Saratoga Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, September 5, 2020


Note: My Derby analysis is after three excellent betting races at Saratoga. Additionally, You can get my full card detailed analysis and betting recommendations for all the races at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, Saturday September 5, at, and most online wagering sites, for a small fee.

Jim Dandy Stakes – Race 9 at Saratoga – Post Time 4:21 PM Eastern

Happy Saver is not only two-for-two but the second of those wins came at the same nine furlong trip at Saratoga as the Jim Dandy. With the Derby and other three-year-old stakes available to horses around the country this weekend, an opportunity exists for a horse like this to jump up from allowance to stakes successfully. Not only did he win by four lengths in that race, his move in the upper stretch was six wide and the runner-up came back to run big when beaten by a head subsequently. The 106 Equibase figure is second only to the 109 Jesus’ Team earned when second in the Pegasus and is likely to be improved upon as well. That huge effort likely cinched the deal for Pletcher, who also has Dr Post here, and with good stalking ability and the rail I think Happy Saver is the one to beat.

First Line also won a nine furlong race at Saratoga in late July, the differences between his win and that of Happy Saver being it was a maiden race and the effort earned a lower 96 figure. Still, the third horse won right back and improved six points and this horse is on the same sprint-route-route pattern as Happy Saver so can improve. More importantly, he won’t be low odds like Happy Saver and Dr Post so there’s profit opportunity using him on exacta and other tickets.

Liveyourbeastlife ALSO won at nine furlongs over the track, his win coming on 8/12 and with a 98 figure which, if improved upon, would make him competitive here. He fits and should be respected as a contender off that last effort.

Dr Post is a horse I’m taking a stand against for the win but will use in second. Although he opted for this spot instead of the Derby, its okay he ran second in the stretch behind Tiz the Law in the Belmont, but not as okay when third for the last eighth of a mile in the Haskell. I just don’t think he has the style for this long a race and although if he’s in good position turning for home his running style means he could get a piece, I don’t think he can beat any of other three, who I think will improve off their last races.

Jesus’ Team is another who passed the Derby for this. He adds blinkers and I think he will be sent by Saez but he’s still a bit outclassed in my opinion (having run in claiming races for six of his first seven races) and can’t win. However, if he gets away on an easy lead he could hold second or third.

Win: Happy Saver at odds of 9 to 5 or higher.
Consider smaller win bets on First Line and on Liveyourbeastlife at 3 to 1 or more. Personally I’d opt for whichever of the two is the highest odds near post time.

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.

Exacta: Box Happy Saver and First Line. Box Happy Saver and Liveyourbeastlife
Then, press the first two exacta above and also box Happy Saver and Jesus’ Team
To take a shot with all three I’ll also play this exacta:
Happy Saver, First Line and Liveyourbeastlife over Happy Saver, First Line, Liveyourbeastlife, Jesus’ Team and Dr Post

Trifecta: Happy Saver over Dr Post over First Line, Liveyourbeastlife and Jesus’ Team
(This gets a few dollars back if Dr Post finishes second but passing this bet to go for the bets with the higher reward for the risk is okay as well)

Doubles: (I usually play these for the $1 minimum which provides good coverage. The bets using “ALL” in one of the two races are like win bets and if something wacky happens can pay well)

Race 9: Happy Saver
Race 10: ALL

Race 9: Happy Saver, First Line, Liveyourbeastlife
Race 10: Kimari, Reagan’s Edge

Race 9: ALL
Race 10: Kimari, Reagan’s Edge

Pick 3:
Race 9: Happy Saver, First Line, Liveyourbeastlife
Race 10: Kimari, Reagan’s Edge
Race 11: Tacitus, Global Campaign, Prioritize

Prioress Stakes – Race 10 at Saratoga – Post Time 4:57 PM Eastern

Kimari is a very talented filly, having won stakes on dirt and turf. Last seen finishing second of 16 at Royal Ascot in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, she won the Purple Martin Stakes in April on dirt and broke her maiden last April on dirt as well. The only time she faced likely favorite Frank’s Rockette, Kimari put in a devastating late kick to win by nearly two lengths and her recent 58.8 workout before leaving Ward’s base at Keeneland tells us all we need to know about her fitness.

Reagan’s Edge was gaining with every stride on Frank’s Rockette in the Victory Ride Stakes on 7/4 at Belmont and that was the best race of her career. She’s drawn outside the speed, which not only includes Frank’s Rockette, but Hello Beautiful and the newly blinkered Center Aisle as well as Purrfectly Claire. As such, Reagan’s Edge likely gets first run on the tiring leaders before Kimari gets into high gear and considering her last race Equibase figure was 105 compared to Kimari’s Purple Martin 104 figure, Reagan’s Edge has a big shot. However, it must be noted Kimari earned a 116 figure in the Commonwealth which if repeated wins this race hands down.

