Opening-Day Plays at Saratoga

Profile Picture: James Scully

July 20th, 2018

Saratoga’s opener features a pair of stakes races and I’ll focus upon a runner from the Schuylerville (G3) for multi-race wagers, #2 Nonna Madeline. Todd Pletcher won 15 2-year-old races at the Spa last year and Nonna Madeline adds John Velazquez off a sharp debut score at Monmouth Park in which she registered an 84 BRIS Speed rating, the top fast-track number among 10 juvenile fillies. She’s eligible to be bet down from 7-2 on the morning line.

The Lake George (G3) follows the Schuylerville and #5 Goodthingstaketime appears capable of dictating an expected paceless race on the front end with Jose Ortiz. But it’s tough to dismiss a couple of Chad Brown trainees and Daddy is a Legend from the George Weaver stable.

Here are a couple of runners I will look to play earlier on the 10-race program:

#3 Wild Type (6-1 morning line) looks poised for a much-improved performance making her second career outing in Race 5. The dark bay filly was bet to 6-5 in her debut but missed the break and was forced to swing extremely wide into the stretch. She never quit trying recording a decent third-place effort in what could prove to be a key race: the winner, the Into Mischief filly Lady Lucy, rates as a promising sort for Bill Connelly and runner-up Adventurous Lady came back to crush open stakes rivals at Lone Star for Steve Asmussen.

Jose Ortiz, who has won 123 races at Saratoga the last two years, opts to ride the Eddie Kenneally-trained Wild Type and we can expect him to send the Successful Appeal filly from the starting gate.

In Race 6, #8 Laney (5-1) adds Jose Ortiz and makes her third start off the layoff for Kenneally. I liked her effort two back, a head second in which she netted a 101 BRIS Late Pace rating, and while she lacked the same finishing kick in the latter stages last time, the 4-year-old miss offered a nice middle move into contention before setting for third. With a contested pace expected, Laney should receive a favorable set-up and I’ll look for another strong turn of foot on the far turn that puts her in position to strike entering the stretch.