Wednesday plays: Bolton Landing, 3 more from Saratoga

Wednesday plays: Bolton Landing, 3 more from Saratoga
Photo: NYRA

Saratoga starts off the new racing week Wednesday with a Grade 1 hurdle race for older horses, while the $120,000 Bolton Landing Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf highlights the rest of the card.

                   Click here for Saratoga Entries, Results.

The card is not an easy one, as there are no clear singles at first glance. Regardless, here are ideas for four Saratoga races on Wednesday, including the Bolton Landing, a starter allowance, and two races for 2-year-old maidens.

Saratoga Race 3: 2YO Maiden

The numbers indicate trainer Jorge Abreu is severely underrated with first-time starters. TimeformUS gives him a perfect 100 rating in the category, with a high 25 percent win percentage out of 24 starters over the past year.

According to First-Timer Insights on HRN Pro Reports, Abreu also shows a positive Impact score of 118 percent with first-time starters. The positive percentage means the public tends to ignore his runners in this category.

Abreu starts Call Sign Charlie in the third race. This is a daughter of Mission Impazible out of She’s Offlee Good. She’s Offlee Good won her first two starts in 2013, including the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes. When analyzing first timers, it is a good sign when the dam won her debut. 

If not Call Sign Charlie, Morning Matcha could also win.

Morning Matcha is an obvious contender after finishing a closing third in a local July 21 maiden race. The slight stretchout to six furlongs in this race will help her stay within reach early on, although she is no value. 

The third preference is Lockstep, who ran a non-threatening sixth in a local turf maiden sprint on Aug. 4. With the learning experience in tow, she may improve.

Top pick: #7 Call Sign Charlie (9/2)

Contenders: #3 Lockstep (12-1), #4 Morning Matcha (2-1)

Saratoga Race 5: 2YO Maiden

Check out the rise in auction price on Diamond Hands. She went from $25,000 as a yearling to $425,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in April.

In addition, Diamond Hands’ trainer Christophe Clement hits at 17 percent with first-time starters and boasts a positive 21 percent Impact score in that same category on First-Timer Insights. In other words, the public often ignores Clement with first-time starters. 

Off the auction price and trainer numbers, Diamond Hands is the choice.

Vagaries is also a contender as a first-time starter from the Chad Brown barn with Irad Ortiz Jr. taking the call. Those are the two main positives.

Also think about Shine, who makes her career debut for trainer Bill Mott. This filly cost $240k as a yearling last September at the Keeneland sale.

Shine is a half-sister to the active Warrior in Chief, who is a three-time route winner on dirt. Pedigree-wise, at least Shine is supposed to handle the two-turn route distance. With that said, this is a turf race. 

Top pick: #3 Diamond Hands (3-1)

Contenders: #8 Vagaries (2-1), #6 Shine (6-1)

Saratoga Race 7: Starter Allowance

Two starts ago, Air Cavalry broke her maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs by 9 3/4 lengths with a 99 TimeformUS Speed Figure. A repeat of that effort will win here.

Although Air Cavalry did run second and regress to a 79 in her more recent start on July 25, she also cut back to 5 1/2 furlongs and the leader Lime had easy fractions of 22.86 and 46.04, which means the circumstances were different. The losing effort and lower speed figure from July 25 are both forgivable.

Chloe Rose also deserves a look because of her popularity at the claim box. She has been claimed twice in a row at this meet after winning a claiming race at the $16k level and finishing second at the $32k claiming level.

Cadeau de Paix is the third preference, if only because of her consistency and solid speed figures. For this year, she shows a 9-2-3-1 record.

If it rains, think about upgrading Bayshore Foxes and Before You.

Top pick: #6 Air Cavalry (6-1)

Contenders: #3 Cadeu de Paix (4-1), #5 Chloe Rose (6-1)

Upgrade in mud: #1 Bayshore Foxes (3-1), #7 Before You (4-1)

Saratoga Race 9: Bolton Landing Stakes

From a visual standpoint, Derrynane dominated the other fillies in her career debut on July 22 in a state-bred maiden race. She only won by two lengths, but she did it in a way that suggests plenty more is left in the tank.

Forget about the mild speed figure. Derrynane is likely a quality runner on her way towards a bright future for trainer Christophe Clement.

Also think about Flip My Id, who broke her maiden at Belmont on July 5 by 1 1/2 lengths in a five-furlong turf sprint. The runner-up No Time Alone went on to finish a close second in a state-bred maiden turf sprint locally on Aug. 5.

Flip My Id’s trainer Michael Maker has been hot at the Saratoga meet.

Poppy Flower is also a main contender after beating open maiden company by two lengths at Belmont to break her maiden on June 20. Now Poppy Flower returns to racing against females only in this ungraded stakes race.

With that said, how long can Wesley Ward-trained 2-year-old runners progress? For many of them, it feels like an expiration date is arriving soon.

Top pick: #3 Derrynane (5-1)

Contenders: #4 Flip My Id (8-1), #5 Poppy Flower (5/2)


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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