Thursday's Best Bet: Practice Squad is on his game

Thursday’s ninth race from Saratoga is the $125,000 Rick Violette Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds traveling 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course. Post time is 5:39 p.m. EDT.

Click here for Saratoga entries, results

No. 7 Practice Squad (9-2) fired trifecta shots in all five turf routes, and I like the rider switch to Flavien Prat. The versatile gelding has improved since the Joe Sharp claim. 

No. 5 Timbuktu (8-1) ran well in all three turf routes, and his speed ratings are on the rise. He graduated in his local turf route bow last summer and showed a nice forward move in a head defeat June 24. 

No. 4 Dakota Gold (4-5) won three of four starts and should work out a decent stalking trip. He exits a determined score vs. New York-bred stakes foes in his June 19 return, but his speed rating dipped that day. He will need to run faster in this longer, tougher spot, and he will not offer any wagering value.  

No. 3 Coinage (5-2) owns early pressing versatility and might move forward in his second start after a layoff. He wired the field in the With Anticipation (G3) at this course and distance under Luis Saez last summer. 

Wagers:

No. 7 to win

Exacta 3-5-7/4

Trifecta 5-7/3-4-5-7/3-4-5-7


Recent best-bet winners

July 1 - Net a Bear ($6.20), trifecta ($87.80)
July 2 - Crystal Cliffs ($4.20) - dead heat
July 3 - Chasing Artie/The Virginian exacta ($29.00)
July 6 - First I've Seen/Hannah's Haven exacta ($17.40)
July 9 - Butterbean/Falconet exacta ($22.00), trifecta ($74.20)
July 11 - Mo Clare's ($6.80)
July 16 - 
Beren/Wondrwherecraigis/Pickin' Time trifecta ($146.00)

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