Saturday Plays: Gerrymander can upset Nest in Alabama Stakes

Saturday Plays: Gerrymander can upset Nest in Alabama Stakes
Photo: Susie Raisher/NYRA

Saratoga has been known as the “graveyard of favorites” throughout the years. While that sounds like an exaggeration, favorites do lose at this racetrack due to the constant high quality of horses who run at this meet.

For example, the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes on Saturday offers an opportunity for the heavy favorite Nest to lose to an improving filly who defeated her in the past. Also, the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid Stakes features a mild favorite who can lose as well to a familiar rival.

To complete the day of stakes betting, a win bet for the Grade 3, $250,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park is included below too.

Monmouth Race 9: Philip H. Iselin (G3)

Ridin With Biden woke up this year after tailing off in the second half of 2021. Following the “ultimate equipment change” in June, Ridin With Biden won an allowance at Delaware, ran second to multiple graded stakes winner Tax in the Battery Park Stakes on the same course and then dominated the Deputed Testamony Stakes at Laurel by 6 1/4 lengths.

In the Deputed Testamony, Ridin With Biden earned a 120 TimeformUS Speed Figure, which is surprisingly the highest TimeformUS figure in 2022 out of the field, which includes known runners such as the morning line favorite Forza Di Oro, Promise Keeper and Highly Motivated.

Ridin With Biden still needs to carry that kind of figure to this Grade 3 level. If he starts at 6-1 or higher, then he is worth a shot.

Win: 5 (at 6-1 or higher)

Saratoga Race 8: Lake Placid Stakes (G2)

Consumer Spending shows a great 4: 3-1-0 record in 1 1/16-mile races. The only loss at this distance came in her career debut.

As for her current form, Consumer Spending defeated the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies winner Pizza Bianca in the Memories of Silver Stakes at Aqueduct in April. Then, she won the Wonder Again Stakes (G2) at Belmont before finishing third in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1).

Watch the replay of Consumer Spending in the Belmont Oaks. She was moving strongly towards the runner-up With the Moonlight late and just ran out of time. Consumer Spending missed the runner-up position by only a head.

Yet, With the Moonlight is 9/5 on the morning line, while Consumer Spending is 7/2. In all likelihood, there is no difference between them.

Consumer Spending is the play at 3-1 or higher.

Win: 4 (at 3-1 or higher).

Saratoga Race 10: Alabama Stakes (G1)

Obviously, Nest is the best filly on paper in terms of class and speed figures.

In her most recent start, she crushed Secret Oath by 12 1/4 lengths in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) with a lofty 130 TimeformUS Speed Figure. Two starts ago, Nest also finished second in the Belmont Stakes against males while losing to her stablemate Mo Donegal by three lengths.

Perhaps Gerrymander can post a mild upset though. Gerrymander defeated Nest before when she won the Tempted Stakes last November.

Gerrymander went on the shelf for months after that race and came back with a poor effort in the Eight Belles Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in May. Afterwards, Gerrymander rebounded with a three-length win in the Mother Goose Stakes (G3) at Belmont over the promising Shahama and Juju’s Map.

For what it is worth, Shahama won the Monmouth Oaks (G3) in her next start.

Most horses peak in their third start off the bench. Gerrymander makes her third start off the bench while stretching out and is supposed to handle the 1 1/4-mile distance as a half-sister to a top marathon runner in Lone Rock.

Considering the Alabama lacks a true pacesetter, Joel Rosario might as well send Gerrymander up there and see if Nest and the others could catch her.

With that said, Gerrymander still needs to offer the right value.

At her morning line odds of 7/2, and no less unless there is a scratch, she is playable to win.

Win: 3 (at 7/2 or higher)

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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