Analysis: Noose the value choice in Saratoga Special

August 08, 2019 03:38pm
After deemphazing the usefulness of speed figures in the Sorrento Stakes (G2) at Del Mar, the high speed figure filly won. But, no tip in horse racing is absolute and the previously explained logic that speed figures in 2-year-old races are not as important stands. Young horses change overnight.

In the Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes on Saturday, the race features one colt named Tuggle who earned a 107 TimeformUS Speed Figure in his career debut, and the morning line favorite Green Light Go, who earned a 99 in his maiden win. Both horses deserve respect.

But this blog will go with the Eddie Kenneally-trained rail colt Noose, who won his debut at Churchill Downs with a 74. He ran better than his number looks.

Unfortunately, finding Noose's maiden win on YouTube or Facebook is impossible. But go to Churchill Downs' website and look up his June 28 race.

The pacesetter and favorite Elusive d'Oro took them through a slow 22.27 opening quarter, while Noose took up the pocket position right behind him.

Around the turn, Elusive d'Oro continued to lead and Noose remained stuck in the pocket and kindly waited for room. Once they straightened out, Noose still needed to wait longer as Elusive d'Oro blocked his path.

Finally, Elusive d'Oro began to drift out, giving jockey Corey Lanerie the chance to ask Noose for his run. But notice Lanerie never hit Noose in the stretch. He only shook the reigns a few times, and Noose responded powerfully in the clear winning by five lengths in an effort only appreciable on video.

From a visual standpoint alone, Noose is talented. He rated in a professional manner and broke his maiden by a notable margin at a top-tier racetrack.

Plus, the third-place Kowalski returned to finish a good second in a Saratoga maiden race with a 96 on TimeformUS, even though he only earned a 67 in the Noose race. The slow pace most likely made the Churchill figure difficult.

Noose will also get a good pace and position in the Saratoga Special.

TimeformUS Pace Projector puts Green Light Go, Tuggle and King Snake up front, with Long Weekend right behind them.

The projector also places Noose last, but that is probably wrong. Remember, the Pace Projector relies on pace figures to generate the positions. It cannot detect speed if the pace is slow because it reads the slow pace figures.

In all likelihood, Noose will settle somewhere in midpack rather than last and wait for a rail opening again. But that is a gut feeling.

Even if Noose falls back, that is better than getting caught in a speed duel.

The last reason to bet Noose is value, as some TimeformUS users may get turned off by the 74 speed figure. The oddsmaker made him 4-1, which is low considering the slow maiden figure. But perhaps Noose's higher Beyer Speed Figure makes him look faster on those past performances.

If Noose remains 4-1, that is fair. But the feeling is that his odds will drift up. Tuggle's maiden win looks too good for him to stay at 9/2, and if he goes down to 2-1 or so, then that will help Noose's price.

Here are some quick notes on the rest of the field.

- Zyramid's two TimeformUS figures are 87. Considering he did not improve upon his career debut speed figure, this is probably an average horse.

- Green Light Go shows no flaws, other than his short 2-1 odds. Notice the runner-up in his maiden win Another Miracle went on to break his maiden.

- Tuggle's 107 on TimeformUS is impressive at first glance, but he won an off-the-turf maiden race. His beaten horses were meant for turf.

- Long Weekend broke his maiden by five lengths at Churchill. But he got lucky when the second choice Dennis' Moment lost his jockey on the backside. Dennis' Moment went on to break his maiden by 19 ¼ lengths at Ellis Park.

- King Snake will not mind the switch from Woodbine synthetic to dirt as a full brother to Star Hill, who made $246,393 on dirt. He faces a difficult pace scenario though. Move him up if one of the speeds scratch.

- The other Woodbine shipper Peruvian Boy sports a turf pedigree underneath, making it unlikely he will appreciate dirt. As one example of his turf blood, the fourth dam Heart of Joy finished second in the 1993 Ramona Handicap (G1) behind the magnificent Flawlessly. But, Peruvian Boy's sire Tapiture did win multiple Grade 2 dirt races, including the 2014 West Virginia Derby (G2).

- Iberico did not beat anything noteworthy at Gulfstream Park. But he does draw well outside the speed and his early midpack position will help him.

Noose is the top selection. As for the final wager, Noose works as the key in a double with March to the Arch, Got Stormy, Krampus and Hembree as value options in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1), the second leg. If Gidu scratches those selections might change as they need the pace.

Win: 1
Daily Double: 1 / 1,6,7,8


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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