Player Quick Pick: Saratoga for 8/3/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

August 3rd, 2014

by Andrew Champagne

If you fancy yourself an expert at claiming races, you’ll love Sunday’s late Pick Four at Saratoga. Three of the four races in this sequence are claimers, and it makes for a tricky wager to hit. Here’s my stab at it.

RACE #7: This one’s a $75,000 maiden claimer for 2-year-olds, and it’s a doozy. I went five-deep, using #3 No Shanks (6-1), #4 Ex Wives (10-1), #5 Nejma (15-1), #7 Mercer Mill Mae (5/2), and #8 Replace Runaway (15-1).

Mercer Mill Mae is probably the most likely winner, but Wesley Ward has cooled off a bit after a hot start. The other four are first-time starters that will likely go off at great prices. In particular, Nejma’s worktab is very solid. James Ferraro doesn’t train many horses, but the pair of five-furlong breezes Nejma boasts indicates she may have some talent.

RACE #8: I thought this was the most cut-and-dry race in the sequence.

It looks like it comes down to #8 Cheyanne Nation (3-1) and #10 Cage Fighter (8/5), and I’ve used both.

Going strictly by speed figures, Cage Fighter towers over the field.

However, his best races have come over a much faster, harder turf course (Gulfstream Park). If his form doesn’t translate to Saratoga, Cheyanne Nation, who has won twice at the Spa, could reap the benefits.

RACE #9: The Waya is Sunday's feature at Saratoga, and it’s deep in talent and numbers. I’ll go four-deep based on who drew in, and if one also-eligible backs into the race, I’ll use her, as well.

#1 Concise (4-1), #5 Tabreed (10-1), #7 Fitful Skies (8-1), and #8 Inimitable Romanee (9/2) all drew in and have big chances to win.

Tabreed is actually my top selection, as she should get plenty of pace to run at second off the layoff for Christophe Clement (who hits at a 33% clip with that move).

However, if #14 Cushion (8-1) draws in, I’m throwing her into the mix.

Her first start in the States was good, and she’s stakes-placed in Europe, where she ran against better horses. This is another second-off-the-layoff horse for Clement, and Joel Rosario is listed as the rider.

RACE #10: They’ve saved the worst for last, as we’ll end with a $40,000 maiden claimer going long on the grass. I’ll go three-deep, but if you’ve got the bankroll and can spread further, it may be prudent to do that.

My horses are #1 Little Miss Brown (3-1), #2 Shaikha (6-1), and #11 Touch of Snow (8-1). Little Miss Brown is my top pick, as she gets Rosario off a decent race at Delaware. However, Touch of Snow makes her first start in the States, adds Lasix and blinkers, and seems to have found a soft spot. Her European connections tried her in a Group

1 last summer, meaning she may have more talent than she’s shown to this point.

If Cushion doesn’t draw in, the ticket comes out to $60 for a 50-cent bet. If she does, it becomes a $75 stab.