Kristufek's Saratoga Scouting Report July 24: Kentucky Horses
The Quick Call (G3) for 3-year-old turf sprinters highlights the Friday card, and the likely odds-on favorite Jack and Noah looks like a potential free space.
As the racing analyst at Churchill Downs, it’s my job to provide information you can’t necessarily read in the past performances. I keep detailed track bias, pace and trip notes for every race, every day, and that information can prove to be quite valuable, particularly when horses travel from one circuit to another.
For the entirety of the Saratoga meet, I will provide “scouting reports” for the horses who raced in Kentucky in their most recent start.
#4 Hands Up 5-2 ML
Off a six-week break on May 30 at Churchill and in just her second start of the year, Hands Up lost two lengths at the start and was covered up at the rail while chasing an even pace over a track that favored off the pace types. She would finish a best of the rest second (only four others) behind the runaway chalk. Four weeks later against a similar field, she pressed a contested pace while three-wide, tired off the turn, and finished a well-beaten fourth of seven. She takes a sizable drop in class and faces a weak group for the level, but she might not be as good as she looks on paper, making #5 Assume an even more solid potential single.
#8 Blunt Force 3-1 ML
On June 13 at Churchill, Blunt Force enjoyed a perfect spying trip behind a fast pace. She took over off the turn and held firm late. That was a “non-winners of three,” and this is an open claimer, but it was over today’s 7-furlong distance, which may be her best. She’s well drawn and fits favorably with these, but I would find her tough to lean on.
#8 No Mo’ Spending 9-2 ML
In his career debut on June 18 at Churchill, No Mo’ Spending was live on the tote early before closing at odds of 7-1 in a field of 11. She broke out at the start, losing some three lengths, and sat near the back of the pack early before being hung five-wide on the turn and racing evenly to the wire. Ian Wilkes’ runners often learn lessons on debut, she’s posted three works between starts and this race is restricted to New York-breds. Mixed signals, but I’d lean more against than for.
#1 Elle M’a Souri (Fr) 6-1 ML
Off a seven-week break on May 30 at Churchill, Elle M‘a Souri (Fr) stalked a slow pace, popped out on the turn while moving closer in hand and was hung five-wide off the turn before leveling off late. She got the jump on the other closers and got up just in time over a turf course that slightly favored off the pace runners. It was a legit win, and she should have no problem with the added distance of today’s race. Viable alternative to the expected odds-on favorite.
#2 Wild Love 7-2 ML (MTO)
An even fourth sprinting off nearly nine months off on June 26 at Churchill, Wild Love returned four weeks later in a 9-furlong event against just six foes. She spied a slow pace while in the clear, took over on the turn, and was kept to task while extending the margin of victory to the wire. She won by daylight, but it was a weak field for the level. Should this race be taken off the turn, I’d prefer the #3 Overjoyed over her.
#7 Free Enterprise 5-2 ML
Off a 4 1/2 month layoff on June 7 at Churchill, Free Enterprise lost two lengths at the start, rushed up to battle a contested pace and held the lead at the top of the stretch before finishing third behind a pair of late runners. It was a decent return run, but it certainly doesn’t warrant favoritism against this bunch. Willing to take a stand against.