Saratoga Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for Aug. 11
Kentucky invaders on Wednesday’s Saratoga card are somewhat scarce, although both Town Avenger and Elle Est Forte should make their presence felt in the seventh race on grass.
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.
#3 Strong Odor (10-1 ML) – Sneaky longshot/gimmick player; B/C in multi-race wagers
In her June 24 turf sprint at Churchill, this four-year-old daughter of Strong Mandate raced in the clear from the two path while stalking an honest pace. She had aim late and finished well, but the winner got the jump. Returning in a logical spot five weeks later at Indiana Grand, she stalked an honest pace while hung three-to-four wide on the backstretch. Eight wide on the turn for home, she sustained her bid to the wire, just missing as the 2-1 favorite. It’s somewhat surprising that Mike Maker would send her all the way to Saratoga instead of staying at Indiana in advance of a potential run at Kentucky Downs. Others appear to be faster on paper, but there’s something to be said for the confidence the trainer is showing here.
#11 Town Avenger (7-2 ML) – Top win contender; A and sneaky single in multi-race wagers
Live on the tote before floating up to odds of 7-2 in her career debut over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Churchill May 23, this sophomore daughter of Speightstown was out the back early while chasing a tepid pace. Racing in the two path, she advanced steadily and was hung four wide on the turn. She tried to lug in, but sustained her bid, and got up in just the nick of time. Stretched out to a mile and stepped way up in class into a deep edition of the Tepin Stakes, she was off slowly, losing four lengths, and raced in the clear thereafter behind a tepid pace. Hung seven wide on the turn, she finished well, but simply had too much to do. She has a bright future, possesses stamina on the dam’s side of the pedigree, and is well spotted today.
#7 Elle Est Forte (6-1 ML) – Secondary win contender; A/B in multi-race wagers
Off a three-month layoff on April 7 at Keeneland, this three-year-old daughter of Flintshire stalked an even pace at the rail in an evenly-matched field. Asked on the turn, she sustained her rally all the way to the wired and just missed behind the gate-to-wire winner. Three weeks later on May 1 at Churchill, she was hung four wide on the first turn and three wide on the backstretch while chasing slow fractions over a turf course that slightly favored off the pace types. Hung five wide on the turn for home, she finished with some energy while failing to seriously threaten. Seven weeks later on June 24 at Churchill, she was covered up at the rail while stalking a slow pace. Pocketed on the turn for home, she had aim late and proved best in the lane in what was likely the best performance of her five-race career. Nine furlongs appears to suit her very well.