Saratoga Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for July 16
Led by Made You Look (20-1 ML in race 9) and Polished Gem (8-1 in race 8), I like a couple of potentially live price shots on the Friday Saratoga card, and several other win candidates deserve consideration among the Kentucky invaders.
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.
#4 Gun It (7-2 ML) – Win contender
His $270,000 in career earning represents roughly 10% of his original sales price. He’s done a little bit of everything well in a 19-race career, but has only two wins to show for it and is often his own worst enemy, finishing on the wrong lead and/or hanging late. He broke five lengths slow and raced evenly to the wire following an advantageous pocket trip in a rare, two-turn turf try two back, and then narrowly missed when cut back to a one-turn dirt mile last out. Tossing his head around early, he pressed into a hot pace from a clear position and rallied to put his head in front in the stretch, only to hang a bit late. He’s tough to trust, but does fit well here and the seven furlong distance suits. Maybe Ricardo Santana Jr. can trick him into winning today.
#1 Yes I’m Evil (7-2 ML) – Win contender
A 12-time winner, five of those coming last year, this six-year-old mare was compromised by a slow pace in several of her winter starts at Fair Grounds. She did score an upset win over the short-stretched mile on March 26, defeating the red hot All Fact in the process. Hung four-wide every step of the way on April 21 at Keeneland, she would finish third against $40K claimers over a speed-favoring track. Owned by the Combs family and trained by Bentley, you know the connections would love nothing better than to win a race at Saratoga, and this gal looks well positioned to do so.
#5 Absolute Love (3-1 ML) – Win contender
On April 29 at Churchill, this six-year-old daughter of Graydar completely annihilated a quintet of $8,000 two-turn claiming foes in the slop by 16 1/2 lengths. Cut back to a one-turn mile and raised in class for the follow-up start of Churchill, she broke two lengths slow, saved ground and raced evenly while kept to task to finish a distant third. She destroyed an optional claiming starter field at Indiana Grand last out, winning with plenty left in the tank. Joe Sharp claimed her for $8,000 and he’s already made money with her, so today’s placement to win a race at Saratoga makes absolute sense.
#6 Seeds of Time (7-2 ML) – Willing to fade
An eight-time winner from 29 lifetime starts, this six-year-old mare has run hot and cold virtually her entire career. In her most recent start on May 9 at Churchill, she blew the first turn as the 6-5 favorite, was fighting the jock early, and then backed out tamely off the turn. Claimed for $25,000, she now resurfaces for half that amount off a three-month layoff. She’s capable with her A-game, but I don’t trust her.
#6 Mused (GB) (6-1 ML) – Win contender
In her first start off the boat following a five-month layoff on May 8, this three-year-old daughter of Charm Spirit lost three lengths at the start from the extreme outside post and was hung four-wide on the first turn. Hung three-wide throughout, she made a bit of a middle move before flattening. She ran like a horse who would prefer less ground, and that’s exactly what she got in her follow-up start, a stakes-caliber turf dash. Once again off sluggishly, losing three lengths, she was forced to close into moderate fractions, but she did finish with energy behind a very talented trio. With an honest pace expected here, she should make her presence felt late at a square price.
#4 Miner’s Queen (5-1 ML) – Gimmick stretch
Two back at Churchill over a wet fast track, this three-year-old daughter of Bernardini rushed up to battle a hot pace and then gave way mid-stretch behind a very talented repeat winner in Lovemesomeme. Switched back over to turf for the first time since her debut last out, she was hustled to the lead and built a two-length advantage off the turn before just holding off a fast-closing foe. This is a much stronger field than that one.
#3 Polished Gem (8-1 ML) – Live price shot
Two starts back over seven furlongs, this sophomore daughter of Hard Spun broke alertly, battled a fast pace, took over off the turn and was kept to task until late to complete the wire job. Six weeks later, she sat chilly in the pocket and made a steady advance while in hand. Held up on the turn, she lacked room at the top of the stretch and then stayed on for place. She’s shown improved versatility and should benefit from a contested pace in front of her in this one.
#1 Bayshore Foxes (12-1 ML) -- Fade
Off a debut win in the slop at Oaklawn, this sophomore daughter of Mineshaft ran twice at Churchill, and neither effort was overly inspiring. On April 30, she pressed a fast pace over a one-turn mile and then wilted over a racetrack that did favor outside closers. Cut back and dropped in class for her follow up start, she battled the lead from the rail over a track that favored inside speed and faded to fourth. With legit speed drawn to the outside, she’s going to have her work cut out for her.
#5 Made You Look (20-1 ML) – Live longshot
An earner of nearly a half-million dollars in his career, this seven-year-old son of More Than Ready hasn’t visited the charmed circle since May of 2018. When last seen in November at Churchill, he chased the loose and lonely leader Frostmourne through pedestrian fractions before finishing second behind him, crossing the line in front of the likes of Snapper Sinclair, Mr. Misunderstood, Big Score and Parlor in the process. I thought all spring that trainer Phil Bauer was using the spring at Churchill as a springboard to the summer at Saratoga. I’ll be keeping a very close eye on his runners at the meet and won’t be afraid to back him, especially at a price.
#10 Logical Myth (15-1 ML) – Gimmick stretch
I watched this horse run some of the best races of his career this winter at Fair Grounds. He’s an honest horse, but he’s been going full board for over a year now, and the outside post doesn’t do him any favors. A return trip to Kentucky Downs in six weeks would make a lot of sense.
Del Mar Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses
#12 Energizer (5-1 ML) – Gimmick player
When last seen on May 13 at Churchill, this newly turned four-year-old gelding pressed a slow pace while three-wide. He put his head in front off the turn, but proved to be no match for Frolic More, who has been a disappointment since. He galloped out best that day, but it may have been a mirage. He rates with his A-game, but Doug O’Neill has another one in her who appears to be more well intended.
#12 Bad Beat Brian (6-1 ML) – Can win or miss the board completely
Starting in February, I watched this four-year-old gelded son of Jack Milton run some huge races in New Orleans, Lexington and Louisville, but his most recent start at Churchill was a bit of a head scratcher. He had a clean trip, but never raised a gallop. He drops below the claim price for this one, but the pace should be honest and some of the favorites potentially look vulnerable. Could go either way.