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2010 Saratoga: Day 2

The weather didn't co-operate on day 1 of the 2010 Saratoga meet with several races taken off the turf course due to excessive rain.   Today, races 4 and 6 are on the turf, while races 1, 3 and 10 are off. The track is currently listed as"Muddy" and the turf course as "Yielding".

Results: Saratoga - Day 1 (July 23, 2010)

Entries: Saratoga - Day 2 (July 24, 2010)

UPDATED: Additional changes are now up (link) and there are a ton of scratches on the card, including several of the horses that I was keeping my eye on.  The feature race, Coaching Club American Oaks, sees two defections (Connie and Michael, and Lisa's Booby Trap), leaving us with a six horse field.

Race 4: N1X Allowance, 1 mile (Inner Turf), 3&up

One of only two races to stay on the turf today and I like the looks of a bit of a price in this spot, 4-Compliance Officer (12/1), based on his previous performances over turf courses rated at "Yielding".  Most of this colt's best work has been done against NY-bred competition but in his last two races he faced non-restricted N1X foes at Belmont and held his own quite nicely, so I think he fits in with this group. He's not going to have it easy on the front end as there are a couple of other speed types in the field but there's a chance that he'll handle the ground better than the others.  At 12/1 on the ML, he might be a good play in the exacta or the trifecta.

If 13-Cherokee Speed (3/1) draws into the race he could easily be the one to beat in this spot.  Over the past two years, this colt has done some very nice work on turf courses rated "Good" or worse (4-0-2-1).  He's not a horse that does a lot of winning in his career (14-1-5-1) but the condition of the turf course today, combined with a field that doesn't appear to have any horses that love a softer turf course, makes Cherokee Speed an interesting play.

Race 5: Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, 3&up, Fillies & Mares, New York-bred

So, which one of these New York-bred maiden fillies is going to enjoy slogging around in the mud at Saratoga today?  The fillies that have tried off-tracks before haven't done anything to indicate that they are going to put up a huge performance in this spot and the rest of the field is untested over anything by "Fast" tracks.  In the end there are not a lot of options in a race that looks to be a bit weak on paper. 

The three first time starters in this race all run for trainers that win with that move once in a blue moon and none come into this race with anything sparkling on the morning work tab.  There is, however, one first time starter that I'm a bit intrigued with, and that's the 2-Soldierette (15/1).  Even though John Hertler rarely wins with firsters he's got a filly in this race that has been working exclusively on the Belmont training track, where she hopefully has built up a bit of stamina.  If the early races indicate a tiring track at Saratoga today, this filly might be a decent play to outlast her competition.

Race 6: OC $35k/N2X, 1 1/16 miles (Turf), 3&up, New York-bred

A state-bred optional claimer is the second of two turf races to stay on the lawn today, and in this spot I like the looks of the 8-Hangingbyathread (7/2), a gelding that will be making his first start off of the claim for trainer Bruce Brown.  Over the past five years, Brown is a solid 26% with firsters off the claim ($2.46 ROI); if you drill down those numbers just for horses running on the lawn, you get 13% (2-for-15) winners and a $3.81 ROI. 

Hangingbyathread has also run decent on turf courses rated "Good" or worse, notching a win and a third place finish during his career

Race 9: Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, 1 1/8 miles, 3yo, Fillies

7-Devil May Care (6/5) seems too strong for this field, even with today's "Muddy" track conditions.  If there is to be an upset in the CCA Oaks I think it might come from a horse that is able to grind it's way through the conditions, assuming the track stays "Muddy".  3-Seeking the Title (8/1) will probably be the farthest back of any filly in this race at the beginning, but if the track turns out to be tiring, she could have the style to squeeze by the leaders in deep stretch.  She's not a likely winner, but I think she might be best value in terms of running style in the field.

Race 10: Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, 3&up

Saratoga saved the final race on the card for the chance to show off some very expensive three year olds colts, starting with the Darley entry of 1-Rumbling (6/1) and 1a-Do It All (6/1), two horses that combined cost their owners $2 million in the sales ring.  Of course, $2 million for Darley is the equivalent to parking meter change for you and I (can you still use change for parking meters?).  I'm a little surprised at the relative long morning line odds given to each of these colts as I figured that a couple of expensive Darley runners would take some action at the windows.  It probably will pay to watch the board with this race to see whether the crowed pounds this duo down before post time.

3-Ae Pie (3/1) ran a very strong debut race on a Muddy and sealed track at Belmont last time out, finishing second by a neck with an 86 Beyer.  He showed good tactical speed on the off-track that day, which tells me that he really took to the surface, as opposed to grinding it out over tired foes in deep stretch.  His affinity for a muddy track might be the factor that separates him from this field today.