Saratoga Diary: July 20 recap, 'Money' the Diana play

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TwinSpires Staff

July 20th, 2018


Racing has been conducted at Saratoga Race Course since 1864 but I can’t imagine a more glorious day than the 2018 opening. A crystal blue sky, bright sunshine and perfect temperature attracted a huge crowd that kept pouring in all day. My DNA makes me early for everything so no matter how long the day is, at least when I get there it’s not too crowded while the fans are still arriving.

As usual, I was on time today and was able to bet BAD STUDENT in race number one. He dueled early and took over in the lane under an aggressive ride from Ricardo Santana, Jr. to pull away to an easy win by over three lengths. He, like five others in the six-horse field, were claimed as horseflesh seemed to be at a premium for the 40-day meet.

Chad Brown wasted no time getting on the board when his first-time starter DRYNACHAN won the second race by two lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint. TOO FOOFOO FOR YOU was used hard from post one when dueling with a longshot and faded in the drive.

The third race turned into a scramble in the deep stretch as the race fell apart but Jose Ortiz would not be denied aboard STRONG SIDE who rallied late between horses to get up in time.

Race four was a head scratcher. It looked like Joel Rosario would send TOP CZAR to contest the pace but when he strangled that one out of the gate, Jose Ortiz was loose on an easy lead aboard DOMINANT STRATEGY and he went on to a gate-to-wire victory at a generous 9/2. After six furlongs in 1:12.90 seconds, it was hard for anyone to make up any threatening ground on the inner turf course.

My best bet was in race five and WILD TYPE could not have run worse. Even after being bothered at the start in her career debut, she was far back early and never seemed comfortable. I thought Jose Ortiz would gun her but the one that did gun was LYRICAL LADY for Ricardo Santana, Jr., who drew off to win by over five lengths in good time. She is certainly one to watch in future stakes company.

HAY FIELD was claimed for $25K back in February by Jeremiah Englehart and she promptly stormed through her state-bred allowance conditions in four starts. She tried open company non-winners of one allowance foes since the conditions of the race ignored her state-bred wins and she rallied from far back to get up by a neck at 8/1.

Winning from post 12 going two turns on the inner turf course is extremely tough but GIANT ZINGER did it in race seven with a well-timed ride from Junior Alvarado. She struck the front near the shadow of the wire and held on grimly over MYHARTBELONGSTODADY by a desperate nose.

The Schuylerville S. (G3) was run for the 100th time as race eight and CATHERINETHEGREAT overcame post one as Jose Ortiz had to use her hard to keep up but had tremendous energy in the drive to home. She broke her maiden on a sloppy track last out at Gulfstream Park but showed she can handle any surface while racing on the engine. Post one would have been a perfect excuse had she tired in the drive but Mark Casse had her fit and ready for this.

The Lake George S. (G3) was race number nine and seven 3yo fillies contested the 1 1/16-mile event on the Mellon Turf Course. Manny Franco sat chilly aboard DADDY IS A LEGEND and dove to the inside turning for home to find clear sailing. She cut off PUNKED at the top of the stretch but there was no change in the order of finish and it was nice to see Manny and his main man, George Weaver, win a graded stakes race.

Tomorrow marks the first Grade 1 stakes race of the meet and the Diana S. (G1) attracted a field of seven with six having a legitimate chance. Chad Brown has three and the handicapping issue is which one? I say it will be NEW MONEY HONEY, who makes her second start off the long layoff and should get a stalking trip with Javier Castellano. She won a Grade 1 stakes race going 10 furlongs and a nine-furlong Grade 3 stakes race last year and the daughter of MEDAGLIA D’ORO should be ready for a big effort off an allowance prep win at Belmont Park last month.