Saratoga Stakes Plays for Saturday

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

July 27th, 2018

A quartet of graded stakes races will take place on Saturday at Saratoga. Here is what I expect:

Amsterdam (G3)

Seven sophomores will dash six panels on the main strip in a strong field. Four in the cast are exiting a try in the deep Woody Stephens (G2) on Belmont Stakes Day.

A swift and contested pace is almost sure to evolve and that should aid the late-running ENGAGE today. Chad Brown pupil earned a lifetime-best 102 BRIS Speed figure recording a bang-up second in the Woody Stephens and will get a similar trip under Jose Ortiz.

PROMISES FULFILLED and WORLD OF TROUBLE dueled each other into submission last time but held to be third and fourth, respectively. Talented duo has to be considered, as well.


$10 Exacta: 3 with 2,6 ($20)

$5 Exacta: 2,6 with 3 ($10)

Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1)

2017 BC Sprint (G1) runner-up IMPERIAL HINT is the clear one to beat and I like him a lot today. Luis Carvajal trainee was game in keeping Whitmore at bay in the True North (G2) last time and five-year-old figures to get a perfect trip forcing the early tempo, with speed to his inside.

My focus will be on the vertical exotics. WARRIOR’S CLUB is the key underneath. D. Wayne Lukas trainee lacks a bit of consistency but is more than capable on his best day. Dark bay colt has had a fine year and comes off a solid prep when third in the Kelly’s Landing S. Warrior’s Club owns a win and a second from a pair of runs at the Spa, too.


$1 Superfecta: 4 with 3 with all with all ($20)

$1 Superfecta: 4 with all with 3 with all ($20)

Bowling Green (G2)

I loved the third-placed effort from HI HAPPY in the Manhattan H. (G1) most recently. Todd Pletcher charge was always prominent as part of a solid pace and was beaten just a neck for runner-up honors.

Six-year-old import has gotten very good in 2018. And the tactical sort might just take them all the way around the course if Johnnie V opts to go to the lead early on.  It’s hard for me to get very creative in the gimmicks in this one.


$40 Win: #7 HI HAPPY

Jim Dandy (G2)

Just a handful of three-year-olds will take aim at this $600,000 purse and I love early speed in route races on the Saratoga dirt. FLAMEAWAY gets the rail and could looks like controlling speed so he gets the nod. The price will be right.

Mark Casse trainee wasn’t sharp in the Ohio Derby (G3) last time. But the Scat Daddy colt gets a pass for that and I think he moves way up second off the layoff. Chestnut also is the recipient of a rider change with Jose Ortiz taking the reins.  

I’ve always liked VINO ROSSO quite a bit. Curlin colt ran big in the Belmont despite finishing fourth in what I thought was a superb field.

The Saratoga surface could very well be ideal for this strapping colt. While he is at the top of my Travers (G1) list, Vino Rosso might be a bit short today.


$20 Win: #1 FLAMEAWAY

$20 Exacta Box: 1-5 ($40)