Key Races & Bets for Saturday, July 27

Race 8 at Saratoga- Post Time 5:09 PM Eastern

Before three straight stakes races there’s the interesting six furlong allowance sprint, which kicks off the Grand Slam. If you’ve never played it, it’s a fun bet where you win by having a horse hit the top three in the first three legs and pick the winner in the last leg. The basic strategy is to try to beat favorites in the first three legs and go shallow then pick a few win contenders in the last leg. Unfortunately, the last leg is the Jim Dandy Stakes which, unless we’re lucky is likely to be won by a favorite.

In this race the contenders are Fortune’s Fool, Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy and Overdeliver. Before I get into why they may have a shot to win or be in the exacta, the most important thing to note is only Morning Breez (6/1 morning line) and Dark N Cloudy (10/1) are usable in the Grand Slam in my opinion, as the other two open at odds of 2/1 and 3/1. We could use all four, because we can win the bet multiple times, but I’d rather take a shot at a better payoff.

Morning Breez gets blinkers AND Irad Ortiz, Jr, both pretty good signs for improvement off his last start which is irrelevant as it was on turf. He finished second twice in a row on dirt at the level before that and repeating either of those efforts may get him the win. Dark N Cloudy also adds blinkers. He finished behind Morning Breez in third in both his last two starts and won easily before that. He shows a strong “blinkers on/fast workout” pattern as he put in the 9th best of 127 works coming into the race, here at Saratoga. Overdeliver ran a non-threatening fourth last out at the level and was second at the condition before that. He’s got a shot but is no standout. Fortune’s Fool broke his maiden one before last then led late but was no match for the winner in the last 50 yards or so.

Morning Breez and Dark N Cloudy over Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy, Fortune’s Fool and Overdeliver.

Also, Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy, Fortune’s Fool and Overdeliver over Morning Breez and Dark N Cloudy.

Grand Slam:
Race 8 Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy
Race 9 Mitole, Imperial Hint
Race 10 Arklow, Sadler’s Joy, Channel Maker
Race 11 Laughing Fox, Tacitus, Global Campaign

Pick 3:
Race 8 Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy, Fortune’s Fool and Overdeliver
Race 9 Mitole, Imperial Hint, Firenze Fire, Do Share
Race 10 Arklow, Sadler’s Joy, Channel Maker

You’ll note the Pick 3 has some different horses from the Grand Slam. That’s because we are NOT trying to beat the favorites in the pick 3 because we need winners, like we are in the grand slam where we just need horses to finish in the top 3 in the first three legs.

Vanderbilt Stakes – Race 9 at Saratoga – Post Time 5:44 PM Eastern

Do Share is the interesting horse here and the one we will need to win or finish second to make any kind of profit involving this race. Opening at 15/1, Do Share fits here as he’s earned nearly $600K in his career winning six of 12 at the basic six furlong trip. He finished second in the 2018 Tom Fool Stakes at the trip to a very fast horse in Skyler’s Skramjet and he won this year’s Tom Fool in the sizzling time of 1:08.6. That was a legitimate time as the effort earned a Grade 1 type Equibase figure of 127. He has run badly in two since but both were seven furlongs, not the six furlong trip he returns to today, and in the first of the two, when sent to post at 6 to 1 in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes, he was bumped at the start and began 10th of 11 then was very wide on the far turn. I like Saez taking over and “If” the gelding can run back to his Tom Fool effort, he can win in an upset.

Mitole will be the prohibitive favorite as he’s going for his eighth straight win and fits on all counts. He doesn’t need me to talk him up but his last three Equibase figures of 118, 119 and 118 aren’t that much superior to others and NOT to the 127 Do Share earned last March. Firenze Fire, like Do Share, returns to the six furlong trip of his best effort, when winning the Runhappy Stakes in May by almost five lengths with a 119 figure. Imperial Hint hasn’t been seen since a third place effort in the Dubai Golden Shaheen in March but won this race last year and has been working tremendously in the morning so could be the repeat winner of this race.

Bets: Win and place bet on Do Share at odds of 4 to 1 or more, OR exactas of Do Share over Mitole, Imperial Hint and Firenze Fire then the also opposite, which is Mitole, Imperial Hint and Firenze Fire over Do Share. You can make all three bets but I feel the win/place bet is the equivalent of the exacta bet, and vice-versa.

