Saratoga Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for Aug. 18

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August 17th, 2021

Join Joe Kristufek as he analyzes Kentucky Horses appearing at Saratoga on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021

With rain leading up and in the Wednesday forecast, there’s a reasonable chance the races could come off the grass. Turf or dirt, Kneesnhips is a horse I’m somewhat interested in at a price in Race 9.

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.

Race 5 

#1A Ready for Charm (5-1 ML) – Secondary win contender as part of entry; B in multi-race wagers

Off three lengths slowly in her career debut on June 25 at Churchill, this gray daughter of More Than Ready chased a fast pace. All-in on the turn, she raced evenly to the wire. She has some turf influences in the pedigree, and stretches out on that surface here. Ken McPeek has fantastic stats with sprint-to-route horses, and it is often part of his plan with the young ones.

Race 6

#4 Let Them Eat Cake (8-1 ML) – Live longshot; sneaky A/B in multi-race wagers

Off an 11-week layoff in an off-the-turf race on July 10 at Ellis, this four-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom trailed from fourth of five behind honest fractions set by a solo pacesetter over a racetrack that didn’t favor speed quite as much as it often does. She shifted out, rallied off heels, and just got up for second, but galloped out best. Instead of staying at home to run back at Ellis or Indiana in advance of the lucrative Kentucky Downs meet, Ian Wilkes and company shipped her all the way to Saratoga, where she appears to be training well. She’s run some big races on turf, including a couple locally, and has every right to improve with the switch back to that preferred surface off a needed race. 

Race 7

#8 Targeted Return (9-2 ML) – Win contender; A in multi-race wagers

This Maclean’s Music filly ran three times at Churchill as a two-year-old. Bet down to 7-2 against 10 rivals in her career debut, she was hung four wide on the backstretch while stalking a slow pace. Hung seven wide on the turn, she failed to make an impactful bid. Stretched out on turf seven weeks later, she sat a rail trip near the back of the pace behind a slow pace. In hand on the turn, she had a clear shot in the stretch, but failed to rally. Dropped in for a tag for the first time just two weeks later, she made the lead over a racetrack that slightly favored off-the-pace types. She set an honest pace, was headed on the turn, but came again at the rail and just held safe in what was a fortunate win. She resurfaced in this starter off a nine-month layoff with first time Lasix. The signals are mixed, but the connections are showing some confidence running her in this spot. I’m against the morning line favorite, and this isn’t a very strong spot overall.

Race 8

#11 Troubling Moon (10-1 ML) – Fade on turf, short price in decimated field on dirt

A dirt horse most of his career, he switched over to turf in October and he enters today’s assignment on a 10-race losing streak overall. In his May 23 start at Churchill over a turf course that slightly favored speed, he saved ground from a stalking position early on and raced evenly to the wire. This is a softer spot, but he needs to do more.

Race 9

#7 Kneesnhips (10-1 ML) – Sneaky longshot; A/B in multi-race wagers

Bet down to 5-2 favoritism in an Ellis turf sprint in her career debut on July 4, this daughter of Connect was bothered at the start, losing three lengths. Out the back early while chasing a contested pace from the rail, she squeezed through a narrow opening on the inside, closed the gap late, got up in time and galloped out best in what was a better effort than it looks on paper.

#9 Chi Town Lady (8-1 ML) – Willing to fade in multi-race wagers

In her first and only start on April 11 at Keeneland, this daughter of Verrazano was sent off as the 1-5 favorite against just five rivals. She got a perfect, pressing trip through honest fractions, took command on the turn, and drew off while kept to task in a performance that was not impressive visually.

#11 Averly Jane (9-5 ML) (MTO) – Willing to take a stand against as likely favorite if off the turf

A runaway winner in her career debut at Keeneland, she returned 13 days later at Churchill to take on all comers (six to be exact) in the Kentucky Juvenile. Hustled away from the starting gate as the 1-2 favorite, she got a perfect spying trip behind a fast pace set by a solo leader. She loomed boldly on the turn, ran by a tired foe, and drew off late in an effort that was not as impressive as it may appear on paper.