Saratoga and Del Mar Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for July 25
Sunday’s wide open eighth race on the Saratoga turf has several top contenders from Kentucky, but the one I’m most interested in is Cavalry Charge. He exits a career best effort, and he has the right running style to make a serious impact at a big price.
Due to a total 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.
#2 Trade Secret (2-1 ML) – Secondary win contender; B in multi-race wagers
Bet down to 6-5 favoritism against six rivals over a wet-fast track on debut, this daughter of Goldencents broke alertly, pressed a moderate pace, and then tired to finish a distant third. The winner that day did return to take down the Debutante in her next start. In her follow-up start three weeks later, she broke alertly and battled a fast pace. She dug in late, but lost a narrow decision.
#6 Luna’s in Charge (10-1 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers
Off a six-month layoff on June 20 at Churchill, this five-year-old son of Take Charge Indy was stuck in tight between horses while chasing a fast pace. Shuffled back early, he was clear on the turn but failed to threaten. His lone turf sprint yielded one of the best performances of his career, and he does face restricted New York-bred company for the first time.
#8 Miss Mamba (8-1 ML) – Secondary win contender; spread B in multi-race wagers
A late-closing second (placed first) despite some traffic trouble sprinting on turf in her career debut on March 28 at Fair Grounds, this three-year-old daughter of Include stretched out to a mile at Churchill in her follow-up start two months later. Out the back early, she only managed to pass a couple of tired horses late. Cut back to a sprint last out, she once again trailed early while chasing an honest pace. Moving on the turn, she was checked and then subsequently not pushed on late. Claimed out of that race for $50K, she returns in what looks to be a very average spot for the level.
#7 Kaely’s Sister (3-5 ML) – Top win contender; A in multi-race wagers
Off a romping win against $50K (nw2) claimers at Keeneland, this three-year-old daughter of Maclean’s Music entered back in a $50K starter at Churchill. Sent off as the 3-5 chalk against five rivals, she broke alertly, pressed a hot pace, and took over off the turn in hand. She dug in late, but was edged by a stalking 9-2 shot. Off 10 weeks, she resurfaces at the same level here.
#4 Thief of Hearts (12-1 ML) – Gimmick player; C in multi-race wagers
Dropped into a $30K maiden claimer for her second career start and first off a 7 1/2-month layoff, this three-year-old daughter of Congrats was bet down to 5-2 favoritism against eight foes. Hung three-wide while chasing an honest pace, she ranged up in hand on the turn. The jock looked over both shoulders before asking his mount, and she was kept to task late while drawing off against a very average group.
#11 Cavalry Charge (12-1 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers
This four-year-old gelded son of Honor Code took his game to a new level when switched over to the turf late last spring, and he ran the best race of his life last out when returning from a 9 1/2-month layoff. Away alertly, he went right to the lead and set moderate fractions. In hand on the turn, he responded when asked and drew off as much the best. Based on the way the pace projects in this one, he should find himself in a clear, stalking position behind honest splits, which would put him in position to get the all important first run on a plethora of sharp closers.
#7 Forty Under (10-1 ML) -- Secondary win contender; B in multi-race wagers
A graded stakes winner at age two, this lightly raced five-year-old Uncle Mo gelding recently returned off a year-plus layoff at Churchill. Breaking alertly from the rail in a deep field, he sat an advantageous pocket trip behind tepid fractions. He popped out in the stretch and stayed on well to finish third behind a classy foe who has since returned to score again.
#5 Falkirk (12-1 ML) – Secondary win contender; B in multi-race wagers
This super-consistent four-year-old gelded son of Cairo Prince ran twice at the Churchill Downs spring meet. On May 13, he raced in the clear at the back of the pack behind a fast pace. Closer on the turn while still in hand, he unleashed a sharp rally to get up in time. Five weeks later in what was a very deep and contentious field, he was covered up at the rail from a stalking position behind tepid fractions. He got a dream run and rallied, but it wasn’t quite good enough.
#5 Antoinette (4-1 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers
Given the unenviable task of facing divisional leader Letruska in the Fleur de Lis (G2) on June 26 at Churchill, this four-year-old daughter of Hard Spun ran about as well as she could have. She spied the odds-on favorite through slow fractions and proved to be no match, but she did dig in gamely for second. Update: Bill Mott revealed that Antoinette is expected to scratch due to illness.
#4 Dunbar Road (2-1 ML) – Willing to fade
This classy five-year-old mare returned from a 5 1/2-month layoff in in the La Troienne (G1) at Churchill. In tight between horses early on while stalking a slow pace, she had aim on the leaders at the top of the stretch, but failed to rally. Off another three months, it will be interesting to see if she returns to top form, or runs like she did last time.
#3 Liberty M D (30-1 ML) – Fade
Against just four rivals in her career debut on May 16 at Churchill, this four-year-old daughter of Constitution was super live on the toteboard before floating up to 7-2 against just four rivals. She spied a slow pace early, took over off the turn, and won under a hand ride. Stretching out a furlong to a one-turn mile in a first-level allowance race just two weeks later, she tugged her way into a perfect pressing trip early on. The fractions were hot, and she gutted out the win, but it wasn’t nearly as impressive as the debut (she may have come back too quick). She’s now asked to stretch out for the first time in what appears to be an ambitious spot.
#5 Alexandros (7-2 ML) – Secondary contender; B in multi-race wagers
Sent off as the 5-2 second choice against six rivals on June 20 at Churchill, this six-year-old gelded son of Flatter was stacked three-wide on the backstretch while stalking a fast pace. He ranged up in hand on the turn, took the lead at the top of the stretch, and narrowly held safe.
#9 Buttered Noodles (8-1 ML) – Gimmick player; C in multi-race wagers
This four-year-old son of City Zip ran three times at the Churchill spring meet. He flashed good speed and came up just short in his first two tries, and on June 26 he was severely compromised when breaking four lengths slowly. He rated in the clear thereafter and did finish with some run.
#3 Suki (3-1 ML) – Top win contender; A and potential single in multi-race wagers
This sophomore daughter of Upstart ran three times at the Churchill Downs spring meet, and she really stepped up her game on turf in the process. In her grass debut on May 8, she lost three lengths at the start but closed strongly to be third in a race that absolutely fell apart. Just two weeks later, she sat much closer to the early proceedings, spying a tepid pace before taking over at the top of the stretch. She drew off in the stretch, but flopped leads a couple of times and she did not gallop out great, which was a bit concerning. She laid those doubts to rest a month later. Sitting in the pocket behind pedestrian fractions, she found herself in a tight spot between foes on the turn for home. Steadied, she was shuffled badly at a critical point in the race. Resilient, she came again and just missed behind a foe who has yet to lose from four starts.