Saratoga & Del Mar Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for August 1
Churchill invaders Aloha West and Night Time both appear to be major players in Sunday’s seventh race at Saratoga, and I’ll be building many of my wagers around them.
Due to a complete revamp of the turf course, the Churchill Downs backstretch is completely vacant this summer, and many of those horses have taken up residence at Saratoga.
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.
#6 River Redemption (12-1 ML) – Gimmick stretch; C in multi-race wagers
This son of Pioneerof the Nile ran twice as a two-year-old, debuting in a turf route at Belmont in advance of a return run over a one-turn dirt mile at Churchill on November 15. He stalked a fast pace while in hand, but backed out readily on the turn. He drops in class, adds Lasix, and almost needs to be treated like a first-time starter all over again.
#6 Gillian Elizabeth (5-1 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers
Sprinting on turf and sent off at 15-1 in her first and only start on June 17 at Churchill, this daughter of Astern broke from the rail and was ridden along early from the pocket. Shuffled back nearing the turn, she popped out and stayed on nicely late to finish second behind the favored, gate-to-wire winner. She ran like horse who should appreciate more ground, and that’s exactly what she gets today.
#7 Eucharist (8-1 ML) – Win contender; sneaky A in multi-race wagers
This gelded son of Flatter ran two solid races as a two-year-old, winning a sprint in his debut, and finishing a distant second to the stakes caliber Next in a follow-up route. Off nearly eight months, he resurfaced in a seven-furlong race at Churchill on June 13 and lost all chance when breaking eight lengths slowly at the start. He takes a sizeable drop here for powerful connections, and looks a little sneaky.
#1 Lookin for Loki (2-1 ML) – Willing to fade on fast track; B in multi-race wagers on off track
I’m very familiar with the three-year-old gelded son of Into Mischief from his runs in Kentucky and New Orleans. He’s done his best work on turf and off tracks. He failed to factor when ambitiously placed in a trio of turf sprint stakes, but bounced back nicely over a wet-fast track on May 28 at Churchill. Off alertly, he pressed a fast pace over a racetrack that favored inside speed. He battled gamely to the wire, only to lose a tough bob on the wire. Claimed for $50K, he cuts his tag in half here off a two-month break.
#3 Lake Lucerne (15-1 ML) – Live longshot; sneaky A in multi-race wagers
Off a three-month layoff on May 14 at Churchill, this four-year-old Euro import was hammered down to 9-5 favoritism in the late stages of the wagering. She lost three lengths at the start, and was hung three wide on the backstretch while stalking an even pace. Ridden on the turn, she responded with an explosive turn of foot, rallying to a decisive lead before being eased up under the wire. Expectations were high for her follow-up start five weeks later, but she tossed the rider during the gate load. Sent off at even-money in the field of 10 nonetheless, she lost position early, but raced in the clear thereafter, and failed to make an impact. If she has her head in the game today, she should outperform her odds.
#6 Aloha West (3-1 ML) – Top win contender; A in multi-race wagers
Sent off as the 3-5 favorite against what was a weak field for the level on May 23 at Churchill, this four-year-old son of Hard Spun did not disappoint. Off two lengths slow, he was covered up early behind a fast pace. Shifted to the outside, he gained momentum while five wide, was steadied, and then crushed them without even trying. Bet down to 3-1 against an accomplished crew in the Kelly's Landing S., he once again broke slowly, losing four lengths. He raced in the clear thereafter behind a fast pace and finished well, but simply had too much to do.
#7 Night Time (9-2 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers
Off a seven-month layoff on June 25 at Churchill, this four-year-old son of Majesticperfection was hung four wide on the backstretch while pressing into a hot pace. Five wide on the turn, he was run over late by the 2-1 favorite, but given the trip, he deserves a ton of credit for hanging on for second.
#7 Exotic West (8-1 ML) – Wild card tough to gauge; sneaky B in multi-race wagers
This three-year-old daughter of Hard Spun ran twice at the Churchill Downs spring meet, sprinting on dirt each time. On May 20, she lost three lengths at the start and was tugging in the pocket early on behind a fast pace before racing evenly to the wire. In the follow-up start three weeks later, she stalked a fast pace while hung three wide on the backstretch, was nudged along six wide into the turn and then failed to threaten thereafter. Shee stretches back out, tries turf for the first timek, and takes the blinkers off for this. There’s a lot going on, but turf influences do exist in the pedigree.
#14 Bayshore Foxes (7-2) (MTO) – Willing to fade at a short price
Off a debut win in the slop at Oaklawn, this sophomore daughter of Mineshaft ran twice at Churchill, and neither effort was overly inspiring. On April 30, she pressed a fast pace over a one-turn mile and then wilted over a racetrack that did favor outside closers. Cut back and dropped in class for her follow up start, she battled the lead from the rail over a track that favored inside speed and faded to fourth.
#3 Burrow Down (5-1 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers
Sent off at 15-1 in her career debut at Keeneland, this daughter of Connect was sent away from the gate. In tight, she got shuffled back to last but remained in hand. She closed well inside late, and galloped out in front. It was a deceivingly good effort. In what was one of the strongest maiden races for two-year-old fillies at the meet in the follow-up start five weeks later, she sat a pocket trip and lost ground late to the very talented Ontheonesandtwos. She has turf influences in the pedigree.