A number of these might get second and split my two contenders including Secondary Market (who earned a 99 figure when winning recently over the track).

Kimari at 9 to 5 or more.
Reagan’s Edge at 2 to 1 or more.

This is the kind of race where a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager really comes in handy as it proportions your bets based on the odds so you don’t have to do the math for yourself.

Kimari and Reagan’s Edge over Kimari, Reagan’s Edge, Secondary Market, Frank’s Rockette, Center Aisle

Trifectas: Kimari and Reagan’s Edge over Kimari, Reagan’s Edge, Secondary Market, Frank’s Rockette, Center Aisle
Over Kimari, Reagan’s Edge, Secondary Market, Frank’s Rockette, Center Aisle

Race 10: Kimari, Reagan’s Edge
Race 11: Tacitus, Global Campaign, Prioritize

Woodward Stakes – Race 11 at Saratoga – Post Time 5:30 PM Eastern

Global Campaign took blinkers off for the Monmouth Cup last time out after a poor effort as the favorite in the Blame Stakes and the result was a career best two-turn effort with a 109 figure. Putting that into perspective, likely favorite Tacitus earned a 110 figure winning the Suburban Handicap two weeks earlier. Obviously, Global Campaign isn’t going to be as low odds as Tacitus in this situation and therefore is likely the better bet to win. He also won the Peter Pan Stakes last summer at nine furlongs and as a son of Curlin there’s little doubt he can run the classic distance of 10 furlongs here. Best of all, Global Campaign may be the controlling speed of the field, with no other horse except Moretti ever having led early in a race, but with Moretti’s win coming on very slow fractions in an 11 furlong race. In the Monmouth Cup, Global Campaign led from the start on solid fractions, and even more importantly when he was headed at the eighth pole and a half-length behind, he kicked back on for the win. That’s a very good indication he can come out on top if there’s a battle at the end of this race.

Tacitus surprised me when winning the Suburban so authoritatively in July as he hadn’t shown that kind of desire to beat his foes since the Wood Memorial 15 months earlier. The new equipment change to blinkers apparently helped, and he’s the only horse in the field to have won at the distance. The knock is he will be the prohibitive favorite and his best effort, indicated by the 110 figure earned in the Suburban, isn’t any better than the 109 figures Global Campaign earned in his last start, or Prioritize earned in his last start.

Prioritize has yet to win a stakes but may be good enough at this point. Coming back from four months off on 6/18, he finished second at a mile and one-sixteenth around one turn with a 107 figure then at nine furlongs at Saratoga on 7/25 earned a 109 figure. The manner in which he won that race shows he’s really “getting it” now, as he rallied from third at the eighth pole and got up by a neck over Money Moves, who Pletcher sees fit to put in the Kentucky Derby today. Likely to be third or fourth in the early stages, Prioritize appears to have enough improving to do today to make a big late run and potentially post the upset in this field.


Global Campaign to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more.
Prioritize to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

This is the kind of race where a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager really comes in handy as it proportions your bets based on the odds so you don’t have to do the math for yourself.

Box Global Campaign and Tacitus
Box Global Campaign and Prioritize

Box Global Campaign, Tacitus and Prioritize.

BONUS Coverage – Kentucky Derby – Race 14 at Churchill Downs – Post Time 7:01 PM Eastern

Top Win Contender:
#17 Tiz the Law – fair odds 1/1 (even money, which is unlikely)

Potential upset candidates and contenders for second and third:
#15 Ny Traffic – fair odds 5/1 (worth a small bet at those odds or higher)
#7 Money Moves- fair odds 5/1 (worth a small bet at those odds or higher)
#12 Sole Volante fair odds 10/1 (worth a small bet at those odds or higher)

Historically, I’ve always listed six win contenders for the Derby given it usually has a 20 horse field. This year is a bit different, but to be consistent #16 Honor A. P. would be next, followed by #10 Thousand Words #18 Authentic.

Betting: With a heavy favorite in Tiz The Law the goal is to make a profit better than getting 60 cents on the dollar on a win bet. We’re not shooting for a Powerball payoff but more like getting 3 to 1 or more. I’m certainly not against betting a few dollars to win on Ny Traffic, Money Moves or Sole Volante just in case Tiz the Law does not win. In addition, these will be my exacta and trifecta tickets:

Exacta: 17 over 7, 10, 12, 15, 16, 18 (at the $1 minimum the cost of the bet is $6)
Trifecta: 17 over 7, 10, 12, 15, 16, 18 over 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18 (At the $0.50 minimum the cost is $27)
(#2 is Max Player, #6 is King Guillermo, #8 is South Bend, #13 is Attachment Rate)

