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Homeracing

How to bet the 2022 Saratoga Special Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

August 11th, 2022

The exciting #4 Gulfport (4-5) will aim to make it three straight to kickstart his career in Saturday’s $200,000 Saratoga Special (G2), and I can’t go against the splendid youngster in this spot.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, the son of Uncle Mo debuted at Churchill Downs on June 10 and was no secret to the public when going off at odds of 1-2. He lived up to the billing with a facile, seven-length score while recording a swift final time.

Sent to the Bashford Manor S. in his second assignment, the $275,000 yearling purchase put on a show when leading in gate-to-wire fashion en route to a 12-length romp, earning a hefty 98 Brisnet Speed figure in the process.

Gulfport is one of the more impressive two-year-olds that I have witnessed in recent years. The April foal is quick out of the gate and can rate on the lead, or when pressing the pace, as a most formidable foe. Joel Rosario inherits the mount.

Michelle Lovell’s #2 Damon’s Mound (7-5) got off to a slow break in his Churchill debut, but the first timer made up for it late in his 12-length stroll at first asking. By Girvin, the Florida-bred could not have been much more impressive in that victory and has come back with four nice morning moves in the interim.

The March foal drew inside the top pick, which could force the hand of Gabe Saez in the early going, but it is still difficult to ignore how good that the bay colt looked in his lone appearance to date. He is the most likely second-place finisher in the dash.

And it seems fairly clear to me that the Tom Amoss-trained #5 Owen’s Leap (8-1) is the most logical third-place finisher in the race. By Bolt d’Oro, the $175,000 auction purchase was a smart first-out winner prior to rallying wide late to gain runner-up honors behind Gulfport last time out. The dark bay colt will race with blinkers on Saturday and also gets Irad Ortiz to take the reins, two positives in my opinion.

Saratoga Special Wagers

  • $40 trifecta: 4 with 2 with 5 ($40)
  • $10 trifecta: 4 with 5 with 2 ($10)

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