Shapiro's Late Pick 5 at Saratoga on Aug. 29

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August 28th, 2020

The penultimate Saturday card of the 2020 Saratoga meeting features a Late Pick 5 with three graded stakes events. The sequence kicks off with the Amsterdam (G2) and also includes the Forego (G1) and Sword Dancer (G1).

Race 7: Amsterdam (G2)

#2 Yaupon has been extremely impressive over his first two starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. The son of Uncle Mo got the best of a live group of maidens on debut at Churchill Downs back in June and then overcame an inside draw in his first start versus winners to win going away over this racetrack last time out. If Joel Rosario can avoid an early tussle with #3 Long Weekend, the undefeated colt should make it a perfect 3-for-3 in his initial try against graded stakes competition.

Race 8: Forego (G1)

There are a number of runners that like to be just off the lead in this year’s Forego, but none that are true need the lead types. Therefore, the pace may be contentious on the backstretch, but I do not anticipate an overly quick first half-mile in the 2020 Forego.

#2 Whitmore is listed as the 7-2 choice on oddsmaker David Aragona’s morning line after a runner-up effort in the Vanderbilt (G1) last month. The 7-year-old gelding is as honest as they come, but the inside draw, the lack of true speed to run at, and the fact he has hit the wire first in just 1-of-4 career tries at 7-panels makes him worth taking a chance against. I will use several in hopes of beating the likely favorite, including second choice #6 Complexity. The Klaravich Stables colt won convincingly in his first try of 2020 and should be prominent early.

Race 9: Sword Dancer (G1)

#2 Aquaphobia was a very nice horse before this year, but he has been even better since being claimed by Mike Maker in late January. Three-back, the son of Giant’s Causeway put forth a huge runner-up performance to recent Fourstardave (G1) winner Halladay in the Sunshine Forever and most recently he captured the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park. The 7-year-old gelding illustrated he can handle the marathon distance in New Jersey and should get a great trip under Irad Ortiz Jr. I love his chances to make it back-to-back Grade 1 victories.

Race 10:

There are a few first-time starters for powerful barns in this 6-furlong maiden special weight event over the main track, but I am going to lean on runners with experience. #8 Spun d’Etat ran into a buzzsaw in the Steve Asmussen-conditioned Lady Lilly in her most recent start for Tom Amoss. The outside draw this time around should help her chances in career try number three. #7 O’Gotten Girl moves from turf-to-dirt after drawing the rail on debut on Aug 7 for Gary Gullo. Look for the Competitive Edge filly to take a step forward on Saturday. #9 Rookery did not get off to an ideal start in her debut, but the $360,000 FTS August 2019 purchase is capable of a much-improved performance after gaining invaluable experience earlier this month.

Race 11:

#3 Eloquent Speaker is a deserving 3-1-favorite in the finale cutting back to one-turn for Jeremiah Englehart, but I will also include six-time winner #8 Miss Jimmy and #6 Flashpackinbarbie, who is the likely pacesetter in this 6 1/2-furlong dash for New York-breds.

Suggested Wager: (50-cent Pick 5)

  • 2 with 3,4,6,8,10,11 with 2 with 7,8,9 with 3,6,8

Ticket Cost: $27