Saratoga Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses Aug. 12
Simply Ravishing was one of the top two-year-old fillies in the country last year, but her last two starts have left a lot to be desired. She faces restricted,\ New York-bred company for the first time off the bench in Thursday’s third race at Saratoga, and is tough to gauge.
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.
#7 Whimsical Muse (2-1 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers but not willing to single
A turf sprinter virtually her entire career, this five-year-old mare stretched out to a mile off a three-month layoff last out at Churchill. Off three lengths slow, she rushed up to spy an even pace thereafter. She took over on the turn while still in hand, responded when asked, and drew off. She steps up in claiming price, but the quality of rivals is comparable to what she just beat. She’s trained sharply between starts and Mike Maker lures Irad Ortiz, Jr.
#2 Simply Ravishing (7-2 ML) – The choice here is singling her OR #5 Mrs. Orb in multi-race wagers
This three-year-old daughter of Laoban was sensational in her Alcibiades (G1) win and, if not for a troubled trip, could have taken down the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), too. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the Golden Rod (G2), she lost three lengths at the start and then stalked an even pace while three wide. She drew even on the turn and then faltered in what was a disappointing performance. Off five months, she resurfaced in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland and was bet down to 3-2 favoritism against five rivals. She set a controlled pace, but absolutely fell apart on the turn for home. Off four-plus months, she returns off a forward series of drills. It’s tough to trust her, but she does get to face restricted New York-bred company for the first time and chances are she’s good enough to beat these.
#4 Letmeno (7-2 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers
Off a three-plus month layoff, this four-year-old son of Twirling Candy was sent off as the even-money favorite against four rivals over seven furlongs at Ellis. He made the lead over a racetrack that noticeably favored speed, dug in gamely when challenged, and held firm of Briefcase Bully, whom he will face again today.
#3 Briefcase Bully (4-1 ML) – Secondary win contender; A/B in multi-race wagers
This four-year-old son of Union Rags is a solid turf router, but his three one-turn dirt races were arguably some of his best. On May 28 at Churchill, he sat a pocket trip behind a fast pace over a racetrack that favored inside speed He rallied inside, and proved best late as the 4-5 favorite against six rivals. Five weeks later, he contested an honest early pace but could not get past the frontrunning winner Letmeno, whom he will face again today, while finishing clearly second best.
#5 Shoplifted (3-1 ML) – Gimmick player; willing to fade in multi-race wagers
On April 27 at Churchill, this four-year-old son of Into Mischief was in tight between horses early while chasing a hot pace. He was blocked in the deep stretch, but appeared beaten anyway. It may have cost him a placing, but it’s unlikely that he would have seriously threatened. Eight weeks later, on June 25, he stalked a hotly contested pace while in the clear, off heels late, he finished with some energy but failed to threaten.
#5 Royal Tryst (10-1 ML) – Live longshot/win contender; sneaky A in multi-race wagers
Off a 5 1/2 month layoff on June 12 at Churchill, this well-bred son of Medaglia d’Oro broke alertly, but found himself at the back of the pack chasing honest fractions in a six-furlong sprint in which he failed to make an impact. Stretched out to nine furlongs on turf less than two weeks later, he sat a pocket trip behind an even pace and finished an even fourth of 10 in what was a solid race for the level. He drops into a much easier spot in his third start off the layoff and should offer a fair price.
#6 Incitatus (12-1 ML) – Gimmick player; B/C in multi-race wagers
On May 13 at Churchill, this newly-turned gelded sophomore son of Ironicus broke alertly and battled a fast pace early on. He took a clear lead off the turn, but tired in the final three-sixteenths. Less than three weeks later, he relaxed better and spied a moderate pace. He made a bid three-wide on the turn, but evened out late to finish a well beaten third of nine.
#9 Complicate (15-1 ML) – Gimmick stretch; C in multi-race wagers
In his first start back off a two-month layoff, and in only the second start of his career, this gelded sophomore son of Lookin at Lucky set the pace before finishing fifth of 11 in a turf route that absolutely fell apart late. He actually held OK considering. He faces a lot of class droppers here, and will need to take a solid step forward in order to be competitive.