Friday spot plays from Saratoga

Profile Picture: James Scully

August 25th, 2017

Friday is New York Showcase Day at Saratoga, with 11 races dedicated to state-bred horses. It's an opportunity to boost the bankroll for Saturday’s Travers Day program and I will look to get the afternoon off to a good start with a couple of early plays.

In the 1st race, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on the inner turf, #1 Purely Lucky will make her second start after getting bet down to favoritism on August 2. She faced a nice prospect last time, with the winning March X Press coming right back to capture a stakes, and the switch to Javier Castellano should prove advantageous. The daughter of Lookin at Lucky hails from the female family of Indian Charlie and trainer Brad Cox is winning at a 36% clip in the second grass start.

I will come right back with another rail horse in the 2nd race, #1 So Noted, who will make his first start for a tag today. 5-year-old gelding had little chance against better competition in the last two outings (Coal Front and Takaful) but did gain valuable fitness after being sidelined for 11 months. He figures to relish the stretch back out to 7-furlongs, recording a pair of strong performances at the distance last year, and his BRIS numbers certainly fit in this spot. Charlton Baker is connecting at a 27% rate in the third start off the layoff.

The finale (race 11) shapes up as a grab-bag affair with a non-descript group of maiden claimers at 5 ½ furlongs on turf. None have been very close in recent starts and #3 Tiz Wicked has a chance to outperform long odds after a pair of much-improved performances. The sophomore gelding was up the track in five starts last year but returned from a seven-month layoff at Belmont in July with a decent seventh in which he was beaten only five lengths. He continued to show more at Saratoga last time, finishing with interest to be only 4 ½ lengths back in fourth, and I’m expecting another step forward from the 15-1 outsider on the morning line. His recent BRIS Speed ratings compare favorably to most rivals and the stalker can sit just off an expected contested pace before offering his best.

Good luck Friday!