Sunday Saratoga Two-Year-Olds Report

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TwinSpires Staff

July 20th, 2014

Sunday's card at Saratoga opens with a juvenile race, so let’s jump right in:

Race 1, 5 ½ furlongs on dirt for New York-breds

Before we discuss our betting strategy, let's take a closer look at each horse in the field.

1. G R's Giant: This Frost Giant debuter breaks from the rail and attracts Javier Castellano. Frost Giant's 2-year-olds win at a respectable 14% clip first-time out and the dam of this horse did break her maiden at 4.5 furlongs, however, she ultimately did her best racing as a turf router. G R's Giant has reportedly been getting dusted in workouts by older stablemate M B And Tee. That one ran creditably in his debut on opening day.

2. Navy Blue: This Gary Contessa-trained second-time starter took money in his debut, but his was very disappointing. That debut race was won in wire-to-wire fashion by a 32/1 longshot and it certainly didn't look like a 'Stars of tomorrow' type of race. However, the jockey switch from Rosario Montanez to Joel Rosario is encouraging, and so is the sharp work on July 18th.

3. Thank You: This horse showed no early speed in his debut, sprinting on the turf. However, that race did have the look of a prep. Thank You comes into this race with improved workouts and his Trainer Mike Mareina is an excellent 78-18-12-12 (23% wins and $2.72 ROI) with second-time starters, throughout his training career. The blinkers are added and every indication suggests Thank You could at least be able to outrun his odds.

4. Desert Million: This Desert Party debuter for Tony Dutrow sold for $100,000 as a yearling, but became a failed pinhook. He drilled at two separate juvenile sales and has certainly been through about as much training as a first-time starter can be put through. Even though this one has endured harder training than his usual debuter, I'm much more interested in Dutrow's second-time starters than his debuters.

5. Cosmo Storm: His sire Cosmonaut was a Graded Stakes winner at ten furlongs on the grass, so Cosmo Storm was one definitely one of the surprises of the Fasig Tipton Timonium sale, where he drilled a furlong in10.20 seconds and shared the bullet. You can watch his under-tack drill here.

While unfashionably bred, Cosmo Storm has been a budding youngster in the auction ring. He sold for $12,000 as a weanling, $40,000 as a yearling, and $120,000 as a two-year-old, making him a successful pinhook. Jose Lezcano accepts the riding assignment for James "Chucky" Lawrence. The discouraging thing, however, is that Lawrence has a terrible record with two-year-old who debut without the medication lasix. We'll watch one on debut, but this will be an interesting one to follow for next time.

6. Tax Package: This Chad Brown trained debuter is by 17% debut sire Pioneerof the Nile and out of a D'Wildcat mare. Brown is a solid 4-for-11 with debuters in New York Bred two-year-old races at Saratoga. Tax Package has reportedly been holding his own with unraced stablemate Tracking Stock in morning workouts. Tracking Stock is a Kentucky bred colt who is bred quite well for speed.

7. Sandler: Over the last five year, Todd Pletcher is 37-for-104 (36% wins and $2.65 ROI) with two-year-old debuters on the dirt at Saratoga. What's more, he's 5-for-11 (45% wins and $3.45 ROI) when they're entered in New York Bred dirt races. While the trainer statistics indicate Sandler is a force to be reckoned with, his workout reports and female family pedigree say otherwise. Indeed, Sandler has only been working evenly, in company with stoutly bred turf horses. As for his pedigree, he's by the very good speed influence Into Mischief, but he's out of a mare who debuted in a turf route at Woodbine, and lagged back in 14th position early on. This horse is going to want more distance. Look for improve a whole lot second time out, on the stretch out.

8. Thirst For Glory: This son of Lemon Drop Kid is bred extremely well for grass on top and bottom. The dam of this horse won her only race on grass. The pedigree is discouraging for a debut sprint on dirt, but the trainer stats provide a glimmer of hope. Over the last five years, Kimmel is 4-for-16 (25%) with debuters who are entered in dirt sprints at Saratoga. None of the four winner were favorites, three of them wen off at odds of 5/1 or better.

Betting Strategy: My plan for betting this race is to oppose the Pletcher-trained debuter Sandler. Tax Package is the key horse on the top of my exotic tickets, where I plan to use him in the first and second slot. Thank You (the 15/1 longest shot on the morning line) is my key horse in the underneath slots on my exotic tickets.


1st: Tax Package

2nd: Thank You

3rd: Navy Blue

4th: Cosmo Storm