ALL over Montauk Daddy and Proven Strategies.

Race 7: Montauk Daddy, Kingmeister and Proven Strategies.
Race 8: I Love Jaxson, Prioritize, Leitone


Selene Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:53 PM Eastern

Livin in the Six is a great horse to key on all exotic tickets and a good win bet opening at 15/1. The obvious contenders, Owlette and Merveilleux must be used on double tickets as well on exacta and trifecta tickets but we need to separate them because if they run one-two there will be no value. More on that in the “Bets” section below.

Livin in the Six debuted in June on the main track and was fifth, beaten under two length while suffering from HORRIBLE traffic trouble as she was blocked the enter last 110 yards. With no trouble next out on June 27, she won easily by three lengths in a field of 10, then was flattered when the third horse came right back to win. The key to her taking to the two-turns here is her breeding, as she’s by Society’s Chairman, who was the sire of Caren, who earned nearly $900K and who ran second in the 2016 Selene. Stretching out off that six furlong race, Livin in the Six may be faster than Owlette, who takes blinkers off, but she’s not likely faster than need-the-lead type Two Sixty. That’s fine, as Stein can rate her off the pace as he did in her sprint win last month. She may need to improve to beat the two favorites, but since this is only her third career start that may be exactly what she’s going to do.

Owlette gets the rail which may force Contreras’ hand. She is a need-the-lead type but blinkers come off so maybe not today. She shipped up from Ward’s Kentucky base last month to win the Star Shoot Stakes sprinting and she nearly won the South Ocean Stakes last fall in her only two-turn try so she should be there from start to finish. Merveilleux rated off the pace in second when breaking her maiden last September in a two-turn race over the track and did the same thing winning the Ontario Lassie to end her two year old campaign in December. She returned in June as if she’d not been off for six months to win a two-turn allowance race and she looks very tough in here, particularly if Owlette and Two Sixty mix it up early. Still, she opens at 8/5 so we have to find ways to make money if she wins other than with win bets.

Win Bet: Livin in the Six to win at 4 to 1 or higher.
Exacta as a place bet: ALL over Livin in the Six
Also play Owlette and Merveilleux over Livin in the Six

Optionally, if you want to press (which I’ll be doing): Box Livin in the Six and Owlette and Box Livin in the Six and Merveilleux

Trifecta: (this is where we try to split the favorites)
Livin in the Six over Owlette, American Tap and Merveilleux over ALL
Owlette and Merveilleux over Livin in the Six over ALL
Owlette and Merveilleux over ALL over Livin in the Six
Owlette and Merveilleux over Livin in the Six over Owlette, Merveilleux and American Tap

Race 8: Owlette, Merveilleux, Livin in the Six
Race 9: Millennium Force


Race 9 at Saratoga – Post Time 5:07 PM Eastern

I Love Jaxson won a pair of races last August and September by a total of 15 lengths. The first of the two as at this nine furlong trip at Saratoga. He also won in October, December and February. In short, he loves to win, can handle the trip and should run big particularly as he needed his last race on June 18 after four months off. As I mentioned earlier, Linda Rice is using Cardenas a lot since the jockey colony is locked down at Saratoga and I have no problem with that. I Love Jaxson has won from off the pace and while on the lead from start to finish and just needs to run back to his one level lower allowance win before the layoff or his win last year over the track at the trip to post the mild upset here opening at 6/1.

Prioritize isn’t a standout but opens at 3 to 1 like he might be. I think that’s because this isn’t a very strong second level allowance field. He won at the one lower NW1X level in the summer of 2018 at Saratoga but on the turf. He tried dirt for the first time last December and won, finishing second twice since. Cancel rode him well last out to a career-best effort although no match for the winner and that effort repeated here could be good enough to win if I Love Jaxson doesn’t fire.

Leitone, like I Love Jaxson, opens at 8/1, which is odd since his post time odds in his last seven races have been three to one or less. He was in the Servis barn most of the time, then was moved to the Atras barn and claimed from that trainer in June. Claimed once again out of his July 11 race, he’s in the sharp Oscar Barrera barn which is low profile but wins about 20% of the time. Junior Alvarado, up for the win in the race last month, stays aboard and like I Love Jaxson, Leitone is a winner at this nine furlong trip at Saratoga, the win coming last August in a big effort. He likes to run first or second early and that is one of Alvarado’s strengths. As the horse has eight wins including at this allowance level he’s in for the optional $62,500 claiming price which is fine with me because the purse is $101K so the trainer has potential to make a profit if Leitone wins ($63K to the winner) or is claimed ($63K) and even more if both things happen.

Win: Bet both I Love Jaxson and Leitone to win at 5 to 2 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Box I Love Jaxson, Prioritize and Leitone.


Race 9 at Woodbine – Post Time 5:26 PM Eastern

Millennium Force is the 3/1 starting favorite and a legitimate one at that. I’m hopeful for at least 2/1 because this is a 12 horse field but if not there are exacta options to capitalize on this low odds overlay win contender. Millennium Force showed his hand when second in his debut in March in a turf sprint, then tried dirt and ran badly in April to end up fourth of 11. He really came around after two months off back on turf last month at Churchill Downs when dominating in a 12 horse field and he’s worked sensationally since coming to Woodbine, with a best of 85 half-mile drill just last week. He’s now in the hot Drexler barn and should improve solidly off his win last month to move right through this first allowance level.

Win bets: Millennium Force to win at odds of 9 to 5.

Millennium Force over Fairywren, Coach Lori, Peace Seeker, Grey Seal, Perfection Cat, Enchanted Lady and Vespolina.

Trifectas: (Because the Trifecta at Woodbine has a base of $0.20 we can play the same ticket as a trifecta for a low cost:
Millennium Force over Fairywren, Coach Lori, Peace Seeker, Grey Seal, Perfection Cat, Enchanted Lady and Vespolina over Fairywren, Coach Lori, Peace Seeker, Grey Seal, Perfection Cat, Enchanted Lady and Vespolina.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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