Hanson: Stakes Spot Plays for Aug. 7

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

August 6th, 2021

A tremendous day of racing on both sides of the country awaits fans on Saturday, with the higher-level action taking place at Saratoga. However, a seriously competitive Grade 2 for fillies and mares at Del Mar will also be worth bettors' attention.

Saratoga Race 9 -- Saratoga Derby (G1) -- 5:10 p.m. ET

We'll take a shot against likely heavy favorite #6 Bolshoi Ballet with #4 CADILLAC (4-1), who got his belated three-year-old campaign off on a strong note when defeating older horses in the International (G3) at the Curragh in late June.

Toting 130 pounds and getting 10 pounds from the runner-up Dawn Patrol, Cadillac narrowly edged that 2020 Irish Derby (G1)-placed rival in what was the colt's first run since the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last November.

Though only fourth in that event at Keeneland, his form against some of the leading lights in his crop in Europe holds up well in comparison to some of the other invaders, as well as the domestic contingent.

Saratoga Race 10 -- Whitney (G1) -- 5:48 p.m. ET

He's never going to be as flashy as the two horses likely to attract more action in the win pool, but it seems foolish to dismiss the chances of #2 SILVER STATE (4-1). Trainer Steve Asmussen, who's on the cusp of becoming the all-time winningest trainer in North American racing history, has turned this colt into a veritable win machine.

Several victories during Silver State's current six-race win streak have been close-run things against relatively modest rivals, but he's undoubtedly in peak form following back-to-back wins in the Oaklawn H. (G2) and Metropolitan H. (G1), the former over 1 1/8 miles.

Unless it's been simply a matter of #4 Knicks Go being less effective around one turn than two, we'll try and beat him (again) at a short price with Silver State.

Del Mar Race 10 -- Yellow Ribbon H. (G2) -- 9:30 p.m. ET

Aside from an unsuccessful foray on dirt last summer, #4 DOGTAG (4-1) has never been worse than second since joining the Richard Mandella barn.

Her season debut, in the April 3 Royal Heroine (G3), was a sharp second-place finish behind #2 Charmaine's Mia, and it was more than two months before she came back in the 10-furlong Possibly Perfect S. Stalking a very slow pace, she inherited the lead earlier than she might have preferred, opened up in the lane but got caught at the very end.

Shortening up to 1 1/16 miles here, and with several pace elements likely to set things up for her, she could turn in a big effort. A repeat of her Royal Heroine effort would make her tough to beat.