It is very difficult to envision Tiz the Law not winning this year’s Kentucky Derby. In normal years when the Derby is run in May, there may be a number of horses who are on patterns of improvement enough to give the likely favorite a run for his money. That is not the case this year, as Tiz the Law has run consistently fast in all four starts since making his first start as a three year old in February. Running the mile and one-quarter distance of the Derby last month in the Travers Stakes, Tiz the Law was the most impressive he has been all year, making a move on the turn to go from third to first by a half-length, then asserting himself to win by five and one-half lengths as he was eased up in the final yards having done the job and saving something for this race. This is an incredibly talented equine athlete who wants to win and can back up the desire with immense talent. He’s also seasoned, having beaten 29 horses in his four starts this year. Likely to be stalking likely early leader Authentic and a couple of others going into the far turn, when jockey Manny Franco asks Tiz the Law for his usual burst of speed, it is unlikely any horse will have an response worth of challenging the colt in the last eighth of a mile.

That being said, there are horses who can run well and who appear to have a better probability to finish second than may be indicated by high odds. In the unlikely event Tiz the Law falters, one of these horses can post the upset win. Ny Traffic is the first of that group. The first time he stretched out to two-turns, Ny Traffic won impressively by six and one-half lengths. Following that the colt finished third in the Risen Star Stakes, second in the Louisiana Derby, second in the Matt Winn Stakes and second in the Haskell Stakes. His Haskell effort showed he might enjoy the mile and one-quarter distance in the Derby even more than the mile and one-eighth distance at which he was gaining ground on winner Authentic with every stride at the end. In the Haskell, Authentic was drawn inside Ny Traffic, allowing that one to get the lead from the start. In the Derby, Authentic is drawn on the far outside, and there are a few horse who may try to deny him the lead. If jockey Paco Lopez can put Ny Traffic into a stalking trop while not going too wide into the first turn, this colt has a big shot to be second or third at high odds.

Money Moves is the most lightly raced horse in this year’s Derby field, having run just three times. After winning the first two starts of his career in February and March, both around one turn, Money Moves stretched out to a mile and one-eighth at the end of July and faced older and more mature horses. Nevertheless, he showed ability and maturity, rallying to miss winning by a neck and suggesting the 10 furlong Derby won’t be an issue. In the hands of top trainer Todd Pletcher and as a son of Candy Ride, who produced multiple stakes winner Gun Runner, Money Moves figures to be in the mid-pack early and with continued improvement off his last effort, Money Moves is another horse who figures to be in the top three at least.

Sole Volante is one of just a few in this field, most notably Tiz the Law, who should not find the 10 furlongs of the Derby beyond his reach. Prior to a very poor sixth place finish behind Tiz the Law in the Belmont Stakes, which I am willing to ignore as an aberration, Sole Volante was first or second in three straight stakes on dirt, including a powerful effort in the Sam F. Davis Stakes in which he rallied from 15 lengths back to win by two and one-half lengths at the end. That effort was as good as the ones Ny Traffic and Authentic put forth in the Haskell and those two should be lower odds than Sole Volante. Since the Belmont, Sole Volante has been working sensationally in the morning and appears fit and ready to run his best. On the other hand, Sole Volante likes to come from far back, so navigating past 15 to 17 other runners in the last quarter mile may require some luck.

Next, there are three more just outside the bubble of what I consider the most likely horse to win (Tiz the Law) and a trio who can finish second – Honor A. P., Thousand Words and Authentic. The reason mostly is because they’ve taken turns beating each other with none of the three asserting themselves in the process. That, combined with posts which could be problematic given they all have tactical speed, means they will have to be as lucky as good to run well. Honor A. P. has never been worse than second in five races, but he doesn’t have the quick burst like Tiz the Law does and will need horses to come back to him in the late stages to succeed. Beaten by Authentic in the San Felipe Stakes in March, Honor A. P. turned the tables on Authentic in the Santa Anita Derby then was unable to mount the same rally last month in the Shared Belief Stakes, won by Thousand Words, although Honor A.P. did improve slightly. Thousand Words had won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in February, then regressed badly when fourth in the San Felipe. He then ran poorly over a sloppy track in the Oaklawn Stakes in April and was no match for Uncle Chuck in the Los Alamitos Derby. Rebounding to winning form in the Shared Belief Stakes, Thousand Words led from start to finish, an unlikely scenario in the Derby with need-the-lead type Authentic also in the race. Authentic ran the best race of his career in the Haskell, but that was earned leading from start to finish and it appears likely the colt will have to expend a good deal of energy getting past 17 other horses before the first turn to get the lead he likes. That early effort could be problematic in the last eighth of a mile when stalkers like Tiz the Law, Money Moves and Ny Traffic start to pick up steam, as does deep closer Sole Volante.

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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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