Saratoga stakes plays for Whitney Day

TwinSpires Staff

August 4th, 2018

by John Mucciolo

A total of five graded races will take place at Saratoga on Saturday, with the $1.2 million Whitney Stakes (G1) leading the way. I will take a look at each.

De La Rose Stakes (Race 5)

Turf affair came up with a graded quality field today. Nine fillies and mares will go postward and to no surprise, conditioner Chad Brown has the one(s) to beat.

But I am going to step outside the box and take a shot with #6 CARE LADY (8-1) in her U.S. debut. Four-year-old has proven class and picked up a second Group 1 tally in her sophomore finale.

Argentinean gets Lasix and has not missed a morning drill since May. Joel Rosario takes the reins for savvy trainer Arnaud Delacour.

Test Stakes (G1) (Race 8)

Nine three-year-old fillies will vie in the seven-furlong event. Grade 1 vixen #6 SEPARATIONOFPOWERS (7-2) will likely be a popular play in the field for Brown. Candy Ride filly blew the start in the Victory Ride (G3) last time but finished fast to be a close fourth.

2017 Frizette (G1) victress had to need the race after the long layoff and will be primed today. Expect the miss to be closer early on.

I surely like Steve Asmussen’s #7 MIA MISCHIEF (3-1), who might be the one to beat. And I will also include #8 MINIT TO STARDOM (6-1) for Al Stall Jr.. Louisiana-bred has been untouchable against cheaper and could really be any kind.

A trifecta box with the trio is a suggested play.

Whitney (G1) (Race 9)

Fine cast has been assembled for this historic and lucrative contest. Like many, I think #2 BACKYARD HEAVEN (9-2) looms a menacing figure in this one. Brown trainee stopped in the lane of the Stephen Foster (G1) most recently, but that surface produced a lot of goofy results on the evening and he gets another chance for sure.

Tizway colt looked superb on Kentucky Oaks Day with a powerful Alysheba (G2) romp over a fine field. Two fine morning drills locally should have him ready for his Saratoga debut.

Waya Stakes (G3) (Race 10)

Brown has a tough pair in this race, too, but #8 LOTTIE (4-1) gets top billing from this corner. Trainer Graham Motion has endured some tough luck with five seconds from 13 starters at Saratoga, and this would be a nice way to get his picture taken.

Well-bred Arch mare was second in this race in 2017 and comes in off of a nice prep run when second in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) at Belmont, finishing in front of the morning-line choice in this affair.

I love that Edgar Prado retains the mount on the Kentucky-bred.

Lure Stakes (Race 11)

I am torn between a pair of horses in the finale, which will feature 10 in a well-matched turf event. Being alive to both in the Pick 4 is the goal.

#4 CONQUEST PANTHERA (8-1) was a big third at Woodbine behind a winner who is evolving into a real good one last time. Late-running son of Kitten’s Joy has not won in a while. But his form is strong and the pace will be lively today to aid his late burst. The red-hot Luis Saez riding adds to the appeal.

A big part of me will root for #7 ZENNOR (6-1). Kiaran McLaughlin pupil is a dual winner on this oval and won this race last campaign, which was his most recent start.

Gray gelding had a fine 2017 with four wins in five outings and he has run well off the layoff in the past. Six-year-old might sit an ideal trip behind contested early splits.