Player Quick Pick: Saratoga 8/2/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

August 2nd, 2014

by Molly Jo Rosen

The Whitney is one of those races we horseplayers look forward to all year long. That said, this year NYRA has outdone themselves with the field... it really is the Best of the Best. Given that this race took me the better part of an hour to handicap, I'm going back to the age-old method of Trusting My Gut with the following handicap:
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Saratoga race 10 | 5:46 pm ET G1 Whitney Hcp for 3&up going 1-1/8 mi.

1-Will Take Charge: freshened since going off form & gets Saez back up 2-Prayer For Relief: makes his Saratoga debut in his 32nd start & always runs his race 3-Moreno: he's fast, but also hasn't won in a year or at the distance 4-Itsmyluckyday: 3-for-4 since coming back off the injury & looking for 4th straight win 5-Palace Malice: undefeated this year & in off freakish performance in the MetMile 6-Departing: specialist at the distance & has only thrown one real clunker in 11 race career 7-Romansh: fantastic v. G3 company & has to prove he can step up 8-Golden Ticket: has never won running this far, but he'll spoil your exotics if he's allowed to close 9-Last Gunfighter: versatile pace player looking to rebound on the cut-back in distance

When it comes this field, I can make a legitimate case for all nine runners. So if we don't just want to get out a dart and play Pin the Tail on the Pony, how do we play it?

Here's what I'm seeing... there's clear speed (Moreno, Romansh), solid mid-pack pouncers (Prayer for Relief, Itsmyluckyday, Palace Malice, Departing), come from behind'rs (Golden Ticket, Last Gunfighter), and confirmed closers (Will Take Charge).

Sometimes it's easiest to handicap based on the process of elimination...
  • I don't think Moreno gets a clear lead and that could be his undoing
  • Last Gunfighter bugs me: he's got the talent but against lesser
  • Departing will win a G1 this year, but I don't know if it's this one
  • Prayer for Relief and Golden Ticket will spoil trifectas and superfecta exotics
  • Will Take Charge will be rolling with that long, sustained run of his
  • Itsmyluckyday and Palace Malice will make their move together, likely around the quarter pole & duel down the stretch
With all that said... what do I wind up with...?

Picks: 5 - 1 - 4 with 2 - 6 - 8 keyed for your exotic wagers