Shapiro's Saturday bankroll builder for Vanderbilt Day at Saratoga

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July 24th, 2020

The first half of the Saturday card at Saratoga features the return of champion turf female Sistercharlie.

The 6-year-old mare has not competed since a third-place finish as the odds-on choice in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita.

The Chad Brown trainee will make her first start of 2020 in the Ballston Spa (G2), which is the second leg of the early Pick 4 sequence that begins in Race 2.

Let's try to build a bankroll early, for the late part of the card that includes the  Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1).

Race 2

This state-bred special weight event over the main track looks like a two-horse race.

#5 Munnings Muse has not been seen since a strong, runner-up effort to impressive, gate-to-wire winner Fierce Lady in June of 2019. The 13-month break is concerning, but the Munnings filly comes in off a long series of drills.

If she is ready to roll off the bench, she will be very tough to beat. If not, #2 Vivazano looks like the best alternative. She returns quickly, after a fourth-place finish in the slop earlier this month. She should be involved early under jockey Javier Castellano.

Race 3

It is no surprise #5 Sistercharlie is listed as a 2-5 favorite on the morning line in her initial try off the bench, but she does not appear invincible. Winning this Grade 2 event is far from the ultimate goal, and the 1 1/16 miles is considerably shorter than her ideal distance.

She'll also take on a formidable foe in #6 Starship Jubilee. The Florida-bred has not raced since she notched her 17th lifetime victory in early March at Tampa Bay Downs but is likely to set a modest early tempo. The Blue Heaven Farm mare will be tough to get by in the lane.

Race 4

#3 Lady C ships into New York in strong form for trainer Tom Amoss. The daughter of San Pablo tried allowance foes at Thistledown nearly a month ago and came running late, but finished third at odds of 4-5.

Amoss has dropped her into the conditional claiming ranks for Saturday, and she will stretch out to a distance where she is undefeated in two starts. With a clean trip under David Cohen, she should handle this bunch. She is my single.

Race 5

The early Pick 4 concludes with a starter allowance event over the sod. #9 Sir Alfred James was impressive when he bested a field of 12 maidens on debut at Churchill Downs on June 13, but that came over the main track.

I am not convinced that the move to the lawn is ideal for this 4-year-old gelding, so I will try to beat him as the 2-1 top choice on oddsmaker David Aragona’s morning line.

#4 Three Outlaws has never won over the turf, but he has moved into the Rob Atras barn and should be ready to fire fresh off the layoff. I will use this son of Goldencents, as well as likely pacesetter #7 Ink Splotz and #10 Standup, who will make his third start of the form cycle after a pair of third-place finishes to start the 2020 campaign for trainer Robert Falcone Jr.

Suggested wager: 50-cent Pick 4

R2: 2+5

R3: 5+6

R4: 3

R5: 4+7+10

Ticket cost: $6