Salvatore handicaps Saturday's 2-year-old maiden races at Saratoga

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TwinSpires Staff

July 25th, 2015

By Doug Salvatore

Today's card at Saratoga includes a trio of 2-year-old Maiden Special Weight races, all of which are carded in the Pick 5. Without any further ado, lets take a look at them from a betting standpoint.
Race 1: Five of the nine horses in this race can be easily dismissed. We're left with four horses who are intriguing. 
#5 Boalt Hall is the first foal of a dam who was a precocious debut winner, but was eventually claimed for just $5,000 at Mountaineer Park in her final career start on the track. From a pedigree standpoint, this horse doesn't merit anywhere close to the $360,000 it sold for as a yearling. Simply put, Boalt Hall had to be one absolute standout looking yearling to bring that kind of money. People don't go around paying 360k for first foals of mares who were claimed for a nickle at Mountaineer Park, unless they're striking individuals. 
Boalt Hall worked on even terms with Saratoga Mischief in his final drill for this race and that stablemate debuts in Race 5 today. In other words, pay attention to how Boalt Hall performs in the opener to get a little better handle on Saratoga Mischief. 
#7 Moon King is a very successful OBS March pinhook. This horse sold for just $185,000 as an August yearling, but turned in an impressive 10.20 drill with a strong gallop-out time to fetch $675,000 at the OBS March 2-year-old sale. In a matter of seven months time, the auction price increased by almost 400k because this horse generated some buzz with how he developed and trained during that span. The only knock is that Mark Casse isn't a trainer that cranks them up for his debut. He only wins at a respectable15% first-asking, because he often has the debuter who eventually proves to be the best horse in the field. 
#4 Hundred Years has encouraging workouts for an outstanding debut trainer with 2-year-old dirt sprinters. Rosario takes the call. 
#6 Metal Magic graduated from the same 2-year-old sale as Moon King, where he fetched 600k less. The one advantage Metal Magic has is experience, having finished a good second beaten a nose in a Maiden Special Weight debut at Churchill Downs. Metal Magic was offered at the Fasig Tipton Summer Sale just two weeks ago and his reserve of $270,000 was not met, allowing him to return back to training with Eddie Kenneally.
5: Boalt Hall
7: Moon King
4: Hundred Years
6: Metal Magic

Race 3: Chad Brown has been absolute money in the bank with 2-year-old first-time starters debuting in turf routes at Saratoga. Not only does he win at a remarkably high percentage with that angle, but his winners pay fat prices, even as recently as last years meet. 
With that said, I have to play against the Chad Brown debuter Life Imitates Art. The dam of this horse did not like the grass at all. Not only was she defeated both times she tried it, but in both instances, she thrived when put back on the dirt. After her first grass try, she returned to the dirt and won her next start by 18 lengths which was followed up with a 7.5 lengths romp. After her second and final try on the grass, she returned to win her very next dirt start at 10/1 odds. What's more, none of her foals have won on grass to this point. 
I'm hoping that this is a situation where bettors go overboard on a horse who jumps out on paper as the obvious angle horse. 
Both Todd Pletcher debuters have encouraging workouts and are offered at a generous 6/1 Morning Line price. Meanwhile, Swagger Jagger might end up offering the best value of anyone going first-turn for trainer Mike Maker. 
1st: Jungle Jumble 
2nd: Dissident
3rd: Swagger Jagger
4th: Smarty Kitten

Race 5: Perhaps the best betting opportunity of today's baby races is right here. Crosstown Route debuts for Rick Violette Jr., who is my longtime idol when it comes to debut trainers at Saratoga. Crosstown Route is by champion sprinter Speightstown out of a mare who won her 2-year-old debut going five furlongs in Maiden Special Weight company at Hollywood Park.
Saratoga Mischief is the other interesting debuter in here. We should have a better read on him based on how his workmate Boalt Hall performs in the opening race. 
Finally, two experienced horses merit consideration. Show Bound, who was second in the Bashford Manor against winners last time out. As well as Silvertown, who was third in his debut to the next-out winner of the aforementioned Bashford Manor. 
1st: Crosstown Route
2nd: Show Bound
3rd: Saratoga Mischief 
4th: Silvertown