Saranac Stakes – Race 8 at Saratoga – Post Time 4:27 PM Eastern

Founder, who opens at 4 to 1 odds, gets top billing here on the strength of two big efforts since adding blinkers. The first was a runner-up effort on dirt in a race scheduled on turf and the next was a strong win when rallying from seventh with a quarter mile to run to take the Tale of the Cat Stakes at Monmouth on July 31. This grade 3 stakes is no tougher and with Founder getting Jose Ortiz for Chad Brown and likely to improve off a career-best and field high last race 99 Equibase figure he should post the mild upset for our profit.

Like the King is also worth taking a close look at for win bets, opening at 6/1. Winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (not a mis-spelling) in March on all-weather, he had never shown a fondness for traditional dirt so his 12th place Kentucky Derby effort was no surprise. Back on turf he finished fifth in late May, then like Founder, Like the King ran a career-best race coming into this race, when leading from the start and settling for second in the similar Kent Stakes in July. John Velazquez gets on and with an inside post it’s possible Like the King will attempt to play “come catch me” from the start, but in the event another horse wants the early lead, he’s got a nice kick and so should be close at hand at the finish.

Public Sector (7 to 5 starting odds) and Never Surprised (8 to 5) are both contenders but not standouts and we’ll try to beat them. The former won the Hall of Fame Stakes over the course last month but the 98 figure wasn’t better than the figures Founder and Like the King earned in their most recent races, and Never Surprised returns from seven months off and although no worse than third in three career starts including a non-graded stakes win he too doesn’t stand out in any way in terms of probability to win against either Founder or Like the King.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: Founder and Like The King to win at 2 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.



Founder over Public Sector, Like the King and Never Surprised

Public Sector, Like the King and Never Surprised over Founder

Like the King over Public Sector, Never Surprised and Founder

Public Sector, Never Surprised and Founder over Like the King


For smaller amounts (like perhaps the $1 minimum)

Founder and Like the King over He’spuregold and Mohs

He’spuregold and Mohs over Founder and Like the King

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Flower Bowl Stakes – Race 11 at Saratoga – Post Time 6:11 Eastern

War Like Goddess appears to be a legitimate favorite, opening at 4 to 5, but American Bridge is an “X Factor.” American Bridge makes her U.S. debut and is owned by Peter Brant so it’s likely even though top European trainer Jean-Claude Rouget is named, she will be in the Chad Brown barn before too long and if Chad Brown was her listed trainer there’s no way she would be 12/1 on the morning line, particularly with Irad Ortiz, Jr. riding and especially not coming off a two length win in a group 3 stakes in Italy (equivalent to a grade 2 in the states) in an 11 horse field.  Coastana, who opens at 15/1, is another appearing to be overlooked at least insofar as exotics. She’s been first or second in fourth straight including a win at Saratoga at this 11 furlong turf trip last month and she’s got a nice kick as well as gets leading jockey Saez.

The second and third betting choices on the morning line (La Signare and My Sister Nat) have no more shot to run second (if War Like Goddess runs as expected) as compared to American Bridge and Coastana, so we can take a shot to beat them on exacta tickets.

Handicapper Picks

Exactas: War Like Goddess over American Bridge and Coastana

Box War Like Goddess and American Bridge

Box War Like Goddess and Coastana


Optional trifecta:

War Like Goddess over La Signare and My Sister Nat over American Bridge and Coastana

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John C. Mabee Stakes – Race 9 at Del Mar – Post Time 8:37 PM Eastern (5:37 Pacific)

Fast Jet Court won six of nine in her native Brazil, including against males a couple of times, and ships in to the competent Mike McCarthy barn ready to post the upset at 6 to 1. I watched a couple of her Brazilian races and although we don’t know what she was running against, she was impressive, particularly when last seen in March when winning under wraps by seven lengths without being asked in an 11 horse field. The 108 Equibase figure is right there with the 112 to 114 figures of U.S. Grade 2 and Grade 1 Stakes winners and this gal has a European style turn of foot which will be very useful in this field.

Dogtag makes her third start off a layoff and off a runner-up effort in the similar Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Handicap last month on the course. She beat Maxim Rate for second by a length and one-half in that race and the winner (Princess Grace) is not in this field so on paper, excluding the foreign invader Fast Jet Court, Dogtag is the one to beat. Still, Maxim Rate won the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at this nine furlong turf trip before her so-so effort in the Yellow Ribbon and can bounce back so must be respected. Last but not least, Bodhicitta, who rallied from eighth to fourth in the Yellow Ribbon, and who finished second in the 2020 Gamely, before winning the Yellow Ribbon last year, must not be ruled out as a contender.

Handicapper Picks

Win betsFast Jet Court at odds of 2 to 1 or higher

Exactas: (Normally we’d try to separate the favorites and capitalize on the two higher odds horses, but the favorites Dogtag and Maxim rate are not prohibitive, opening at 3 to 1 and 7 to 2, so boxing is okay)

Box Fast Jet CourtDogtagMaxim Rate and Bodhicitta

Trifecta: Box Fast Jet CourtDogtagMaxim Rate and Bodhicitta


Race 9: Fast Jet CourtDogtagMaxim Rate and Bodhicitta

Race 10: Breakfast RideCorniche

There’s not a lot to discuss about race 10, a maiden race for two year olds, but on paper Breakfast Ride and Corniche Stand out. Considering Corniche opens at 9 to 5 as he’s trained by Baffert and has seriously fast workouts, he’s not a good win bet but Breakfast Ride may be, opening at 4/1, as he’s got workouts as good as Corniche and is bred to win at first asking. The dam has produced seven foals and three won first out. Joe Bravo has been up for trainer John Sadler’s last two first time starter maiden winners as well, so there’s a lot pointing to Breakfast Ride being live. As such, even if we are live to the doubles I might still Make a win bet on Breakfast Ride at 2 to 1 or more in race 10 at Del Mar.

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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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