Pick 3:
Race 9 Mitole, Imperial Hint, Firenze Fire, Do Share
Race 10 Arklow, Sadler’s Joy, Channel Maker
Race 11 Laughing Fox, Tacitus, Global Campaign

Bowling Green Stakes – Race 10 at Saratoga – Post Time 6:18 PM Eastern

Arklow has had some very tough luck in all three starts this year. First, he wasn’t ready for the start and lost the jockey in his April comeback, then he came up a neck short in both the Man o’War and the Belmont Gold Cup. With the exception of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup turf and the race in which he lost the jockey, Arklow has shown up in five straight races at the level and today, from the rail, he should be able to sit in second or third behind likely early leader Argonne and get his first grade 2 win in two years.

Still, Channel Cat and Sadler’s Joy may have something to say about Arklow winning. Channel Cat won this race in a dead heat last year then ran two more huge races finishing second in the Sword Dancer over the course before winning the Turf Classic Invitational. After finishing well back in 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, he returned to run poorly in two straight but rebounded big time to win the Man o’War over Arklow by a neck. Next came another disappointing effort when fourth in the Manhattan after getting to within a head of the lead at the eighth pole. Still, the pattern is unmistakable as he won this race last year off an eighth place finish in the Manhattan, so the drop from grade 1 to grade 2 may to the trick in getting this hard knocking horse approaching the $2 million mark in earnings into the winner’s circle. Sadler’s Joy comes from far back and that can be problematic in full field races like this one as he rarely finds the winner’s circle these days. He won two of eight in 2017 and just one of eight last year but not for lack of trying. He was flying from last of 13 in last year’s Manhattan and came up a neck short and lost by just a few inches more in last year’s running of this race. He also missed by a pair of necks in this race two years ago. Returning from eight months off is not a concern in a marathon like this and he proved capable of winning fresh when taking the Mac Diarmida in March, 2018, a similar grade 2 stakes, so perhaps with a little racing luck and considering his best race is good enough to win, and considering he’s two for six on the Saratoga grass, he rounds out a trio to get the job done here.

Bets: Arklow to win at odds of 2 to 1.
For a slightly smaller amount, Sadler’s Joy to win at 7 to 2 or higher.
Channel Maker can be bet at 7 to 2 or more as well but I feel like he is going to go to post at lower odds.

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.

Exacta: Box Arklow, Channel Maker and Sadler’s Joy.

Jim Dandy Stakes – Race 11 at Saratoga – Post Time 6:51 PM Eastern

A lot of people are looking forward to this year’s Jim Dandy but I’m not one of them. Sure, War of Will, Tacitus and Tax all ran against each other in the Derby and are meeting again, but since I didn’t think too highly of Tax going in and wasn’t a huge fan of the other two, although they were on my list of six win contenders, I’m not over the moon about their meeting, not to mention there’s no value as Tacitus opens at 7 to 5 and War of Will at 2 to 1.

What is interesting is Global Campaign, who did post the ever-so-slight upset in the Peter Pan. I was hoping he’d run in the Belmont but had no complaints when Peter Pan runner-up Sir Winston ended up there and made us a lot of money. Perhaps Global Campaign was pointing to this all along, or perhaps he had a slight issue. Nevertheless, in this field he’s likely the LONE FRONTRUNNER and will be tough to catch if allowed an easy lead. Other than that, he has no edge and so that’s why I’m taking a shot with Laughing Fox over the track labeled the “graveyard of champions.” Laughing Fox opens at 15/1 and has every right to win. He does come from far back so he and Tacitus will be fighting each other to see who is farther back early but I believe Santana may have different plans because the jockey had him in fourth of 12 in January in his third career start, first route, a race he won by a neck. Three later he won the Oaklawn Park Invitational with a strong rally from ninth of 11 early, earning a 99 figure he bettered although just fifth of 13 in the Preakness. He won’t have to run into a 46 second half mile here so that’s another reason he could be close up early and get into top gear well before Tacitus does. At 15/1 on the morning line I can take a chance of that happening.

There’s no doubt Tacitus can win as he’s run four similar races earning 105, 106, 107 and 103 figures, the best of the bunch coming at this distance when winning the Wood Memorial in April. War of Will can also win, “IF” and only if he runs as he did in the Preakness, perhaps in about the same spot in third or fourth in the early stages as he was that day. I’m taking a stand he won’t so that’s why I didn’t use him on pick 3 and grand slam tickets started in earlier races.

Bets: Laughing Fox to win and place at odds of 5 to 1 or more.
Hopefully, we’re alive in the pick 3 and grand slam to don’t even have to consider win bets on Global Campaign, or Tacitus, neither likely to go to post at odds which make a win bet a decent proposition.

Exacta: Box Laughing Fox and Tacitus.
For a smaller amount box Laughing Fox and Global Campaign and box Laughing Fox and War of Will.

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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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